Port board brings in CTC

| 24/11/2009

(CNS): In a move to advance the transparency regarding the development of the George Town cruise berthing facilities, the chairman of the Port Authority said that he and members of the board have now met with both the Auditor General’s Office and the Central Tenders Committee to appraise them of the current situation. Stefan Baraud told CNS on Monday that the board would be keeping both the AG, Dan Duguay, and the CTC chair, Ronnie Dunn, informed about the progress of the negotiations. Baraud also noted that if all goes to plan, work could start on the development during the first quarter of 2010.

The chair of the authority said that, with the finance for the port development coming from the private sector, the CTC would not need to play a roll as no government assets will be bought or sold, but in the interests of transparency and clarity he wanted to involve the committee.

Baraud confirmed that at this stage the MOU and the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) were being reviewed and the negotiations between the Port Authority, the developer and the cruise lines were ongoing, as the parties move toward an agreement and a final contract to make the project a reality.

Government recently entered into an MOU with DECCO, the Dart Group’s construction company, to build and finance a cruise facility in George Town Harbour with two piers capable of berthing up to four ships. The project will reportedly be financed entirely by Dart, which will return their investment through an arrangement with the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association. The Port Authority will, however, still has full ownership of the facility.

Baraud explained that, now the MOU was almost ready to be signed, there would be a period of time where the finer details would be worked out, firstly for  the EIA and then the parameters of the contract.

“There will be a pretty thorough review process over the next few weeks with regards to the MOU and the EIA before anything else happens,” Baraud said, adding that the negotiations between the potential developer (DECCO), the client (the cruise association), and the Port Authority would be examining the construction details of the actual facility. He explained that the EIA was now with the DoE and stated that, despite recent news reports, it was not a reduced version of the previous EIA, as proposed under the last administration, but a different assessment because the entire project was different since it did not propose moving the site or developing a cargo facility.

“The piers will be constructed in the area of the port, which has already been devastated by the mooring of cruise vessels over the years. The main goal of the EIA now is to ensure that Seven Mile Beach will be protected,” Baraud said.

The new terms of reference will now be agreed between the DoE and the developer, but he said he did not know which firm would be asked to conduct the study. He said, however, that he believed the EIA was imminent and it was a key factor in getting the whole project moving forward.

Baraud said that, at this stage, the CTC had effectively given its blessing to the project as government was neither selling an asset nor purchasing an asset and, as a private finance initiative, it would not affect government revenue.

Ronnie Dunn, the CTC chair, told CNS that representatives from the Port Board had met with the committee on Friday of last week and updated them on the details of the project and the story so far. Dunn agreed that  there was no reason for the CTC to be involved at this stage as only an MOU had been signed and there had been no exchange of goods or services with government. He said it was not a matter of giving a green light but there was simply nothing for the CTC to be involved with yet.

Nevertheless, Dunn said that once a contract was signed the CTC would determine what process would needed to be followed. Dunn said that the CTC was happy to have been appraised of the situation and was pleased with the commitment to open dialogue.

Baraud told CNS that the Port Authority was keen to ensure that this project, which he said was extremely positive, was not marred in anyway and he wanted the process to be as open and transparent as possible, with everyone who had an interest involved in each stage.

Duguay also said he was very happy that his office was also now appraised of the current situation and that the port had agreed to keep him informed of developments as the negotiations progress towards a contract.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Anon, The CTC chairman, "Dunn agreed that  there was no reason for the CTC to be involved at this stage as only an MOU had been signed and there had been no exchange of goods or services with government." Stop the ignorance! I have never seen or heard so much misinformation being spouted even after it was quoted and confirmed. Please read, reread and read again. Maybe by the 3rd or 4th time the accuracy of your postings should halfway reflect the real thing!

    • Anonymouse says:

      It is called Politics or is it Politricks.

      Some people have nothing better to do than express their imagination by whatever means possible. The old folks use to say, when you become drunk with politics your mind becomes a fabricating machine.

  2. Just Sayin says:

    Maybe the headline should be "Mac Eats Crow, again"

  3. Anonymous says:

    why would anyone embark on a massive project without FIRST having the cruise lines commit in writing to sending us ships for X amount of years?  its crazy….the port could be built and still no ships (or small volume of ships) will come because cuba and other ports are going to open up, but nobody is increasing the # of days in a week to accommodate all these ports!!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Build it and they will come.

  5. Anon says:

    The Authority Chairman says "the CTC would not need to play a roll as no government assets will be bought or sold", so does that mean that the Government will NEVER own the the new facility? I certainly hope not.

    So therefore the CTC should have been involved from the very beginning. From before the "Expression of Interest" advertisment. The results would have likely been exactly the same but the proper process would have been followed with a proper selection committee and all of this hoopla avoided. Simply a case of ignorance or arrogance. Neither of which has a place in these situations.

    There is little use for the CTC getting involved AFTER a contract has been signed. Their role is to ensure that the best value is obtained by the proper process, to select the best tender, being followed. So I find it unbelievable that, as the Authority Chairman says, "the CTC had effectively given its blessing to the project".

    • Anonymous says:

      Is it your position Sir, that whenever the Government wishes to discuss a matter with a potential developer, that they should hold those discussions via the CTC?

      I would advise you to visit the CTC website at http://www.centraltenders.gov.ky read the legislation, read the explanation of what the CTC does and then make an informed comment.

      The CTC is involved when something is either being procured or sold (goods or service). At this stage, nothing is being purchased or sold. If or when a contemplation for either is put to the fore, the CTC will certainly examine the proposal and ensure that it is carried out in accordance with the rules.

