number of partnerships involving the Cayman Islands government are expected to
get under way in the upcoming budget year, but independent and opposition lawmakers
remain dissatisfied that enough information exists to determine whether those
should go forward.
Leader Kurt Tibbetts identified four major Grand Cayman undertakings: the
George Town cruise ship berthing facility, a proposed cargo port in East End,
the proposed dredging of the North Sound to accommodate mega yachts, and a new
private hospital proposed as a medical tourism project.
much public money might be needed to pay for these projects is an ill-defined
area at best, Mr. Tibbetts told legislators last week.
course, you can keep the costs of a project off government’s balance sheet if
you can find a private investor, but the country must pay for it sooner or
later,” he said. “It would pay not only for the cost of a project, but also for
the profit made by private financiers.
fear that these are measures of how little real thought that has gone into
these projects.” For example, Mr. Tibbetts questioned what public facilities –
such as roads and customs offices – would be needed to support a cargo port in
East End, and whether those costs had been included in government estimates.
questions have been raised about the proposed George Town port berthing dock,
for which government has signed a memorandum of understanding with Dart Enterprises
Construction Company. Specific details of how that project would progress have
not been revealed, but Premier McKeeva Bush has said that Cayman Islands would
pay nothing for the dock.
say to us that those things are not going to have any costs attached,” Mr.
Tibbetts said. “It is simply not so, and the people are going to be paying for
Side MLA Ezzard Miller said government appeared to be “pinning its hopes” on
the public-private development projects to earn revenue in upcoming budget
Miller said he was concerned that the company that had signed the port
memorandum with government had little or no experience with such projects and
that, in any case, revenue from the project would not be realised in time to
help with the 2010/11 budget.
North Side member said he supports the North Sound channel dredging to allow in
certain larger ships, but not mega yachts as proposed by the government. He
also noted that government expected to earn just $179,000 in royalties from the
Miller said those royalties should earn between $1 and $1.25 per yard now and
asked government to consider a fee increase.
Bush said that the yachting industry is a growing business and that the world’s
1,500 largest yachts spend an average of $500,000 a year during their travels.
were also raised during the Legislative Assembly’s debate on government’s
budget over whether private investors would make money on a cargo port in East
hope Cabinet is going to insist on seeing the business plan,” Mr. Miller said,
referring to the cargo port. “I hope that the money is not going to be made on
the sale of fill. I have serious objections to that being done.
in my community are very concerned if you are opening 60 feet deep, 600 feet
wide…to let hurricanes in.”
the private hospital project, known as the Narayana Cayman University Medical
Centre, Mr. Miller was concerned about government “putting all our eggs in one
said he was “very concerned” about proposals to amend laws that would accept
doctors from India and elsewhere to practice in Cayman.
ruined Mexico and their reputation (for medical tourism),” Mr. Miller said.
“Our regular tourism is reputation sensitive; medical tourism is even more so.”