GLF plans legal action

| 11/07/2011

(CNS): After several weeks of speculation that the company which had been involved in exclusive talks with government to build cruise berthing facilities was going to take legal action, GLF released a statement at the weekend signalling its intention to protect its interests through the courts. The Italian based firm, which partnered with Royal Construction, said statements made by government officials “relating to GLF’s failure to comply with any part of the Framework Agreement …were inaccurate and misleading,” and accused the government of not only breaching its contractual relationship but also damaging its reputation. 

The firm had been in exclusive talks with government over the construction of two piers and an up-land development to support cruise berthing but the talks were ended by the premier, McKeeva Bush, in April when he wrote to CEO Francesco Senis terminating the negotiations because he said GLF had not shown it had the money.

The premier’s letter was in response to a request by Senis in April for a final agreement with government as the firm said it was ready to mobilize within six weeks. However, Bush wrote stating that the Cayman Islands Government did not consider it had proof of the necessary financing to warrant the signing of a master agreement. As a result, he said, government, in agreement with the Port Authority chairman, was terminating the framework agreement which had been signed on December 2010.

It has since emerged, however, that the Port Authority board was not consulted about the decision until after it was made and it appears, given the recent resignation or removal of the port chair, Stefan Baraud, that he had not agreed to the termination.

It became clear after Bush sent the letter to Senis that the government had decided to work with the Chinese firm China Harbour Engineering Company, with which the premier signed a ‘ministerial’ MOU last month that does not yet include the Port Authority. Several new members have now been appointed to the board, however, including John Henry, the new chairman, and Nick Freeland, who confirmed he had accepted the request last week. Local attorney Anthony Akiwumi was also asked to serve on the board but CNS has been unable to confirm whether he has agreed to join the board.

Bush had made it clear earlier in his administration that he would change board memberships wherever the directors did not support his decisions or policies. In this case, the resignations and removals and the lack of support for the premier may have much to do with the liability the board members could face when GLF files suit.

According to the framework agreement, which was signed between GLF, government and the Aort Authority, the exclusive talks were for four months with an additional two month period if neither party had given notice to terminate before the first four months ended. It also required a ten day notice period from any of the parties who wished to pull out of the deal. Bush wrote to Senis on 14 April, four months to the day from the start of the deal on 14 December 2010, to terminate the exclusive talks, as he said he was pursuing other options.

In this weekend’s statement, Senis said that GLF had “fully complied with all requirements of the Framework Agreement, including but not limited to funding of the project, maximum utilization of local resources and the creation of a commercial retail area to be maintained by the Port Authority.”

A local spokesperson said that the legal documents were expected to be filed in the courts this week.

"We can only express our disappointment that this matter has reached this point but have only the utmost respect for GLF which has surprised us with the patience they have exhibited under very difficult circumstances," Howard Finlason, Managing Director of Royal Construction Ltd said.

"Most companies would have gone to litigation much sooner but this was not  GLF’s desire, they wanted only to build the Port they designed for the people of the Cayman Islands. It is only after exhausting every avenue that they have been forced to resort to this. It only goes to reinforce the integrity of this world class firm which spent millions on our behalf only to be thrown to the curb in a most disrespectful and unceremonious manner," he told CNS.

The decision of government to work with CHEC has raised further questions in the community as a result of a number of accusations made about the firm in other jurisdictions.

Leader of the Opposition Alden McLaughlin said the recent revelations that it paid bribes to the former Bangladesh premier’s son Khaleda Zia for assistance with government contracts is of significant concern. Questions have also been asked about the firm and the work it is currently doing in Jamaica.

It is not yet clear how the decision to work with the Chinese firm fits with the government’s own procurement process. In the first instance the cruise port development had gone through central tendering and been awarded to Dart. Thereafter, talks between Dart and government collapsed when the parties could not agree on the length of the lease period to Dart for the upland development area. GLF was the second choice of the technical committee recommended to the Central Tenders Committee. It is understood that CHEC was not on the short list of the preferred bidders reviewed by the CTC.

The premier has defended his decision to begin talks with CHEC as he said the firm not only had the finances to build the cruise port it had also agreed to construct a cruise pier at the Turtle Farm in West Bay and to renovate the jetty at Spotts, the back-up dock used when the weather in George Town is too rough for the tenders to operate. The premier said work at Spotts was due to commence this month and CHEC had advanced $3 million to government for that work, which will be paid back to the company from public money if it fails to reach agreement with the government on the main project.

The statement from Senis in full reads: “Further to recent publications by local news regarding the development of the George Town Port Expansion, GLF wishes to confirm that they have fully complied with all requirements of the Framework Agreement, including but not limited to funding of the project, maximum utilization of local resources and the creation of a commercial retail area to be maintained by the Port Authority.

