CCA issues warning over port

| 28/03/2012

cruise ship at port_0.JPG(CNS): The Cayman Contractors Association is the latest group to come out publicly with its concerns over government’s decision to enter into a deal with China Harbour Engineering Company to build the cruise berthing facilities. The cost of the project, the dangers to the local construction industry the inflated CHEC proposal and the environmental damage it may cause are just some of the concerns the industry body has raised. In a four page letter to Ellio Solomon, the backbench MLA appointed by the premier as lead negotiator on the project, the contractors list several points they urge government to consider if it presses ahead with a main agreement with CHEC.

The contractors say that evidence from around the region gives cause for concern regarding CHEC because they have a pattern of promising to hire local labour and companies and buy goods locally but once a deal is inked they find reasons not to meet those commitments.

“The typical method that has been documented in government and media reports indicate that once an agreement is signed, CHEC will later state that all the local bids are too high, local labour is too expensive, local materials are too costly,” the CCA writes in its comprehensive correspondence (posted below).

“Invariably, workers from China are brought in and are housed and fed in owner supplied housing and cafeteria facilities (work camps). Materials are imported from China directly, thereby reducing further any economic advantages to local businesses," the letter states. "If this same practice is allowed to occur, CCA warns this will cause irreparable damage to the local work force and suppliers and will cause project cost escalation, of which there is no control.” 

Describing this as an unacceptable arrangement for the industry and the people of the Cayman Islands, the CCA warns that its members cannot compete with CHEC if it stays in the country and bids on local jobs.

“CHEC is owned and financed by the People’s Republic of China, with access to preferred lending arrangements than is available to us, they are so large and strong financially that we are effectively introducing a Killer Whale into a pond of minnows,” the letter, which issigned by CCA President Kris Bergstrom, states.

The builders' group recommends restricting the cruise port facility to two piers to facilitate the current class ships and one Oasis class ship, with minimal or no additional retail.

“This will be a smaller and more cost-effective facility and will result in repayment of the loan in considerably less time than the 49 – 51 years proposed. In addition, any negative effect on the adjacent environment, including Eden Rock, Cheeseburger Reef and Seven Mile Beach will be significantly reduced," the contractors write.

The group also notes that for over 20 years it has been trying to get a Builders Law enacted to stop foreign contractors such as the Fleur Daniels, the Tom Jones, the China Harbours from “walking into Cayman and taking on our large projects” before setting up shop to compete for the smaller jobs too.

“We have a large, capable community of excellent builders locally, who make a commitment each and every day to the Cayman Islands financially. We are the employers that drive one of the largest sectors of the country’s economy. It is vitally important that the already approved Builders Law become enacted and implemented,” the CCA said.

The contractors appeal to government to consider seven recommendations before signing any deal with the Beijing-based firm, including a commitment that CHEC will de-mobilise and leave after the facility is completed, and that it will bring only managerial, supervisory and specialist personnel to Cayman and will hire all other workers locally and not set up its own work camps, and will rent from available local housing.

The contractors also ask government to ensure CHEC adopts the rates supplied by the CCA and exclusively subcontract all MEP and non-marine works to local contractors, as well as using up all local equipment, trucks and materials before importing from abroad.

The CCA is the latest local organisation to raise major concerns over the government’s choice of partner to build the George Town cruise berthing facilities as well as the growing size of the project and its possible negative impact on local business.

Although there is widespread support for the development of cruise piers, as more information emerges about the possible deal between the Cayman government and CHEC, the partnership is becoming increasingly unpopular. However, the premier has stated on a number of occasions that the cruise facilities are desperately needed and despite the growing opposition to the Chinese firm, CHEC offers the best deal for Cayman.

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Comments (51)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    It was a dark day for these island when fools voted McKeeva and his minions back in. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. And the sad thing is – it will probably be repeated in 2013. This man has sold out, abused, XXXX self-hated and done many questionable and detrimental things to these islands and the people through out his entire political career. Yet… you all put him back in. It proved to me that my island doesnt have educated, informed and concerned voters. The day he got back in… we proved that we are just like him. He is the face of these islands. Thanks a lot.

  2. Chinees Monk says:

    Grasshopper beware men from the East wanting to build you a dock. He who builds you a  dock is not is not your friend.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Scary doing business with the Chinese!

