PWD: Cruise port won’t exceed $180M

| 25/01/2018 | 70 Comments

(CNS): Max Jones, the director of government’s Public Works Department, which oversees the Major Projects Office (MPO), has said the cruise berthing facility would cost between $150 and $180 million, as set out in the outline business case, and he was confident that it would not exceed that price tag. Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell told the Legislative Assembly during last month’s budget debate that although he was certain that the project would not cost anything like the $300 million tag suggested by some, he did not know exactly what it would cost. 

During a Public Accounts Committee open hearing on Thursday, PAC Chair Ezzard Miller asked how the MPO kept tabs on how much public projects cost, in particular the cruise project, and it was explained that the cost parameters for projects were established in the outline business cases. In the case of the cruise project, it was going to cost no more than $180 million.

Miller asked if the Major Projects Office was responsible for ensuring that estimated price tags are not exceeded. Chief Project Manager Peter Ranger explained that potential methods of dealing with a project were set out in the strategic policy case. Then, during the process of shaping the outline business case, the costs are narrowed down and checked with financial experts to ensure they are reasonable. He said the cruise project was still in-line with the OBC and the figures were not secret, as Miller had suggested, but were in the OBC.

Max Jones added that the OBC was a public document and the”construction costs” for the cruise port is currently estimated at no more than $180 million. But Jones did not say whether that would cover the cargo redevelopment as well, which is increasingly being pushed by the premier and tourism minister as further justification for the controversial project, which continues to divide the community.

Miller also asked how it was possible the piers were going to cost no more than $180 million when previous estimates for building berthing facilities, as much as seven years ago, were around $250 million. Jones said he could not vouch for the veracity of previous estimates but he was sure of the figures he had given. He said he was confident, based on the information from the marine engineers and experts currently working on the project, that the OBC price tag for the project was accurate.

Government is expected to move towards the official tender for the project under a public-private partnership model, where government claims it will not be paying directly for the facility. According to the premier, the tourism ministry is still in talks with the cruise lines, as it was the previous PPM-led administration’s policy position that has now been adopted by the Unity government, that the facility will be funded entirely through passenger fees and that there will be no upland element.

Although Jones, as a senior public servant, said he was confident of the $180m price tag, Minister Kirkconnell has not been as confident about making any public declarations about the costs. In November, during the budget debates, he would not say how much the project would cost because he did not know. He said that the final cost would not be known until after a bidder had been selected, when the financing model was established and the final design revealed.

Although government has reportedly gone through a pre-qualification process, no details have been made public, which was another issue that Miller raised regarding the amount of secrecy that still surrounds major capital projects in Cayman. Miller, who is also the opposition leader, said that because bids are still opened and discussed behind closed doors and only the winner revealed, the public has no way of knowing why one contractor was selected over another and whether it was a good choice.

He said he had attempted to get government to accept an amendment to relevant legislation last year that would have seen the tendering process become much more transparent but the government refused to accept it. However, he believed that a policy change was all that was required to create a genuinely open and public process.

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Category: development, Government Finance, Government oversight, Local News, Politics

Comments (70)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    You think so?
    I looking for that South Sound Boardwalk white elephant to cost $180million.
    Whatever the cost will be, it is a flagrant waste of funds!

  2. Anonymous says:

    $180M really? CIG must have cut a deal with Dart to built it out of styrofoam. Dream on! This reminds me of when I was a kid in a sweet shop putting my pennies on the counter and asking what can I get for this. When and if we get this tin pot port what about the knock on cost of redeveloping George Town to accommodate the droves of extra tourists? Oh we didn’t think of that.

  3. Anonymous says:

    If you build it they will come…to Cuba anyway.

