Port plan to undergo economic impact assessment

An economic impact assessment for the proposed cruise berthing facility is in the works, The Cayman Reporter understands.

Minister of Finance Hon Marco Archer

Minister of Finance Hon Marco Archer confirmed that PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) has been contracted to carry out the assessment. The Cayman Reporter inquired if the assessment has already started and how much this assessment will cost the country, but Mr Archer has not responded at press time.

The Cayman Islands has already done an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to the tune of $2.5 million based on the current proposal of a two finger pier. The EIA indicated that dredging and its silt plume could impact 15 acres of coral reef. Now that the EIA has been completed and the Department of Environment (DoE) is the process of completing a report on the assessment to submit to Cabinet, a call for the examination of the proposal’s impact on the entire economy has been made.

Founder and Director-General at The Cayman Institute, Nicholas Robson, said to grasp the full impact of the proposal its impact on the country’s economy must be evaluated. He believes the economic impact assessment should state how financing a cruise port, that could destroy a significant part of the reef on the south-west of the island, will affect the country. He believes it should look at how many jobs will be affected in the retail sector as well as in to water sports industry.

He noted that it is also imperative to analyse the true strengths and weaknesses of the cruise tourism and stay-over tourism to these islands.

“We should be weighing up the cruise passenger industry and its per-capita spend against stay-over tourism. Should we be looking into lengthening the runway to 10,000 feet to be able to accommodate long haul flights from Europe and points east? The Persian Gulf and China have many high net worth individuals which may well want to come to the Cayman Islands. We have already had Mr. Lee Ka-Shing one of the richest men in Hong Kong residing and doing business here,” he said. Furthermore, Mr Robson stated that it is important for Cayman to know how many cruise passengers it can manage. “If we try and take too many cruise passengers per day none will have an enjoyable experience,” he said.

Commenting on his own stance on the port plans Mr Robson said he is for any initiative that will have the greatest benefit to the majority of the people in the Cayman Islands. “A decision made today will affect the Cayman islands for many years into the future. Furthermore, with Cuba opening up the cruise industry may find that more passengers want to go to Cuba, causing some of the cruise lines dropping Cayman,” he said.

The Advancement of Cruise Tourism in the Cayman Islands (ACT) member Chris Kirkconnell told The Cayman Reporter that the ACT was formed because members involved in the cruise industry felt that the Cayman Islands Tourism Association (CITA), the tourism sector’s representative group, was only concerned about stay-over businesses. Those involved in cruise felt that in order to have a voice they had to start a group of their own.

“Once we formed ACT CITA tried to convince us that we didn’t need a separate entity and it seemed like they were trying to give us some kind of attention up until now. If you look at the member makeup of CITA its much more heavily stay-over focused than cruise,” Mr Kirkconnell expressed. More

 

Leaders sign historic sustainable energy & climate resilient treaty

September 2: Over 150 delegates and members of the international development community from more than 45 countries were stunned to see leader after leader approach the podium to sign a historic sustainable energy and climate resilient treaty that will significantly change the lives and destiny of over 20 million small islanders, for the better.

Led by the Deputy Prime Minister of Samoa, Hon. Fonotoe Nuafesili Pierre Lauofo, multiple leaders from the Pacific, Caribbean and African, Indian Ocean and Mediterranean Sea (AIMS) regions, forcefully raised their voices in unison and accepted responsibility for fulfilling the commitment to the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Sustainable Energy mechanism – SIDS DOCK. The opening for signature of this historic SIDS DOCK Treaty – a SIDS-SIDS Initiative – was a major highlight of the first day of the United Nations (UN) Third International Conference on SIDS, taking place in Apia, Samoa, from 1-4 September.

The unprecedented and unexpected number of Heads of State and Government present, sent a strong signal to the standing room only audience, the SIDS population and the international community, demonstrating how deeply committed SIDS leaders are and that they all firmly believe that SIDS must, have and will take responsibility for charting the future of their countries towards a path that would see a total transformation of the SIDS economy away from fossil fuels, to that of one driven by low carbon technologies. The event was considered so important to the Republic of Cabo Verde, that the Prime Minister, Hon. José Maria Neves, excused himself and his entire delegation from the Plenary Hall, to ensure that Cabo Verde, a SIDS DOCK Founding Member was well-represented at the signing – the Cabo Verde Government has one of the most ambitious plans in SIDS, that aims to achieve 100 penetration of renewable energies in Cabo Verde, by 2020.

