Canadians to build airport

| 04/08/2011

(CNS): Despite speculation that the Beijing based firm which has signed an MOU with government to build the George Town Cruise port would also be taking on the redevelopment of the airport, the premier announced that the airports authority has signed an MOU with the Canadian government. McKeeva Bush said, Wednesday, that the Canadian Commercial Corporation, which is Canada’s official international contracting agency, will find Canadian companies with the capabilities to take on the project but that Caymanian companies and labour would still be used. Asked by the opposition when the MOU would be a public document, the premier said he didn’t know as he hadn’t signed it.

Bush made the announcement about the deal with the Canadian government and the CIAA in a short statement, in which he said the Cayman government had formed a strategic alliance with the Canadian Commercial Corporation, whose primary role, he said, was to “facilitate trade with other nations through the provision of commercial solutions.”

The government company will now enter into negotiations to redevelop both the international airport in George Town on Grand Cayman and the airport on Cayman Brac.

As well as finding the financing, technical expertise and management skills to develop the two airports, Bush said the deal would stimulate stronger ties between Canada and Cayman and allow government access to Canadian expertise and capabilities.

The premier revealed that the Cayman Islands Airport Authority had signed a non-binding MOU "to establish a framework for discussions" in relation to the re-development of Owen Roberts International Airport on Grand Cayman and Gerrard-Smith International Airport on Cayman Brac.

“The corporation has been granted the exclusive right, for a period of six months, commencing August 1, 2011, and subject to mutually agreed extensions, to conduct due diligence and develop a proposal for the construction and concession agreements in respect of the redevelopment of these airport projects,” Bush stated.

“As part of this MOU, the corporation will utilize the services of Canadian technical companies whose financial and managerial capabilities have been subjected to due diligence by the Canadian government. Caymanian companies and labour will, of course, be utilized.”

He added that the Cayman government and the CIAA would now enter into dialogue with the Canadian Commercial Corporation to facilitate the successful completion of negotiations that could result in the commencement of the redevelopment of the airports in 2012.

However, when asked by the opposition leader when the MOU would be public, Bush said that as it was signed by the CIAA, when they are ready it will become a public document. Alden McLaughlin pressed for an answer and asked, “Ready for what?” as he pointed out the MOU has been signed and now the announcement has been made.

Bush said that he did not sign it and he was “just a humble minister” but that he expected in due course the CIAA would release it if such a “sensitive commercial” document could be released.

The premier also refused to be drawn regarding the previous speculation that it was CHEC which had been earmarked to develop the airport as a result of comments made by the premier.

“There never was an agreement,” he said, adding that the Chinese firm had merely expressed an interest. “Now we have an agreement,” he stated, referring to the deal with the Canadian government agency.

CNS has submitted an FOI request to the CIAA for the MOU.

Category: Politics

Comments (65)

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  1. Ken P says:

    I don't care who builds the new airport as long as its to a high quality, employs Caymanians and money is well spent. I'll even approve aliens building it if it means taking away some of our dumb headed politicians to their planet with them. We need a new airport that has excellent shopping, restaurants, services, facilities and we can purchase duty free on arrival as what is becoming the norm in Europe. Canada has very good airports so please don't be knocking the Canadians and if we can get flights from Vancouver and Montreal we could increase stayover tourist by 10%.Hopefully the airport can be completed by the 2012/13 winter season and Mac won't be signing is 100 MOU.

    Blessings to all,


  2. Wet Paper Caymanian says:

    Well we hold the record on MOU's and a good chance of being sued by some of those companies. Get realiseable contract done deals started and get work for us or is everything going to come one time to confuse more the issues. WE NEED WORK .

  3. Jonny says:


  4. The Lone Haranguer says:

    Eh, Ezzard we going to have 7 thousand Canadians in Georgetown 7 thousand Indians in east End, and 7 thousand Chinese in Frank sound. Happy days are here again??

