Dec 5, 2019
Coral dredging: 'It's going to cause irreversible damage'
"I fear that it's going to cause some irreversible damage that we can't ever change, take back or fix in the future," says Michelle Lockwood, one of those opposed to the coral dredging that will be needed to enlarge the port. The cruise ships and the coral reef beneath them are at the heart of a dispute that has pitted local scientists, conservationists and small businesses against the world's largest cruise companies - Royal Caribbean and Carnival - with a combined market value of $55bn. "It's a really unique area, that's why Cayman is so famous for its diving and snorkelling, it's just pristine," says Nadia Hardie, the head of The National Trust for the Cayman Islands. Opposition Cayman Islands legislative assembly member Chris Saunders says the Cayman Islands had almost 60% more cruise passengers than Jamaica in June even though Jamaica has three main ports and Grand Cayman has none. Cruise Port Referendum Cayman, a grassroots group opposed to the development, says the economic arguments for the project are weak as overnight tourists spend far more than cruise passengers.
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