Port contract made in secret

| 25/11/2012

port view.JPG(CNS): The man leading the negotiations with China Harbour Engineering Company over the proposed George Town cruise berthing facilities admitted that government was days away from signing a secret contract with the Beijing firm before the UK insisted that the premier stop the talks. Speaking during the Chamber Forum on Friday, Alastair Patterson said that when he took over the talks some five months ago, he had deliberately kept the discussion “below the radar” because he believed that the deal should not be “negotiated in the press or on the radio”. He revealed that the deal had been completed and was about to be inked behind closed doors before the FCO put an end to the plans.

Although the project represents one of the biggest infrastructure developments that the Cayman Islands has ever undertaken, Patterson confessed that the final agreement was negotiated behind closed doors and would not have been seen by the public before government had committed to going ahead with it.

Patterson said this was by design because he thought that it was not fair to CHEC. Bizarrely, he also told the audience at the Future of Cayman Forum’s panel discussion on infrastructure that it would not have been fair to the public either to know the details of the deal before government committed to it. He said that while everyone was still arguing about the details, nothing would ever have been done, and stated that, as a result, the details of the contract were negotiated in secret.

The consultant denied that there was a major upland component to the deal or that CHEC was going to get all of the passenger taxes. He did not elaborate on the details of the contract he had finalized but he said it was worth around $200 million.

He said that while CHEC had failed to qualify as a potential bidder following the invitation for expressions of interest in 2009, by 2011 they were “qualified”. Patterson did not explain how but said he had taken the negotiations to the point where CHEC and government were ready to sign. He described these secret discussions as intense as the Chinese were hard negotiators but he did nt elaborate on the details of the contract that he said had been ready to be signed. With the job pulled, Cayman was now back at square one where cruise facilities were concerned, he said.

The revelations came as a shock to Howard Finlason of Royal Construction, the local partner of GLF, the firm that had been in talks with government over the facilities before CHEC, who was also at the forum. He described it as “incredible” that, at a time when government knew it had to be more transparent, Patterson would have deliberately sought to negotiate and then have government sign a contract without the people of the country knowing the details.

Finlason said that now that these secret, closed door talks had been stopped, he looked forward to a much more open and transparent process. He warned, however, that until the direct political interference in projects of this kind stopped, it would be almost impossible for government to arrive at the best deal.

The cruise port was one of a number of issues discussed during the special break-out session on the need for a National Infrastructure Plan.

Moderated by Wil Pineau, CEO of the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce, the panel included Dr Gelia Frederick-van Genderen, Director of the Cayman Islands Water Authority; Gary Austin, Industry Executive for the Caribbean Region for IBM; David Watler, Vice President of CUC; Brad Watts from Bodden Holdings; and Tristan Hydes, the Deputy Chief Officer in the  Ministry of District Administration, Works, Lands & Agriculture.

The failure in communication between the public and private sectors was one of the problems highlighted by panel members as a stumbling block to a national plan during the discussion. Frederick-van Genderen pointed to the problems that Cayman would face without one in the face of increasing development. She pointed to the impact that Dr Devi Shetty’s medial city alone will have on the country and its resources and said there was no coordinated plan to deal with it.

Billy Adam reminded the audience of the history of plans that have been drawn up in Cayman going back to 1972, all of which were ignored by successive governments, he said, because of corruption. As a result, the people no longer trusted government to do the right thing.

The Chamber Future of Cayman Forum took place at the Ritz Carlton and focused on two of the five drivers identified as the key to the future of Cayman’s economic fortunes at a conference in 2010: "Build a smarter infrastructure" and "Develop talent". 

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  1. Anonymous says:

    So, first Cline, then Ellio, then Alistair?? No wonder nothing has happened in 3.5 years, everyone playing catch-up.


    Also, when the hell did Alistair become lead negotiator? Does Ellio know about this??

  2. Anonymous says:

    Every day we see more and more the reasons why we need the Framework for Fiscal Responsibility!

    Responsibility – totally absent in the UDP Government.

    Thank you Mr. Patterson, we know that you did not really know how you were damaging the UDP Government with truth.

