To the Editor:
While Mr. Sidman is to be thanked for his initiative and getting us to think and talk about our future with cruise ships, his approach may not be the one we need.
The challenges we face from cruise ships are environmental, not just population increase. The cruise ships are big polluters, following the same course. They could do a lot of damage. It’s hard to imagine how we could monitor their effect on the marine environment, but we could set a standard for those businesses we welcome. We could refuse permitting the Carnival Cruise Ship line, which has been fined for hazardous practices and others like it.
In the public hearing for the cruise ships petition on July 19, most people who spoke were from businesses that depend on cruise ships for their profits. A few of us, not making any income from cruise ships, spoke up from a wider perspective.
We need a wider perspective in our discussion of our future relationship with cruise ships. We can’t allow the discussion to be in terms of dollars and cents. It’s a bigger question regarding the well-being of all the life forms on the Island.
Currently we have a Cruise Ship Committee, composed of 17 members, tasked with managing our arrangements with cruise ships. Nine of those members represent business concerns. Two positions are “Residents at Large,” with a much less focused agenda.
This does not seem like a balanced discussion between the forces poised to extract profit and those protecting our environment. The parties fashioning our relationship with cruise ships are also the ones who profit from them.
How did we arrive at this situation? I wish I knew how we could restructure it so that we could protect our assets as well as exploit them.