More than half the members of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) were present for the signing of the historic treaty, witnessed by the SIDS DOCK partners Denmark, Japan and Austria, whose kind and generous support facilitated SIDS DOCK start -up activities; also present were SIDS DOCK partners, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Bank, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Clinton

Foundation. The treaty was signed by the governments of Barbados, Belize, Bahamas (Commonwealth of the), Dominica (Commonwealth of), Cabo Verde (Republic of), Cook Islands, Dominican Republic, Fiji (Republic of), Grenada, Guinea Bissau, Kiribati (Republic of), Niue, Palau (Republic of), Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa (Independent State of), Seychelles (Republic of), and Tuvalu.

The Statute will remain open for signature in Apia, Samoa until September 5, and will reopen for signature in Belmopan, Belize, from September 6, 2014 until it enters into force. Belize is the host country for SIDS DOCK, with Samoa designated as the location for the Pacific regional office. More

 

 

 

Global campaign launched to improve weather & climate services for small island developing states (SIDS)

A global campaign to improve weather and climate services for all small island developing states was launched today with the support of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and Digicel Pacific.

The Small Islands, Weather Together campaign (www.weathertogether.org) aims to show how the small island developing states of the world can work together to improve their vital weather and climate services.

In the Pacific region alone, extreme weather already accounts for 76% of all disasters with 50% directly related to cyclones. The increase in extreme weather events is also hampering the sustainable development of many small island developing states. For example, when Cyclone Evan hit Samoa in December 2012 it resulted in the loss of one third of the country’s entire annual economic output.

WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud stresses that small island developing states need greater investment to further strengthen their vital weather and climate services and to ensure that efforts towards sustainable development are not wasted.

“If we don’t invest in stronger weather and climate services for small island developing states then extreme weather events could simply wipe out years of development effort if they are not well prepared. It is much more cost-effective to invest in early preparedness and prevention than to focus only on rehabilitation and post-disaster action,” he asserted.

Climate change is increasing the frequency and intensity of weather and climate events – cyclones, typhoons, drought, flash floods – in many small island developing states. But many of their Meteorological Services still lack the basic infrastructure, technology and expertise they need to protect vulnerable island communities and economies.

For Mr. Jarraud, there is an urgent need to enhance the quality of early warnings for extreme weather. He pointed out that the formulation and dissemination of these warnings also need to be improved so that they can be understood and used by the island communities and government agencies.

In the Pacific islands, SPREP and other partners are working to improve communication of this type of information in partnership with national meteorological services, the media, including broadcast stations and communities.

“SPREP recognises that weather forecasts and warnings such as those given during tropical cyclones do not have a shelf life, they must be disseminated rapidly to the public or else they are useless,” says SPREP Acting Director General Kosi Latu.

He further noted, “We can improve the quality of the forecasts and warnings so that countries and communities have more lead time to take action. But we can also improve the way climate information is used over longer time scales by farmers, fishermen and by decision-makers across government. For example, when planning new infrastructure, we can say ‘this place has a high risk of tsunami, flooding or storm surge, so don’t build things here’.”

Mr. Jarraud recalls that the small developing island states stand to suffer more and more if the global community fails to agree to a limit in greenhouse gas emissions, the main human cause of climate change and global warming.

“Greenhouse gas emissions are still on the rise. We need to reach a peak of emission over the next 15–20 years, then to decrease dramatically to zero equivalent emission in about 50–60 years from now.

“This is a huge challenge. We must act now. The more we wait, the more difficult it will be, and, therefore, the more expensive it will be for countries to adapt to climate change. If we do not act now, we are agreeing to leave the small island developing states in a situation which may no longer be manageable,” he warned.

The Small Islands, Weather Together campaign was launched specifically to coincide with the lead up to the United Nations Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States, which will be held in Apia, Samoa, from 1–4 September, 2014.

For more information visit: www.weathertogether.org