Government discussing Turtle Farm sale/lease

    Chinese out of North Sound dredging talks

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    The Chinese group that has
    expressed interest in dredging the North Sound is now in talks with government
    officials to buy or lease the Cayman Turtle Farm facility.

    Premier McKeeva Bush said the
    investment group from China was “definitely out” with regard to dredging the
    North Sound – partially because of negative public reaction – but was still
    interested in becoming involved in projects here including the extensive Owen
    Roberts Airport renovation project and the purchase or lease and then upgrading
    of the Cayman Turtle Farm: Island Wildlife Encounter facility.

    “They would want a jetty there,
    too… to take a cruise ship,” Mr. Bush said, adding that he hoped to sign a
    memorandum of understanding on the project in the near future.

    “It would be a ministry MOU because
    it would still have to go to Cabinet,” he said.

    During the Fidelity Cayman Business
    Outlook conference on 20 January, Mr. Bush said the Chinese investment group
    was interested in constructing two cruise berthing piers in George Town Harbour
    if the negotiations with GLF Construction, which has already signed a framework
    agreement to build the facility, do not lead to a contract. He said they were
    still interested in that project.

    The framework agreement with GLF
    was signed in mid-December and gave a time frame of four months to lead to a contract.
    However, both sides of the framework agreement have reported good progress in
    negotiations. A deal on the Turtle Farm would be the Chinese group’s way of
    still building a cruise ship pier and for government to get out from a project
    that required more than $28 million of subsidies between July 2007 and November
    2010.

     

    North Sound dredging “talk”

    Although the Chinese group is no
    longer interested in dredging a deep water channel for mega yachts through the
    North Sound, Mr. Bush said there are ongoing discussions with another group to
    do the project.

    It has been through talks with this
    company – which Mr. Bush declined to identify – that the possibility of
    building two islands from the dredged marl and sand has come up.

    “I have said that is a possible way
    of the developer getting its money back,” Mr. Bush said, explaining that if
    this plan came to pass, one of the islands would be for public use as a marina
    and other one would be for the developer’s use as a mega yacht marina.

    “The government wouldn’t pay
    anything for this and would have to get some kind of royalty,” he said.

    However, Mr. Bush stressed that all
    of talks were just conceptual in nature and that there is no set plan for
    dredging the North Sound. 

    “It’s just talk. I’m trying to
    generate ideas and trying to get [investors] here.”

    He said that he envisioned the
    general location of islands to be off the east side of the Seven Mile Beach
    corridor, but that he didn’t know how they would access from the mainland.

    “The talks haven’t got to that
    stage yet,” he said.

    He said the plans circulated by North
    Side Legislator Ezzard Miller – which showed a cruise berthing and cargo
    facility on a single island in the North Sound – had nothing to do with what he
    was discussing. He said there would be no cruise facility or oil refinery on
    these islands if they were built.

    Top Story

    Visitors to the Cayman Turtle Farm admire the turtles. Government is in negotiations to either sell or lease the farm.
    Photo: Stephen Clarke
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    4 COMMENTS

    1. Pogue Mahone, I was so tickled I almost fell off my chair. I can see it now: Half the farm for spectators, and the other half is the new Wong Tong Restaurant… maybe a drive through

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    2. Why would the Premier want to immediately enter into a MOU with the Chinese for the sale/lease of the Turtle Farm, regardless of how good the deal might be, instead of opening it up as a public tender to see if any other investors might be interested?

      It certainly gives the impression that the Premier views the countrys assets as his own to dispose of in whatever manner that he wishes.

      The least that he could do is to place a public notice asking for detailed proposals to be delivered two weeks.

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