Port announcement next week

The government will announce the name of the development team that will build two cruise ship berthing piers next week.

Leader of Government Business McKeeva Bush said a selection committee would deliver a report that Cabinet will review next Tuesday prior to making a decision on the developer. He said he planned to hold a press conference the following day to announce the details of the chosen development team.

Mr. Baraud

Mr. Baraud

‘There will be a [memorandum of understanding] between the government, the Port Authority and the people who will get [the job],’ he said.

Mr. Bush said the Port Authority would not relinquish ownership or control of the cruise port as part of the deal.

‘Government maintains ownership, government doesn’t lose revenue, but it gets a workable facility that’s going to bring tourists,’ he said.

Under the plan, the project would be funded by the development team and guaranteed by the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association, Mr. Bush said.

Port Authority Chairman Stefan Baraud, who is in St. Lucia this week attending the Cruise Association’s annual conference, confirmed Wednesday that the developer would have to deal directly with the cruise lines to receive payment.

‘It’s something [the cruise lines] have already agreed on in principle,’ Mr. Baraud said.

It is expected that the arrangement between the cruise lines and developer would be similar to the arrangement between the Cayman Islands Government and the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association with regard to the financing for the Royal Watler Cruise Terminal project. Under the terms of that arrangement, the financing banks are repaid through a fee charged to every cruise ship passenger that comes ashore on Grand Cayman.

A request for expressions of interest to design, finance and build the berthing facility was advertised on 1 September. Interested parties were originally given until 15 September to respond and provide a great deal of information. The deadline for submissions was later extended to 25 September.

The expressions of interest were not assessed by the Central Tenders Committee, but rather by a selection committee.

Mr. Baraud said that committee comprised himself, Port Authority Deputy Chairman Woody Foster and backbench United Democratic Party MLA’s Cline Glidden Jr., Ellio Solomon, Dwayne Seymour and Captain Eugene Ebanks.

Mr. Glidden was among the Cayman Islands delegation attending the FCCA conference in St. Lucia, Mr. Baraud said.

‘We would have liked to make the announcement [of the development team] at the conference this week, but it didn’t work out,’ he said.

Besides the construction of two finger piers capable of accommodating the new Oasis/Epic/Genesis class cruise ships – which are more than 1,100 feet long – the project scope includes an unspecified amount of land reclamation, traffic and pedestrian management improvements and improvements to the cargo dock facilities to provide a short-term solution to the cargo handling facility.

The government previously announced that it ultimately wants to move the cargo facility to the south-eastern part of Grand Cayman.

In total, 13 expressions of interest were received as a result of the advertisement, but one of the expressions of interest was subsequently withdrawn, Mr. Baraud said.

Twelve proposals were then reviewed by the selection committee and four of those proposals were short-listed.

‘They were well-put-together proposals that provided the requested information,’ he said, adding that it was imperative that the Port Authority moved as quickly as possible to proceed with the project.

The developer eligibility criteria included proof of relevant experience; a preliminary business model demonstrating independent financing; compliance will local laws; and the ability to prepare a project report, including preliminary marine, environmental and traffic engineering, along with a scheme master plan.

Prospective developers were also asked to demonstrate a commitment to protect the marine and terrestrial environment associated with the works and to mitigate negative impacts.

Mr. Baraud said the selection committee compiled a matrixes scorecard to evaluate the proposals.

‘One of the things that was important was local participation,’ he said. ‘We wanted to see a significant level of Caymanian participation.’

Other important selection factors included the ability to finance the project and past experience building similar projects, Mr. Baraud said.

‘We wanted to make sure [the developer] had sufficient experience to build the port.’

Addressing some of the recent rumours, Mr. Baraud said there were some misconceptions about the port project.

‘The reality is the facility will be entirely Port Authority controlled and government owned,’ he said.