  4. Sinbad says:

    A port for who? This is pure unadulterated BS! Come on guys, the people are much smarter and wiser, drop this pie in the sky idea and let’s get unemployment sorted, crime under control, traffic sorted, businesses moving to other jurisdictions, outsourcing work/departments to third world countries, the cue in DVLS, Canover Watson’s assistances to justice, the court rooms problem, retirement age for all, healthcare, the envorinment, CPA stupid policies for land owners, the iguana problem, the national CCTV issue (they don’t work and serve no purpose) and the ineffective management of the RCIPS including the Governor’s office!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Make Mexico pay for it!!!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Doing nothing we get 5-6 unbiased, first-come-first-served tendering cruise ships regularly bringing 15-20k passengers a day VS. an argument for 2 parked Carnival and/or Royal Caribbean biased-ships maxing at about 10k (disadvantaging and effectively turning away the others). The $200k debt doesn’t include maintenance and forever ongoing dredging costs to guarantee depth, tugs and pilots, recurring structural marine engineering insurance costs ($10mln a year?!?), or keeping the pier in one piece over 20-50years of normal weather. Run the algorithms again without tendering and tell me I’m wrong. It is just so unbelievably dense to still be having this conversation in regards to our blue water port. From the knuckleheads that brought us JGHS.

  7. West bay Premier says:

    Why don’t the Government drop idea of the cruise ship pier , since the cruise ships don’t leave the money in the Economy like the stay over Tourism do , Focus on what is beneficial to everyone and the Economy .

    Which Tourism provides the most jobs in the Islands, cruise ship passengers, or the stayover Tourist ? Mr Kirkconnell focus on expanding the Airport and runway and let Mr Dart build a hotel .

    • Anon says:

      Could you please explain the basis for the either/or analysis?

      It seems to me that the stay over types would like an exclusive resort setting and nightlife.

      The typical daytripper wants to be bussed around, shop downtown, maybe take a quick dip at Smith’s barcadere, grab a quick lunch and then back to the ship for dinner.

      I don’t think that the overnighter in the lounge chair by the pool or resort beach by day, and club by night is even going to cross paths with the daycruiser downtown or on the tourbus.

      I think that I read that 180K plus cruisers came through Cayman last year. If each spent only $10, that would be $1,800,000. You know that they spend a lot more than that. With a dock, larger ships can dock, and the numbers and receipts will even be larger. Why dismiss a million dollar business? Cayman is a great port because Caymanians are a population superior to many of the types found elsewhere in the Caribbean (but don’t get swelt head now). So long as Cayman preserves a critical mass of charming, native, unJamaicanized, Caymanians it will be high on the tourist desirability list.

      • West bay Premier says:

        11:30 pm , Alden and Moses and Kirks must have told you what to write in that comment.

  8. Anonymous says:

    $360 million when all said and done going on past performance. We don’t even have enough beach access/facilities for the current visitors anymore let alone a ballooning crime problem that will turn away many more visitors than any dock will bring. Get your current house/infrastructure in order before gallavanting 200yds offshore to sink money that would have better results elsewhere to improve and maintain the experience of visitors and bring them back again.

  9. Anonymous says:

    This is like putting a V8 in a lawnmower. What purpose will that serve? Please put this cruise port project on hold until other more important internal infrastructure & roads are properly developed to cope with the growing number of immigrants and tourists, first. Please be more strategic and tactical. So far this unity government seems to be a Muppet show.

  10. Anonymous says:

    someone, somewhere show us the cruise ship line directive that states they’ll take Cayman off the ports of call if we don’t build a port? they can’t, because there is no such incentive to build this port…this port is clearly being pushed by ‘hidden’ interests….just stop this nonsense…we don’t need it…we have 2 million passengers as it is….what we do need is traffic management in GT (pedestrianize GT during mega ship days – it’s not hard to do so)…we do need a hugely improved Spotts…and we do need a better cargo landing facility (East End makes perfect sense)
    this port is nonsensical, will in all likelihood run way over budget and will stand empty most of the year as do ALL the other cruise ports in the region
    we need education/health/crime/housing/welfare/dump/pensions/civil service/etc all fixed way, way, way before we throw away silly money on a ‘want’, not a ‘need’

    • Ron Thurston says:

      9:25, I couldn’t have said it better. First things first! No need to go deeply in debt!

  11. Anonymous says:

    this will never happen…..cig has not got the ability to run a carpark ticketing machine never mind build a port….
    just another day in wonderland…

    • Anonymous says:

      CIG isn’t going to build the cruise port. Someone competent will win the tendering process, build it and pay for it. That’s the formula.

