The Cayman Islands Airports Authority has been tight-lipped on the status of the bidding process for businesses to win retail space in Cayman’s new airport terminal – a process that may have to be restarted due to the CIAA missing its own deadline for dealing with applications.
After missing a December deadline to announce the winners of the 17 concession slots at the revamped airport, CIAA CEO Albert Anderson sent the 42 bidders a letter asking for their consent to extend the validity period for bids to be extended until June 7. If the CIAA does not receive unanimous consent of all bidders, then the tendering process will have to be restarted, according to Mr. Anderson’s letter.
The letter gave bidders until 4 p.m. on Thursday to respond. When contacted by the Compass on Friday, Mr. Anderson declined to say whether the CIAA can extend the bidding process or has to retender the concession spots.
“The CIAA will make an announcement on this at the appropriate time,” said Mr. Anderson, who did not respond to a follow-up question about when that “appropriate time” will be.
One of the bidders, Tortuga Rum Company President Robert Hamaty, said it is his understanding that the announcement about the bidding process will not be made until June 7, adding that he does not know why the announcement is being delayed until then.
Matthew Bishop, CEO of Island Companies, also said he signed the consent form, and that “we stand ready to begin work as soon as possible, if indeed we are successful.”
“It’s obviously regrettable that the RFP process has taken as long as it has but I’m sure the CIAA has had lot to consider,” he said.
Having to undergo another bidding process would be a burden to his company, said Mr. Hamaty.
“It’s a very costly and time-consuming thing to bid,” he said.
Having to restart the bidding process would also likely mean that the shops, cafes and restaurants will not be ready when the new airport terminal fully opens in December. The second RFP, if it follows the same format as the first, would take six months to complete, meaning the bidders would not even learn if they had won until the end of the year.
In his letter to bidders, Mr. Anderson indicates it is important to conclude the process “as soon as possible” because of the “urgency in completing the fit out” of the airport, and urges bidders to give consent for the extension.