UK consultant offers path to properly procure a cruise dock

A United Kingdom consultant has laid out a deliberative process for the Cayman Islands Government to follow when it procures the George Town cruise berthing facility. 

“The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), Cayman Islands Auditor General and the Chairman of the Cayman Islands Government Central Tenders Committee (CTC) made it clear that the procurement relating to this project must be in line with international best practice and be both open and transparent in nature,” according to the report, signed by FCO consultant Nigel Hearnden. 

In a departure from previous practice, the report states that a civil servant, rather than a politician, should head up discussions. Additionally, it advises that government determine the scope of and budget for the project before submitting it to Central Tenders for procurement. Also, the report stresses the importance of competition to ensure fairness, transparency and value for money. 

 

Bodden ‘owner and champion’ 

Ministry of Tourism and Development Chief Officer Stran Bodden distributed the report – dated 31 January and titled “Cayman Islands – Proposed Cruise Terminal Development Procurement Life Cycle” – to tourism professionals and stakeholders 20 February, according to an email received Tuesday by the Caymanian Compass. 

The report states that the government’s point man on cruise berthing negotiations should be Mr. Bodden, reporting to Deputy Governor Franz Manderson and supported by a steering group. “For major or complex projects, a Senior Responsible Owner (SRO) should be appointed at the outset, and [project and programme management] best practice tools and techniques applied as appropriate. The SRO is the project’s owner and champion and is ultimately accountable for delivery of the project,” according to the report. 

Previously, legislators had assumed the lead role in cruise berthing negotiations, including Cline Glidden, then-Premier McKeeva Bush and Ellio Solomon. 

According to the report, a major project such as the cruise berthing facility “will require a strong project structure, considerable and diverse expertise, governance and processes, advanced tools and several years’ worth of effort”. 

The report brings up a public private partnership as a potentially useful funding arrangement, but warns that those mechanisms carry their own risks, stating: “[T]his type of more complex financial arrangement makes following a rigorous procurement process even more important.” 

 

Stages 

The report breaks out “a typical complex procurement process” into three key stages: pre-procurement, tender process and award of contract, and management of contract and supplier. 

In the pre-procurement stage, government should consult with “stakeholders about what is needed and the budget that is available to fulfil the need”, engage with “potential suppliers/partners”, and establish “effective governance arrangements and resourcing plans”. Outside advisers also may need to be brought in if their expertise is needed. 

“A business case evolved from a Strategic Outline Case and possibly an outline business case should justify the procurement activity and expenditure, and communicate whether the investment is worthwhile in [value for money] terms, assessing objectives, benefits, strategic fit, deliverability, affordability, options and suitable commercial approaches,” according to the report, which includes appendices on developing a business case, Framework for Fiscal Responsibility requirements and a checklist for the project steering group. 

The report states that when engaging with suppliers/partners in the pre-procurement stage, “It is essential, however, to avoid giving unfair advantage to one or more potential suppliers/partners.” 

After the project specifications are created and procurement strategy is determined, the project goes to tendering. 

“In the case of the Cayman Islands Government, procurement policy is the remit of the Central Tenders Committee (CTC) who is currently developing detailed procurement guidance,” according to the report. 

“Ensuring the same, relevant information is available to all bidders demonstrates that the bid is winnable,” the report continued. 

The report states that “Competition is the cornerstone of public sector procurement and should be the focus of all procurement.” 

Following the award of the tender is the operational phase of procurement, where the contract is executed. 

“This phase of the procurement cycle is typically the most lengthy, and for a [public private partnership or private finance initiative] type contract can last for 20-30 years,” according to the report. 

The report states that government should consider establishing a “contract management unit” from the early stages of procurement through the life of the contract. 

 

Caveats 

“An effective and close relationship from the outset between Private Sector and CIG Senior Responsible Owner [SRO] is also vital to success. However, senior officials should never forget that private sector suppliers have a primary duty to maximise returns to their shareholders,” according to the report. 

In a final section on ‘ethics and propriety’, the report warns about ‘fraud and other impropriety’ committed in both public and private procurement. It cautions against conflicts of interest and “supplier hospitality”. 

“Where gifts (in-kind or otherwise) are made, they should be transparent, and even so they are very rarely acceptable. It is important to note that merely recording gifts or hospitality in a ‘hospitality book’ does not make them inherently acceptable,” according to the report. 

Previously, legislators had assumed the lead role in cruise berthing negotiations, including Cline Glidden, then-Premier McKeeva Bush and Ellio Solomon. 

0
0

3 COMMENTS

  1. Why should the UK have to make these offers. Really mean to tell me that the Cayman Islands has no REAL MEN with a little back bone to do something on their own. I am wondering why dont we become comminist.

    0

    0
  2. In September 2009 a full-page ad was placed in a local newspaper asking for expressions of interest in building a cruise ship dock. These expressions of interest were to be addressed to Stefan Baraud, Chairman of the Port Authority. In my opinion, bypassing the Central Tenders Committee in favour of a political appointee is where it all started to go downhill.

    0

    0

Comments are closed.