By Staff Writer
Hon. Minister for Tourism, Kenneth Bryan, has pointed to controversial policies of the Governor of Florida as a major factor in how Cayman eventually decides to reopen its borders to tourism.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has barred cruise lines operating out of the state from requiring that their passengers are vaccinated.
The issue has also sent waves of worry throughout cruise destinations across the Caribbean.
“That’s creating some problems,” Mr Bryan said in a social media video.
With the Cayman Islands government still formulating a policy for eventually reopening its borders to regular international travel including cruises, Mr Bryan said the policy of the Florida governor “a bit of a hurdle for us”.
“So that's why for right now until we see better changes the cruise part may be delayed a little bit more than the stayover,” he stated.
“Stayover will be the top priority until we are 100 per cent certain that cruise lines are going to be safe for Cayman.”
The issue is not just a concern for Cayman but for other cruise ship destinations in the region.
In St Maarten, two passengers have tested positive on the first cruise after the Dutch part of the shared the French/Dutch island reopened its borders to cruise ship tours.
Celebrity Cruises said the infected passengers were asymptomatic and were immediately quarantined upon testing positive. All crew and passengers on the ship were reported to have been vaccinated before boarding, the cruise line said.
It was the first ship to sail from Florida since Governor DeSantis declared the controversial no-vaccination mandate for cruise ships.
Meanwhile, the Governor of the American territory, the United State Virgin Islands, a popular cruise destination, has called on Governor DeSantis to reverse the no-vaccination cruise policy.
Governor Albert Bryan said while vaccines do not eliminate risks, not having them could be catastrophic to both the cruise companies and the islands they visit.
“Our ports, which are some of the most popular ports of call for cruises in the Caribbean, are in the direct line of fire, alongside the other port of call destinations,” Governor Bryan stated.
Here in Cayman, Min. of Tourism Kenneth Bryan, cautioned that failure to follow safety protocols could put the entire cruise industry at risk for both the companies and the destinations.
“If this does not go right with the safety protocols, the whole industry can go bankrupt and that’s the whole cruise line industry which is a billion-dollar industry," he stated.