Bush denies port fee hike

| 24/02/2012

bush gt (237x300).jpg(CNS): Despite a report written by KPMG suggesting that port fees would increase to $35 per head for cruise ship visitors if China Harbour Engineering Company were contracted to build the George Town berthing facilities, the premier denied the hike at a public meeting this week. McKeeva Bush said that no one had even discussed fees at the time the “so-called letter” was written, as he referred to the report by the consultants, which had been commissioned by the Port Authority in the wake of the premier’s decision to stop negotiations with GLF Construction and open talks with the Chinese firm. He defended his decision to partner with the Beijing-based company as he claimed GLF did not have the money.

Bush said there was no hard evidence that GLF had funding and it had wanted the signed contract to raise cash for the project. He claimed that if government had continued with that firm, it would still be “floundering”.

“We weren’t going to get it with GLF, or anybody else,” he said about the cruise berthing facilities and added that there was "nothing personal about it” but it was in the best interests of the country.

Speaking form the back of the court house in George Town on Tuesday evening, the premier told the audience that the Chinese would finance the project at no cost to the public purse and there would be a chance for people to purchase shares in the upland project, where the retail and other facilities, including a hotel and restaurants, would be located. Bush denied that the fees would not be hiked as suggested.

“Don’t listen to their rubbish about … they made some vast discovery about the Chinese charging thirty something dollars … They had not even discussed it with the Chinese at that time when that so-called letter was supposed to have been written. But Caymanians are not fool-fool. They saw through that letter,” Bush said.

He added that KPMG was, however, now doing a value for money study of the draft framework agreement between the Cayman Islands Government and CHEC. He also said that a contract was being signed with Luis Ajamil of Miami-based Bermello Ajamil & Partners, one of the world’s leading marine architecture and engineering firms, and they would also examine the draft agreement. He said that the draft agreement would then be reviewed by the Central Tenders Committee. Bush said the Chinese have also signed an MOU with the CI government to build a pier in Cayman Brac as well.

Along with the port, the premier talked about the other proposed projects, which the opposition and the various activists were trying to block because, he said, as the projects got going people would have work and the economy would be turned around, which they were afraid of.

He defended the ForCayman Investment Alliance with the Dart Group, saying it was in the national interest and the deal was “designed to be fair” to both parties and the deal was honest and transparent. Bush said the cash that had been given to government had gone to the treasury and he did notknow "how much more transparent” it could be. He also defended the road swap, which he claimed was only 2,500 feet, since the remainder would remain as an access road. The premier also claimed that the access to the beach would not be denied as that was protected in law.

Bush said that if people weighed up what government was getting and what would be swapped, they would see it was a good deal for the country.

The premier also took credit for the Dr Devi Shetty’s hospital project, which was now going through planning and would soon break ground, and he described the Cayman Enterprise City as "a master stroke".

Talking in general about what his government had done, he said that “no fair minded person” could say that the UDP government had not tried to help people and businesses.

“We have made progress; I know we will turn this economy around,” he said.

KPMG report on GLF and CHEC commission by Port Authority

See Premier’s flyer handed out at the meeting below

Category: Politics

Comments (49)

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  1. WVM says:

    The Chinese, through mining companies, prop up the Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe.  They are deft at using corporate deals to gain leverage with dictators.

  2. TheTruthWillOut says:

    The current port fee is US $12.50 per cruise passenger. That fee breaks down as follows:

    $9.50 for Cayman Islands Government

    $2.00 for Royal Watler development loan

    $1.00 for Port Authority(PACI receives the majority of its revenue from cargo operations)

    From what Mr. Solomon has recently stated at the cruise dock update session, it appears that the plan is to allow CHEC to charge/collect this fee for the next 25 years(Mr. Solomon actually stated that the total fee could be as high as US$16.76)! This means that the people of the Cayman Islands will actually be giving up their current revenue so that CHEC can build and profit handsomely from the cruise port. Simply put, we will be paying for the cruise port!

    Mr. Solomon also states that the retail development will help to fund the port authority. Based on the current revenue split, the Port Authority receives US$1.00 per cruise passenger. Cruise numbers have been averaging approximately 1.5 million for the past several years which would translate to US$1.5million/year to Port Authority. 130,000 sq. ft. of prime cruise terminal retail space will generate at minimum $13,000,000/year, giving CHEC at least another US$11.5million/year($13million minus $1.5million). All that at the expense of the local merchants who will lose their business to those on the CHEC port.