  5. Anonymous says:

    CNS, you deleted my comment about preferring Canadian companies over Caymanian ones to build the airport.  It probably had to do with the fact that I mentioned, somewhat tongue in cheek, that some Caymanian companies are comprised of a shovel, a pick, a wheelbarrow and a name that implies that they're in the construction business.  This is a fact, like it or not.  Right after hurricane Ivan, hundreds of new, fly-by-night  "construction companies" sprang up, only to rip off hundreds/thousands of customers and/or to do shoddy work that a blind man could recognize as such.  The fact is, this is not unusual – how many companies hire some poor expat, slap the name "Plumber" on his shirt, pay him $12 per hour and charge the customer $80 – I had that experience.  After 4 hours of not being able to detect the problem, the "Plumber" gave up…  The next day my friend took 10 minutes to detect the defective "O ring" and fix the leak.

    CNS: The implication in your first comment was that all Caymanian construction companies were like that, not "some". 

  6. Anonymous says:

    Ijust have three words for this:



  7. Anonymous says:

    MOUs on napkins, how many MOUs is Mac going to sign????  Why doesn't he get something done that gives us real jobs and not just fairy dust?

  8. The Beaver says:

    Can I be the first to name this airport the McChavez Express International Airport?  And in the McKeevie Lounge we could serve some McLobster on some McPita with a cold McBeer (for our Canadian Friends who will build it for free).  The Beaver

    • Stiffed-Necked Fool says:

      Well McKeeva sure making it easy for him to find somewhere to live when he leaves Cayman: He making friends with the Canadians, Russians, Jamaicans and many more but if I was him I would stay far away from Greece!

  9. Knot S Smart says:

    Wait. How many MOU's has this Govt signed since 2009?

    How many are for the same projects over and over, and have resulted in lawsuits being filed?

    Has our economy received the first dollar from any of these proposed projects?

    Does anyone know if he is signing these many MOU's electronically, or is he wasting good paper?

    And can someone please take his pen away from him, or even hide it?

    Just random questions… 

    And I know if the wind changes direction tomorrow it means we will just wake up and change the name of some school or other Government facility.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Honestly, who gives a crap?!?!?!

    The local contractors who may get to participate in this job are only the ones who are rubbing elbows with the "right" people at the time this project begins, who in turn  have only foreigners on work permits employed (see current school project). Also, the story of what is happening, who is doing what, whom, when where is going to change about 20 times between now and then anyway,

    This place has become such a joke:

    Politicians make up laws at a whim as suits

    Police can't deal with crime wave

    If the police does make arrests, then Crown Counsel can't make a proper case to get anyone convicted

    Home owners have no chance to object to next door development (well, they can object, but so what!) as developers do what they want (because CPA is only selfserving)

    The list can go on and on and on




    • Anonymous says:

      Honestly, why don't you pack your sorry complaining, cant-do a** and just leave. This island is getting better and better. Certainly better than when I got here in 2001.  If you want to go back in time to the 70's or 80's then buy a one-way ticket to Roatan.  Nobody will remember or miss you.  It's unfortunate that we're in a global recession which necessitates government try anything and everything, not all of which will be universally liked, but all things considered they're doing pretty well.  Reading your narrow-minded, can't do, hate on everything drivel just makes me roll my eyes.  With a little good fortune, you and others like you will go somewhere other than here, and then realize how blessedly good you had it. Again, Caymanian or permit holder – if you don't like what you see, get off your sorry caboose and exit.

      • The Beaver says:

        Actually you are very, very wrong.  Things are not better…not at all.  Crime has skyrocketed   out of control, leadership is non-existent, corruption has tainted every facet of life, the defecit is so high that the Brits had to intervene, the RCIPS are badly out of touch with real crime fighting, the Legal System is in disarray…need I mention McChavez?  I could go on and on, but why bother – you appear to have short, middle, and long-term memory loss. Things are better than when you got here in 2001???  ha ha ha  You funny!  Now go back to your institution – I'm sure your daypass has expired.  The Beaver

  11. Libertarian says:

    Mac, how about ANNEXING us to Canada. That way, we would have a better democracy than the one we have now, and you wouldn't be our Premier!!!  No more UK bull too!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree.  During the 1990s, Canada considered inviting Turks & Caicos to join the country.  It didn't happen – look where TCI are now…

      • Libertarian says:

        I think it was 1974, a bill was brought before Parliament to explore the possibility of Turks and Caicos annexing to Canada to become part of the country's province. Canada would benefit because of the warm touristic climate of TCI, and TCI would benefit because of Canada's more fair and equitable foreign policies. But some how in the 1990's TCI politicians started talking about Independence and governing on their own. The hope of annexation was never crystalized due to other political distractions. I understand in 2004, the Turks & Caicos sent representatives to speak to the former Prime Minister of Canada, Paul Martin Jr., about the possibility of a economic and political unity, but somehow nothing significant came out of the talks. I believe the UK was also an obstacle. Remember, TCI was takeover by the UK before. But Canada is not the only country that would mind a tropical destination. Far too often, people think our only option out is Independence and sole self-governance… but that is not so!

