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Ex-port boss warns of cruise trouble

| 22/03/2017 | 47 Comments

(CNS): The former director of the Port Authority of the Cayman Islands has warned that the current and previous governments have already spent millions of public dollars on consultants to find a financing model for the development of the cruise berthing facilities but none of them have come up with a solution that can work. Paul Hurlston, who is running for office as an independent candidate in George Town South, has said that this administration is going down the same road and making the same mistakes of the past as it tries to find a way to pay for the costly project and avoid destroying the environment.

The issue the best way for Cayman to develop a cruise berthing facility continues to be exceptionally controversial. On Monday evening, the tourism ministry announced that a US$500,000 contract had been awarded to consultants to crunch the numbers, but Hurlston said millions had already been wasted to get the same answers.

The long-time port veteran, who was sacked by the authority’s board in 2015 following an internal cost review, described the consultancy contracts as akin to giving the bean counters “our wristwatch” for them to “tell us the time” for a handsome fee.

Posting a comment on this website yesterday, he said that PricewaterhouseCoppers (PWC) was awarded a consultancy financing contract in 2014 to advance the cruise berth concept but from the start the consultants found it challenging to come up with a financing model that could work for Cayman. He also revealed that KPMG’s bid then was rejected but that they, like PWC, had been employed before by the government to offer financial advice but the results were the same

Wondering what is so different now, on the eve of an election, as government continues on what he said was the seventh attempt to finance and build cruise berthing piers, Hurlston warned that this government is repeating past mistakes.

“It is important to understand that consultants do not make decisions but rather analyze the data and provide options for the government to use in making the decisions,” he said, noting that this has happened repeatedly. When the government took office in 2013, if it had been open to understanding the past efforts, it would have seen it was heading down the same road — “a road that had been explored before and it was a dead-end”.

“What I can say is that I tried to tell them this but I was called all kind of names and labelled an obstructionist, just for trying to tell the facts. We have come full circle at the people’s expense,” Hurlston posted in the CNS comments on the latest news report about the polarizing topic.

The former director said he intends to talk more publicly about what has happened over the years behind closed doors at the port as government attempts to build the piers.

Hurlston said he supports cruise berthing but the marine and land environments must be protected, the project must be financially viable and be controlled by and beneficial to all the people. Many believe, however, that such a list is impossible to achieve as there has never been a cruise berthing project in the region that has met those requirements.

Facing criticisms about his handling of the authority, Hurlston also revealed in posts in the CNS comments that while PACI faced some financial challenges relating to Hurricane Ivan in Grand Cayman and Hurricane Paloma on the Brac and was hit by the financial crisis, contrary to popular belief the port was always profitable. During his 14 years as the port director the average year-end cash in the bank was about CI$3 million, he claimed.

“At no point in my 14 years were operating revenues less than operating expenses,” Hurlston noted.

He said that unlike many other government companies or authorities like MACI, CAL and the Turtle Farm, the port has never been subsidised.

He denied that he was fired after the Deloitte review and said if those consultants were analysing the entire port operations before he left, it was done in a clandestine manner without a proper contract, as he pointed to board minutes that imply this may be the case.

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Category: development, Local News

Comments (47)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    We don’t need anymore damn reports. What we need is I leader with a actual leadership ability, look at FDR. The man had a pair, a conscience, and some guts. We have the love child of Hoover and Harding in almost every post.




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  2. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Hurlston was fired because he is incompetent. Have you ever tried talking to him? Even the top shelf at bar crudo can’t work hard enough to get a personality out of him. If he is the future for Cayman politics we’re all in very serious trouble.




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  3. Anonymous says:

    I confess I am no expert but my choice would still be retractable piers. I think (could be wrong) they said there wasn’t room for them. It seems so strange that they’re happy to waste millions on concrete piers and plough through 30+ acres of endangered coral, yet they can’t find or make room to accommodate retractable piers on land. Add to this I imagine the costs and work involved with maintaining concrete all that way out to sea would also far outweigh the cost of retractable piers. I think they were worried about other technical aspects, all of them simple issues to address in the request for tenders, so that bidders come up with solutions when making their bids and proposals. Is just my opinion! 🙂




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  4. Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. says:

    Sounds as if it is time for Payment For Results Only. If a consultant’s proposal cannot work, and it is not used, why should they be payed? If you use a consultants proposal, then pay them. Time to write a contract for the consultants accordingly, or will that need another 1/2 million dollar consultant? LOL again.




