George Town port MOU with CHEC expires

| 14/11/2011

sol.jpg(CNS): The MOU which the premier signed with a Chinese firm to develop the cruise berthing facilities in George Town has now expired. McKeeva Bush entered into the agreement which called for exclusive talks between government and China Harbour Engineering Company on 13 June. The deal called for the firm to undertake a feasibility study by the end of July with a view to beginning the project this month but there has been no news on the progress of the talks or when a main agreement to build the facility will be signed. According to the Jamaica Gleaner, George Town MLA Elio Solomon was in Portland last week looking at the work CHEC has undertaken there. (Photo Jamaica Gleaner)

Solomon told the Jamaican newspaper that he found the work at the Rio Grande Bridge at St Margaret's Bay very impressive and said CHEC was obviously using proven and tested technology.  “We are visiting to see what China Harbour is doing in Jamaica, and there is some discussion and negotiations with China Harbour in terms of doing work in the Cayman Islands," the UDP backbencher stated.

He said that the ratio of Chinese workers to local workers was “commendable” and he said the local labour was dominating the workforce at least two to one. Solomon reportedly stated that CHEC might be contracted to construct the US$200 million pier and cruise facility.

The premier has stated on a number of occasions recently that he will get the cruise project done but has not made any comment regarding the status of talks with the Bejing based firm or when a heads of agreement may be signed.

At the time he signed the MOU the premier stated that the Chinese were looking for a 49 year lease for the development and that they would also undertake the redevelopment of the Spotts jetty, where ships can anchor in bad weather, as well as construct a pier in West Bay.

Since the agreement for exclusive talks was signed, however, there have been few updates from government about their progress. The plan to begin the Spotts project, which was due  to be started prior to the signing of a master deal, was abandoned during the summer when the premier stated that interference from the opposition and the audit office wanting to know things had led to the plans being shelved until after the negotiations were completed.

“I told the governor I was sick and tired of all this,” the premier told the Legislative Assembly in September. 

He explained that the plan was for CHEC to begin that project and spend up to $3 million on the build out at the same time as negotiations continued towards the substantive agreement for the main cruise berth project in George Town. Had government not been able to come to an agreement with the Chinese then it would have paid back the $3 million that CHEC would have spent on the Spotts facility but if a deal was reached it would have been part of that main agreement.

Bush claimed that because the opposition had complained about it, the auditor general started asking questions about where the $3 million was and where it was going and what account it was in, misunderstanding the goal.  Bush said that in his frustration he made the decision to defer the Spotts plans until the talks with the Chinese for all the elements of the deal were completed.

The premier said at that time that the MOU signed by the two parties was valid until November, when he hoped the main agreement would be signed.

See the Jamaica Gleaner story here

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  1. Anon says:

    Elio looks like such a hard worker in that photo..

    Oh well.. Looks are deceiving…

    • Anonymous says:

      His jawbone also looks fairly normal again, or was that photo taken before that.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Is it only me or does Elio sorta look a bit Chinese himself?  I had to do a doubletake to make sure it wasn't one of CHEC's VIPs posing in the photo.   

  3. Knot S Smart says:

    We came almost as close to getting this one as Marquez came to beating Pacquiao.

    Almost but not quite there yet… And most likely will never be there…

  4. Anonymous says:

    Ha. W/ Ellio doing this type of scouting…look like we going to all be singing….."nobody canna cross it"…..

  5. Whodatis says:

    "Young man, there's no need to feel down …"


  6. Anon says:

    No dock, again, you can kiss cruise tourism bye-bye. One too many ‘soon comes’ the FCCA I’d wager.

    • Anonymous says:

      No cruise tourism ( particularly mass market ) would actually not be such a bad thing if stay over tourism can increase. The cruise lines control business so tightly that we are left squabbling for crumbs. Stayover is much better. Carnival cruise shippers in particular undermine our core and more lucrative tourism market.

      • Anon says:

        Whilst I prefer stay over tourist to cruise cattle, I still realize that I need cruisers to keep my business viable. You may not like them, but they bring a lot of revenue to this Island. Without them many GT shops will be forced to close, devaluating the tourism product and shopping options for our stay over guests. Are you going to provide jobs for my displaced workers, when I close due to the lack of a port? Are you going to rent the vacant storefronts in GT? Do you have any, evenly remote, idea of the challenges faced by GT merchants? I think not.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Ellio inspecting bridges? Oh well, I guess kicking tires is still the best way to test a car.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Ellio Solomon, "ministerial council in the Cayman Islands" – has he promoted himself to a new post? Or maybe he is now pretending to have an engineering degree? Can't we find someone more qualified to do this, if it is even necessary?

    • Anonymous says:

      Actually, CG is the Ministerial Councillor for Tourism, while Ellio is Councillor for Housing. Here we have the Councillor for Housing looking into dock works while the Councillor for Tourism is away with the Premier to discuss Cayman's finances.


      At this rate we will soon have doctors in charge of policing, RCIPS officers in charge of Agriculture, Prison officers in charge of the hospital, and so on and so on…

  9. Free trip Foolio says:

    honestly, what exactly does this man know about any of this stuff (i thought CG was the cruise tourism expert) besides being a mouth piece for his mentor? i guess that is why he got boxed in the tea room.

    Please remember that Foolio is the Minister for Housing and the person who has really been in chargeof  NHDT projects since June 2009 – i hope folks see them results like tearing down Dr. Frank's NHDT houses only years later but the funny thing is that the real story and dramas have yet to unfold.

    Has Cayman ever had a bigger wind chime as a mla? He is a spin doctor for his policitcal mentor who tries his best to distract people who used to trust him from the real isues without ever providing a sensible and thorough answer. As the saying goes "Fool me once bad on me, Foolio me twice can never happen in 2013"


  10. Anonymous says:

    what a hunk *dreamy eyes*

  11. Anonymous says:

    the incomptence of this administration never ends……..

    • Caymanian & Used to be proud of it. says:

      There are a couple of good men in this current administration and I mean that literally.  The unfortunate thing is that they will probably continue being coached by the premier and forget that they are honest men with integrity and fall into the clutches of the rest of the motley crew.  The premier used to be a man who fought for the entire Cayman Islands, but now they are all XXXXX.  Guess they see the handwriting on the wall. If there is anyone in the current administration who can put the people first instead of blindly following the leader, now is the time to speak out.  Save your country and you will save yourself.

  12. Keep him says:

    Why did the Jamaicans not do us a favour and keep him. Oh well, it seems no one wants him!

  13. Typical udp says:

    Typical politician, feeding off the people and getting fat!