A leading dive hotelier in Cayman told a local TV station there Wednesday that Cayman officials and dive business operators were looking at Bimini in the Bahamas as an example of what not to do in pitting protection of fragile marine life and coral reefs against mass development.
Keith Sahm, General Manager of the world-famous Sunset House, and a lifelong diver and master instructor, said dredging in Bimini to make way for a cruise port are taking a toll on that island’s marine resources.
“Hopefully, we can learn from others’ mistakes and we won’t have that happening here in Cayman,” he said.
Mr. Sahm’s comments came in response to the signing of a $2.5 million contract for an environmental impact analysis related to a proposed cruise berthing in Cayman where along with marine resources, the study will examine traffic flow and other issues. The dredging required, Mr. Sahm said, would kick up enough sand and silt to suffocate corals, effectively wiping out Cayman’s main attraction and triggering a ripple effect that would impact the entire economy.
The reference to “learning from others’ mistakes” was the latest in an onslaught of criticism of the project that some maintain is simply too large for the island. Malaysian-based Genting Corporation’s Resorts World Bimini wants the cruise port in aid in driving business to its resort and casino. The company has revealed it wants to attract as many as 500,000 guests a year, disgorging cruise passengers onto an island that now has a population of about 1,700.
Warnings about the impact of dredging to accommodate cruise ships came originally in the company’s own commissioned Environmental Impact Assessment and lately, from all over the globe.
Press Release, May 23, 2014