Cruise port to open 2012

| 15/04/2010

(CNS): The premier has said that government is hoping that the new cruise-berthing facility will be open in October of 2012 in time for when Cayman hosts that year’s Florida Caribbean Cruise Association conference. McKeeva Bush revealed the proposed completion date (weather permitting) at the official signing of the MOU between government, the Port Authority and DECCO on Thursday morning. The MOU which was released to the media will pave the way for official negotiations to begin on the $150million project between the Port Authority, DECCO- which will be the project manager if the deal goes ahead – and the all important cruise lines.

Government also confirmed that with the signing of the MOU initiative DECCO will be completing the environmental impact assessment and entering into discussions with the Department of the Environment.

At present Dart Enterprise Construction Company (DECCO) is proposing to build, design and finance the cruise berthing facility if an agreement can be reached between all the various parties. MLA Cline Glidden who has been the premier’s direct representative throughout the negotiating process, said that there are no guarantees however that DECCO would necessarily be the general contractor or that it would be entitled to take the retail space once the project was done.

He explained that the ‘agreement to agree’ is that DECCO will be able to compete with all other possible bids to be the general contractor, supply financing or lease the retail property but they would if negotiations were successful be the project manager.

Before the document was signed the premier said that Cabinet had approved the Memorandum of Understanding on Tuesday. He stated that with no money available to begin, what he said was this essential project, the decision had been made to enter into a private/public partnership. He said DECCO was selected for a number of reasons including their proposed financing arrangements, project time-lines, ability to start relatively quickly and the fact that DECCO is a local business of high standing in the Cayman Islands, with a proven track record.

“The United Democratic Party government is committed to using this type of joint Public / Private sector model to fund capital projects which will greatly benefit this Country. Given the economic conditions globally and our current dire financial situation, we are faced with the stark reality that we are simply unable to raise the required financing for this critical project,’ he said.

“In this situation, the most logical solution – and the one which we adopted – is to invite and accept private sector participation for projects such as this one; which have the ability to generate self –sustaining revenues, without requiring additional cash injections from Central Government.”

He said the need for cruise berthing facilities as part of the overall development of the Cayman Islands tourism infrastructure has been understood by all governments for some seven years now but his administration was committed to completing the much needed enhancements to the port.

Bush warned that all other major cruise destinations in the region already had walk on facilities and Cayman had to develop its own piers. “The longer we delay in addressing this issue, not only will we remain at a competitive disadvantage, but we will also stand to weaken the second pillar of our economy, which has supported us for decades,’ he added.

“Not only will it deliver a superior experience for visitors who arrive by sea; but it also represents tangible evidence of this Government’s unwavering commitment to facilitating the long-term interests and sustainable growth of our cruise tourism product.”

Following theofficial signing Glidden explained the contents of the MOU and said after intense negotiations it was more detailed than anticipated and the goal had been to address the areas likely to cause the most public concern.

Glidden said the government had every confidence that DECCO would deliver but the MOU states that it  will be subjected to competitive bidding and will only be selected if it offers the best value for money. He said in the MOU DECCO had asked to be treated equally. He also reassured the public that the Port Authority will retain control of all the space to be leased which will be dealt with on the same open and competitive basis.

The goal was to negotiate with the cruise lines to pay back DECCO if it was to beome the developer as anticipated for its investment through fees which would replace those currently paid for tendering and the PA’s current revenue streams would not be impacted.

Glidden said that the closer these fees could be to the $4.50 that the ships currently pay to tender passengers the easier the negotiations with the cruise lines would be.

The West Bay MLA explained that in some jurisdictions the cruise lines had made the direct investment for the development of berthing facilities and therefore took control of the facility. The method adopted by the Cayman Islands Government with its own private partnership agreement would ensure the country kept control of the development..

He confirmed that no concessions had yet been given away and that all work would be in compliance with Caymanian laws. “We expect some work will involve offshore expertise but anything that can be done locally we will insist that it is,” Glidden stated. “This is a significant project with difficult and complex coastal marine works and there is very limited experience in Cayman so we expect overseas contractors to be involved.”

Glidden said that throughout the project Caymanians would be given priority to work and benefit from the development.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The Chuckster was the man with the plan and nowMac is following the same plan and model but with DECCO and not Atlantic Star.

    The only exception is that the UDP has decided not to separate the cruise and cargo operations and this will create a disaster on the dock as cargo volumes incrementally increase during the construction ofthe facilities and before they are completed.

    Imagine thousands of passengers and 40 foot containers mixing during the day because cargo volumes will be at the point where night operations won’t be sufficient to cope with it any longer.

    Why the change from The Chuckster’s plan ? All because of politics !

    What will the result be ? One thing is that the project has already been delayed by one year. Secondly, the plan will not work and you cannot have a mixed use facility in such a small area and avoid accidents and  really bad disembarkation and embarkation experiences.

