In a blistering attack on the Government for their decision to indefinitely pause the reopening plan, the body that represents Cayman’s tourism industry, the Cayman Islands Tourism Association, has said the move would force many tourism-dependent businesses to close and many livelihoods would be lost.
Stating that the decision showed “a complete disregard for the livelihoods of thousands of Caymanians,” CITA said such a move stole hope for the future.
“It is incredibly disappointing that the Government has reversed course, responding to emotion and fear rather than remaining guided by sound logic and scientific evidence,” they stated.
Not only would the shutting of Cayman’s borders to tourists badly impact this and next year’s tourism industry, the ramifications would be felt for years to come, they said.
‘The decision made now to remain closed to tourism does not only impact Cayman for the rest of 2021, but it also eliminates the possibility of a meaningful level of tourism in 2022 and sets the course for no less than 4 to 5 years for the industry to recover,” the CITA said.
The result would be that thousands of tourism employees and Caymanian business owners and operators would be dependent on Government stipends for survival for the long term which would impact all Caymanians and the level of services the Government would be able to provide.
CITA said the advent of Covid within the community should have come as no surprise to the Government and that Cayman was ready to deal with this inevitability, citing Cayman’s enviably high vaccination rate and world class health professionals..
“The Government has now clearly demonstrated a lack of confidence in its own planning and advisors,” they confirmed.
CITA said it echoed the Governor’s message that waiting out the pandemic was a forlorn hope. They also supported Chief Medical Officer Dr John Lee’s comments based upon his time in the UK that Cayman could live normally with Covid in the community.
“We should be measured, calm and proactive rather than anxious, emotional and reactionary. We must have collective courage to chart a positive course forward for our Islands in place of the fear stoked by continual uncertainty,” CITA urged.
They also said that there were inconsistencies in the Government’s policy reversal, in that while borders were closed indefinitely, and the quarantine period increased, they had not, at the same time, issued vaccination mandates for frontline workers, educators, and others at risk as many other countries had done, nor had they sought opportunities to control Covid through layers of preventative measures and using technology such as smart phone contact tracing.
Calling the current way forward unsustainable, CITA said border closure was at the expense of sacrificing the livelihoods of thousands of workers, entrepreneurs and other stakeholders rather than deploying targeted measures and policies specific to the proven threats was illogical.
Highlighting the statistics which showed an extremely unlikely chance that children and vaccinated people will die or have serious illness if they contract Covid, CITA said the Government ought to be reiterating such statistics to calm fears.
CITA called for the community to speak out and share their views.
“We need other community leaders to stand up and oppose the Government’s abandonment of the reopening plan,” they said. “Lastly, we pray that those residents recently infected recover swiftly. We continue to urge unvaccinated residents to get their first jabs without delay.”
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