November 23, 2020

The Editor speaks: More worries

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I am in danger of getting my wrists slapped again by the premier for ‘jumping on the band wagon’ by seeming to support claims made by North Side MLA Ezzard Miller. Mr. Miller is suspicious of how the year on year projections increase in such a uniform manner against the global uncertainty that had been reinforced by Premier Bush’s own speech on austerity and falls in revenue from key sources.

It does seem to be a contradiction when the government’s Strategic Policy Statement (SPS) speaks about controlling government spending whilst the projections seem to say otherwise. I am just as confused as Mr. Miller is and it makes me worried.

My biggest worry, however, is over the controversy raging over the port berthing facility. It’s not just a question of who is going to build it and when, but where? Certainly Captain Bryan and the sea captains have some sound reasoning regarding their alternative proposal to build the facility in Red Bay (or South Sound as Consuelo Ebanks insists). However, the one major stumbling block that they have not addressed is the bussing of the cruise ship passenger to the shops.

Howard Finlason of Royal Construction Ltd, secretary and member of the Cayman Contractors Association who is also one of the local partners of GLF Construction (the company whose port facility proposal was recommended but overturned by the premier) pointed this out at the public meeting last Tuesday (6) at the Seafarers hall. “One of the most successful cruise ports in the Caribbean is Bermuda,” he said, “where the retail area is lined up directly in front of the port. By contrast, in St Thomas, although their port is only fifteen minutes away from the shops, the country has regretted the decision ever since.”

Whatever happens one must take note of what the cruise lines want and so far there has been no direct contact with any of them regarding the Red Bay proposal.

If the talking continues indefinitely without any positive decision and no action the whole matter will be only a mute point.

And talking of no action…….. when is a decision going to be made regarding the New Year’s Eve extension past midnight? As I pointed out last month New Years Eve falls on a Saturday this year, and it has created a major concern from many bar and restaurant owners. The law states that you must stop music and dance and alcohol at 11:50 p.m. The Cayman Islands Tourism Association (CITA) along with individual restaurants have pleaded with the Liquor Licensing Board to make a decision quickly (hopefully to extend it by one to two hours into Sunday) but that has fallen on deaf ears. Didn’t Nero play his fiddle whilst Rome burned?

Note: Fiddles (violins or any viol kind) did not develop until the 11th century and Nero was around in 65 A.D., but he was indeed a musician. So it would have had to be a lyre or a cithara he was playing. But at least he was doing something even though it was nothing to help the situation.

Perhaps the theory here in the Cayman Islands is, if we do nothing the problem will go away. My worry is that this seems to be the decision making of  too many government bodies and committees today.

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