Solomon admits cruise line’s interest in Pageant Beach

| 12/04/2012

cruise ship beautiful.jpg(CNS): The government’s backbench MLA who has been leading the negotiations with China Harbour Engineering Company has admitted that there is a proposal on the table to build a pier at Pageant Beach. As reported by CNS in December, Ellio Solomon confirmed that parties in Cayman had submitted an alternative proposal at the location that would directly involve a cruise line. Speaking on Cayman 27’s "The Panel" on Tuesday evening, the George Town representative said, however, that this was not necessarily in the interests of the Cayman Islands and government was going ahead with the CHEC deal.

At the end of last year CNS revealed that a proposal for an all-weather facility with no competing retail that would deliver passengers around one mile north of the current terminals and shuttle them into the down town area had been ashore given to government. Sources told CNS that it came from an unnamed group of local businessmen and would involve a direct partnership with a cruise line and would not depend on upland retail development at the site, which is currently in private hands.

In January representatives of the local company that owns the land at Pageant Beach told CNS that they were very surprised to read about the proposal to develop a port on that property as the owner had not been approached by anyone regarding the development of a port there and the land was not for sale.

Solomon clearly stated on Tuesday that a proposal for a deal with an unnamed cruise line had been put forward to construct a pier for its exclusive use. 

Government, however, intends to press on with the CHEC negotiations, which have been extended after the most recent MOU between government and the Beijing firm was extended. Solomon stated that, despite speculation to the contrary, construction would start on the CHEC project in September.

The George Town representative admitted that, regardless of the deal with the Chinese firm, the cruise line in question was willing to go ahead with a monopoly pier.

“We have to ask ourselves if this is in the best interests of the country,” he said, denying that the cruise lines were not interested in the CHEC proposals. “If you can give any one of those cruise lines a monopoly over a particular pier, they’ll take it," he claimed.

He said government was not going forward with the Pageant Beach proposal or any others as it intended to go forward with CHEC.

Solomon justified the size of the CHEC project, in particular the upland development, which has raised concerns among many people, from the downtown merchants in the capital to the contractors association, as he said the retail was needed to give local traders a place to “sell their arts and crafts and coconuts” and to give the Port Authority additional revenue. 

He also dismissed the environmental concerns, suggesting it was just opposition for the sake of it.  However, he said government was committed to mitigating any environmental threats that may arise before construction starts.

See related story here

Category: Politics

Comments (25)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Dock, Dock, Dock, where is the Dock? Elio. WHAT the XXXX are you doing? Where and when will you start the Dock?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Because Mac couldn't give the Chinese a channel in the North Sound, he gave them the only thing he had left to offer; the cruise pier project.  The Board of the Port Authority disagreed.  With one hand he wiped the Board clean of all independently thinking members, because they would not bow to his desires and when the dust cleared, not only were they gone, but he had to pay GLF millions.  Shall I remind you he said it would not cost the port one cent.  Was that the truth? Only if you say that a couple of million is not one cent.

    Now the Chinese are adding massively to the project and poor old Mac is telling us it won't cost us anything.  You think I believe that?  Nothing in today's world is free Mac, and God knows you are going to place them like an anchor around our necks for a very long time.

    For one last time, look at what happened to the other Caribbean Islands who built piers without the cruise lines investing in them; they are struggling to pay for them.  Then look at those that the cruise lines invested in, such as TCI, Labadee, Falmouth, Roatan.  They are all thriving.  For God's sake, put aside ignorance and impiety for once and use some common sense.  I know it's hard for you all to do, butfor the sake of Cayman, just do something right for once.

     

  3. Anonymous says:

    The sadness part isn't that Ellio was chosen by the Premier to negotiatie this deal; it is that Ellio accepted the role.

    The most relaible indicator of ignorance is is the inability to distinguish between what one knows and what one doesn't know. That is dangerous.

  4. Anonymous says:

    You know what further demonstrates the lack of education and business sense on the part of those spearheading this CHEC deal?  Mr. Solomon said on the Panel recently that only 2 companies proved to-date they hads funds to do the project, CHEC and Decco.   He conveniently ignores the fact that these 2 companies have to get the funds from somewhere else, just like GLF.   CHEC is reportedly backed by the Chinese Government and has access to government funds.  In Jamaica, for example, they got the funds through the China Exim Bank owned by the Chinese Government.   Decco is reportedly owned and backed by the Dart Group and have access to  funds from the deep pockets of that group.   GLF stated they would put their own funds upfront, plus use bond-financing from Citibank, the world's leading bank in bond-financing and who won the 2009 bond-financing of the year award.  Bond-financing was used successfully on the USD400Million dollar airport project in the Bahamas and this type of financing is used around the world for large capital projects.  Elio seems to think that getting the money from a communist government or a successful capitalist group, is better than getting it from the world's leading bank in bond-financing.   It hasn't yet dawned on him that the money has to come from somewhere, it is not free money that is just sitting down on someone's bank account ready to be used, and at the end of the day, IT ALL HAS TO BE PAID BACK TO THE SOURCE, PLUS INTEREST.   Poor thing.  And this is the person who is "Lead Negotiator" for the Port project for Cayman.  God help us.