    Can the UDP do anything honestly?

  3. BoggySands says:

    We would fall over from shock if we knew all deals that were done in secret.


    This type of wheeling n dealing is no different to any other done by the UDP & Premier


    These types of contracts should be processed thru the once-upon a time, White-Paper


    where the public's opinion was sought.


  4. Anonymous says:

    My few words on this article is

    1.  It does not take two hundred million to build a cruise birthing terminal.

    2. To build / extend the previous terminals so that the cruise ships can dock next to the dock to embark passengers easier should not be that expensive.

     I dont know what the are planning to build on that cruise terminal but it is way too expensive for a cruise terminal or birthing facility.

    I really think that 200 million dollar deal had some under table hand in hand money passing.


  5. Anonymous says:

    In a normal country, public tenders are just that, open to public scrutiny, there to be transparent and open. Any normal country knows that.


    Secrecy is devisive and uneccessary, and will always lead to charges of corruption. There is no need for it at all. Unfair to the Chinese says the man? Sounds like he is trying to justify something unjustifiable.

  6. Anonymous says:

    At the end of the day, we still dont have a cruise terminal….and from a position of cruise industry leaders 10 years ago or so, we're now the laughing stock of the cruise market…..many people (for whatever reason) dont particularly care about the cruise market in cayman, perhaps for some based on a real lack of understanding of its significance and importance to the sustainability of the cayman islands

    we can all keep writing nonsense here, oo-ing and aah-ing about who kept what secret, and for how long, and what naughty boys they've all been….meantime, its so bad downtown that even dart is closing store after store after store and the marl road is awash with rumours that other major business names are on life-support

    if our main concern as a country is that we want (for whatever given reason we justify) to be aware of every step of the process…..lets do this: someone set up a website or a facebook or whatever with all the parameters for a cruise development in cayman (how many piers/head tax/casino or no/more retail on it/no retail on it/how many years can developer keep the monies/etc/etc) and put it to a democratic vote on all elements…..

    then, the govt can go with the answers from all of us hugely informed people (yes, saracasm flying here) and go find a partner

    the country needs a cruise port….whether its one with just 2 piers and a bus terminal, or a port with a waterpark, hotel and swedish sauna…..whatever it is, the country needs it yesterday…..if the country has a cruise port, the downtown businesses can employ people, they can import goods and pay duties on them, the employees can feed their families by purchasing in the supermarkets, trickle, trickle, trickle down….not to mention, the first and last impression of the cayman islands by a cruise passenger will be that "cayman knows what its doing, i want to come back…..only longer, as a stayover"……and when that happens, nobody will care a bit about who did what in secret….because we'll all be rolling in the money….its really that simple.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Pheeeeeewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. Letting the stink out before the crap hits the fan???????????????.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Foolio was so puffed up and crowing like a West Bay rooster about his handling the negotiations with CHEC for the government..  Looks like Mac gave him a vote of no-confidence when he brought Alister on board to clean up the mess Foolio left.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah but who will get to clean up the latest mess from Mac's new mouthpiece. Poor Alister so busy to hold on to on his 15 minutes of fame that he won't stop and think what he's spouting is pure Macnonsense.

  9. The Rt. Hon. Anon says:

    I have some sympathy for Al Patterson here. He works in this industry, so his appointment as adviser/ negotiator isn't inappropriate.  In the normal run of business  he has a duty of care in not disclosing sensitive information. Just because this was a big Govt contract wouldn't change the modus operandi, and just because the contract was unpopular doesn't mean he shouldn't have accepted the appointment.  It isn't up to him to give details to the press, it is Government's responsibility to be transparent in their dealings.


    Also I fear that Al's invoice for all his efforts isn't likely to be paid too soon either (or if ever) knowing how Mac does business. 

    • Anonymous says:

      You're WRONG! Read it again. Al said he believed the deal should be done in secret. This is his opinion, not a position forced on him by government.


    • Anonymous says:

      Or put another way, it is OK to agree to do the wrong thing for the nation as long as you are getting paid enough for it.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I can wait to see what the PPM does with the port next year whne the are in charge..