“As such, statements and interviews recently released by Government Officials relating to GLF’s failure to comply with any part of the Framework Agreement are not only inaccurate and misleading, but constitute a serious breach of the contractual relationship and damaging to GLF’s reputation. The Law firm of Browne Jacobson will assist GLF in defending and protecting their rights and interests as permitted by Law.”

See Framework agreement with GLF here
See CHEC MOU here
See correspondence between GLF and premier here

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Comments (59)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I guess the next explanation will be that it was better to spend $50M defending and losing a lawsuit than building a high school.

  2. The Crown says:


  3. Anonymous says:

    I hope this along with AG's report on Government intervention is the end of the Premier's clandestine CHEC deal.  I hope all remember it is not merely the Premier who is to blame but every member of the UDP crew.

  4. Anonymous says:

    What is wrong with this picture?

    Two major lawsuits by companies with a long tradition of completing major projects.
    Both Tom Jones and now GLF have impressive backgrounds. It seems that the Premier has picked fights with some major players. First the Canadians and now the Italians. Who is next?…the Chinese?

  5. AnonymousSick and Tired of the B...S... says:

    If this whole situation eventually goes completely "T**s Up" will "Wonder Boy" still have the US$3 million which CHEC have paid up front and which is repayable – presumably it is in an "ESCROW" account.

  6. Expat Patty says:

    You Caymanians keep voting in these sorts of people, and you keep getting what they're giving, and the expats who can't vote keep shaking their heads at what you are doing to yourselves, and to us (though we can leave, as you will have seen).

    If there were one justification (and I'm not saying there is) for the way some (but not all) expats express disrespect for Caymanians, this would be it.  You are self-destructive to the point where questioning your sanity is really the only option.

    Now go ahead and carry on about your business.  We'll carry on packing up ours.

    • Anonymous says:

      some yes, but please don't put all of us in the same bag.  I was horrified with the results especially since two were not even elected properly and there were other dubious goings on right outside the polling stations which were never investigated properly.  Many Caymanians have a lot more sense and in my opinion, many who did, were new status holders. 

      • Anonymous says:

        As a Caymanian, I too was, and continue to be horrified with the election results. I clearly remember the morning after elections a caller on the radio stating that "the problem with Cayman is the stupid people outnumber the smart ones" very sad to say but true. God I hope we're learning. 

  7. Ubelievedat says:

    Calculation of costs for Premier and UDP Govt since May 2009……….just a few, more to come…………

    1. Lawsuit by Tom Jones International – breach of contract on schools

    2. Lawsuit by GLF – breach of contract on berthing facility

    3. CI$2 million to clean up road side – Cayman residents would have gladly cleaned the entire roadside for FREE as done on Earth Day

    4. CI$10 million SLUSHED away to unknown source or sources

    5. CI$ ?? millions – to Investigate the Premier "real estate bill"

    6. Asphalt to pay [the Brac's] private driveways

    7. Travel Excurions and champage parties for friends, supporters and potential contractors of govt jobs

    8. Unwarranted travel (joy ride) to Europe – just too SEE the construction of a DAM (nothing to do with building a berthing facilities)

    9.  Concessions XXXX

    10. XXXXX

  8. Dreadlock Holmes says:

    The Sue-Me Islands? He Hath Founded It Upon The Fees? There must be an explanation why anyone who does business with the CIG sues it.

  9. Anonymous says:

    And Mac is worried about how a political march portrays the Cayman Islands in the international arena? Talk about wearing blinders.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Ok, how much more of MAC'S mess will we accept! Come on people, lets not vote him back in!!!!! At the up and coming election let our votes be given to the candidate who will be best for grand cayman. And not to a person simply because you A. know them and B. because they are a memeber of a specific party! We really have some serious issues because of electing the wrong person! Question?

  11. Pro Democracy says:


    Another shining example of how our Premier’s lack of business acumen, tact and diplomacy are going to cost the public purse heavily.  And (I could be wrong here, but) didn’t I read somewhere on CNS that Bush discussed this with CHEC early this year during these ‘exclusive’ talks which were meant to remain confidential and not be discussed with other parties?

    “Bush had made it clear earlier in his administration that he would change board memberships wherever the directors did not support his decisions or policies.”… Yeah sure, that’s embracing democracy Sir!

    People how much longer are you going to continue to support this man when he persistently abuses his position, his country and you, his people?

    • Anonymous says:

      The following was reported in an article in the Jamaica Gleaner re Chinese Investments in the Caribbean published on 20 February, 2011

      "In the Cayman Islands, for example, a memorandum of understanding may be signed soon for a cruise pier major road works and improvements to airports".

