By Christopher Tobutt
There was laughter, tears, smiles and big, two-handed waves to everyone as the passengers came out of Owen Roberts International Airport, and met with family and friends. They had just got off the JetBlue plane that landed, and walked onto the red carpet, after as Hon Minister of Kenneth Bryan, and senior airport officials cut the red ribbon heralding Cayman’s long-awaited border reopening on Saturday 20 November
The smiling travelers were greeted by Mr. Bryan, along with senior executives from the Department of tourism, and three ladies in traditional Cayman dress, dancing the quadrille. Oh and there was Sir Turtle, too, waving and making everyone feel extra welcome.
“You get the atmosphere of the Caribbean, and this is what tourism’s really about. I’m so honoured to be the Minister for Tourism because Tourism is Caymanian, the vibe energy we’re feeling today, the excitement, the smiles on the people’s faces that are getting off the plane, as they talked about their love for Cayman,” the Minister said.
“They didn’t pick just any little island to come to, they wanted to come to the Cayman Islands. I know the pandemic safety concerns, it’s something that we have to pay close attention to. But that energy, that love, that commitment to our country, we have to continue to foster it, because It’s what built our country along with the financial services industry. These are the first baby steps, but we are going to grow so fast and I hope to be speeding by the middle of next year.”
Mr. Bryan said that meeting the Nov. 20 deadline meant fast-tracking a lot of things, but stressed that safety still came first, and that, although there was a risk involved, he didn’t feel safety had been compromised. “The government at first we wanted to do this in January but then we wanted to get the Christmas period which meant we had to do a lot of technical stuff in a very short period…The industry wants this and people want to work so we pushed and pushed and pushed.
Putting out a “safety first,” message for those who have landed, Mr. Bryan said, “We as a country as a people as a government decided to take this risk for you to have the enjoyment of our beautiful country so we want to make sure you take it all seriously our protocols in respect to that. That means you have to get tested on day two, day five and day ten if you are here that long.
“The second thing is enjoy yourself, be happy. Feel the memories and go back and tell everybody that Cayman is ready, its opening, but we want to make sure that we are staying safe. Make sure that they build those memories they’ll love forever, but let’s just do it in a safe way because there is risk, even though we think we’ve got it under some level of control
Mr. Bryan also stressed the need to continue getting vaccinated, “Trust me, it makes a difference. One of the things we want to do is set a new target. I believe we should set a new target for 85 percent,” he said. You know that we are currently at 81, and in order for us to get to 85 that’s about another 2500 people. And we know we can do it. People are starting to believe in the vaccine more. It’s not about protecting only you, but the people you love in the country as a whole. Because we’re all in this together.” Open again! Cayman celebrates at ORIA
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