Government seeks cruise pier compromise

Investigates costs of new design

Government is seeking to establish the cost of altering the design of the proposed cruise berthing facility to minimize environmental damage, Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell said this week.

Mr. Kirkconnell said an engineering study had demonstrated that it was technically feasible to move the pier into deeper water to reduce the amount of dredging required.

The solution would represent a compromise with campaigners concerned at the extent of damage to coral reef habitat in and around George Town harbor if the project proceeds.

Mr. Kirkconnell said the next step in the project, which went out to tender last month, was for a more detailed study to establish the cost of the alternative design. Initial reports had put the project costs in the region of $150 million, but moving the pilings into deeper water would be expected to add to that expense.

The financing model for the project remains to be determined and is dependent on negotiations with the cruise lines, as well as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office which has a remit to ensure major capital projects do not negatively impact the sustainability of the Cayman Islands’ annual budget.

Any significant escalation in the construction costs would likely impact the viability of the project from a financing perspective.

Mr. Kirkconnell said Wednesday that the original consultants, Baird, had examined alternate pier designs at the government’s request, following widespread public concerns over the level of dredging involved in the original plan.

“We have had a report submitted to us that shows the cruise berthing facility can be engineered with less of an impact on the environment, but we don’t know what the cost of that is. That’s why the RFP went out to look at what the cost would be of putting it in deeper water.”

Despite the additional work, Mr. Kirkconnell said he was confident that a final decision would be made soon on whether the project could proceed.

He said government was being open and transparent and doing everything it could to ensure it had the best information to make the right call.

“We have a process we have to follow and we continue to follow that process. We believe we will be able to make a decision before the next election,” he said.

“We can’t look at a funding model until we know what the cost is going to be.”

Speaking as government announced it would break ground on phase two of the airport expansion next month, Mr. Kirkconnell acknowledged that the cruise pier, the country’s other main tourism infrastructure project, was not proceeding so smoothly.

He added, “Everything is about timing. When we were releasing a lot of information about the cruise berthing, we were seeing comments saying we should be moving faster with the airport.”


  1. Of course we can brag about a $ 400. million surplus but still must drag feet on important projects until the final weeks before election. This is no surprise to the Country; PPM always did this. Remember the Clifton Hunter School, Remember the Bodden Town boat ramp and designed projects.
    Money is no good to us unless it is being spent to our happiness. Consider, as we would use the term in Cayman “You got it made” Got a good business, you have a nice valuable home, two three cars, truck and maybe a boat, apartments or condo on rent, other property, lots of money in the bank, and more coming in every month, children out of the way, and their financial status well looked after; nothing to do but just be happy every day. Then you ask yourself the simple question ” Where to next do I go from here?” Know what I say spend every day you have left being happy.
    Both could have been completed in four years, so could have been the Dump; but as the old style continues, nothing should begin until the year before election. Why?.
    I do agree every thing is about timing; however if we do not begin somewhere and some time, pushing forward we will never get anything done.
    Consider all the money that has been spent on projects that is not bringing in; and will not be bring in a dime to the table; does that make sense. Those funds could have been put to the airport and dock or Dump expansion, and it has nothing to do with comments made, because the Government read all comments and only pay attention to the ones they want to..

  2. Ms Vargas is right on. Exactly how much has Cayman put out on hiring companies for studies. Studies for airport design and impact. Studies on coral
    damage researching a proper dock for ships. Studies, Cayman is great at. With all the $$$$$ spent, the airport could have added as many jetways/ boarding ramps as they wanted. We are too small a country to waste these kinds of monies, and not reep the benefits of offering tourists the best experience they should have when arriving here.

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