    I attempted to post a lengthy article yesterday about Chinese- The New Mercantilism: China's Emerging Role in the Americas- google it if interested.



    CNS: The comment yesterday, if I remember rightly, was just a very long cut and paste from an AP article – just post the link next time. This is still too long. You can post it as a forum topic if you like. Click here for the CNS public forum

  4. so Anonymous says:

    Facts: Cayman does not have the money to build a dock.

    Fact: Cayman has already borrowed too much and can not afford to borrow more.

    Fact: Cayman does not have the competence in Government to get anything started much less finished.

    Conclusion:What Cayman has now is the best it is ever going to get.

    • Cayman commenter says:

      The facts are undoubtably true.  I hope the conclusion isn't referring to our politicians.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like a bunch if self serving protectionists to me.
    For some reason, these folks believe that because they were on business first nobody else has the rite to start a company.
    What this group really wants is “no competition”. It is not the foreigners that bother them. It is anyone that has the brain power to compete and possibly put some of the members of this exclusive group out of business.
    Anyone with a sliver of business and capitalism education will tell you that competition is good and not to be feared. Without it the consumer is left with no choice but substandard work.
    Wake up Cayman. This group is only interested in more profit from less effort.
    Simply put, Protectionism Does Not Work. Pun intended.

    • Anonymous says:

      what's the pun?

    • Where is the pun? says:

      Where is the pun?


      "Sounds like a bunch if self serving protectionists to me.

      For some reason, these folks believe that because they were on business first nobody else has the rite to start a company."

      The above says it all…let me correct it for you

      "Sounds like a bunch of self serving protectionists to me.

      For some reason, these folks believe that because they were in business first nobody else has the right to start a company.

      Next time have Foolio write it down for you instead of taking messages over the phone. 

    • Self Serving Protectionist says:

      Yes,  I am a self serving protectionist.  I want to save at least SOME of the Cayman I"ve known for years.  Go home, Chinese contractors!

    • Anonymous says:

      Competition isa healthy thing, but the chinese don't believe in competing.  They want to take ALL the decent-size or large projects that the local companies are more than capable of handling.  They have already publicly said so, that they intend to stay and go after all the significant jobs, including the airport, dock in the Brac, etc.   As the CCA said,they will be like a Killer Whale in a pond of minnows.   They can bribe / buy their way into projects –  all with the financial backing and deep pockets of their communist government.   Google their mode of operations around the world, read various news reports, educate yourself on how they operate worldwide, including in the Caribbean, and you will see.   Check the way they affect the local economies of the countries where they do business, and see if they improved it, or made it worse for the local people.  Like the project in the Bahamas where they employeed 6,000 Chinese and 2,000 Bahamanians despite rampant unemployment in that country, to the point where the prime minister there had to travel to China to ask the President to hire more locals and reduce the number of chinese workers as it was causing social problems and discontent among his countrymen.   There was a study that recently came out that said Russian and Chinese companies topped the list of those most likely to bribe t heir way into business.   Why?  Because they don't bid and compete for jobs the way the rest of us do, and allow the best company to win fair and square.   They ensure that those with the deep pockets win.  That, my friend, is not healthy competition, that is monopolizing the work and KILLING the competition who cannot compete by descending to their level.  Then CHEC also was recently implicated in a bribery scandal in Bangladesh, the same company that wants to come here !   They did not bid for the local port job along with the other contractors 2 years ago, rather they entered the scene a year later, and no one to this day knows (or wants to say), how they got here, who brought them here, and why there is a lack of transparency concerning the current negotiations, only a reassurance from Elio that everything will be alright?  So when you talk about self-protectionism and competition, it is clear you don't understand what is really at stake here. 

      • Anonymous says:

        anon 1325 the problem is bigger than even that because those chinese by the times things are completed becomes part of the cayman society.

        It means you have a certain number of jobs in the country we have unemployed people here and yet we still allow companies to go outside of the country to hire people despite the fact that there are qualified people here. As far as I am concerned it does not even have to be a caymanian but we have expats here that can fill those positions. I know of an expat that came here as a dive instructor and ended up high ranking in a bank. The caymanian would have been told he is overqualified.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Note to Editor,
    Tom Jones International is a local construction company with a majority local ownership.