      The CTC does not exist to make decisions as to who the Government can and cannot speak to.

      further, have you ever considered the posibility that the developer may agree to transfer the facilities to the Government for a "pepercorn" after  their investment and desired return is recovered from the paying cruise lines over a number of years?

      The truth of the matter is, the CTC cannot stop the Government from having a discussion, it cannot choose who the Government can speak to, it can only ensures that whatever public asset the Government sells or uses the public funds to purchase, in excess of CI$250,000, is carried out in afair and transparent manner ensuring value for money.

      • what a mess says:

        The problem here is that Government was being resistant to involving the CTC and/or the Auditor General to ensure good value and transparency. This in effect, appearsquestionable to say the least. Thankfully the Port Authority Chairman has agreed to do the right thing.

        Not only must justice (or ethics) be done…it must also "appear" to be done!

      • what a mess says:

        Furthermore, itis evident that the Chaimanof the Port Authority (and Govt.) only agreed after the Auditor General brought preassure to bear by announcing he would investigate. Govt. responded by admonishing the AG for what…for doing his job! This of course senthe message that Govt. expects the AG to do his job…as long as he does what govt. wants.

        This is exactly why the AG does not answer directly to Politicians! To do otherwise will result in Politician’s egos growing unchecked…and as history will point out…from time to time ALL people (especially Politicians) need to be able to answer for their actions…in other words "be accountable and transparent"…provide "good gevernance") not just mouth the words when it is politically expedient.

        Excellent job Auditor General!

        A born ya Caymanian! (and my parents and theirs too!)

    • Anonymous says:

      You are right, the CTC absolutely did not give it's blessing. Ask for the minutes of that meeting under FOI. The CTC should have been involved from the begiinning of this massive fiasco because any deal will impact Governments income. 

  6. MOU says:

    What’s an MOU? 

    • Ex Pat says:

      Memorandum of Understanding

    • Anonymouse says:

      A man with an understanding far from his head.

    • Anonymous says:

      MOU means ‘Man on Uranus’

      or could also mean ‘Made of Udder’


    • Mountain Of Underwear says:

      Memorandum of Understanding – a non-binding written description of a deal which is going to take a great deal of further work and negotiation as to the details before it becomes a final contract and legally enforceable.

    • F.A. Cetious says:

      In this instance it means "Many Omens Unheeded".

  7. what a mess says:

    Thanks Mr. Baraud for listening to reason…and listening to Auditor General to make this project/process more transparent. That’s all the people want…and what we are entitled to.

    It’s time we as a people respect and appreciate the need for true transparency and true accountability. We "learn" much more this way and respect is increased throughout also.

    Tings lookin lil betta

  8. Anonymous says:

    Asking the Developer to carry out the EIA is rather like asking the fox to design the chicken house. I hope that there can be a little more distance between the two. If it remains unchanged the outcome will be inevitable.

    • Anonymouse2 says:

      When a developer does an EIA what usually happens is that the regulating authority (government) will ‘pre-qualify’  a couple of companies and the developer chooses one to do the Assessment, which is then submitted to the regulating authority who then shares and compares the Assessment with the Developer’s plans. The Developer then modifies their plans, if needed, to take into account those parts of the Assessment that has the Regulating Authority worried.

      Yes, the phrasing is odd and it could be abused but its generally a well run process. The Developer pays for the assessment but the Assessment is for the regulating authority (who will even use other experts to review it, depending on their in-house expertise, which is what I expect the Port Authority will do, unless they’re experts in fluid modeling) so its in the interst of the company doing the work to provide a fair and balanced EIA otherwise they wont get chosen again. (Either they wont get ‘pre-qualified becuase their Assessment was too pro-development and resulted in a socially disliked development or they wont get picked by the next developer because their recommendations are too impractical.) Its all about balancing competing interests and arriving at a compromise development that makes the most people (developers, environmentalists, general public) the happiest. No EIA ever said "dont build", though they may say "build different".

  9. Anonymouse says:

    Irrespective of who is involved or who dont have to be involved I still say that building it on the Western end of the island is a very bad idea.

    This monster is a unfortunate necessity but it should be constructed where the good Lord meant for it to be.

    I can just imagine it strewn all over George Town after a bad Hurricane or North Wester.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Glad to know that this appears to be moving forward. All the distraction about Central Tenders and Auditor General, I thought another great project was going to be held up.

    After all of that the Government was right and the process was fine no need for CTC or the Auditor General at this stage, well lets get going. We need some projects to get some money flowing again.

    • Joe Average says:

      Those were not "distractions", they were legitimate concerns. Now the process is moving forward the way it should have from the beginning with an awareness of the concerns and information. Democracry may be slow at times, but in the long run it works for everyone.

    • True says:

      "We need some projects to get some money flowing again."

      True, but without checks like the CDC and AG, the money only flows into the pockets of the politicians in power and their cronies.

      You only have to look at Turks and Caicos to see what happens when the checks and balances areoverlooked. Their Premier came into power with a personal wealth of arounf $1m, within 6 years it had grown to close to $100m.

      The CDC and AG are their for a very good reason, not just as a distraction.

  11. Anonymous says:

    If by “changing the shape of the sand” you mean “the beach disappears forever” then quite possibly. Without 7MB (which is not as great as we sell it to tourists) Grand Cayman really will have nothing to offer.

  12. Anonymous says:

    "main goal of the EIA now is to ensure that Seven Mile Beach will be protected"

    Will the shape of the sand against 7 mile not change with a new pier changing the currents passing through? I think some hotels/condos are not going to like the new pier.