        • Anonymous says:

          You may be right.  I don't know the details and I can't bother looking them up… but it may have started in the 70s and revisited in the 90s – apparently every few decades or so it comes up on occassion.  Regards.

        • Michel says:


          When I was there in 1974-1975 many Canadians resided there and many had eitheir been given land or very cheap By Dupont and Dupont who owned significant Land at the time. I welcome any correction if my memory fails me and Providenciales and it's smaller Islands was in great demand, We stayed at Leeward marina who was in North Caicos I believe canadians owned quite a few bosiness .Michel Lemay

        • Anonymous2 says:

          well, what are our MLAs waiting for. can't take this crap anymore, the royal gongs and having everyday to not see or hear from the governor, is just sickening!  mac / dart can take over the whole island and this governor says nothing about it. amazing

      • Loren says:

        TCI is no worst off today than if it had joined Canada in the 1990s.  TCI is in the position that it is because of politicial corruption and outside influences, if they had followed the right path the UK would not have to intervene in their political affairs.  Let this be a warning to the Cayman Islands.  TCI is back on the road to recovery from political corruption, Cayman might be next

        • Anonymous says:

          It takes two to tango. The uk also didn't do what they were suppose to do. There were protective laws in tci that were not being enforced and the uk stood silently like they are doing now here in Cayman.

    • Anonymous says:

      If you can find someone who will take you …. the UK will sign you off and have the papers delivered to the UN quicker than you can say 'Jog along to this new anthem'!

      I think you should give it a go!

    • Anonymous says:

      British since 1503 and loving it. CI needs no annexing and certainly not to Canada.  Cayman's democracy is just fine and it speaks volumes that is why we have over 100 different nationalities living here on such a small island.  The Cayman Islands are very happy being British thank you!

      • Anonymous says:

        Know your history. Christopher Columbus was not British and was not commissioned by the British Monarch, but by the King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain. Although it was settled in the 1660s by Brits Cayman officially became British after the Treaty of Madrid 1670.  

        I agree re annexing. Canada is an extremely liberal country and its values would no doubt be forced on us here.    

    • Anonymous says:

      Anex to Canada? Say hello to 50% tax rates!

      Be careful what you wish for.

      • Anonymous says:

        Where do you get the figures Canada has 50% tax rates? I have lived there, income tax is

        rated on how much your earnings are, tax on things your purchase is by no means 50%

  12. Anonymous says:

    sounds good to me, now all Mac needs to do is cancel the deal and make the chinese build it so we can get another lawsuit. *smh*

    • Empty Chairs says:

      Oh oh, this will be another flip-flop story in a few months time.
      It appears that that meeting in Cuba with the Chinese must have been a waste of time. Something didn't work out to the liking of mac, wonder what that was, or how much that was?

  13. Leigh says:

    Facilitating trade with Canada to benefit Canada by increasing their exports through foreign investment; in addition to purchasing Canadian products for the development of the airport. E – M = Awesome for them.

    I think Canada is a great country and our government could learn alot by viewing them as a mentor. No government is perfect I'm afraid but it's a good start. That being said, local companies should have been considered for this project. If the government truly felt it was important to gain international expertise and create a trading tie with Canada, then they should have looked to them come down as a Consultant. Still paying them for their services and building a relationship, but not committing completely and illustrating their commitment to Cayman.  I don't know why they didn't go to a local company. To be honest, I think we have some fine construction and architecture firms on-island.  But who knows. Has the CI Gov. considered having a stipulation for a requirement for a certain percentage of products to be purchased from local businesses which in turn would help boot our local economy and retain money on-island? I think we need that. Money has to be spent here.

