Archive for November 2nd, 2012

UK lays down law to Mac

| 02/11/2012 | 185 Comments

simmonds.jpg(CNS): The overseas territories minister has written to Premier McKeeva Bush demanding that he implement the Framework for Fiscal Responsibility exactly as it was signed and warning him to stop the current plans for the cruise berthing facilities until the process is back on track with best practice. In the letter, which Mark Simmonds has asked to be shown to the Cayman people, the British official makes it clear that the UK is no longer prepared to accept any deviation from what it sees as good governance. In a damning indictment ofthe premier’s decision regarding the FFR and the cruise facilities, the minister warns he will reject the port proposals as he delivers an ominous warning.

In a statement released to the media Friday afternoon the governor explained that Simmonds had found it necessary to write to the premier about both issues and had requested his letter be published in the public domain. (See below)

“As many people in the Cayman Islands will be aware, the UK Government has for some time been concerned with the way in which the procurement of better cruise ship facilities has been conducted,” the governor stated as he pointed out the need for Simmonds to write to the premier because of the outstanding issues regarding the passage of the FFR and the cruise port, despite numerous warnings from the UK.

“The Minister has asked that his letter be made available to the people of the Cayman Islands so that there is no misunderstanding of the UK government’s position on both issues,” the governor said.

“The UK Government supports the aim of enhanced cruise ship facilities and fully understands the potential economic benefit to the Cayman Islands,” said Duncan Taylor as he insisted that the nationality of the party was not the issue.

“We encourage investment in the Cayman Islands by China and other countries. It is of critical long-term importance to all parties that proper procurement processes are followed in line with international best practice,” he added. 

In his letter Simmonds states that the premier’s attempts to pass the FFR into law with changes is unacceptable as is his continuation with the port development talks without making efforts to get the process back on track.

The minister tells the premier that if he does not pass the FFR as he signed it he would have no option but to conclude that Bush was not adhering to good governance. Falling short of indicating the exact consequences, Simmonds speaks about having given detailed considerations as to the “alternatives” open to him if McKeeva Bush fails to heed what appears to be a final warning over the FFR.

In the tradition of UK understatement and diplomatic language, there is no doubt that this is a serious warning about how far the UK may go if the premier refuses to follow the directions of the FCO.

See Simmonds' letter in full below.

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Airport denies Canadian deal

| 02/11/2012 | 29 Comments

OwenRobertsAirportGCM.jpg(CNS): Officials from the airports authority have denied entering into a contract, agreement or arrangement with Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC) regarding the redevelopment of any of the islands' airports. In a short statement released on Friday, Steve McField, the chair of the CIAA's building sub-committee and deputy chair of the authority board, said the authority had no intention of  abdicating its legal responsibility for the islands' airports. The statement comes in the wake of an announcement circulated last week by the Paramount Group about the progress of talks between the various stakeholders involved in the development of an expanded airport and runway in George Town by the Canadian group.

The release from Paramount indicated that the CCC proposal was well advanced, with local partners on board and a team of relevant experts already pulled together. Proposing a $200 million investment via a concession deal with the airports authority, the CCC had indicated it would be financing the project via landing and other related fees that would be collected at the airport, as well as the development of major retail facilities and a doubling of passenger capacity in exchange for a forty year concession. It was also offering an immediate injection of $30 million to deal with initial safety and other improvements

However, McField said, “The Cayman Islands Airports Authority (CIAA) has not entered into any contract, agreement or arrangement with Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC) to carry out any building works, land side works, or airside works at Owen Roberts International Airport (ORIA), or Charles Kirkconnell International Airport (CKIA).

“The Board of Directors of the CIAA takes this opportunity to restate its declared position that the Board of Directors does not have any intention to abdicate its Legal Responsibility for ORIA or CKIA, and will not relinquish control of ORIA or CKIA to any entity or organization that the CIAA may enter into contract or agreement with to carry out building works, land side works, or airside works at ORIA or CKIA.”

It is not clear if the authority is planning to continue discussions with CCC if other proposals are on the table or whether the planned airport redevelopment project would be subject to a tendering process.

Early this week it emerged that the premier has also signed a memorandum of understanding with the San Miguel Group based in Manila and the major shareholder in Philippines Airlines, which may also include some investment in Cayman's airports.

Related articles:

Airport-deal-on-table

Mac-signs-deal-in Manila
 

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