Government has hired KPMG on a US$500,000 contract to help come up with a funding formula to pay for the George Town cruise berthing facility.

Though no contract for the dock itself will be signed before the May general election, Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell said it was important to continue the “forward momentum” of the project.

KPMG will provide financial and legal consultancy services.

Mr. Kirkconnell said in a press release, “The appointment of KPMG will enable the ministry to formalise the details of the best possible framework suited to our specific needs.”

“Our goal is to arrive at a formula that will not only fund construction of the piers, but will ensure that they are owned by the people of the Cayman Islands within a reasonable period of time,” he added.

KPMG are the second of the “big-4” Cayman Islands accountancy and consulting firms to work on the pier project. PwC produced the business case for the piers, which envisaged that the project could be funded through a combination of the fees that currently go to tender operators, around $5 per passenger, and a share of the $14 per-passenger “head tax” charged by government for every cruise ship visitor.

Part of KPMG’s role will be to finalize the development of that financial model and help prepare tender documents to attract bids from companies or consortiums of companies to design, build, finance and maintain the port.

Chief Officer Stran Bodden stated in the press release, “KPMG is a highly reputable consulting firm with a long established presence in the Cayman Islands.

“Given their affinity with the Cayman Islands, KPMG understands the strategic context of this project and its importance to the cruise industry as well as our islands’ economy. We look forward to working with them and benefitting from their analytical expertise as we move forward with the berthing facility negotiations.”

Mr. Kirkconnell acknowledged in January that the project would not go out to tender before the May 24 election. He said the Progressives government remained committed to delivering a “world-class cruise facility” and said he hoped any future government would follow through with the plan after the election.

He attributed delays in the project to government’s desire to follow best practice for major projects, which include a business case and environmental impact assessment report, as well as later attempts to alter the design to address community concerns about damage to coral reefs in the harbor.

Former port director Paul Hurlston, speaking on social media after the announcement, expressed skepticism that a viable funding formula could be found.

Mr. Hurlston, a likely candidate in the upcoming election, wrote that PwC, which won an earlier contract to produce a business case for the project, had found it challenging to come up with a financing model that could work for Cayman.

He said, “KPMG had been previously employed by Cayman on several occasions to do the same thing and the results have been the same. I wonder what is different now and why at the 11th hour before the general election?

“This is the seventh attempt to finance and build cruise berthing piers and many many millions dollars have been spent on various consultancy services over the years.

“It is important to understand that consultants do not make decisions but rather analyze the data and provide options for the Government to use in making the decisions. They take our wristwatch and tell us the time.”

He said if government had analyzed previous reports on the project, as he claims to have advised in 2013 in his role at the Port Authority, they would have seen they were going down “a road that has been explored before and it was a dead end.”

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  1. Yes, the article states that this is the 7th attempt to finance and build cruise berthing piers, and many millions of dollars already wasted. So, what have we to show for it. We don’t have the finances to support this absolute waste of our money. Consultant after fly by night consultants, or is it the powers that be cannot commit to a decision for the life of them. We need berthing piers yesterday to continue attracting cruise ships or we’re sunk.

  2. Stop spending money on something that will NEVER happen!
    The cruise ship industry said they would not bring the new and bigger cruise ships unless there is berthing, Wrong, these new ships are visiting Cayman anyways.
    Grand Cayman has an existing cruise ship formula that has been working and successful for 30 years. Why xxxx with it!

  3. The thing that’s really going to cause KPMG problems is assessing the impact of Cuba opening up. Right now even the cruise lines haven’t got a clue what that’s going after Trump was elected but one thing is for sure – they’re planning for it and they’re talking to the Cuban authorities. In fact when I was in Cuba in 2009 it was made very clear that their Ministry of Tourism was already well aware of the potential here. The problem for us that in order to cater for the Cuban market (and we’re not simply talking about Havana but potentially four or five stop offs around the country) the cruise lines will be forced to drop other destinations and the ones where they have no direct financial commitment, like Grand Cayman, are likely to be first on the list.

    We’ve been chewing over this cruise dock idea for about 20 years now and the one thing still missing from all the plans is any long-term commitment from the cruise lines – that’s what KPMG need to focus on.

  4. Okay, so after all the consulting fees, and scores of millions of dollars more for the construction of a state-of-the-art passenger offloading system, Grand Cayman will be left with a pristine cruiseship facility which will languish in disuse as the major cruise line operators take their passengers to the numerous convivial ports along the coastline of Cuba, while the debris, sand, muck, detritus and waste from the massive port/pier construction spread from beachfront to dive sites has ruined the rare, delicate and invaluable corals and sealife all along Seven Mile Beach from Smith’s to Northwest Point, driving away beach lovers and shutting down scuba dive operators, both large and small. Is this what we want for our beloved SMB?

  5. I think that the 2017 Election rules are very unfair and biased and corrupt and should be contested .
    I think that it should be a level playing field for all of the candidates, and full disclosure statement of donations and from who for all the candidates , should have been included in the rules .