    • Anonymous says:

      Surely you mean Tom Jones International "SET UP" a local company "FRONTED" by  a majority local ownership.  CHEC will similarly "SET UP" a local company "FRONTED" by local ownership. This is exactly what the CCA and the Builders Bill are trying to stop.

      • Anonymous says:

        Just as McAlpine, Hadsphaltic and Arch and Godfrey set up companies.

        The only difference is the day on the calander they arrived on island.

        • Anonymous says:

          The difference is, none of these 3 companies you mentioned have a dubious reputation of "bribing" or "offering incentives" to get jobs around the world or in the Caribbean, nor are any of them funded by a communist country that have no respect for basic human rights that we take for granted here in the western world.  In fact, those three companies you mention, have all proven themselves to be good corporate citizens over the years, hiring locally,  they pay their workers a fair living wage and are bound by certain codes to provide protective gear for ALL their workers, they buy locally and support local businesses, thereby contributing to the growth of Cayman.  Chinese companies typically lend the money, then hire their own chinese workers, feed them, shelter them, pay them pittance, import goods from China, and thereby export the money and profits back to China so that it does not stay here to benefit the local economy.  And the local host country still ends up paying interest on that loan.   What a joke, that you can even compare these local companies to CHEC – shows how ignorant you are.  It is better to keep quiet and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

          • Anonymous says:

            Erm are you referring to the Hadsphaltic, part of Johnston International (now in liquidation) and “controlled” by Lord Ashcroft all of which were embroiled in the TCI corruption? Google it and see how Lilly white they are!!!!

  7. Anonymous says:

    People on the island are beginning to voice their concern with the bloated growth of this project, where is the chamber of commerse do they have anything to say or are they unable to voice an opinion we are talking about the future of Cayman.

    • Anonymous says:

      You mean the same Chamber that accepted the FREE jaunt to Jam-down so they could jam down with CHEC last year? what did there "objective" report say again?

      • Anonymous says:

        That's right.  There is NO WAY they should have accepted an expenses paid trip by CHEC – you can't remain objective after that, any idiot knows that.   They are made up of enough member companies that all could have donated towards this trip, and they would have been able to remain objective and represent their members interests properly – not CHEC's interests.   Did they even bother to go and inspect where the chinese workers lived in the barracks in Ja?  The living conditions, whether they even had protective gear on site for ALL their chinese workers, etc?  What they pay their people?  Where most of the construction materialscame from, whether local suppliers or from China?  Chamber needs to come out and voice an OPINION on what they feel is in the best interests of Cayman and its members, not just narrate a report of what events they attended or what CHEC ALLOWED them to see.  They need to tell us how they FEEL about it.   The CCA has issued a very honest letter that tells how they feel, all with a view to helping Cayman and protecting local industries, something the Chamber should be doing.   It appears the Chamber of Commerce is no longer representing local interests, they seem to be a weak, impotent organization too scared to speak up for what they know is right and best for these islands, either that or the expenses paid trip has clouded their judgement.

        • Anonymous says:

          That wasnt on the way to Cactus or the "gentleman's club"

        • A. Pastafarian says:

          Quote:  "they seem to be a weak, impotent organization too scared to speak up for what they know is right and best for these islands"….   Didn't you leave out "greedy" and "self serving"?

  8. Anonymous says:

    when and if CHEC build this port the Cayman experience will no longer be the same that small island experience will be forever gone. cruise ship tourists will pull up and disembark and be rustle into a huge mall on the water front. This is what you call overkill all Cayman needs is somewhere for the ships to park.

    I am UDP supporter, but if they do this CHEC thing it will be the nail in the coffin when it come to my support. I am not Caymanians but do own property and spend the majority of my time on the island because I love Cayman it’s people and the experience the island offers me in my wonder years so I try my best to stay infromed on current affairs. Mark my words once the Chinese inject there culture into cayman it will never be the same. Nothing against them, they are a wonderful people and have a great culture but it will quickly overwelm what is now Cayman And the people who signed the deal will be personally to blame for this.

    Bigger is not always better, and I hope this doesn’t happen. all the energy people are putting into other protest really need to be focused here, because this is a true threat to the cayman experience.

    an Outsiders point of view.

