Archive for February 4th, 2014

Cruise lines invited to talks

| 04/02/2014 | 56 Comments

(CNS): The tourism minister has announced plans for bilateral discussions with the cruise lines, which will eventually be the end users should Cayman go ahead with the development of a berthing facility in George Town. Although the PPM government has repeatedly stated on numerous occasions that it will be undertaking an open and competitive tendering process for the contract to build the dock , the cruise lines, some of which may be involved in bids, are being invited to talks with the ministry about the proposed development ahead of the RFP. In a short release on Monday the tourism minister said it was to find out what the cruise lines would need.

“Government has approached the FCCA and cruise lines as they will be the prime users of the berthing facility, and it is important that any specific user requirements they might have are determined early on in the process,” the tourism minister and acting premier, Moses Kirkconnell, stated. “Once this has been accomplished, we will then look at the best ways to incorporate those needs, while ensuring value-for-money for the Cayman Islands.”

Once again, officials reiterated that the development of the berthing facility would happen via a transparent and competitive process, as required by the Framework for Fiscal Responsibility (FFR).  The minister did not state, however, how early talks well ahead of any request for proposals with all of the lines that may usethe port would impact the fairness of the bidding process if any of the cruise lines are involved in the bidding, as has been anticipated.

CNS submitted questions to clarify how a level playing field would be maintained if each of the cruise lines were involved in private individual talks with CIG but the ministry has not responded to the request.

Stating that it was committed to an “aggressive timeline”, the ministry said there was only a few days remaining for tenders to be submitted in response to the request for proposals (RFP) for environmental & engineering consultants to prepare the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), as the deadline is 5 February.

Government’s intention, officials said, is to carry out the EIA during 2014, and the environmental report which results will establish the requirements and parameters for bidders’ proposals for the berthing piers.

The EIA will be a critical issue as a result of concerns already raised in the business case about the threat to Seven Mile Beach as well as the impact on even greater visitor numbers on Stingray City, among many other issues.

The ministry stated that it is proposed that the EIA process, the discussions with the cruise line users and the subsequent procurement process will all proceed during 2014.

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