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Minister of Tourism, Kenneth Bryan, appeared on Radio Cayman’s ‘For The Record’ show today (November 23) to update members of the public on some of the proposed changes to the public transportation system in the Cayman Islands.

On the show, Minister Bryan’s discussed several areas, including the type of public transport that is contemplated and whether all operators in the public transport sector may eventually fall under one umbrella. 

In addition, Minister Bryan made mention of a new government policy under consideration to introduce restrictions in relation to car imports.

Proposal to make changes

In order to get proper advice on these areas and to guide Minister Bryan’s ministry and the government generally, Minster Bryan said that Deloitte had recently won the bid to do the consultation for the public transportation project.

Some of deliverables of this project, as summarized by Minister Bryan, include the following:

  • assessment of the current 5-year strategic plan concurrently with the present-day challenges of the public transport sector
  •  evaluate and identify opportunities for improvement
  • review and assess the current public bus system
  • making recommendations on strategy to transition to a National Government-run Public Bus System
  • examining how to transition the current omnibus service to community-based service that may continue to operate as entrepreneurial however not on mainstream roadways
  • offering a restructuring solution to the pillars within Public Transport Unit on how to better manage this sector
  • providing a road map to accomplish a right-sized Cayman Public Transport Service

During the 16 to 18 weeks that Minister Bryan said that Deloitte may take to complete its consultation work, Minister Bryan said that “Their job will be talk to all the relevant stakeholders who are affected by this, from the workers, the bus drivers, to our road systems, to tourism, to elderly, safety within the laws, how you are going to restructure the department.”

Idea of one umbrella

Generally, with respect to restructuring of the existing public transportation system, Minister Bryan said that there were a number of questions that had to be asked, in particular: “Is it going to be a department? Is it going to be an authority? Government owned company? Is it all going to fall under one umbrella? Does the legislation need to change? What kind of bus system?  Do we need some new roads to facilitate it?”

Speaking more directly to the point of having everything related to roads and public transport falling under one umbrella, Minister Bryan said: “We’re going to have to do that eventually to make it be done right, whereby all the areas of concern that affect traffic and transportation can be under one minister so they can work together coherently.  In the interim, myself and the Honourable Jay Ebanks will be working closely [together] to try to have an effect on the traffic situation.”

Form of public transport

In terms of doing things right, Minister Bryan said he also considered the impact on the environment that some forms of public transport may have.

He explained:

I’ve had a sit down with the Deloitte partners to explain exactly where we see the vision, which is a renewably fuelled (let’s just call it an electric bus). Ideally that is what we would like depending on the cost, so we can protect our environment, run under one umbrella.

Minister Bryan’s mention here of the possible environmental impacts is a welcomed statement as the government is required under the constitution of the Cayman Islands to protect the environment.

Cost

Minister Bryan also mentioned that all of these plans would come at a cost, for which he hoped to get support from his fellow ministers at budget discussion time.

Process must be followed

In order to get support for the plans and to take them forward, Minister Bryan stressed that it is important for him as an elected official to follow the right processes and not take any shortcuts.

Specifically, Minister Bryan said:

The reality is the public wants answers now.

Unfortunately, there is a long process that has to happen… this is what people talk about… the bureaucracy in the system and within the civil service…what I mean is there is a number of steps that is necessary that is required by the auditing process where they go “you have to do this the right way as opposed to the quick way.

But if I circumvent those processes, then I will be accused of in another light to say ‘you didn’t do this the right way’.

Bryan to have assistance with implementation

In terms of having things done the right way, Minister Bryan mentioned that he had discussions with the Governor about having a public transportation professional being seconded from the UK to work alongside him in his ministry.

Minister Bryan confirmed that, upon arrival, the UK transportation professional will assist him and his ministry to create a policy that government will deliver.  Such delivery will involve the transportation professional working along with the government’s legal drafting department and assisting Bryan as minister to create the budget to get the proper financing.

Other policy considerations

Minister Bryan concluded his discussion by talking about proposals for a new government policy addressing restrictions related to car imports.

He said:

I’m happy to announce that the government is strongly considering now to quickly come up with a policy to affect the car importations, with limits on ages, because we’re having too much cars being imported every month… there’s an estimated 300 cars per…



Read More: Bryan discusses public transport & restrictions related to car imports

2022-11-23 21:27:37

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