Cruise talks ‘above board’

| 07/02/2014

(CNS): The tourism ministry has stated that the pre-procurement bid talks with the cruise lines that will be using the berthing facilities, should the development go ahead, will not prejudice the future request for proposals even if the cruise lines are involved in the bid. A spokesperson from the ministry said all of the information discussed will be disclosed to all parties involved in the prospective bids when the official procurement began. A ministry spokesperson said that the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office is still working closely with the ministry as it takes steps towards the project to ensure it is in line with the Fiscal Framework for Responsibility.

Although the idea of berthing facilities is no longer as popular with the public as it once was (in a recent CNS poll 46% said government should shelve the project indefinitely and focus on overnight tourism and 10% said they should postpone it), the government is determined to press on and recently announced bi-lateral talks with the cruise lines ahead of the EIA and the planned RFP.

The ministry has stated that the talks are merely to determine precisely what the cruise lines will require.

“All relevant information from the discussions will be shared with users and other stakeholders of the facility and will also be made available to all prospective bidders, so no entity will have an unfair advantage over another,” A spokesperson from the tourism ministry told CNS following enquiries over concerns that the pre-procurement talks could see cruise lines who may be involved in the bid getting a greater insight than other bidders and undermining the true competitive nature of the process.

However, the ministry has insisted this is not the case.

The ministry said the discussions were to ensure that both the requirements of CIG and the cruise lines as the prime users of the facilities would be met.

“The cruise berthing project is a major investment and cannot be undertaken, or financed, without the explicit commitment and involvement of the facility’s users,” officials added.

The discussions, they added, aim to ensure the facility will meet the needs, it is able to attract the required private financing and includes appropriate allocation of risks between the various parties involved, but the bilateral talks will not give anyone any advantage.

“The ministry is working closely with the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office to ensure that the process being followed is in compliance with the FFR Regulations and is fair and transparent,” the ministry stated.

Watch Minister Moses Kirkconnell talk about the cruise dock development on CNS Business video clips:

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Cayman Islands Tourism minister Moses Kirkconnell

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  1. Please don't do this says:

    The floating hotels exploit Cayman in every way they can. Bullying local attractions to take as much of the profit as they can and leaving crumbs for the operators. We build docks, roads, infrastructure so they can use and abuse it and leave us nothing. They have even convinced us to go deeper into debt to service their insatiable need to bring their crowds that do very little good for the island. Yes we sell a few watches, maybe some perfume, and it sure seems busy when they are here. But what are the costs of supporting the cruise industry? If boat captains are getting $10US per person for cruisers and $50 per person for local bookings it doesn't take a rocket scientist to tell you what kind of customers you want.

    Oh, and all that medical waste and other trash washing up on the beaches. Much of that comes from the cruse ships as well.

    If we are going to invest and go into debt further, we should be focusing on improving our tourism product that really does bring more to the island than the cruise ships. It's not like we don't have cruise visitors now, and they are not going to go away. Take the millions and invest in improving the local product, not just getting more bodies to land in Hog Sty Bay.



  2. Anonymou says:

    The ongoing evolution of this project  and the required Environment Impact Assessment for the individual project is clear to me but the common factor invilved with all these projects is dredging a basin off George Town harbor to accomodate the ships. The impact of this basin to the sand movement along 7 mile beach is for me a major concern.

    The unsightly appearance of these finger piers to the George Town waterfront is another topic and probable of little interest to the powers that run the country.

    The dredge basin will bring in deeper water to the shore line of downtown George Town and the impact of winter storms flooding the water front is another common factor of all these plans.

    Will the tenders be kept available for when it is too rough to use the piers?  That would be expensive for the government.

    I loved hearing the Tourism Minister saying on the radio that the tender folks are in favor of the berthing pier.   If you believe that I have a bridge to Cayman Brac I'd like to sell ya.

  3. Bai says:

    For those who have not yet seen this, please do and share. Please also note the extract below from a rather good study I've read and thought readers might like to look at themselves:

    "Ensuring the sustainable development of a cruise destination has a very high cost. We reiterate the question: are we sure that the benefits of attracting cruises to a tourism destination are higher than the costs? Is it sure that the major players in the cruise industry, including cruise lines, local governments and population, shore operators, civil society organisations are taking proactive measures to ensure a sustainable future for cruise tourism while preserving cruise destinations? 

    ...there is a portion of the decision makers of destinations that pressure to promote cruise tourism but there is no policy in the local governments to control the impacts of such activity… The lack of planning that allows confronting the massive arrivals of cruise tourism is the guarantee of multiple negative effects in a destination wherever this segment exists or is under consideration like an option for its economic growth. Ports too often perceive that they need the cruise ships more than the cruise lines need them, but in fact there is a mutual need. Ports have not yet realised that with the recent expansion of the cruise industry cruise lines need new ports as much if not more than the ports need them..[and]… continue building new piers and terminals to both attract cruise ships and to keep them coming back (Klein, 2003)." 
  4. Anonymous says:

    The eia should also answer the question as to the best suited location for these piers from an environmental impact perspective. The questions for any project are when, where, what and how much.  No one is asking the where question. How and who determined that gt is the best location?

