Archive for April 24th, 2010

Tourism figures improve at end of first quarter

| 24/04/2010 | 8 Comments

(CNS): Following disappointing tourism arrival statistics in February, as a result of the bad weather in George Town impacting cruise calls, both air and sea arrivals picked up in March. According to the latest figures from the Department of Tourism well over one hundred and seventy seven thousand cruise passengers visited George Town on cruise ships while more thirty five thousand people flew into Owen Roberts Internationalairport.  Despite February’s problems for cruise ships the first quarter figures on cruise arrivals are still higher than 2009 by more than 6000 while arrivals are up by almost 7000 passengers compared to 2009. (Photo by Dennie Warren)

The number of air passengers (which still includes transfer passengers to Cuba) was 35,642 compared to 31,194 in 2009. In the first quarter of this year 87,841 passengers have flown into Owen Roberts International Airport compared to 81,010 in 2009.

Cruise passenger statistics have also increased by more than 10,000 with 177,664 arrivals for March 2010 compared to last year when 167,418 passengers called at George Town. During the first quarter of 2010 472,036 passengers called which even with numerous call cancellations last month is still higher than last year when 465,884 came in the first quarter.

According to a recent report from the United Nations 2009 was one of the worst years for the tourism industry but it predicted that the sector would see improvements during 2010 a trend that appears to be reflected in these latest figures from DoT.  

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Premier pays Matrix debt

| 24/04/2010 | 46 Comments

(CNS): Nineteen local sub-contractors that had been contracted by Matrix International Ltd (Matrix) in 2007 to assist with scrap-metal removal have been given money by government as compensation for the debt they all say is owed to them as a result of the firm defaulting on a government contract. The Cayman Islands Government had no direct contractual arrangements with any of the sub-contractors but appropriated almost CI$300,000 in the 2009/10 budget to pay them as the premier had said there was a moral obligation to do so.

McKeeva Bush told the Legislative Assembly that government wanted to pay the sub-contractors because the original contract had been made with government, which had led the local heavy equipment operators, truckers and labour brokers to trust Matrix and to believe the jobs would be paid.
Matrix was originally contracted by government to buy and remove scrap metal from the George Town land fill and pay government $1.2 million. However, the company ran into major problems with shipping and abandoned the work, defaulting on the contract. A number of local heavy equipment operators were employed by Matrix in order to carry out a number of shipments before it defaulted but the sub-contractors were never paid. In November 2007 government ceased working with Matrix but it had received around $300,000 from the contractors.
Government is not legally obligated to settle any of the company’s outstanding bills but said it had decided to settle the debt to prevent the loss of small-business owners. As a result representatives from the firms collected cheques totalling nearly CI$281,000 from Premier McKeeva Bush this week.
“Although times are financially tough, it is important that small businesses like you are paid,” Bush told the sub-contractors as they collected their cheques. “Even while we were the opposition I said that government had caused a contract to be made and I felt it was wrong that everyone except the small businesses involved walked away from the deal with money. We’re happy that you are paid what you’re owed,” he added.
Rentals Manager Tom Buckner said it felt great to finally collect this money, and Perry Ebanks of Perry’s Roofing and Backhoe added that it shows that “some governments work and take small businesses into consideration.”

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