Cruise port not settled

| 08/11/2010

(CNS): The premier told the Legislative Assembly Monday that government, the port authority and the developer DECCO are all still negotiating the details of the proposed development of cruise berthing facilities in George Town. While answering a number of questions from the opposition member for East End, McKeeva Bush said that such negotiations were always difficult, especially as the public were saying one thing, the developer wanting another thing and the government something else. The premier said the current negotiations were focused on the length of the lease the developer would get on the land which would be reclaimed as part of the project.

Bush said under the agreement signed in September, the lease could be up to 99 years but how long it would actually be was the issue in question. “The range which is provided for in the framework agreement is a long term lease and the definition of long term is between 21 and 99 years. The reason for that range is because until all the revenue, cost and risk analysis has been completed it is not possible to determine the period of time necessary for the financial viability of the project.”

The premier statedthat the negotiations were highly sensitive and still ongoing. “Obviously the developer will want as long a lease as possible and the government is working to get as short a lease as possible.”

He said the period of the framework agreement between the public authorities and Dart’s general contracting company was for four months with room for a two month extension if needed and Bush said he was hoping some agreement would be arrived at before the end of this year. He confirmed that the developer has estimated the project will take between 18-24 months to complete once work is underway.

Asked by Arden McLean if there had been any concerns raised by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK, about any aspects of the project, the premier said he was not aware of any and if the member knew anything about that he should let him know.

The government is hoping that it can come to a favourable agreement where DECCO finances and constructs two finger piers in George Town and the associated upland facilities. The developer will recoup his investment partially through fees from the cruise lines and partially through the revenue earned from the potential landside facilities ona long term lease. Once that lease is up the facilities will revert into the hands of government.

The development of the facilities will include reclamation of land for both the piers and the upland element of the project and will also require redevelopment of the downtown George Town area. There have been concerns in a number of quarters that the development could impact the quality of Seven Mile Beach and may have a detrimental impact on Cayman’s overnight tourism product.
However, according to government Cayman must develop these facilities in order to hang on to its share of the cruise business. The need for cruise berthing facilities it says has been further compounded by the arrival of a new class of mega cruise ships that the cruise lines have sated will not call at ports without berthing facilities.

With no money to fund the development of piers the government sought proposals from the private sector and selected DECCO (part of the Dart Group, the developers of Camana Bay) because as well as being able to design an construct the facility the company was also in a position to finance the project.

Government signed an MOU with Dart in April and then a framework agreement in September. Although it was announced that an environmental Impact Assessment would be started after the MOU was signed so far it has not been confirmed if the report has been completed or when it will be made public.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Category: Headline News

About the Author ()

Comments (11)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Bill says:

    "especially as the public were saying one thing, the developer wanting another thing and the government something else."

    WAIT A MINUTE!  I thought the public was the government?  This is the problem…a complete disconnect from who we are and what power we have!




  2. Anonymous says:

    Do we even know the exact location yet?  And what land are they trying to re-claim – hopefully not the wonderful old "Mr. Arthur’s" store that has been here through nor’westers and hurricanes and storm after storm.

    The public has no details on anything going on with this so-called port.




    • Anonymous says:

      I know Mr Arthur’s Store will be safe as they won’t reclaim land that far as I have seen the plan for new berthing.

  3. John Evans says:

    Have I missed something?

    In all these negotiations there seems to be no significant input or representation from the cruise companies.

    Isn’t, "Are the cruise ships going to use this if we build it?" one of the first questions to be asked before anything starts to be decided?

    In a planning process disturbingly similar to the one that created Boatswains’s Beach there seems to be a blind assumption that building the new terminal will automatically attract more business.

    It would be nice to think that the companies whose ships regularly visit Cayman might actually make a definite committment to use the new facility but in the current economic climate, and with a rapidly changing cruising market, that isn’t likely to happen.

    • JZ says:

      John, I think you need to learn more before making such doubtful comments 🙂

  4. Say it Aint So! says:

    just get the cruise port done already! Or do we have to wait until another government is elected and by then we will watch the ships sail by. Stop making excusesses. Get it done.

    • Anon says:

      Cayman cannot afford to lose cruise ship revenue. Once all or most of the financial services sector colapses, Cayman will have to rely on its tourism product. It has potential, but quit stalling!

  5. Anonymous says:

    udp…the soon come party…pathetic incompetence…..18 months of hot air….

  6. Anonymous says:

    "Cruise Port Not Settle"

    Of course CNS!  It’s not settle!  The Premier is allowed to take his time on this project!  Why should he rush it? Remember the news you all publish about Environmental impact…