Archive for July 3rd, 2013

MoT seals consultant contract

| 03/07/2013 | 44 Comments

Port Financial Services Consultancy2 July 2 2013.JPG(CNS): PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) has won the bid to provide government with financial consultant services for procurement of a cruise berthing facility, specifically through a private public partnership arrangement, including the business case and financial tender documents. The tendering process began on 3 May under the former tourism minister, Cline Glidden, after three and a half years of bungling by his predecessor, McKeeva Bush, had left the country no nearer to acquiring a cruise port. The construction contract is expected to be awarded for the proposed cruise berthing project in 2014. Deadlines for each of these steps will be firmed up in the coming weeks, according to Chief Officer Stran Bodden (pictured signing the document).

The previous PPM government had begun negotiations with Atlantic Star to build a cruise ship dock and establish new cargo facilities close to the existing cargo centre. However. these negotiations stopped when the UDP won the May 2009 general elections and the new government’s plans for a cruise dock was put to tender.

DECCO, the Dart Group’s construction company, came out top in the first bid. However, the islands’ largest investor pulled out of negotiations with government when the parties reached stalemate over the period of time Dart wanted to lease the upland development area in order to recoup its investment.

GLF Construction was the next bidder on the shortlist, so when the DECCO talks collapsed, Cline Glidden, who was the government’s lead negotiator at the time, moved into talks with the Italian-based firm and their local partners, Royal Construction. Just weeks before the company was ready to mobilize, then premier Bush, going over the heads of the port board and his own back-bencher, announced his decision to terminate those talks as he did not believe GLF had the cash, and moved into negotiations with China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC).

The Beijing-based firm, however, was not next on the list as it had never taken part in the original bid and the plans included considerable upland development that did not form part of the original tender.

Under significant pressure from the UK, amid concerns that the procurement process had fallen far short of international best practices, in November 2012 Bush finally dropped his insistence that the port should be built by CHEC. After he was ousted from power in December 2012, Glidden took over his tourism portfolio and in May, just weeks before the election, issued a request for proposal (RFP) for financial consultancy services for the project.

With a new Progressive Tourism Minister, Moses Kirkconnell, following a change of government, the ministry then evaluated the bids that were submitted on 24 May. The minister announced that he was picking up the formal process that began under the minority short term PNA administration and that the business model, when complete, would form the basis for the project.

Deputy Premier Kirkconnell has said that the cruise facility in George Town would be piers only with no upland development, as the government wanted to rebuild George Town. He has also said that government must set out its needs for this project and not have the developer tell government what it would do.

Following the signing of the contract on Tuesday morning, 1 July, Kirkconnell said it showed government was taking another step in international best procurement practices. “It reflects government’s commitment to be open and transparent in all processes in developing the cruise berthing facility,” he said.

PWC, named the successful bidder last month, will commence work early in July. On Tuesday, Ministry Chief Officer Stran Bodden, on behalf of CIG, and PWC representative David Walker signed the contract at Government Administration Building to formalise the consultancy.

“PWC is tasked with producing an outline business case, the full businesscase and tender documents for the proposed cruise berthing project,” Bodden said.

Following the issuance of tender documents, and a suitable tender period that will include a timeframe for negotiation, the construction contract is expected to be awarded for the proposed cruise berthing project in 2014, he noted. Deadlines for each of these steps will be firmed up in the coming weeks, he said. 

CG reveals port fiasco (CNS, 24 April 2013)

Bush rejects port developers (CNS, 20 April 2011

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Mastic Reserve expanded

| 03/07/2013 | 13 Comments

Black Mastic.jpg(CNS): The National Trust of the Cayman Islands has acquired 8 more acres to add to the Mastic Reserve, bringing the total amount of land protected by the Trust in the reserve to 843 acres. The reserve is home to all of Cayman’s endemic orchids and forest birds and is the main habitat for a critically endangered variety of Black Mastic tree (Termenalia eriostachya var. margaretiae), which is unique to Grand Cayman. Aiming to protect and rejuvenate a very rare habitat of great importance to Grand Cayman and its biodiversity, the Trust hopes to acquire a total of 1,397 acres, which will cost several million dollars, through additional fundraising for its Land Reserve Fund. (Left: Black Mastic by Stuart Mailer)

Established in 1992, the Mastic Reserve protects the largest contiguous area of old growth forest remaining on Grand Cayman. Representing some of the last remaining examples of the Caribbean’s lowland semi-deciduous dry forest and home to a unique variety of animals and plants, including all of Cayman’s endemic orchids, trees and birds, the Reserve has high ecological, scenic and ecotourism value.