    • Anonymous says:

      But who appoints the board members?  Is it not government?  Who does the board members ought to answer to?  Is is not government?  When the Premier and UDP government sees something wrong with the members, should they not have the power to reshuffle the members?

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes, they are appointed by Govt, but that does not mean they must blindly serve the whim of a politician(s) at the expense of what is best for the country that they are all supposed to be serving.  A statutory board should be allowed to make its own independent decisions without political interference.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Has the Premier said why we need a cruise pier at the Turtle Farm? I believe that a small dock in Randyke Gardens would get more use.

  13. Old Sea Captain says:

    The United Kingdom Government is watching and praying that all the blunders and incompetence will continue and mushroom until we are destroyed. They tried to destroy us from the outside by attacking our financial services industry for years and had little success. Now we have a leader that they are happy with thus no interference from the Governor as he sit back and watch us destroy ourselves from the inside. We are doing to ourselves what they tried and failed. At this rate when this Government term is up we will need twice as many Judges and Courts to deal with the lawsuits they will leave behind. What a 'fool fool' bunch of people and the fries don't know how to abandon their captain.

  14. Anonymous says:

    According to the Premier and financial advisors, "GLF had not shown" to them that they had the money for this project.  Isn't it better to be safe than sorry with the wrong company? 

    • Anonymous says:

      Could you enlighten us by advising us the identify of the "financial advisors" who said that "GLF had not shown" to them that they had the money for this project?   As far as the news reports have shown thus far, it was the Premier who stated this.  It would be interesting to know who else supported that position.

  15. Anonymous says:

    News I would like to read in the future:

    1. Cayman has been found to be the least corrupt country in the world.

    2. Cayman Govt is the least likely country in the world to break a contract.

    3. Cayman politicians have mastered the art of sensible thinking.

    4. Crime has suddenly disappeared from the shores of the Cayman Islands.

    5. The UK and the European Union have officially decided that they want to follow the Cayman transparency model.

    6.  It is snowing in the Cayman Islands and Hell has frozen over.

    These news headlines will soon come to pass!

    Just you all wait and see for yourself!

  16. Nothing grand about Cayman says:

    We're screwed. All we need is one good hurricane this season to wipe us completely off the map.

  17. Absurdistani says:

    Thanks a lot, Mac.

    Your meddling has led to another set of bills and more reputational damage for the Cayman Islands.  Why didn't you just let the Port Board do its job?

    We will remain "Absurdistan" as long as you are Premier.


  18. nauticalone says:

    If Mac is left in power much longer, he (and his fries) will sink Cayman.

    It's time for the Governor to step in!

    • Anonymous says:

      That's an interesting comment. You must know how they will sink Cayman. You must have copies of their agenda.

      • Anonymous says:

        Grasping at straws here are we? It is fairly obvious to anyone with eyes to see, and ears to hear, and a brain to think for themselves, what 'their agenda' is. You voted for them. You made a silly mistake. Forgive yourself for that and move on with your life. Just try to vote a little more sensibly next time. That's all we ask. 


    • Shaken, not stirred says:

      It is a pity that the innocent have to suffer for the guilty. I only wish that GLF could sue the premier Mckeeva Bush and not the government (the people) because it was Mckeeva Bush & not the Port Authority Board that terminated the agreement with GLF according to the reports. Why should we the people have to pay for his incompetence.

      Just to make my position clear, I agree with GLF's action because it is time that Mckeeva Bush learns that he cannot continue to act as a dictator & do as he wants with no consequences. Unfortunately he is dragging us into these ugly incidents & embarrassing the Cayman Islands. It is time for him to go! RESIGN NOW! 

  19. Anonymous says:

    Interesting piece of newsd…

    According to the IMF Cayman is suffering a much more protracted and sever economic down turn than that of most other countries.

    Any comment Mr. Bush?

    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah, It wasn me.

    • Anonymous says:

      Obviously the IMF missed the Premier's announcement last year that he had turned the economy around.

    • Anonymous says:

      Macs only comment would probably be "it was the PPM's fault". He blamed everythingh elso on them, why stop now just keep up the blame game. 

    • Anonymous says:

      But wouldn't the International Monetary Fund's judgement be a fair judgement?  Wasn't they the same ones that recently declared in June of this year that "tax havens" are a danger to society, mentioning small islands like Cayman Islands?

      Hmmmm… despite real bad economies, such as Greece, etc… why would they published such a negative report on these islands so the whole world can see?  Oops… I forgot… they are predicting booming of our economy very soon.

