Doppler details trickle in


The Cayman Islands government has released additional details on funding for the Doppler radar it expects to arrive in July 2012.  

According to a spokesperson, about half of the 4.16 million euro grant from the European Commission has been allocated for the project, while the Cayman Islands government has paid about CI$40,000, with other costs either not yet known or “confidential”. 

Contracts have been awarded to install the digital radar, while the tendering period closed 2 December for companies to build the 55.5-foot tower housing the radar. 

Per its agreement with the European Commission signed in 2009, the Cayman government agreed to pay for a geotechnical report of ground conditions for the potential early warning weather radar site, physical road access to the site and electricity for the site. The Cayman government also provided in-kind contributions including the actual site itself (1.2 acres of Crown Land in East End on a portion of the now-closed Wilderness Farm), an in-house survey of the site, and a Department of Environment report on the site. 

The government investigated two locations before settling on the erstwhile Wilderness Farm, and so it commissioned two geotechnical reports, each costing about CI$20,000, said GIS Information Officer Cornelia Olivier. 

The Caribbean Utilities Company is starting work to provide single-phase power supply to the site for construction purposes – free of charge. CUC will upgrade to three-phase power supply in order for the radar to operate, but a price has yet to be set, Ms Olivier said in an email. 

She said the National Roads Authority is still working on providing road access to the site, so final costs for that contribution are not yet known. However, National Roads Authority Director Brian Tomlinson said construction of a gravel road to the site was already done. He said it was a three- to four-day job that was finished in mid-November, costing less than CI$40,000. 


‘Confidential’ government contract 

Additionally, the Cayman Islands Airports Authority has two separate contracts with the Caribbean Meteorological Organisation to provide technical consultancy services – one funded by the European Commission grant, and one funded by the Cayman government. 

The European Commission-funded contract relates to “the procurement and technical acceptance of the Doppler radar itself”, while the Cayman-funded contract relates to “Advice on site selection and the provision of the Terms of Reference for the geotechnical survey and providing a geophysical survey,” Ms Olivier said. 

The European Commission-funded contract with the Meteorological Organisation totals 100,000 euro (or about CI$110,000 at current exchange rates). However, when queried about the amount of the Cayman-funded contract, Ms Olivier said, “This information is confidential at this time.” 

The final geotechnical survey of the radar site is dated 12 October and was completed by Cayman Engineering & Partners. 

The Compass has submitted a Freedom of Information request to the airports authority and Ministry of District Works, Land and Administration for all records related to the radar. 


European Commission grant 

From the 4.16 million euro grant from the European Commission (about CI$4.57 million), German company Icon Institute was awarded 380,000 euro (CI$418,000) to provide technical assistance, and German company Selex Systems Integration was awarded 1.56 million euro (CI$1.72 million) to manufacture, supply and install the actual Doppler radar. A rough running total for grant amounts allocated is 2.04 million euro out of 4.16 million euro (or CI$2.25 million of CI$4.57 million). 

There is a discrepancy between the figure cited by Ms Olivier for the Selex contract and the amount listed on the Central Tenders Committee website – which pegs the contract at 1.43 million euro (CI$1.57 million), a difference of 136,000 euro (CI$149,000). A Central Tenders official is looking into the reason for the discrepancy. 

A contract award amount has yet to be announced for constructing the reinforced concrete radar tower, and the Cayman government has agreed to pay all expenses not covered by the European Commission grant. 

In July 2009, the Cayman government announced it would chip in in-kind contributions worth about 500,000 euro (CI$550,000) for the project. 

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