DECCO still on board for port project says chair

| 16/02/2010

(CNS): Despite speculation that talks between government officials and DECCO over the development of cruise berthing facilities in George Town had derailed, the chair of the Port Authority, Stefan Baraud, has told CNS that the project is on track and that the developer is still on board. He said that, while there were a lot of issues to discuss with regard to all of the multiple elements involved, negotiations were still moving ahead and the authority hoped to have a memorandum of understanding signed before the end of the first quarter of the year and ground broken before the year was out.

“All the players are still at the table and discussions are alive and well,” said Baraud. “There are a lot of moving parts to this development that have to be discussed and not everything is resolved yet, but we are moving ahead with the talks. We are hoping to have meetings with both the auditor general and the Central Tenders Committee very soon so that we ensure protection of the public interest throughout the process.” He said government now has its own legal representation to make sure that its interests would be protected as well, but this meant that there were a lot of people involved in each step.

The chair, who is steering what will be the Cayman Islands’ largest ever public-private partnership infrastructure project, said that there were still areas open for discussion and the negotiations regarding the retail element of the port’s upland development are still on-going. However, Baraud said that DECCO (The Dart Groups construction company) had recently organised a presentation for all the parties involved with a leading international consultant, Bermello Ajamil & Partners (B&A), a multi-disciplinary award-winning design and project delivery firm, which, Baraud added, was extremely impressive.

“It put into perspective the size of the project and the many responsibilities that both government and the developer will have as we move forward with what is a complex development,” he said.

The goal is for government to build two finger piers in George Town that will enable up to four ships to berth in Grand Cayman and accommodate the new class of larger cruise ships, which will not place destinations on their itineraries that don’t have berthing facilities.

With no money in government coffers, however, the UDP administration has committed to building the facility with a private partner, and as a result has entered into negations with the Dart Group, who will finance the project and aim to recoup that major investment through a combination of cruise passenger fees negotiated with the cruise lines and the terminal’s retail facilities.

Although the project has gained support from the Cayman Islands Tourism Association and the Association of Cruise Tourism, there have been a number of concerns raised by many from the tourism industry about the negative environmental impact such a project will have,  not just on the marine and upland area of George Town, but on Seven Mile Beach as well.

An Environmental Impact Assessment is currently being undertaken, though the terms of reference were significantly reduced from those originally crafted by the Department of the Environment when the development of cruise berthing and the extension of the existing cargo port were explored by the previous administration.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    typical soon come response from CI gov…. i thought the ppm gov was bad but the udp add stupidity and inability to the mix everyday

  2. Anonymous says:

    It seems that this Cruise Port Project may finally happen after all. Hats off to those who are making it happen. We need this port.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Let me understand this better…..We sell the CIG Building to Dart for $50 mio and then we get DECCO, which is Dart, to build the dock?  …..for $50 mio too or wah?….so we sell the building to get the dock all from the same people.  What a trade up!!!

  4. Annoymous says:

    All I hope is that these developers aren’t Saudi’s. 

    If we have to go that far to get something, I for one feel the ports are a good thing, but not if they are going to be owned by a Saudi.

    Caymanians, say NO TO THE SAUDI’s.  Don’t make them fool you about they have other nationality, anyone can get citizenship in other countries, hell we sell ours for $1million.

    Stop this  project if the Saudi’s is going to be the majority shareholders.  Do not allow them to hide behind Foreign or Exempt Companies with Nominees as the shareholders.  We want to know who the beneficial owners will be not the ‘fronting owners’.

    IF the Americans stopped them from taking over their ports, then tell me why in the world would we want them?

    Saudi’s owned port in the Cayman Islands, is not GOOD for us.  Stop it, block it, march about it, petition it.  Do what it takes but do not allow Saudi’s to own our port.


  5. Dennis Smith says:

    Bermello Ajamil & Partners are definitely heavyweights in cruise port design, engineering and development. We could end up with a sophisticated, world-class port that will make us proud and legitimize Cayman as a serious cruise destination for many years to come. That experience will also generate high expectation for future infrastructure projects that are world-class.

    We can’t expect the world to forever beat a path to our door just because of our tax structure business model. World economies are competitive and constantly changing to attract new busness. Inflexible and underdeveloped Caribbean countries, overwhelmed by poverty and crime, are losing their traditional tourism, service and trade economies rapidly. This in turn reduces development opportunities and strangles entrepreneurial growth and job creation. We haven’t reached that tipping point yet, but now is the time to move seriously forward while our current business model is paying the bills.

    No country can shrink to success: growth, forward-looking infrastructure projects, competitive development and new economic expansion are essential to Cayman’s long-term foundation for prosperity. It needs to diversify its economy and continue its upward momentum as the most thoughtfully developed and refined country in the Caribbean. It will not achieve that goal by shrinking into the same economic quagmire as its Caribbean neighbors.

    I searched the net for Bermello Ajamil & Partners and found this list of projects:

  6. Anonymous says:

    Still free for the Government???

    • Anonymous says:

      It appears that government will pay very little up front, but will lose future fees from cruise ships which will go to the developer. It is not clear as yet whether and how much any politician is getting personally from the developer or otherwise. Whether that is ever revealed may depend on who is appointed as the next Auditor General.

      Does anyone remember anything about exclusive real estate deals in return for favors done for developers in the past??

  7. Anonymous says:

    I suppose B&A has a trade & business licence then?

    • Doh!!! says:

       Only if they are carrying on business locally – which seems highly unlikely at this point.  More likely, they are being used as consultants by a Trade & Business Licensed entity – DECCO – in which case their services are being employed overseas.  I am sure they have the necessary licenses to carry on business in their home country!!  If and when they commence a physical operating presence on the island, I am sure they will be licensed as required.