    So more visitors will go away with a really bad experience of our destination and the knock on effect on this message to other potential visitors is going to result in a further decline of our stay numbers.


  2. CayMen says:

    Honestly is anyone surprised at this decision I wonder now since there is no one around to question the inner secret dealings of this momentous deal o since Mr Dugay is gone If the Negotiating MLA’s company GMC still has a  labor contracts to provide workers for Dart and if these discussions and meetings should be held in the public forum in the interest of  the public and transparency. The Honorable AG Sam Bulgin has stated this previously.  I  wouldn’t hold my breath for this to take place however.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Iron Clad,

    XXXXXXXXX Did you not read how this project is being funded?

    The money is coming entirely from the cruise lines with no borrowings from government. Secondly to show your completly in the dark, due to the countries finacial position the FCO to date, will not allow the Cayman Islands Government to borrow not even one red cent! No exceptions! Not  even the Premier, Financial Sec, Opposition could change that part of the PMF Law to allow for what your suggesting. Once again please get the facts straight before you start with your rants – it makes us all look bad.

  4. Iron Clad says:

    Talk about Determined…

    With the country’s economy in the ‘red’ state(which was NO doubt primarily caused by successive Governments) and my old Mackie Boy at the "Controls" who is supposed to be tasked with doing ALL to recover the economy(and is NOT), is now signing a deal(with DART/DECCO-a close comrad), to build a this berthing facility for a WHOPPING $150 million!!!

    Doesn’s McKeever understand that this facility can wait just a little longer as this is not entirely mission-critical?

    Clearly he doesn’t give a RAT’S behind about the countrys deficit. He is just DETERMINED to get his "Projects" going for all the OBVIOUS reasons.

    Wow!!… Just shoot me. This is killing me anyway to see how this man we Premier is just digging this country deeper into  the hole.

    People, we MUST STOP this CRAZINESS…. Let’s all come together to stop this man in his path of destruction. Please!!


    Iron Clad

    • anonymous says:

      It boggles my mind that you do not see the investment of $150M in the country as not dealing with the deficit!
      It is clear you do not understand the economic model of this country. The CRAZINESS we must stop is silly blogs like yours.

      Hopefully this project will put enough money into the economy to save your job….no matter what it is.

  5. Anonymous says:

    GT once was OUR capital – now it is becoming a cruise ship terminal.

    We are being offered a new ‘town center’ which doesn’t belong to us.

    Are we peons being shuffled around at the big land owner’s beck and call?


    • Anonymous says:

      It is still the capital… just because one part of GT is primarily outfitted for cruise ship tourists, doesn’t mean that the whole ‘town’ is. Furthermore, when you look at most places in the world, isn’t their capital city generally the most bustling?

  6. Seriously says:

    Whats interesting to me is that the contractor gets to carry out the marine environmental study … err … surely thats a conflict of interest and who exactly will have sight of this study?

  7. anonymus says:

    What about the traffic in this part of town,is it going to be any better, or worse?

    • Anonymous says:

      Tunnels will be created under the present George Town in order to move the traffic away from the cruise terminal and port area.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Heres a thought and timeline from someone who understands the business…..

    Detailed negotiations to contract – 6 months (EIA can run concurrently – but are they really doing one ? – No !)  = October 2010

    Detailed design and permits – 12 months  = October 2011

    Mobilisation of supplies and equipment – 3 months  = January 2012

    Build out and completion of 1 pier for 2 ships – 18 months  = July 2013

    (They can’t build both piers at once because they have chosen to leave cargo where it is for now and so cargo and cruise will have to continue to operate during the construction which prevents them from doing both piers at once)

    Build out and completion of second pier for 2 more ships – 18 months = July 2015.

    Those are the facts ladies and gentlemen.

    Now I am not a PPM or a UDP supporter… fact I am not entitled to vote in your country I just understand the business so please spare me the PPM or UDP labels.

    My considered view is that Mr. Clifford’s plan to separate cruise and cargo but leaving both in the George Town harbour was the most sensible plan that I have seen to date and the UDP’s decision to abandon that plan was not just a fundamental error but has delayed the project by at least one year. If the Government of the day had stuck with that plan much more would have been achieved in a shorter time and we would have at least one pier ready to receive ships this winter season.

    But such is the nature of politics…….especially in a small country such as yours.

    Having said that……all the best to you all.


  9. Carol Busby says:

    Dart Island, Dart port, and Dart seven mile beach. I hope it doesn’t become Dart Islandssss…Stay in Grand Dart Island.

    • Twyla Vargas says:

      You know something that bogs my mind, is why some people are so much against Dart and his business adventures in Cayman.  He is using his own money wearing his own clothes,drnking from his own teapota, and minding his own business.    So why are some anonymous people trying to turn up his food cart on every corner.   What is it that this man has done wrong here on the Island, and why are some people so against the Premier offering his company contracts, like Building the Dock/Port or what ever we want to call it.  Cayman should be proud of Dart City and all of the trimmings.  To me it is the most beautiful place on Cayman.  Visit there on a Friday night,  It is pure shock an awe.

