Port deal could be signed by October

A contract to construct the long delayed cruise berthing port could be signed by October, according to the Cayman Islands’ minister of tourism and development. 

Speaking at a media press briefing Thursday, Minister Cline Glidden said a request for proposals for a business plan for the port would be released Friday, 3 May, followed at a later date for a request for bids to construct the port. 

His ministry’s Chief Officer Stran Bodden told reporters that it was anticipated that the port could be completed within the next four years. 

The port project has effectively gone back to scratch, following an order from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office late last year to halt negotiations about construction of the berthing facility with development company China Harbour Engineering Company due to a lack of proper procurement process. 

The first step was a strategic outline case. “I know this must seem strange in terms of a first phase but it showed where the process was lacking before – the first phase called for a strategic outline case,” said Mr. Glidden, adding that this involved a “basic written and very transparent, clearly defined process on issues like project overview, aims, needs, objectives and constraints”.  

That outline case will be released Friday, the same day a competitive tendering process for a business case based on private-public partnership is being issued. 

Mr. Glidden also responded to a Caymanian Compass article in which Alastair Paterson, the project manager for the earlier proposed agreement with China Harbour Engineering, is quoted as saying a leaked document outlining what the then government had agreed to give CHEC as part of the deal was merely a starting point and discussion document that had subsequently been redrafted. That same article also quoted Zhongdong Tang, spokesman for China Harbour, as saying as far as CHEC was concerned, the company’s negotiations have not been officially terminated and he considered that the Chinese company was still involved in the project. 

Mr. Glidden said neither he nor Chief Officer Stran Bodden nor Cabinet had seen any redrafted version of the framework agreement document, adding that Mr. Paterson met with government and ministry officials in early January and had not provided a copy of that document at that time or indicated the agreement document had been revised. 

“So far, the government, through the ministry or through the Port Authority, is not aware of any subsequent agreement than the one signed with China Harbour on 30 March. It does raise concerns if there is new agreement that supersedes the conditions of the old agreement that would be signed and binding by the premier and chairman of the Port Authority. It raises another issue for us because now we might have a new document out there somewhere that now has different agreements in it, which we know nothing about.” 

He added that a revised agreement also had legal implications as the government had already asked the Attorney General to look into the agreement, which was leaked, to see what legal obligations, if any, the government had.  

“I find it strange. I sat in a meeting with the Port Authority lawyers, Maples and Calder, who had significant concerns about the confidentiality of the agreement leaked to the press, but never once made mention of any new superseding agrement,” he said. 

“If we have a redrafted framework agreement… we would have expected [Mr. Paterson] to bring the redrafted document showing the signatures and showing we were now having a document that superseded the last one, from a legal implication standpoint,” he added. 

The Caymanian Compass has seen a copy of the agreement, which is not signed, and is a working draft that was being developed as the negotiations on the project with CHEC were under way. 

In his interview with the Compass, Mr. Paterson did not suggest another signed agreement was in place. He said aspects of the original framework agreement had been renegotiated and all parties were working on a new document when the deal was scrapped. 

Mr. Glidden acknowledged that his government, which has been in place since December, had not been in direct contact with China Harbour to terminate the deal and he had not been in the ministry in November 2012 when the Foreign and Commonwealth Office ordered the then premier and minister of finance, tourism and development McKeeva Bush to put a stop to the port project with CHEC because it had not undergone the proper procurement process. 

He said that he understood that it had been clear to all parties involved that the deal had been terminated last year.  

Mr. Glidden added that CHEC could still be part of the project if they took part in the upcoming tendering process. Cruise lines have also expressed an interest in being involved in the construction of a new cruise berthing dock in Cayman. 

That outline case will be released Friday, the same day a competitive tendering process for a business case based on private-public partnership is being issued. 

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4 COMMENTS

  1. The bottom of the deck is that we need the Cruise Berthing. How we are going to go about it I cannot say, but I do hope it is done very quickly or we will loose some of the cruise ships. It is urgent.

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  2. The last miracle I am aware of is the one with a star in the east, three wise men, etc.Thats what it will take for the dock construction to happen. Is there an election on the horizon?

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  3. Good thing.

    Because it’s common knowledge that all cruise lines are going to be shipping a large majority of their smaller ships in the fleet, to Europe. Opening the European cruise ship tours. And the super ships will be supporting north america.

    If we do not get these births built. The estimation is the loss of up to 70% of the cruise ship traffic, without the dock being built.

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  4. Clearly team Mc-Bush has been busy back peddling with damage control of this midnight extortion deal with CHEC. The fact is that the country must urgently address the out dated cruise facilities that is now a detractor with the various cruise agencies. All future agreements must also include a significant upgrade to the Spotts dock whereby it can be used as a second birthing point when five or more ships are in harbor. Doing this will also result in an increase of more small businesses and peripheral spin offs.

    Now we learn that the document the 15K per month project manager (Alastair Patterson) had been toting is nothing more than a scramble to save face for the midnight extortion deal that was made. But answer this: who was really the pilot behind the wheel of this disgraceful deal- Ellio Solomon, McKeeva Bush, Alastair Patterson, Steve McField, Bernie Madoff??? Surely between the group of this circus team, there must be answers.

    And lastly, look out to hear of more midnight circus deals that caused the country to lose on the airport expansion. Remember that during 2011/2012 we had similar agreements to move forward with the outdated Owen Roberts International Airport. But now we are hearing that AGAIN team Mc-Bush had a particular contractor to carryout the project works with the airport, disregarding following the proper RFP and procurement process!

    Thank God that the elections are only a couple weeks away- good riddens to the UDP circus and team Mc-Bush!

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