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  5. Paul Hurlston says:

    The governemnt has to get final approval from the U.K.’s FCO to build cruise berths. FCO experts came to Cayman from 8 to 10 January 2014. They advised that the PWC business case justifying the need for cruise berths was at the least very weak and required further work. They laid out in no uncertain terms 10 steps that the government must follow before they would consider the project.




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  6. Sharkey says:

    Why can’t we the people can’t except the facts , and see , and understand that because if it’s my family or friends or political party that they cannot do anything wrong . Or why can’t we read something and see the facts of the subject.

    I think that we need to be more objective in our thinking about the issues that we are faced with in our daily lives.
    Reading the comments on this article , and looking at the thumbs buttons , I am seeing that people are thumbing the comment down because the comment is factually true and against one friend or party .

    I think that we need to remember that we are all human and are subject to make mistakes, and we should be able to see when one make a mistake and be able to help correct it . But we can’t correct it by supporting it , because two wrongs don’t make it right .




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  7. Anonymous says:

    Paul was the higest paid individualnon the CIG books. Overpaid and under delivered. He is sore about being canned for is fat pay check and just blabbering on against his ex employer. Hopefully people are too smart to put him back onto another do nothing but collect position.




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  8. Anonymous says:

    There is a reason all these companies cannot find a way for the Government to finance the port. Because its a complete shambles of an idea to begin with. There is absolutely no good reason to build this expensive and ecologically dangerous cruise port. Most Caymanians would not want to see this go up I’m sure. Caymanians would rather see this money be invested into helping Caymanians and not the privileged few who will benefit from such an investment.




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  9. Anonymous says:

    “Profitable”? What utter nonsense. This is the same logic that CIMA and CIAA apply in thinking they are “profitable”.

    All these glorified government departments do is collect a tax on behalf of the government and the people. That doesn’t mean they get to spend it all and that any left over is “profit”.

    By that logic the IRS would be the most profitable government agency on the planet!




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  10. Op Clean Water says:

    This government has a history of poor decision making and this is another example of their complete incompetence. We don’t need a damn dock, we need level headed individuals who are fit for the position to better Cayman. If anyone wants another example look no further than the massive dump pile that is a testament to caymanian politicians ignorance. Third world mentality and third world results. Time for a change. Forget the damn dock.




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  11. Anonymous says:

    I for one who have worked on the dock for 28 years never saw Paul and couldn’t get a meeting with him. He doesn’t want a dock and won’t build one so all who don’t want a dock in GTS ,vote for him. He was paid a high salary , $24,000 CI per month and I can’t understand why? For what? Couldn’t he or anyone else not have done that job for less? CPA Accountants get about CI$ 100,000 per year and $120,000 per year unless they reach partnership. Wouldn’t that be enough to run a small port? Look at all the money Government could have saved and help cut the cost of living.
    Sorry Paul the truth is the truth you could have done so much more at that dock to solve problems so much more. You closed your eyes and made the tourism sector of our dock look like a ghetto with the screaming and cursing and stealing .You could have set up a proper dispatching system so the conflicts could have been avoided. Signs in front of tourists don’t make for a quaint little island. Shouting and screaming don’t make for a quaint little island. The system sucks and one in your seat of power could have solved it.




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    • Anonymous says:

      CPA accountants make $65,000-100,000 USD (!!!) working 45-70hr/week




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    • Anonymous says:

      24kCI a month? Are you sure of that? Can anyone confirm it? If it’s true, I see why the statutory authorities were so opposed to the Public Authorities Law for the last 10 years, claiming it infringed their “independence” when what they really meant was that it finally, thank god, allowed Government to clamp down on the ridiculous salaries and bonuses their bosses were manipulating their Boards into giving them, without needless to say, any corresponding superior delivery of services to Government or the public at large.




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    • Anonymous says:

      CPA’s make way more than 100K- 120K/year.




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      • Anonymous says:

        Not unless you make partner. Most CPAs I’ve worked with made in the 60 to 80 range USD, and worked dog hours.




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  12. Smithy says:

    So let’s all agree to adopt the old “Land that time Forgot” attitude and see how far that gets us in the 21st Century. At least the PPM was open and honest about its plans and took opposing views into the equation.

    The scent of sour grapes is overwhelming.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Where the piers are concerned, I think they were determined to take this route no matter what, regardless of cost or opposing views. They were about as bull-headed about this as Bush was with the Chinese deal he wanted so bad. Makes you wonder…




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  13. Anonymous says:

    Hurlston just has sour grapes because he was the highest and most over paid civil servant in government. The coat review showed he wasn’t worth the massive salary and the public should know he is not worth a government ministry salary over 100k either.




