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The Editor speaks: “May” and “Could”

In a Press Release we received yesterday (14) from The Cayman Islands Ministry of District Administration, Tourism & Transport it addressed fears that the planned cruise berthing facility could exacerbate the flooding witnessed in George Town last month.

There has been much discussion in the media, social and press, from overwhelmingly persons with no specialised knowledge hat the planned cruise berthing facility and cargo port may exacerbate flooding in instances of extreme weather.

These instances giving rise to these ‘misplaced fears’ has largely been due to the extreme recent weather conditions

The Press Release suggests that these recent ‘extreme weather conditions’ rarely happen. Everybody who lives around the Harbour Drive Area, or regularly drives through, or even walks past Elmslie Church, knows that it is not a rare occurrence.

The headline in the PR claims “ Piers will not cause flooding. Could reduce the force of incoming Waves”.

The use of the words “may” and “could” is not scientifically sound. Neither use helps sway anyone’s thinking to “it WILL happen” or “it WILL NOT happen”.I don’t blame the Government for sending out the PR as there was no one coming forward to dispute the claims of doom the cruise ship piers would bring to George Town Harbour, including the washing away of Elmslie Church!Perhaps these people making these claims weren’t here when Hurricane Ivan wreaked its vengeance. upon us?

Unfortunately, the government’s Press Release has not stopped most of the media shooting it down in flames, or rather from sea waves, because some of the statements contained therein did leave itself open to questions.

It is easy to see the side most of our media is playing on.

The Chief Project Manager for the Major Projects Office, Peter Ranger, said:
“A wave overtopping study and flood risk assessment is being undertaken to ensure that flood risk to George Town for the areas to the North and South of the new development will be no greater than exists at present and will be reduced wherever possible. Therefore, the flood risk will not increase as a result of the new cruise berthing and cargo development.”

“In the footprint of the new development wave walls have been incorporated into the design that don’t exist at present to reduce wave overtopping and flooding in the cargo and cruise area in extreme weather conditions which will also protect central George Town.”

Now that was a positive statement with the use of the word ‘not”. However, when it comes to weather that is highly unpredictable, even in these modern times, I would ‘not’ be quite as sure as that.

Rightly, questions have been asked concerning the names of the project engineers who have provided this expert advice.

I am pretty sure whoever it is did not use the words ‘may’ or ‘could’.



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