    In doing this, does Cayman have a trade agreement in place with the Canadian Government? We don't exactly have products or commodities to offer up, mainly services. We give them this and we get…what? If the Government can somehow show us what trade benefit we are directly receiving, then perhaps this has some merit. I'd like more details, please.  


  14. Anonymous says:

    The Canadians can do the detailed plans, and later Mac can fire them and give the job to the Chinese. Ask GLF how it go…

  15. Anonymous says:

    Has any body flown through Kingston's Norman Manley International Airport. The Canadian's who did the redevelopment there not only did a fantastic job on the build out, but also did a great job of managing the transition. I go through that airport 2 or 3 times a month for the last 15 years, and I now LOVE going through it. They did a fantastic job of transforming a run down relic of an air field, to a first class… world class airport with relatively few disruptions. many local companies benefitted from contracts for everything from Demolition to Construction and Design. The majority of the labour force came from Jamaica and many Jamaican companies contributed senior people to the effort not just construction labor. It was certainly a win-win situation, as buildign an airport and even more importantly, redesigning an Airport while keeping it operational is a very specific area of expertise and The Owen Roberts International Airport could certainly benefit from that experience.

    Why is there a tendancy to always complain without knowing the facts in Cayman? The consortium from Canada and London did a great job and everyone benefited from the experience… the workers, the local professionals and companies, the local suppliers, and most importantly the travelling public, both local and overseas. Kingston has a fantastic facility that is certainly the envy of many other Caribbean countries, why shouldn't Cayman?   

    • rupert Ackermon says:

      Let me start by saying that I have traveled to Canada many times starting in the 1950s when I worked on ships, and later on after I became an architect.  And I must say some of the greatest architecture I've seen [including airports] is in Canada. The first airport I visited there was the Toronto International and the last one I visited was the Vancouver International. I'm saying all this to say, that which ever firm designed the Vancouver project would be the one  I recommend  doing the new facilities here. The reason being the innovative ideas  that were employed in the design or that were implemented otherwise due to cost restrictions [meaning they were on a tight budget] and yet the building is one of the most impressive and functional I've been through in my travels. So I'm hoping that If we insist on using the services of an overseas group then I would hope that the designers of the Vancouver project would have an opportunity to compete in the process.

      • Anonymous says:

        As long as everyone has a chance to compete, that is fine. The problem is that this has gone ahead, once again, without anything going to Central Tenders Committee.

    • Anonymous says:

      The problem is that this should have gone through the Central Tenders Committee to make sure that the law was followed. This has not happened again. Thelaw has been broken again. This company may be the best one for the job but they should have tendered along with anyone else who wanted to, including local companies.

  16. Anonymous says:

    now we'll all be speaking canadian, and living in condos with only 2 or 3 people per unit

  17. Anonymous says:

    Cayman has quite enough construction companies and construction workers to build and airport. Construction companies on the island have been building this country since the beginning.

    Step outside the LA assembly and look at the buildings around you.

    Why do we need another country's government to build an airport? If so what about the countries in our region?

    • Anonymous says:

      If you have ever been to Cuba and used Terminal 3, that is a Terminal that was built and Financed by the Canadian Government and is a very beautiful Terminal. If you can Finance the Airport Construction, only then could you convince me that what you say makes any sense.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why, now all of a sudden people can claim cayman has construction compaies and workers that can build  the Airport.

      Didn't some of you saw this for the last 30 years.

      I heard no one standing up for the small and medium building contractors, matter of fact, just about everone were buying a license to compete with the poor local builders.  

    • Anonymous says:

      It's not just about the construction. It's also very much about the planning and financing.

  18. Confused? says:

    Did I miss something in the article?

    "Asked by the opposition when the MOU would be a public document, the premier said he didn’t know as he hadn’t signed it."

    and yet….

    "premier revealed that the Cayman Islands Airport Authority had signed a non-binding MOU"


  19. Dreadlock Holmes says:

    As I understand it, an MOU is:

    A document that everyone understands is a sort of promise to further look into what might be sort of a commitment to explore future possibilities of maybe doing something.

    If it is signed by both parties.

    Because it has not been signed, this is therefore a MOU-MOU.

    Which is a type of dress.