The area of the Mastic Forest has been above water for more than two million years — as opposed to most of the island, which only emerged 125,000 years ago — so that is where the native flaura and fauna evolved, noted National Trust Field Officer, Stuart Mailer. "It's an island within an island," he said.

According to "Threatened Plants of the Cayman Islands – The Red List" by Fred Burton, the variety of Black Mastic, Termenalia eriostachya var. margaretiae (named after Margaret Barwick), was once quite widespread on the island, but by 1800 it was thought to have been harvested to extinction for its ebony-like heartwood. However, it was rediscovered in the Mastic Forest in 1991.

The National Trust maintains the Mastic Trail, a traditional path that passes through the heart of the reserve. Guided nature tours of the Trail allow visitors to experience and appreciate this national treasure. The Mastic Trail was recently awarded a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for 2013, based on reviews by their members. 

“The Mastic Reserve is key to the conservation of Cayman Islands biodiversity. Preserving this land is vital in protecting our native plants and animals.  The forest performs many other functions; it enhances rainfall and reduces run-off, helping to maintain our groundwater and protect our reefs and it keeps theisland cooler; it removes carbon and pollutants from the atmosphere, and it provides locals and visitors alike with a unique opportunity to connect with nature,” said Mailer, who is a renowned Mastic tour guide.

Guided tours of the Mastic Trail are available Tuesday through Friday, and occasional weekends.  For details on the National Trust’s Land Reserve Fund or guided Mastic tours contact info@nationaltrust.org.ky or call 749-1121.

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Alden to address CARICOM

| 03/07/2013 | 45 Comments

alden swearing in 2.jpg(CNS): Cayman Islands Premier Alden McLaughlin is travelling today to Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, to attend the 34th Conference of Heads of Government (CHOGM) of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), which will take place Thursday through Saturday, 4-6 July. This will be McLaughlin’s first CARICOM Heads of Government meeting as premier. At the invitation of Trinidad Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bisessar, who presently holds the chairmanship of CHOGM, he has been invited to address the conference as CARICOM’s most recently elected head of government, a release from GIS says. While in Trinidad, McLaughlin will also take part in the 40th anniversary celebrations of CARICOM. (Photo Dennie Warren Jr)

Issues on the conference agenda include the regional economy, transportation, an upcoming meeting on persons with disabilities and special needs, proposals for closer union of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, the United Nation’s post-2015 development agenda and ongoing reform of CARICOM including expansion of its full and associate membership.

CARICOM, a regional grouping of 15 countries, counts among its associate members five British Overseas Territories, including the Cayman Islands, which joined in 2002.
The Premierwill be accompanied by the Cabinet Secretary, Mr. Samuel Rose and will return to Cayman on Saturday July 6, 2013.

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Panton: Attitudes are changing towards Cayman

| 03/07/2013 | 0 Comments

Wayne Panton official.jpg(CNS Business): After years of negative press as a ‘tax haven’, the new minister for financial services indicated in his first address to the Legislative Assembly last week that attitudes towards the Cayman Islands may be changing. As a result of a commitment over the years to engage in the process of international discussion with various national and supra-national authorities, Wayne Panton said there was “anecdotal evidence” of this change on the part of the “experts and the technocrats, those who understand the issues, who understand the significance of the Cayman Islands, understand the importance of our role in the global financial architecture”. Though there is still a “disconnect with political agenda”, he said, “I think that is changing – and it will change.” Read more on CNS Business

 

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