    • Jonas Dwyer says:

      And you know what further demonstrates is the inability of people to think for themselves but join the crowd because it’s the popular thing to do. You can’t just go out and pick up an investor to buy a bond. It s a very involved process,that requires various steps,none of which had been completed when GLF was given a “commitment ” to go to investors and source the funds. Don’t you think that if they had the money that GLF would not be showing evidence of it to the public, and would have sued the Government for then they would have met the funding requirement of the MOU.

      Listen,research and then speak don’t follow the crowd.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Forgive them Lord, they know not what they do. The only time we ever hear a single word from any one of Mac's puppets is when they need to open their yabas to defend him in public. Mark and Dwayne have literally forfeited their futures in Government for this cause and now the guy with the bad haircut, (and not much under it apart from a big mouth) is following suit. That dock will NOT be built by CHEC against the wishes of the people of this country Mr. Solomon and Mr. Bush. You people need to learn to use your ears. The people of Cayman STOPPED the stupid and dangerous channeling of the North Sound and the preposterous hole in the ground in East End and the ridiculous smoke and fire breathing dragon of an oil refinery and we WILL stop this monster from taking control of our country. And we WILL get rid of a gowerment that refuses to listen to it's superiors. 

  6. Piffle Paffle says:

    Some ask why Ellio is qualfiied to negotiate.  It is the old business school theory that if you can't send in someone qualified, send in someone crazy with a bad haircut.  This is the next best option as it tends to confuse rational people.

    • Anonymous says:

      If any of these jobs were based on qualifications no caymanians would get the job – so stop further degrading each other (its not necessary).

      • Anonymous says:

        There are many Caymanians eminently qualified in a diversity of fields but, and sadly, Ellio is not one of them.

      • Anonymous says:

        I think you just degraded all Caymanians.

  7. SKEPTICAL says:

    YELLIO doesn’t know his arse from his elbow. What academic qualifications does he have that could possibly have justified him being appointed lead negotiator for the cruise ship dock development – whichever design is finally used. Has Bush never heard the old Wild West maxim – ” no point in bringing a knife to a gunfight. “.

  8. Anonymous says:

       Solomon stated that "Government was going ahead with the CHEC deal", he also said that "despite speculation to the contrary,construction would start on the CHEC project in September".Does this mean that Government is prepared to go ahead even if the Environmental Impact Assessment suggests other wise?Wouldn't it be something if CHEC starts their project this September,and then next September the new Administration gives the go ahead  for another project such as the Pageant Beach groupI wonder if the cruise lines would even use the CHEC pier if there is an alternate site available.CHEC would be wise to hold off starting this project until elections are over.

    • anonymous says:

      What EIA??…they are not doing one or we would have seen it by now.

      With such confidence in start dates He must know that no EIA nor Value-for-Money ( or should I say, Money-for-Value (smile) ) will stop the decision or stop the dock.

      Folks, it is what Ellio has decided! So he has rolled the dice on the next election. Cant wait…

  9. Anonymous says:

    Mitigate = "Make less severe, serious, or painful"  Please do not confuse it with eliminate. 
    Think of it like, mitigating the side effects of aputating your leg.  It does no mean everything will be alright! 

  10. anonymous says:

    I wonder what the NRA will say about dumping 4000 passengers on Pageant Beach. If you can imagine the chaos in downtown with the two piers, just imagine two ships dumping 8000 in front of HSBC/KFC. I can hardly get through there now.

    I am glad to see Ellio is sticking to his guns on downtown because it will be the end of him as a politician. That CHEC proposal will really cause chaos and it will happen just before elections. Further more it will kill the Kirks and other merchants up there in town.

  11. A. Pastafarian. says:

    I cannot for the life of me see why a company with such a shoddy record is being considered to build anything for our country.  Could there be a reason we don't know about?

    • Anonymous says:

      We all know why…just can't say so out loud.

      Does he take us all for Complete idiots…?

  12. Anonnymous says:

    I'm sorry – with all due respect, why would Elio Solomon be chosen as the "Lead Negotiator" with the Chinese government?  Would one have to look very far to realize that he is absolutely out of his depth? He's drowning on this.  Negotiations of this nature (even more so with the CHINESE GOVERNMENT) need EXPERIENCED negotiators, legal minds and people with extensive knoweldge. Lord, hear our prayers.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I am willing to bet that if Lord Dart wanted to build a "monopoly" pier work would have already started.Of course our Premier would be tripping over himself trying to accomodate all of  Lord Darts requests as he has been doing.

  14. Anonymous says:

    The 'Kool-Aid' is STRONG in this one. Lord Vader, Bring him to me, and I will make him my new Apprentice.