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  14. Blackbeard says:

    Why are we destroying our envorinment for piers that will only provide minimal investment? Has any of politicians been on a cruise? Man these people (tourist) will spend $10 on a T-shirt and coconut water.




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  15. Anonymous says:

    We don’t need to invest in our port. This is a silly infrastructure project that will cost millions. Let’s leave foresight and planning and the bulk of the cruise tourism business to Cuba, Mexico, and Jamaica. We don’t need these tourist dollars. I agree with the tender boat lobbyists … keep on running the quaint old diesel boats up and down and forget about infrastructure investment.




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    • Anonymous says:

      you have no idea how much those tourist dollars bring in. The ENTIRE water front exists only because of the cruise shippers. Think about that for one moment. It means without them. 90% of those shops would become empty. What a great sight that would be huh!




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  16. anonymous says:

    There’s only 63 days until an election and the public has little time to study and scrutinise.

    Solutions should not be withheld, geez.




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  17. Anonymous says:

    you mean the ex boss that wont talk to the ordi ary public when ge was there? i am one who can attest…..




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    • Anonymous says:

      Same ex boss actually refused to talk to anyone, which is part of the reason why his contract was not renewed.




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  18. Anonymous says:

    Check the cruise schedules for next year …. It may already be too late.




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  19. SKEPTICAL says:

    Anyone else old enough to remember Andy Williams’ popular song – ” The Impossible Dream ” – ?……..




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  20. Anonymous says:

    While I applaud Hurlston for his comments on the matter, where are his solutions?

    We the people shouldn’t have to ask for them! Those running for office should be openly informing us on their positions and their policy proposals.




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    • Anon says:

      Be patient man, geez. Campaigns will be ramping up soon and everything is going to come out. Including solutions.




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      • Anonymous says:

        Yep they all gonna come up with big bold promises only for nothing to be done at all in the long run. Lip service as always is rife as elections approach.




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      • Nunya says:

        Where have all the laugh buttons gone?

        Apparently candidates still think they can win elections by describing the problems.




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  21. Anonymous says:

    Paul Hurlston just showed the world what Moses Alden and the progressives are really about. Thank you




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  22. Anonymous says:

    More PPM skullduggery being exposed just in time for elections for the world to see. They have no shame




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  23. Revelations 3:45 says:

    Dear PPM

    I now understand why the Minister of Tourism and Port Authority Board with Errol Bush as Chairman and Jerry Kirkonell as Deputy Chair decided did not renew Mr. Hurlston’s contract. He clearly did not agree with the course of action continued waste of public funds and knew too much while offering an alternative view to Minister Kirkonnell, the Ministry of Tourism and the Board that could not be ventilated publicly.

    We see clear evidence where you have stacked the political appointed boards under Moses Kirkonell’s portfolio e.g. Port, CAL with family members and loyal supporters who are happy to comply with his directives at the expense good governance, transparency at great cost to the tax paying public.

    The fact that there are no investigations by the ACC and Auditor General’s office into this matters is shocking. Are the Progressives exempt from the principles of real and perceived conflict of interests?




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    • Anonymous says:

      And there wont be any investigation as long as this bunch of lackeys are in power. Feather there own nest at out expense. He looked good throwing tires on the belt, that is one job which will suit him and the other blow bags real well.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Revelations 3:45 What is shocking is your attack on the ability of the Auditors General.Over the last ten years or so we have had some very hardworking and outspoken AGs who would have reported what you are alleging if it was happening. The fact that they have not reported it suggests that there was nothing to report. Which means that in your haste to lay blame on Moses, you only succeeded in clearing his name. Wow.




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  24. Anonymous says:

    Why is Kirkconnell so hell bent on blowing our money for another report? Why don’t they just use what they already wasted our money on. Him and his PPM buddies including Roy need to go!




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  25. Poly Trix says:

    Cash in the bank does not equal profitability.




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  26. Bluff Patrol says:

    If they cannot show how it will be self-sustaining or profitable then perhaps we should not build it.




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  27. Sharkey says:

    How can we the people sit down and let this Government destroy our hard earned taxpayers money like this ? People grow some B***s and tell them that they can’t spend any more money on this cruise ship dock. It’s because they have spent millions of dollars that was not necessary.




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