$5M for Turtle Farm

The issuance of a government guarantee in respect of an additional US$5 million in borrowings by Cayman Turtle Farm was authorised by the Legislative Assembly.

In the House on Thursday, a government motion was passed in respect of the financing needs of Cayman Turtle Farm (1983) Limited.

Members heard the money was to fund additional construction costs and to meet operational needs as a result of a six month delay in the grand opening of Boatswain’s Beach, after Hurricane Ivan.

Financial Secretary Kenneth Jefferson said there had been significant, hurricane affected delays but the project was 70 per cent complete.

The extra $5m was being sought to assist in completing the project by June this year, he said.

When complete, the attraction would encompass 24 acres and feature, amongst other things, a 1.3 million gallon snorkel lagoon, a predator tank, a free flight aviary, an historic Cayman street and 18 retail kiosks, he told the House.

The proposed guarantee would not have an adverse affect on the government’s ability to borrow for its own needs, he said.

The farm’s projections were reasonable and were based on the number of visitors being 495,000 per year with per capita spending of US$55, said Mr. Jefferson.

The projections were based on one on four cruise ship passengers visiting, he said.

Mr. Jefferson told the House that they already had an agreement with three cruise lines to offer the project as a package and negotiations were in progress with two other lines.

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