  11. Anonymous says:

    Secret? Mac? Surprised? Newsworthy?

  12. Anonymous says:

    This must come as quite a shock to Ellio to find out that he was not leading the negotiations.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Wow!  How many laws did Mr. Patterson break? Not to mention acting in a manner that is counter the the Tendering Rules.  Sound like something that the Anti-Corruption committee should investigate. What a sad sad state for Cayman to have more and more people believing that its OK to deceive the people. Democracy = voice of the people!!  We have a right to know and any effort to deceive us or 'keep us in the dark' should never be tolerated and should be addressed with full strength of law!  Police, Governor, Anit-oorruption Commission, please investigate this now!!

  14. Anonymous says:

    I hope you all remember this when it comes to the elections.  McKeeva and his puppets do not give a flying f  t as to what we think.  Nor do they care about what is best for this generation and those to come.  You know some of hte details from before and this seemed to be a far better deal for the Chinese than for us.  Remember this please.  Your Premier has become so arrogant that you the people, who have all the power to vote him in or out, do not matter any more.  Please show him who really is boss at the next election.  Remember, the PPM did not carry on like this. They have major projects to show for what they did during their 4 years.  There were also a lot less law suits.  Now the Premier is ranting about process again.  He just wants to do what is best for his pockets and have no one say anything about it.  It is time to get rid of this monster once and for all and all his lackeys who do nothing but agree with whatever scheme he comes up with, who are too afraid to stand up to him. 

  15. Anonymous says:

    What a surprise….

    But seriously talks need to be re-started ASAP with the proper tendering process and transparency so Cayman does not lose the million+ cruise ship tourists each year !

    • Anonymous says:

      No honest Contractor will bid on anything as long as Mac is involved. It would be a waste of time and money. The Port will have to wait until after the election.

    • Anonymous says:



      And should the chinese win the tender due to them having the better finacial arrangment,( 1-1/2 percent ) the knowledge, the special equipment, the engineering, and last but not least…to hire local caymanians where it sees fit.

      Will you and these baboons still bash Mac, Ellio,and Alistiar.

      • SKEPTICAL says:

        Get a life ! I would be amazed if proved wrong, but I don’t think the Chinese have a word for
        ” Philanthropy ” – they couldn’t give a tuppenny toss about Cayman . You can bet your life that in any contractual situation, the only people who will ultimately benefit are – THE CHINESE.

  16. Dreadlock Holmes says:

    Oh no!! Don't tell the people!! Don't do that. Don't give them any information on what you have planned for their island with their money.  Instead, work in "the best interests" of CHEC. What do they mean by all this? This is totally bizarre. Premier Bush is not King Bush, Shah Bush or Pope Bush. He's an elected official. And can just as easily be un-elected.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Alastair, yiou are now a DOUBLE TRAITOR. You are a traitor to the people of Cayman and the expectations of fair and transparent dealing by government on our behalf. You admit this and this makes you a traitor to we the people.

    By revealing thiese secret negotiations you are also a traitor to those you dealt with in secret.


    I will remind you that the current financial mess with the Turtle Farm was made in secret.


    The deal with Cohen and Company by Mr. Bush was made in secret. Now he claims the Cohen deal would have saved Cayman 50 million dollars in interest cost. If this is true then it should have been done with the blessing of the public up front. We would all welcome such a deal. The fact is that if it has to be done in secret then there has to be somehting to hide. Hidden things are usually bad.


  18. Anonymous says:

    His confession should be enough to charge them all with breaching the law and regulations that govern the way government projects must be handled.  RCIP, Complaints Commissioner, Auditor General, Anti-Corruption Committee, Governor's Office – someone really needs to investigate this matter and someone needs to tell this government – NO MORE DEALS UNTIL ELECTION in MAY 2013!  This revelation is absolutely disgusting.  Imagine the Cayman Airways deal and the For Cayman Alliance Deal – even now we know very little about them.

    • Anonymous says:

      I notice you didn't mention the Attorney General

      Mind there is no point in it.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Way t!o go Alastair !


