BVI follows new UK tender rules for port project

| 02/08/2012

15.jpg(CNS): The government in the British Virgin Islands has announced its intention to launch an open tender for a cruise pier redevelopment project in that country. Like the Cayman Islands government, the eastern Caribbean island which is also a British Overseas Territory, has signed a similar fiscal framework agreement with the UK government and committed to following international best practice when it comes to public procurement. It is understood that the government had looked at giving the project to an interested developer without tendering but has reconsidered that position and opened up the process.

The islands premier, Orlando Smith said the move was in line with the UK agreement which the BVI has the Protocols for Effective Financial management which commits the BVI to acting in line with international best practices in public procurement.  “The cruise ship pier development is one of the important projects that has been under consideration for some time,” he said in an official release. By introducing greater transparency into the process for awarding large contracts, the premier said it was government’s intention is to ensure the most competitive offers and best value for public money.

In a situation not dissimilar to that here in Cayman the government had been hoping to sign a deal for the redevelopment with specific interested investor without a tender process but because of the UK deal it changed course.

Smith said because the country’s financial secretary could not confirm that attempts to “ensure a credible restrictive bidding procedure” were in line with the agreement the proper way to proceed was to stop the talks with the one developer and issue an open invitation.

“My Government is determined to include the people of the BVI in the process of modernising our territory – both in developing major new facilities such as the cruise pier and by operating in a transparent, efficient and cost-effective way. We will all be stronger as a result,” the premier said.

Despite warnings from the overseas territories minister that the Cayman Islands premier needs to get plans for the development of cruise berthing facilities, here, back on track with international best procurement practice, McKeeva Bush has stated on several occasions that he will be working with China Harbour engineering Company to build Cayman’s cruise port .

The Beijing based firm was selected by Bush, and has never tendered for the project, which has grown considerable since government first asked for expressions of interest from the private sector in developing the George Town cruise berthing facilities.

On his visit to Cayman earlier this year, OT minister Henry Bellingham said that the CIG must be in line with international standards for procurement before the UK could agree to the development going ahead. The governor has echoed those sentiments and stated that the auditor general and the chair of the central tender’s committee are advising the premier on how to get the process back on track.

However, comments from the premier who has referred to Alastair Swarbrick, the auditor general as the governor’s hit man on several occasions does not appear to be taking that advice.

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  1. Ninny Mouse says:

    No-one loitering at Vegas cash machines then?

  2. Just Sayin' says:

    The middle child is always the best behaved.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Considering CIG's willingness to give away or sell off vast chunks of Grand Cayman to developers it surprises me they haven't taken the same approach to the cruise terminal that was adopted for the Grand Turk Cruise Center.

    This was built and is owned by Carnival who presumably regard it as a good investment. It features everything a cruise shipper could want in a compact, uncomplicated location.

    Bearing in mind that the year-round climate in the Cayman Islands is much better than it is in TCI (which, like the Bahamas, can be a miserable, cold and wet place in winter) doesn't that make you ask why none of the cruise lines have come forward as partners in the Grand Cayman project? Maybe they have long-term plans that don't include the islands as a future destination?

    I know one of the major concerns in the UK about this project is that not one of the major cruise lines (and Carnival, who run about a dozen different cruise operations, are based in the UK) have shown any hard commercial committment to the proposed cruise dock and without their support it's just going to be several million tons of concrete sitting there spoiling the view of the sunsets from Rackams.

    • Far Canal says:

      The cruise lines have been in discussions on more than one occasion in the past (going back at least 10 years) with successive governments with regards to financing the cruise terminal. I'll leave it to others to reason why deals were not agreed to.

    • Anonymous says:

      Maybe they don't want to deal with crooks.

    • Anonymous says:

      Have you been to Grand Turk??? Nothing at all grand about it – Carnival must have got the land for nothing! Also I worked on the project and this cost less than US$20m for all the land side facilities with incoming tenants to the shop units paying for their own shop fit out…..

      Sounds a lot cheaper than the GC deal????

      • Anonymous says:

        I do know GT and was there when the dock was being built, even met the former premier who told me they originally planned to build it right off Cockburn Town but public protests killed that.

        GT is a nice little island apart from the winter weather and the biting black flies round Hawkes Nest, still got the character that the Cayman Islands lost years ago but you can also find in some of the out islands of the Bahamas. Much easier to get 'belonger' status there than it is to get PR in the Cayman Islands and far less hassle building property on the island. Great wall diving just off the beach. I can't ever remember seeing Bull Sharks, big Eagle Rays and Manta Rays on regular basis in the Cayman Islands but you can out there. You also get Humpback Whales passing by in January/February and the place is nothing like (or at least it wasn't) Cayman Islands prices.

        You can go picnic on Gibbs Cay and look in the surrounding waters for rays and Lemon Sharks (beats the heck out of Stingray City), mid-afternoon works best with a dusk run back.

        A lot if it is completely undeveloped (there's a big chunk that is probably never will be) and that price tag doesn't surprise because, even with what's currently going down out there, Carnival weren't having to pay off everyone and their Mother when the deal was done. At least out there the politicians were savvy enough to accept whatever their cut might be it would come from the operation itself not as an upfront handout. If I understood correctly the Carnival site, or at least part of the site, was a former US military facility anyway.

        But I do take your point. If Carnival tried to build something similar on Grand Cayman by the time everyone on the island took their cut the tab would be $200million not $20million, which is probably why they want nothing to do with the proposed George Town project.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Now this is how things are supposed to be done, Mr. Bush, you allow British Virgin Islands' Premier to make you look so inept, incompetent and uneducated in your thinking processes.   Why is it that BVI's leaders can see the wisdom in doing things the way the UK has guided i.e. best international practices, while you insist on doing the exact opposite?   You must have given your teacher in school so much trouble, you don't seem to like authority figures telling you what to do.   You might think you are a rebel for a good cause, but that good cause escapes the rest of us who are just shaking our heads at your stubbornness in refusing to implement best practices.   This is why BVI will go from strength to strength, and Cayman will be sliding down the totem pole.

    • Anonymous says:

      The leaders of BVI like Bermuda are strategic long term planners that looks ahead  50 to 100 years and plans accordingly.  Sad to say we in Cayman refuse to do that and will only plan for 1-10 years therein lies our problems.  Leaders of BVI leads, our leaders follows.  Our leaders follow the Chamber, Investors and Facebook groups sad but true.

  5. Anonymous says:

    What a difference it makes for a country not to have a McKeeva Bush in charge.

    Honest Government gets things done and development prospers in those countries who have ethical Governments. In contrast Cayman has McKeeva Bush who cannot achieve anything because of the corrupt culture he has allowed to be established and take a foot hold in out country.

    Well done BVI.