      Can the Government afford to build the Port?  I really dont think so, and if Dart Company can do it then what is the problem,?  and If Dart Company can build it, then why should’nt he have some grace extended to him for doing so.   If I rub your back why cant you rub mine?   If I bought the peas, why cant I have some of the soup.    Look at the Bi-Pass, where in Cayman is more beautiful,?   We objected to that too, but all day we are using it for short cut.   I do not know who are behind these objections, but I have a stinking feeling that there is nothing beside envious competitors.  There are some people who have made business here on this Island, have done very well, made a killing, Rich, weathy and enjoying every inch of it,  but just do not want to see anyone else get butter on their bread.  It is time we live and let live.

  10. Green Flash says:

    Look what happened in the BVI – after the environmental protection injunction and a trip to the Privy Council construction can’t even start until 2016.  And there is nothing Mac can do about it  . . . .

  11. Anonymous says:

    Decco (Dart) were awarded this contract based on their providing the financing for this project, Mr. Glidden stated last year on TV that they were being awarded the contact based on the fact that were local and had the money right now. It now turns out that they are not providing the money, they are going out to tender for the money and also for the contractor, since they are not qualified to build the facility either. So, why are they there? To add on an additional 15% as "developers"? We don’t need a developer for the port, we need a builder. XXXXX

    • Anonymous says:

      We need a marine construction contractor who has built ports not a general contractor who has no experience whatsoever at building a port.

      15% and the rest of the markup.

      Talk about self interest XXXX and wastingthe country’s money unnecessarily in difficult economic times. 

      The financing will be marked up with handling and administration fees.

      The design and engineering costs will be marked up.

      The construction costs will be marked up.

      The MLA who owns GMC providingall the labour to Dart will also have his mark up.

      Then there is the final great mark up to the you know who’s.

      This is when we really needed Dan, no wonder he is no longer.

      Cayman, you are now going to pay dearly for your foolishness at the polls one year ago.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Well, in listening to the press conference, Mr. Graham of Deccoo could not have been more ambiguous in his answers. What to expect from the a company which has never built a port facilility and was probably the most inexperienced of all the companies which submitted Expressions of Interest on this project. Will we ever find out who the other companies were, what were their qualifications and what were they offering?

    • Anonymous says:

      Of cause not because the UDP do not want transparency.

      Surely from 12 bidders showing expressions of interest, I am sure there were many very qualified companies who had actually built a port. Unlike the successful bidder the Dart/GMC/McKeeva group.

      No wonder Dan is gone.

  13. Anonymous says:

    And when the new port causes Seven Mile Beach to disappear, will we still have cruise ship visits??

  14. Anonymous says:

    Yes "Sir" welcome to Cayman the "Grand" is gone, as a matter of fact we should rename it "Mas Tortugas".

  15. Sure says:

    We all know who will be getting rich off this project!!!!!

    • Twyla Vargas says:

      SURE, I know I would,  and  why not, anyone who has the chance to make a little change for their pocket  will do it. you would too if had the opportunity.  There is a little saying that goes like this  "One for you, One for me"   Why not once its honest.

      • Iron Clad says:

        Why not once it’s HONEST…???

        What part of this whole ‘DEAL’ appears to be honest to YOU?? huh?

        Furthermore NOT everyone would be dishonest enough do these ‘Special Interest’ deals and to rob the country of public money for their personal gains. There are many who ENDEAVORS to earn his/her money honestly.

        What side of the fence are YOU on???


        Iron Clad


        • Twyla Vargas says:

          Truly Iron Clad I am siting on top of the fence, watching the grass on each side grow.   A truly good place to be.

      • Anonymous says:

        I understand what you say Ms. Vargas, but I think it is wrong for politicians to get anything even if it is "one for you, one for me"! No politician should be involved in that kind of thing. That is wrong! That is like "buying a politician" & that is illegal. It should not happen.

  16. noname says:

    I want to see if any the naysayers who opposed Atlantic Star bid now complain especially when they are now appointed to the various boards and panels what a sick little game politics is I wont hold my breath, I want my new Dart Port authority shirt though Mr Chairman and can i get a job at the port bar oh sorry i got to check with the new owners. Its over Cayman truly sad to see this place go they way it has

  17. Anonymous says:

    "will be open in October of 2012 "

    hahahaha excuse me



    • British Bulldog says:

      Could be barking up the wrong tree, but I detect a certain cynicism in your posting. Care to elaborate?

    • Anonymous says:

      and how many years after the promised completion was Royal Watler completed? This is a complicated project and complicated projects take time to get them right.  Don’t waste time, but lets not kid ourselves….

      • Pending says:

        No doubt as well, if it is not completed by the time of the next elections and something turns out to ahve happened / be horribly wrong the PPM will get the blame, just like all the other huge projects that are started by our illustrious, illiterate leader.