    Extending your philosophy further, why bother having MLAs and commitees and the tendering process when we can save some major money and run government much more efficiently by just having a couple of people in charge who conduct ALL government business in private instead of going through the slow bureaucratic mess we now have. Afer all,  we the people just get in the way and slow things down when government is trying to do good things for us in secret.  Why should we even have to go to the polls to elect people to represent us when we can jsut sit back and let the few in charge handle things for us in secret. Your way is obviously a much more efficient way of getting things done. Do we really need all of those pesky back benchers and those useless oppostion members taking up space in the Legislative Assembly and drawing big paycheques? And similarly, do we really need a Constitution of Bill of Rights? Do we really need a courthouse and judiciary when we have such able men as yourself willing to do what is best for us in secret so we don't have to be bothered with all of the details? You truly are a visionary and will go far with your way of thinking. 

  20. Knot S Smart says:

    This reminds me of a story where a reputable high society lady was propositioned by a wealthy man:

    'Would you go to bed with me for a million dollars'  he asked her.

    'Of course' she quickly replied.

    He then asked her ''Would you go to bed with me for ahundred dollars?'

    'NO! What do you think I am' she screamed at him.

    ''Well. We have already established what you are. At this stage we are just haggling over price' he calmly reminded her.

    The point I am making is that some people will do anything for a price – in this case, assist in concealing some very important information from the people of the Cayman Islands…

    • bear baiter says:

      This actually happened quite some years ago. George Bernard Shaw was attending a social gathering where he encountered a very egotistical debutant. He first suggested a million pounds and then suggested one pound.

  21. Anonymous says:

    This is the same thing going on with the Dart dump relocation and the closing of Westbay Rd, a sercret signed behind closed doors with the current Government, that they are trying now to make transparent. But guess what, that mess could also be reversed and it will be.
    Instead of “voting straight” we are going to “Vote Out” the UDP.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Patterson and mac in secret deals with the chinese, if this doesnt smell like someone farted 6 times and stuck your head under the sheets I dont know what will. CHEC must have been wetting themselves wondering how they got so lucky with these two idiots. I wonder who will start squeeling first to save themselves, this is going to get good

  23. Anonymous says:

    WOW!  Thank God for the UK Intervention! Imagine our biggest project to date in a bad economy and they were going to do it in secrecy? WOW!

  24. Anonymous says:

    More saddening is that speculation in Mac trying to delay signing his fiscal agreement with the UK now reads somewhat true. Truly saddening is that any other speculation may well hold elements of their own truths discrediting McKeeva of any possible Honorary integrity. Mac you're a disgrace to your country, but more importantly you're a disgrace to yourself.  

  25. Anonymous says:

    These people have no right to spend public money in secret. Perhaps they should move to china, because obviously, they don’t like democracy.

  26. Anonymous says:

    I’ve been in Cayman for 7 years now. They were talking about the cruise terminal when I arrived and it seems like it’s back to square one. By the time it’s built the cruise lines will have moved on!

  27. Anonymous says:

    Well Alastair and Foolio, you have allowed yourselves to be turned into mindless puppets doing the puppeteer's bidding, and guess what, you are left to take the fall, just like Cline, when things fall apart.  You have allowed your credibility and "professional" reputation to take a beating over this and it is highly unfortunate for you.  It defies all logic that people could allow themselves to be used like this and destroy their own reputation because of trying to justify their foolish actions.   However Cayman, remember who was behind this, sure, it is easy to crucify the puppets, but don't forget the master puppeteer who gets people to foolishly do his bidding.  Remember it May 2013.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Why did it have to be done in secret? Thats the one and only question you need to address. My take on it is that if it is deliberately kept secret then someone has something to hide. If that someone regularly avoids proper records and regularly does the same secret negotiation, then I have to suspect that the perpetrator is trying to gain personally from the business of government. If that were so, it is corruption pure and simple. Dont be fooled, if that is what is happening it is not an action without victims, because the losers are always the people of the country concerned, they pay more for the service being provided regardless of the project, be it building a dock, obtaining loan money, whatever, if someone is taking a slice then the country ends up paying.