    Do I understand this?

  20. Anonymous says:

    Is the annual international arrival traffic for the Brac even statistically relevant to warrant an airport rehaul?

    • B.B.L. Brown says:

      If "warrant" means cost productive,  no I'm afraid not.  At least not in my lifetime!  I wouldn't want our airport to be like New York's JFK anyway.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Has anyone looked into the history of the development of some of the Canadian airports? They come in highly over budget, and when money was alocated for things like art installations, the artitsts hired were over paid brats from other countries.  The actual workers were under paid immigrants and the bulk of the contract money, as always, ends up in the pockets of those arranging the work….  XXX   As a Canadian, I can firmly say their rep of being quiet and naive is a long gone myth. @anonymous  – But give the contract to the UK?  Just because it's the UK, that doesn't make any sense either.   Wake up.

    • Anonymous says:

      …if the "Canadians" are the same ones that built Toronto's Pearson, then go ahead, that is one of the best in the world.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Another Memorandum Of Uselessness that can be replaced at a later date. When will actual contracts be signed on anything?

  23. JTB says:

    What is wrong with the airport that needs re-developing?

  24. Anonymous says:

    Are local contractors getting a chance to bid? This would help the local economy!

  25. Anonymous says:

    Did I sleep through the RFP phase?

      • Anonymous says:

        Need to correct myself, the previous link is actually to a newer smaller project.  The full redevelopment project was announced in 2008 but cannot find an actual formal RFP.  The best I can find is this release discussing the RFP.'s_Statement_in_LA_re_ORIA_Redevelopment%2520(Final1).doc+Owen+Roberts+International+Airport+Re-development+Project&hl=en&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEEShbXIHINs0KM6mQbpdT3XDi2jqptG0yt4xxqnO5pNkeB2TCrVwOxnhyDa38-RIK6DxDc_ktC2B4Yxx9tG4ZITC866jACJspAt2L_yokW7DtZdWm0vyIfJ6cP_qad_08t975Gvnu&sig=AHIEtbSnw2KK9e4tdKvkt0cFbDErJ_J7Mw



        • Anonymous says:

          2008 was under the PPM Admin. This was all cancelled by the UDP when they came to power in 2009.

      • Anonymous says:

        This is an MOU to construct some advertising at the existing terminal… not exactly to build a new terminal.  did i miss something? 

      • Anonymous says:

        This RFP is for management and operation of an advertising and community promotion concession. Essentially, CIAA is outsourcing their advertising. I see nothing on the Central Tenders website or CIAA website that references an RFP for expansion and redevelopment of the airport.

      • Anonymous says:

        That's an RFP for Interior and Exterior Terminal Display Concession. Mac's statement in the LA is for the REDEVELOPMENT of two international airports. You don't invite bids for a vending machine concession and then negotiate with the winner to resurface the runway.

        I notice that there are several RFP's in the portal that have not been awarded, like Wastewater Asset Sale, provision of MRI at the hospital, and even the provision of Long Term Financing to the Cayman Islands Government.

        Mac claims that he has been hampered by red tape, but the biggest obstacle seems to be green tape. If its to wrapped in UDP colours, then it doesn't get awarded.

      • Anonymous says:


        Did they attend?  
        According to the RFP, "A mandatory pre-proposal site visit and meeting will be held on Tuesday, 14th September 2010 at 10:00 am, at the Conference Room, Owen Roberts 
        International Airport, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands."
      • sleeplessinCayman says:

        That RFP had nothing to do with redevelopment as far as I can see. I think the comment about "did I sleep through the RFP stage?" was dead on! All these backroom deals by the current government are a bit worrisome.

  26. Anonymous says:

    mou's are not worth paper they are written on………

    ask yourself…has any mou ever come to anything?

  27. Anonymous says:

    mac's comments are laughable and as usual leave more questions than answers……

  28. Anonymous says:

    Here we go again another MOU and now to the Canadians.   I am really sick and tired of these MOU's.  Are there no Caymanians left to sign a MOU with?  We have seen the track records of many of these people that we sign MOU with.  Be warned Cayman I just hope that we don't get a similar deal like Matrix. 

    Where is the UK in all this?  I would much prefer to know that a UK firm is given the job.