Canadians slated to redevelop Cayman airports


Cayman has signed a six-month exclusive
negotiating agreement with a Canadian government contracting agency to
redevelop the international airports on Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac, Premier
McKeeva Bush has announced. 

Mr. Bush revealed at a Legislative Assembly
meeting on Wednesday that the Cayman Islands Airports Authority had signed a
nonbinding memorandum of understanding with the Canadian Commercial
Corporation, to redevelop the Owen Roberts International Airport in Grand
Cayman and the Gerrard-Smith International Airport in Cayman Brac. 

“As part of this MOU, the Corporation will
utilise the services of Canadian technical companies whose financial and
managerial capabilities have been subjected to due diligence by the Canadian
Government. Caymanian companies and labour will, of course, be utilised,” the
premier told members of the Legislative Assembly during its one-day sitting

Last month, at the Airports Conference of
the Americas, Mr. Bush said the Cayman Islands Airports Authority was planning
to triple the size of the Owen Roberts International Airport. 

He told legislators Wednesday that, subject
to negotiations, redevelopment of the airports could begin in 2012. 

The premier had previously said that China
Harbour Enterprise Company, with which the government has signed a memorandum
of understanding to upgrade or build sea ports in Cayman, may also get involved
in redeveloping the airport. 

In response to a question from Leader of
the Opposition Alden McLaughlin on what happened to the arrangement with the
Chinese, Mr. Bush said there had not been an agreement with the Chinese
company, merely that China Harbour Engineering Company had expressed interest
in the airport. 

The Canadian Commercial Corporation has
been granted exclusive rights, for six months beginning Monday, August 1, to
carry out due diligence and develop a proposal for the construction and
concession agreements for the redevelopment of the two airports, Mr. Bush said. 

Pressed by Mr. McLaughlin on when the
memorandum of understanding with the Canadians would be made public, Mr. Bush
replied that it was not up to him when it would be released as he was “just a
humble minister”. 

He said the Cayman Islands Airports
Authority would release details of the agreement “when they were ready”. 

Business development and marketing manager
of the Cayman Islands Airports Authority, Caren Thompson-Palacio, said Thursday
the authority was checking with the ministry to determine if the memorandum of
understanding would be released.  

Set up in response to European reconstruction
efforts after World War II, the Canadian Commercial Corporation facilitates
trade with other nations by providing commercial solutions. 

Mr. Bush said the “mutually beneficial
cooperation [between Cayman and Canada] will stimulate stronger ties between
our countries while allowing our government access to Canadian expertise and

The Canadian Commercial Corporation
specialises in aerospace, defence and security contracts, as well as emerging
and developing country markets, according to information on its website.  

The Cayman Islands Airports Authority
released a series of plans featuring short-, mid- and long-term development
goals in 2007 with an estimated price tag totalling about $158 million.   

Those plans included updating the two-story,
85,000 square foot passenger terminal, extending the 7,000 foot long runway,
relocating and developing new hangar facilities, increasing taxiway space and
improving the capacity for general aviation. 

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