A government decision to allow a television crew into the jurisdiction to scout for locations for a planned reality-tv show has divided opinion in the community.
In a press release issued on Thursday, one day before the crew was due to arrive, the government detailed the special measures put in place for them.
They were due to leave on Sunday after a two-day field trip.
The press release said that “the on-island logistics for the trip have been approved by the CMO (Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr John Lee), and managed jointly by the Department of Environmental Health (DEH) and the Ministry of International Trade, Investment, Aviation and Maritime Affairs (MITIAMA), as well as Travel Cayman.
It did not state where the crew were from nor did it reveal any information about the type of reality-tv show being planned.
“The crew, who will be travelling via private aircraft, were all tested for Covid-19 prior to their departure and will be tested again on arrival in Grand Cayman. During their brief stay on Island, they will be housed in a government approved isolation facility and all members of the crew will require a negative result from their PCR test on arrival in order to carry out their work as planned,” according to the press release.
Debate in the community and many online forums has reflected those and several other concerns, including raising questions over perceived double-standards, the restricted border opening currently in place, and the relatively late notification of the crew’s arrival.
In the press release, the government emphasised that community safety was paramount and that it had gone to extra lengths to ensure that.
At the same time though, it pointed to the economic considerations and what this exposure could mean as part of plans to revive the tourism sector which has been badly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is one of many efforts being undertaken by government in a sustained effort to promote economic recovery as vaccine availability widens and Cayman’s economy returns to normal,” explained Dr John Lee, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of the Cayman Islands’ Government.
The on-island logistics for the trip have been approved by the CMO, and managed jointly by the Department of Environmental Health (DEH) and the Ministry of International Trade, Investment, Aviation and Maritime Affairs (MITIAMA), as well as Travel Cayman.
He said, “While inbound travel remains restricted, Government has granted exceptions to mandatory quarantine in order that we accommodate professionals and engineers whose services were essential to maintain critical infrastructure. Stringent protocols have been in place to safeguard the public, and this occasion is no different.”
“We greatly appreciate the assistance and cooperation of local hospitality sector businesses who have been vital to making the trip possible, while protecting public safety,” the CMO added.
During the two-day reconnaissance trip, the crew was expected to visit a limited number of outdoor locations and view several unoccupied vacation residences, on itinerary agreed with the government.
Other special measures put in place to separate the crew from the public included the four individuals travelling together in their own rental car; being escorted by representatives from DEH and MITIAMA along with private security personnel, all travelling in separate vehicles.
The scouting crew members were not allowed to interact with members of the public, nor patronise any public or private establishment.
Isolating in their accommodation during the times that they weren’t being escorted on their scouting trip was a crucial part of the arrangements.
They were due to leave Cayman on Sunday morning.