    • Anonnymous says:

      Thank you!  Cayman, as we knew it will fade into the unknown – we'll really be the islands that time forgot.  It's already fading fast.

  9. anonymous says:

    Captain McCoy's Red Bay solution can be completely built by local contractors because outside the base dredging the work is all in shallow protected waters unlike Hog Sty bay. 

    Captain McCoy spoke of this last year. Better for the local contractors, better for the local merchants and thus better for the Caymanians. Finally someone seems to be listening to him.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sorry, the CCA's letter was not issued based on listening to Captain McCoy's solution regarding the Red Bay area.  Their concern is solely to do with the effects of introducing a large Killer Whale into a pond of minnows and its effects on the local industry including local contractors.  Your attempt trying to tie their letter to your Red Bay solution, is disingenious and misleading and a very ill-disguised attempt to garner support for the Red Bay solution.  Give it a rest please.

    • Bling man says:

      We na need a dock.  Ships na need a dock.  Da tourists na need a dock.  Let Cayman be.

  10. Anonymous says:


    The colour you are missing is GREEN. The Money!…we dont have it and the Chinese do. The UK says we cant borrow it so the options are limited.

    So its simple, Black or White you don't get a dock. "Green, u gawn cleen" This is really not complicated.

    • TheTruthWillOut says:

      Chinese aren't the only game in town. Why do you think CIG had to pay GLF over $2million dollars? I am certain that GLF, if given the opportunity,  would be happy to show us how serious/legitimate contractors operate.

      CHEC boasts about having done $9.5 billion worldwide. GLF's Venice project by itself is over $14 billion!

      • JAhDRead says:

        Venice project was not a crise ship dock Iah!

        • Anonymous says:

          Doesn't matter, GLF has done numerous ports and major infrastructure works, bridges, roads, etc. around the world.  The point is, dumb dumb, that if they could do a $14Billion dollar project,  then there is no question they couldn't handle a petty little job of $150Million or $300Million, for that matter.   Bigger than CHEC's projects.  Yet the so called reason for their not getting the job was "they did not have the money".

        • Anonymous says:

          I thought the problem was Big Mac didn't like the food in Venice.

      • Anonymous says:

        I am sure that the Bank of China pockets are way deeper than GLFs!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Interesting you brought up the colour, green – the money – the question is, was there any "green" offered by CHEC in order to get a foothold here for this job?  Chinese companies are famous for offering "incentives".    I keep remembering a recent court case convicting the Bangladesh's prime minister's son for accepting "green" and in which CHEC was implicated as the one offering the "green."  And this is the same company our government is welcoming here with wide, open arms, huh?  Makes you really wonder, doesn't it?

  11. nauticalone says:

    Agree with CCA and others concerned about this "Deal".

    Mac has proven over and often he is unqualified to decide what "the best deal for Cayman" is! The most lucrative deal for Mac….now that's a different story.

  12. Anonymous says:


    "The builders' group recommends restricting the cruise port facility to two piers to facilitate the current class ships and one Oasis class ship, with minimal or no additional retail."

    What analysis has been done by these contractors on cost and length of time for repayment if this plan was done?

    I suspect that if the length of time will increase if the project is limited to only direct revenue from the two piers.

    • Anonymous says:

      Answer: Thisis exactly what GLF proposed for under $200 million and, after detailed analysis, established this could be repaid in 25 years from passenger fees and only 10,000 ft2 of retail. A basic financial principle is that if one borrows less, the loan can be repaid in less time from less revenue. The larger the loan, as with the CHEC deal, the longer it will take for repayment from a larger revenue source. Hope this helps.