    This is a classic case of ADDING INSULT TO INJURY.

    When GLF were negotiating with government, they had to negotiate an additional fee over and above the current passenger fee. Hence, as evidenced in the KPMG report, GLF had already managed at the time of their termination to negotiate with the cruise lines a total passenger fee of over US$18 . 

    Government was not willing to give up any of the current US$12.50 fee to GLF, but now they are apparently bending over backwards and doing that for CHEC.

    The ironic net effect is that under the GLF plan the cruise lines would have paid for the cruise port, but under the CHEC plan we will. Most puzzling considering that the Premier is telling us that CHEC is better because of lower cost of capital???    

  3. Anonymous says:

    He defended the ForCayman Investment Alliance with the Dart Group, saying it was in the national interest and the deal was “designed to be fair” to both parties and the deal was honest and transparent. Bush said the cash that had been given to government had gone to the treasury and he did not know "how much more transparent” it could be."

    Hmm I just thought of something while reading that statement.
    1) When did it go to the treasury?
    2) Did it go before GLF settlement or after?
    3) So who payed for the settlement again?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Our crime rate has risen and our people are jobless, open your eyes! How many times do someone have to rape you before ball for help! Open your eyes, your beloved leader have failed you!!!!!!!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Am I allowed to post "bollocks" as a response to the Premier's comments?

  6. R.U. Kidden says:

    There's a lot I don't understand!  Who is supposed to benefit from this fiasco?  So far, it looks like the Chinese get it all.  They double the rate on port charges for each visitor, which they get.  They take charge of all port facilities, including shops, porters, etc.   It wouldn't surprise me to see them charge the taxis a fee to stop there!  Who is this  #######  dock being built for…… the Caymanians or the Chinese?

  7. Dreadlock Holmes says:

    The "opportunity" to buy shares in upland development.  With what???  Another speech by a rich man defending the indefensible. And also disguising facts with rhetoric. While the public and CNS are still trying to pry information out about the harbor project.  This is openeness?  It sounds more as if he is merely a PR flack for CHEC and Dart. Rather than the leader of the country.

    • anonymous says:

      sounds like Ellio Solomon!  That was his idea.

    • Anonymous says:

      The "opportunity" to buy shares in upland development. Just another piece of smelly cheese on the rat trap. Just like selling your vote for a fridge. Or accepting 'free' money to pay your mortgage. Anybody remember where THOSE came from? STOP acting like rats, Cayman.

  8. Anonymous says:

    MARK MY WORDS:

    Chinese dock workers will be housed in floating quarters offshore.

    And, the West Bay Road stretch will NOT be totally closed – only to the public. It will be a private road, open to Dart's guests & vehicles only!!

    Enjoy your last Easter of Camping!! (remember the barricades actoss the beach accesses last year)?

    Now you know (a bit)

     

    • anonymous says:

      If you really have nothing of value to say you shouldnt.

      If Caymanians wanted that beach property they should have kept it instead of selling it to foreigners a long time ago and taking the money and going to Miami to buy a SUV and boat engine!  We dont own the beach property and we dont own the land on the other side anymore either so….

      On your "points" ,

      1)  at 1500 workers for dock, there will not be enough apartments to satisfy them so they will have to stay somewhere. I prefer them staying offshore than creating a ghetto onshore.

      2)  The road is not totally closed as you suggest and as people are saying…read what has been published….public has walking and biking access along the FULL length of it- that does not stop. The condos to the north end has access down to their properties (which thus remains defacto public access). All that is changing is AUTO access over a portion. At same time they will build a NEW public beach at north end and increase the size of the existing public beach. Plus last time I drove down there (yesterday) all you can see is cocoplum and grape trees– no view of any sea.

      3) I agree with you, Easter camping is history there other than at the new public beach up on the north end…. however, see paragraph one above regarding selling your grandparents land and going to Miami. Can't blame Dart there. Blame Papa and Mama. They told us, "can't have your cake and eat it too"

      • Anonymous says:

        Get your facts right – we lose several beach accesses which are being combined to create this so-called-new public beach. We may still be able to walk and cycle down there but we won't be allowed to access the beach at these former rights of way which means that no one but hotel guests will use it, which is what they want.

