Verdant Isle Port Partners, the preferred bidder in government’s cruise and cargo port project, has broken its silence following the announcement that the $200 million facility will not progress.
In its first public statement since the Cayman Islands government indicated that the project will not move forward, the group, which comprises Carnival Corporation, Royal Caribbean Group, Orion Marine Group, and McAlpine Ltd., told the Cayman Compass Monday that it was grateful for the chance to be involved in the project.
“Verdant Isle Port Partners is appreciative of the opportunity to participate in the Cayman Islands Cruise and Cargo Pier Tender process. We thank the Cayman Islands Government and the residents of the Cayman Islands for their hospitality and support throughout the process,” it said.
Last month, Premier Alden McLaughlin confirmed that the project, which cost the government around $9 million in studies and project works, will not go ahead under his administration.
“We respect all the legal and political decisions based on the future of the project and wish nothing but the best for residents of the country,” Verdant Isle said in its statement.
Last month, Cayman’s Court of Appeal declared the 2019 Port Referendum Law was compatible with the Constitution and refused to grant Shirley Roulstone of Cruise Port Referendum Cayman permission to appeal the decision before the Privy Council in the UK.
CPR Cayman, which was pushing for a public vote on the project and which had secured enough signatures to trigger a people-initiated referendum, said that despite the premier’s decision on the project, a vote should still be held.
McLaughlin disagreed, saying that the petition was specific to the now-defunct project and there was nothing to vote on.
Verdant Isle, in its statement, pledged to keep ties with Cayman.
“The four members of the VIPP alliance, Carnival Corporation, Royal Caribbean Group, Orion Marine Group, and McAlpine Ltd., look forward to continuing their relationship with the Cayman Islands,” the statement added.
It was recently revealed in the Legislative Assembly that $200,000, of the $1.32 million that was budgeted by the Elections Office for the port vote, was spent on the verification of the CPR petition and preparation for the referendum.