  13. Anonymous says:

    “CHEC is owned and financed by the People’s Republic of China, with access to preferred lending arrangements than is available to us, they are so large and strong financially that we are effectively introducing a Killer Whale into a pond of minnows,” the letter, which is signed by CCA President Kris Bergstrom, states.


    er…change CHEC to Dart….and PRC to Ken…..and now read it…

    “DART COMPANY (take yourpic) is owned and financed by the Ken & Bob Show, with access to preferred lending arrangements than is available to us, they are so large and strong financially that we are effectively introducing a Killer Whale into a pond of minnows,” the letter, which is signed by (Anyone in Jewelry/Hospitality/Construction/Liqor/Beer/Development/etc/etc), states.


    scary isnt it!!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Mac and Ellio, we all know we only need but 2 finger piers to accomodate the cruise ships, We don't need any mega docks like a mainland country. We are a very small Island and should be considered, as such.  Our little Islands cannot absorb all these mega projects. Please use the schools as an example, of what can become of your mega docks.  It will cost 4 times the amounts that are on paper.  Who do you think you are kiddin?  Not only the amount, but we will be over run by Chinese Nationals….for crying out loud, we are British!!  Do you want us to be ruled by the Chinese now? Have you ever taken a look inside China to see how they have been treating their own people?  Our docks should be built by local contractors, even if all they too are hiring, is cheap foreign labourers. Afterall, you got those very same cheap foreign labourers already securing our docks, our airports and our Government Buildings.  They are already inside Cayman and supposenly screened and trained.  Right now we need to weed them out, by replacing them with our semi retired or retired able bodied Caymanians.  We don't need any more mega facilities in these Islands.  We would like Grand Cayman to remain an Island and not a Concrete Jungle.  Learn from the other CHEC projects around the Caribbean and the mistakes those Islands/Countries made.  Jeez, everytime you see some country do something, you 2 guys want to do.  Exactly what do you 2 guys stand to gain from all these mega deals?  You are sure not considering the future of these Islands, but rather what you want to do to say you have done something other than to waste the people's money.  You are a bunch of failures to your people, so prepare for your grade come May 2013.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Unfortuntaely for this group all of their concerns will fall on deaf ears, that is the UDP / PPM MO.


  16. Lachlan MacTavish says:

    This is not complicated. It is a black and white situation. Black, CHEC contract, what deals are made in the back room, look at their history of development in The Caribbean and you will see a repeat of that model in Cayman. White, an open transparent contract with a qualified port developer from Engalnd, Canada or the USA with a contract that guarantees using and supporting local contractors. Big question, why is the elected leadership not supporting the protection of local industry?

    Lachlan MacTavish 

    • NeoSurvivor says:

      You know why Lachlan.   So do I.   This government has demonstrated repeatedly that they are not for Caymanians, XXXXX.   It's more than a question of loyalty.   It's a question of the basic concepts that seem to have fallen to the wayside — honor, honesty and integrity, along with loyalty to the best interests of one's constituents.  

      I have never in my 54 years been SO afraid of my own government. 

      You know the ironic thing?   The impending apocalypse of the heralded moonbats is looking like the only thing that can stop our government from selling us down the road.  How funny is that?  

      We have no power.   We have a voice, and we use it here, for all it's worth.   

      Hot-and-cold running doom.    If we sign with CHEC, you can stick a fork in us all, because we're cooked for good.  

      May God have mercy upon this formerly gentle country. 

  17. Solomon Grundy says:

    Hope they sent an audio version as well so Helium can at least get the general gist of their points.

  18. MANOR1 says:

    They are correct – once the Chinese get in you will never get rid of them. No one will be able to compete with them when there paying there own employees $2 per hour.

    • Anonymous says:

      Plus you will get the government security operatives (MSS spooks), so-called advisors (normally military), Chinese mafia, Uncle Tom Cobbly and all on island pretending to be part of the CHEC team. Their presence will then attract everyone else.

      I've seen this happen elsewhere and it turns the place into a zoo. The major hotels become an I-Spy game for spotting CIA, MI6, Mossad, FSB, you name it.  

      Taking the Chinese into your home is a dangerous game.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I dont know why kris is complaining so hard for.

    just look at the current construction labour force and see how many caymanians are working with the local companies.


  20. Anonymous says:

    yep…just lok at the fine job cca are doing at the schools………zzzzzzzzzzzz

  21. WeSoF*%#ed says:

    Lets face it Mac n' Cheese (Foolio) are the only ones who are going to benefit.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Anyone with any common sense can see that CHEC will be a major problem if allowed to do this job. The only person that seems to insist that they are the be all and end all is the premier. Makes me wonder what he is going to get (or has already got in advance) out of using them as I see NO benefits to the country at all…