      And Anthony Travers is rubbing it in I must say.  😉


      • Anonymous says:

        I don't know where you live but I live here on Grand Cayman.

        The economic downturn (meaning to go from a high level to a lower level) is longer lasting and to my mind more dramatic than that of other countries.

        What you fail to grasp is the relative standards of the other countries of the world. We went from a relatively rich stable country to a third world banana republic all since 2009….coincidence? I think not!


        • Anonymous says:

          The Cayman Islands' economy, coupled with the Dart projects, is suppose to see a boom. It is predicted that our economy will turn around, which means stability for offshore financial clients. This would be a slap in the face to those supporters who scapegoat the Cayman Islands as one of the tax evasion centers that are dangerous to the world.

          Hence, I can see how they wouldn't hesitate to publish such a report, making us on "par" to Greece. And if you think Cayman is in bad shape, maybe you haven't been to much places in the world, because I can tell you we are not the WORSE!

          This is just another strike against Cayman's reputation as an Offshore Financial Industry. Don't be so naive.

  20. Anonymous says:

    i honestly wish glf every success with their legal action…mckeeva must be stopped!

  21. Anonymous says:

    If the Govt. cared about this country at all, why oh why would they put us in this position – yet again???  The last thing we need.  The last thing we can afford.  The last thing our reputation needs is another confirmation that do do business with this govt. is not a good idea at the very least.   Now our great leader has asked for an investigation into the schools contracts.  We need an investigation into why his govt. stopped work and why we now have Tom Jones taking us to court.  We need an investigation into why one person decided not to use GLF and to go with the Chinese leaving us open to yet another law suit and why the Chinese are so attractive, especially in view of the fact that according to the media, they have already been involved in some bribery scandals.  This is something else the Governor should be asked to investigate very closely.  What a mess.  XXXXX


    • Anonymous says:

      "We need an investigation into why one person decided not to use GLF"

      Why is it a one man thing?  That is not a factual statement.

      • Anonymous says:

        The Central Tenders Committee recommended GLF.  The Port Authority Board apparently wanted to use GLF.  GLF had been approved to proceed with the port development and work was apparently about to get underway.

        McKeeva Bush put an end to GLF involvement.  McKeeva Bush signed an MOU with some notorious Chinese development company.  McKeeva Bush never consulted with the Port Authority about abandoning GLF and getting into bed with the Chinese.  McKeeva Bush kicked out any members of the Port Authority that did not agree with him.

        How is this NOT a one man thing?


    • Anonymous says:

      In matters of gross negligence and willful neglect of proper procedures or policy, the actual person who committed the act or decided the direction should be named as a defendant in any lawsuit arising. That actual person's assets should be accounted for (a Statement of Assets filed with the Court) and the assets frozen until the outcome of the Court matter. In this case, why should the assets and livelyhood of the People ofthe Cayman Islands suffer and be put in harms way via a Govt lawsuit, while The Permier's assets are not put at risk because of his decisions? 

    • truth says:

      To reply to your first Question:  Because they don't know any better and they don't trust anyone smarter than themselves.  They are not trying to screw up they are just bad at their jobs.  In most REAL jobs they would have to fire you for scewing up so badly so often with nothing to show for all the money spent.  But its the way things are done here for now.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Must have only been MacKeever, that didn't see this coming!

  23. West Bay Resident says:

    You fail to mention that one of the Port Authoriy board members was also a Director of Royal Const, GLFs local partner. That was wrong.

    • Anonymous says:

      …but par for the course with this govt.

    • Anonymous says:

      @ You Fail What is important is the Board has about nine or ten Directors and members with conflict off interest do not vote or partake in discussions. Now the question is why have the board if one can go in and fire them for no good reason?

    • Anonymous says:

      Is it? Then what's the use of the word "recuse". 

    • Anonymous says:

      The member happened to be on the Board prior to GLF coming into the picture. With FOI the minutes will easily show whether this member acted appropriately or not. The question then becomes, why did the others resign? Even better, why would anyone take the job knowing what went down?

    • Anonymous says:

      Your argument is flawed and shows a lack of knowledge as to the protocol that governs board members.  What about all other board members of all other statutory bodies who also have their own private business – should they not all be "changed" too?  This member has publicly confirmed that he was invited to serve on the board long before the Govt. decided to do this project, and when Govt, did decide to do the project, he declared his private interests and recused himself from meetings or did not have a vote on anything to do with the project.   If there was a conflict of interest, the Board would have asked him to resign long before now, and the fact that they did not, means that in all liklihood, he did follow protocol.  This issue can easily be settled through an FOI request for the minutes of the meetings.