      • Anonymous says:

        I am sure the person you replied to, meant the beach is public for everybody, but developers try to make it hard for the public to come in.

        You are correct to say that parents sold the land, but the public access and the first 25 feet or so is not and is therefor still public.

         

         

         

    • Anonymous says:

      So then, no local rental income from this project??

      And limited local labour, and Chinese duty free shops  – wow this looks like a GREATBOOM for us!

  9. Dare to Dream says:

    Mr. Premier, may I remind you that you are still floundering!! Also please why it was so wrong for GLF securing a contract to assist them to raise capital?  Is not that the same thing that Shetty is doing?  Remember what is good for the goose is also good for the gander>

  10. Anonymous says:

    Ignorance is reflected here.

    "McKeeva Bush said that no one had even discussed fees at the time the “so-called letter” was written, as he referred to the report by the consultants…"

    It's not that the Premier is "accusing" KPMG of anything but imo he's showing exactly way this country is in the dire straights that 's in. UPD or PPM, noone "even discussed fees" for any project undertaken to get a realistic insight into what it will truly cost until it's much too late.

    Oh. And I think what Mr. Premier means by " 'designed to be fair' to both parties…", means that it's fair for him and Dart. The people of the Cayman Islands are no way in that equation.

    • JAhDRead says:

      CNS this comment is not on topic,however, the question and hopefully a straight answer will be given

      XXXXXX

      CNS: I can't post your questions but I can answer them. The man recently convicted of murder has other cases pending, so to be sure of not publishing anything that might be considered sub judice, we decided to close the comment box on that article.

      The comment box is also closed on stories of ongoing trials. If comments do appear, that is a mistake on our part that we rectify as soon as it is noticed by disabling the comment function, which makes them all dissappear.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Maybe the Premier has invented some additional "intellectual property" like he is going to use to recover the money government was forced to pay to GLF. Lord knows he has unlimited intellect.

  12. Anonymous says:

    And I deny ever meeting Stan Thomas

    In fact who is this so called Stan Thomas

  13. Anonymous says:

    And the payoff to GLF wan't going to come out of the public purse, right?   Same world, different planet!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Did anyone read the "fact" sheet?  Wow, the nerve is unbeleiveable.<br>

    " The UDP Government turned the deficit into a surplus. We remain in a better financial position now than in 2009."<br>

    —Really?  Honestly does he believe this, from what I  understand we are running a current deficit of around 65 million.  Glad he put it on paper so this can come back and haunt him.<br>

    "A new Hospitality School is being established to train Caymanians for the tourism industry"<br>

    —Old news, UCCI had this in place in 2007, well before he was elected, new kitchen, mock training room, etc.<br>

    "Renamed the Grand Cayman campus of University College to the Benson Ebanks Campus. Renamed the Cayman Brac Airport the Capt. Charles Kirkconnell International Airport. Renamed the Cayman Islands Law School the Truman Bodden Law School."<br>

    –Sorry, can't see how this is an "accomplishment" but maybe coming from a high school leaver (not graduate) persepctive it is. :)<br>

    "BSc in Nursing at UCCI – the Ministry is working with the Ministry of Education and UCCI to launch a Bachelor of Science in Nursing programme at UCCI, with an anticipated start date of September 2011."

    May have missed it, but I think we already are past September 2011…are we not?  This whole document looks like it was written by a middle school child.  It was like, "hey guys, give me your best stuff and I will have my 'press secretatry" put it into a word document so we can display it for the class.

    Oh the insantiy, it is so laughable…

     

  15. SKEPTICAL says:

    Is the premier stating that KPMG are liars, or simply that they are totally incompetent in suggesting in their report that, under the CHEC proposal,landing fees would be increased to $30+. After this latest outburst, were I Managing Partner of KPMG, I would suggest to Bush that he stick any further requests for assistance, where the Sun doesn’t shine.

    • Anonymous says:

      You would not be managing partner with that attitude. KPMG partners know how to make money. The government are just spinning tires and burning thru the money govt has. The govt criticises KPMG in one breath and asks them to produce another report in the other breath.

       

      KPMG laughing all the way to the bank, UDP dont care coz it not their personal money, they didnt have to work for it, and all of us crying at home coz we CANT go to the bank – no money for us in the bank.

  16. Dred says:

    Hold on a second….ForDart Alliance  “designed to be fair”?? Say WHAT!!!