    Who knows if this is happening, but I know that consistently hiding the proceedings suggests an ulterior motive.

    The solution? Insist on proper negotiations, in the open and recorded, and give the audit staff freedom to go after the facts no matter where they lead ! bet I know where it would lead!

  29. 007's distant cousin says:

    Question: Why didn't Mr Patterson simply sit down 'in secret' with the Governor and the experts that are employed by the FCO to deal with things like this to work out a game plan?

    Answer: Because he knew from the outset they'd tell him it was a non-starter.

    Is this guy really so dumb that he never imagined that the various UK security services wouldn't pick up on a major deal involving China and a UK Overseas Territory?

    Real World calling Mr Patterson – There's no secrecy over something like this because all electronic communications are monitored 24/7 and the first email that linked the Cayman Islands with CHEC would have been pinged by somewhere like GCHQ within minutes of it being sent and on the desk of someone at the FCO within hours.

    All this did was delay the inevitable.



  30. Anonymous says:

    Absolutely amazing, though not surpising, that the largest public contract to be signed in the history of the Cayman Islands was being negotiated in secret. The question now has to be who is going to take this project forward and ensure that the upcoming tender is prepared in such as way as to ensure transparency, fairness and the best value for money for the Caymanian people? Obviously this will not be achieved if the process is controlled by the current government team whose agenda is obviously to bring in CHEC at all costs!

  31. SKEPTICAL says:

    Wow Mr Patterson – a new strategy for winning friends and influencing people.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is "THE THIRD WORLD" strategy for winning friends and inluencing people not the kind that  First World countries adopt.  Cayman has become nothing more than a Banana Republic it has become corrupt to the core and can only be saved by direct rule from the UK like TCI.  For all the corruption that has happened and is happening this place is no better than TCI and the UK government need to come here and take care of this place at once. 

  32. CRITICAL says:

    Not much of a secret now is it ? Are he and bush out of their minds. Be interesting to see the reaction of the FCO – doubt they will be any happier than anybody else would be, to receive a poke in the eye with a very sharp stick. Good luck Mr Patterson – reckon you will shortly have a chance to enjoy (?) your 15 minutes of fame.

  33. Anonymous says:

    wow…alistair patterson and folio…what a team….zzzzzzzzz

    cayman got very lucky that nothing was ever signed….

    • Billy U.D.P Freemoneyforvotes says:

      Whew, that was a close call, thank God for the UK the FFR came just in time.

  34. Anonymous says:

    Wow, Alastair seems to have come down in the world to be involved in this sort of mess of McKeeva's.

  35. Anonymous says:

    Revoke his status and deport him.

    Treason against the Cayman Islands.

    Shame we can't cant o the same with his master.\\


    • Anonymous says:

      His master can be collared

    • Anonymous says:

      I fail to see how one can commit treason against a mere territory.  Surely one can only be treasonous in respect of a sovereign entity.

      • Anonymous says:


  36. SANDFLY says:

    Reason #602 why Mac and his party have to go. Your vote must be adjusted, all our present politicians can not be trusted. Clean sweep 2013 except Ezzard and Arden.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well it’s a good thing Alden and the PPM stood up and stopped this as well as the FFR. Meanwhile C$C were at the trough feeding with Patterson

      • Anonymous says:
      • Anonymous says:


        So you know for sure that Ezzard and ppm stopped this project.

        We'll see what the people have to say about them come 2013. blocking  progress for the 55,000 people who live here.

        Seems like all you on this site glorifying the stoppage of the port   , dont realise that this is your country and infrastructure you have now agreed to  put a stop to.

  37. Anonymous says:

    Get rid of McKeeva Bush Cayman.

    • Anonymous says:

      I can hear the mourning bells sounding! When will Mac ever learn that things done in the dark always come out in the light! Pls Brother MacKeeva save your-self from daming your soul for a few pennies!

  38. Polly Tricks says:

    What a joke.  The single most important contract in Cayman's history and Mac was trying to get it signed off in secret behinf the UK's back as a rush job. The attempt by the government to do this was as stupid as it was dishonest.