  5. Anonymous says:

    This was explained on the radio this morning.  Sorry you missed it.

    • The real bobo says:

      Hear ya whenever people keeping harping that it not so, it'd definitely so, a lot of smoke and mirrors.

  6. Anonymous says:

    C'Mon Man Who is Moses trying to fool? PPM have decided who they going with and nothing not even the results of EIA will stop them from doing this dock to help the local family business. What other potential bidders are being asked what they will need if they are successful? He think we fool fool

  7. Cat-man-doe says:

    We waste so much money and time!  Good grief!   ALL WE NEED IS A LONGER DOCK !!!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Kill this noise and clean up the dump, They are just determined to get this done because of the whole UPD-CHEC fiasco. They just want to say we got it done at the next election even if it's not Caymans most immediate need.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I listened to the tourism minister's video about the cruise ship dock and that it's construction would depend upon the environment and that an environmental impact statement is to be done.

    My question, after 10 years of governmet talking about ths berthing dock why have we not seen an environmental impact statement? I remember back when Chuckie had his big meeting on the cruise ship berthing facility they were waiting for anenvironmental impact study.

    If Moses wants to be so open how about dusting off some of those EIAs and making them public.

    If 7 mile beach were erroded by the dredging in George Town harbor it would be a knife in the heart of Cayman Islands tourism.

    • Anonymous says:

      The CI Government commissioned Mott MacDonald to prepare the "Cruise Berthing Terminal for Cayman Islands" Final Draft EIA Terms of Reference and it was released November 2013 – that's  four months ago.  Please download a copy of this expensive report from the website.  If anyone cares enough to read the catalog of reasons not to proceed, it's all laid out in there.  Chart 3.19 on page 74 is a gem.  Someone should really read it out loud to the MLAs and Ministers that are so comfortable and stubborn that they refuse to crack or even acknowledge the existence of their copies!  

      If the existing DoT, Port Authority, NRA, Customs, and Immigration Departments were all to work together as one unit with the common goal of clearing passengers and delivering a better tourist and partner liner experience, there would be longer and more efficient calls, with more time for the ellusive second tour.  With better eco-friendly permanent anchorages ships could power down and save some thruster fuel.  In port gambling would encourage ships to linger longer in our waters – perhaps into the night.  No pier would need to be constructed to deliver any of that, and it could be done tomorrow.  Getting our own government departments to work together is like some impossible goal.  So much so, that Cabinet would sooner raze a marine park and erect magical piers that we cannot even begin to finance.  None of that would solve the elephant in the room – our departments do not work with coordination towards common goals.   


    • Anonymous says:

      The previous environmental studies probably do not contain the "right answer".

    • Dred says:

      The problem is specifics.

      Over the years the project has changed several times and what we were going to do an ultimately impact has changed.

      It's like trying to make a budget for gas consumption and savings let's use the Hummer gas budget now to assess how our Honda Fit is going do. It just doesn't work. If you look at the overall area and dynamics of the UDP/China Harbor model vs the current PPM 2 Finger pier situation it would be a similar kind of comparison because the previous plan covered a lot more area and hence would create a far greater impact to the surrounding area.

      I really believe this needs to be redone unless at one point we had the exact same plan on the table and even with that certain dynamics has changed especially considering some of this goes back post Ivan and we (or I) don't know the impact Ivan had on our environment.

      I was listening to Austin and laughing this morning. It's just not as simple as using the other person EIA. Let's also consider that EIA can be limited in scope and if Dart had anything to do with it you better measure 14 times before cutting the first time. Remember for a moment how they wanted to do the EIA on the dump in BT??

      This assessment needs to be done openly so we all will know what we are trading off for. The Cruiselines want it because at the end of the day they only care about dollars but we must deal with fallout. Let's do it right and above board so we know the real deal.

    • Anonymous says:

      I'm no supporter of the cruise dock but the damage along Seven-Mile Beach was done long ago simply by letting developers build almost right up to the high tide mark. They then protected their properties with seawalls that encouraged beach erosion so all the sand got washed out and onto the coral every time there was a storm. Seven-Mile Beach may look great above water but under the water it's mostly a desert. 

    • ANON says:

      I am at a loss as to why this is even being discussed. The Mott report (WHICH EVERYONE NEEDS TO READ. GO TO THE DOE SITE) in November made very clear that ships come because, despite the hassle of tenders, we are are 'viewed as a very safe, friendly and interesting destination'. The cruise companies themselves said this. Would it not be better to ensuring that this remains the case, especially given the little display we put on at the beginning of the year? We are surrounded by examples of what can happen when we neglect our own security. The numbers have also shown that we are increasing in terms of stay-over visitors. We would be wise to invest our time and effort in that department rather than trying to throw more money and time after this nonsense.