    Okay. Let me see if I can wrap my head around this….

    1) They get 800Mil we get 100Mil – Huuummmmm

    2) They get BEACHFRONT strike that PRIME BEACHFRONT LAND for a road that Mr Dart was planning on building to begin with. So basically WE ARE GIVING IT TO HIM FOR FREE!!!!

    I am failing to see this GREAT DEAL Mr Premier SIR.

    I know your parents told you about jumping for the immediate gratification over the long term desires. This is a quick fix that does NO GOOD FOR THE PEOPLE of the Cayman Islands only for THE PERSON OF THE CAYMAN ISLANDS. Namely Mr Dart.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Clearly KPMG (a well respected international accounting firm) is just pulling numbers out of their backside in order to make Mackeeva and the local government look bad…right? RIGHT??….please don't let my head explode from all the "mac" conspiricy theories!!!

    clearly  – $35 sounds good when you are shooting numbers around. Came from somewhere right???

    It  will be just like Turtle farm.

    400k people/yr @$11 (like we were getting pre Boatswains Beach) will EASILY equate to

    400K people/yr @$75 ('cause dey gonna pay dat an be happy when dey see our new creation)

    OOOOOOPS!

    PLEASE retire, you were NOT cut out to make sound business decisions for this Country.

    ( in my most humble opinion, of course)

  18. anonymous says:

    Oh my God! Everyone has a comment and and an idea and a critique? Digital billboards!!!Dart!!! The doclk!!!!!! But yet …How many of you passed Alice or Kirky today,laying out on the sidewalk staggering about? It's so, so, easy to turn a blind eye to suffering right in our face….But if we challenge a road or a dock it makes us good citizens? Yep. Talking to you….Talking to all of us, I guess. What ever happened to"Each one help one."?    But so much easier to blame it on PPM or UDP.  Look inside yourself. How shallow we've become.

  19. Mushroom1 says:

    Are there real estate, or other commissions on this ‘deal’.

    And, if so, to whom do they go? Just wondering.

    • Anonymous says:

      Who gets the current fee? Does it ALL go to CIG? I wonder if any goes elsewhere, if so where, or maybe the cruise ships pay some extra fee to someone, and if so who and how much? Just wondering!

    • A. Bill. says:

      There is always a Bill, be it Zoning, Real Estate, or Alignment of roads. That is what I see happening 🙂 

    • Anonymous says:

      Who owns Shamrock? That is who is deciding which companies/individuals get the business and getting the "middle man" cut of course.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Santorum for President!

     

  21. anonymous says:

    The Chinese thing just worries me….Honestly.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why? TheBritish and Americans seem to love them investing there. They already run colon, crystal,Bahamas ports along with 3 in Mexico. Give some reason why we should not go after 1-1/2% interest money like everyone else.

      • Anonymous says:

        I'll give you ONE reason : tying up our port and upland business for 50 years!

        • anonymous says:

          you are so correct….The Kirks will be out of business shortly is my guess. They were silly not to go with the Red Bay proposal- that did not need the retail to pay for itself. Glad to see that the merchants are trying to get together in town but they supported the port there. 

      • Anonymous says:

        You will probably find that the Chinese companies those countries are dealing with are above board unlike the one our beloved Premier has chosen.

        How someone who is under criminal investigation for bribery chooses a company with a history of being found guilty of bribery thinks that it is in the best inetrests of a country blows my mind.

        His way of thinking, or lack thereof, coupled with the fact he can't speak properly as a leader of a country is ridiculous. I am thoroghly embarassed as should everyone else be.

    • Anonymous says:

      ME TOO!!!

  22. Anonymous says:

    So how are they going to get paid.

    whatever payment arrangement is agreed will be funds that should have gone to the country

    so u c we are paying and at a very high rate, nothing is free.

    please go to sleep u are a joke

    • anonymous says:

      The country has no money to build this thing, we are broke, so we cannot expect to get money from someone else for free. If they build it with their own money they will be the ones to get the returns. how hard is that to comprehend??

      • Anonymous says:

        There are returns that are considered reasonable, and then they are returns which are considered to be unjustified.   They don't need to tie up the island's main seaport for the next half a century to pay back themselves.  Others offered to do it for far less.  When a country is in financial deficits, a good government would be looking for less, not more.  Why this government is not doing that, beats the hell out of me.