      • Jotnar says:

        You missed the bit where the builder recovers the cost of building it plus a profit margin from CIG – either through subsidy or by taking the passenger fees that CIG would otherwise receive ( and which they have no plan for replacing). There no such thing as a free lunch, and if the private sector build it CIG will end up paying for it plus the profit – just indirectly.

  12. Anonymous says:

    It has become blatantly obvious from the majority of comments on this article and on previous articles, and despite the earlier but now somewhat silent efforts of the Kirkbot crowd, that nobody really wants this…it will be political suicide for anyone who pushes the go button, and I would expect some major protests if the go button was pushed, Caymanians and Expats side by side for once. The whole idea is a folly for the few who would benefit….

    • P&L says:

      It doesn’t matter. Sadly. They don’t seem to care that so many of us are against this and for very good reason. When the concrete is poured and the silt is covering more reefs than ever before and the economic boost they fantasize over does not materialize… it will be too late.

  13. Anonymous says:

    From time i heard “Max Jones said…” my eyebrow raised.

    Max Jones can say anything he wants about this cruise berthing proposal coz he will be retiring from PWD (again) in a few months. He is the perfect scrape goat coz when the costs go past $180M, he wont be around to blame.

    All of the projects that I have been directly involved with where PWD is the project manager and Max as the Head of PWD, the project costs have all been exceeded by at least 30 percent, on average 50 percent, and some over 90 percent increase. Just FOI any PWD project and you will see for yourself.

    PWD is the last project manager I would ever hire, and the last people i would expect to know what the final costs on any project would be.

    • Boggy Sound man says:

      This man is a lifelong bureaucrat who will say anything to make his bosses like him more. They have no idea what this proposed fiasco will cost and when it goes over the budget, oh well they will find some good excuse for it. In the meantime we taxpayers will get it in the shorts! Look on the bright side though, certain elite classes will certainly benefit from it.

  14. Anonymous says:

    It doesn’t even cost $180m to go into space. Crooks.

  15. Anonymous says:

    What really angers me about these people in government is they deal with monopoly money, 150, 180, 300 million it is all the same to them not dollars coming out of my pocket.

  16. Anonymous says:

    You all still not getting past hearing what has been told to you from the beginning of this debate. We,WE are not paying for it. The cruise lines are paying for it through their passenger counts. End of argument.

    • Anonymous says:

      When you write comments at 4.19 a.m. you generally are not thinking straight.

    • STOP THE MADNESS says:

      Kirkbots showing how desperate and silly they are no matter the costs to the country. The PPM led UNITY government and special interests groups will destroy Cayman and create another third world #SHITHOLE to primarily benefit a select few greedy GT retail merchants with these poor decisions that will mire the country in significant long term debt.

      Those business owners that want and need the dock for the survival of their businesses should put skin in the game and commit at least CI$100m to pay for it. The groups can easily afford to do so since they have the means to raise financing and believe in the project for their collective survival. Cayman does not need the dock nor can the country afford it. Time to stop the madness.

      • Anon says:

        Third world hellholes are created by the people that inhabit them, not by docks or other inanimate objects (except maybe volcanos). A Cayman inhabited by enough native Caymanians will never be a hellhole.

        • Anonymous says:

          Government mismanagement and corruption creates the hellholes and cripples those countries. Same will occur in Cayman at this rate.

    • Anonymous says:

      You’ll need to explain the details of that a bit better. “passenger counts” isn’t a form of legal tender and I have a high degree of confidence the contractor and engineers working on the project will not accept “passenger counts” as a form of payment for their services.

      I’m just guessing what you may actually mean, but perhaps you are talking about the fees tourists pay for landing in Cayman will be used to pay for the pier? You do understand that today those fees are income to the government to pay for CS staff, road-works, health care, etc right?

      Here is the key thing to remember losing $180M in income will have the same practical impact as increasing expenses by $180….. at the end of the day WE WILL be paying for it.

      Honestly, I haven’t fully made up my mind if I support the project or not, but it is important to understand regardless of the form of payment, at the end of they day the people of these islands will be the ones paying for it in one form or another. Now it may prove to be a great investment, but we shouldn’t pretend someone is giving it to us for free or the cruise lines will be paying for it. That I promise you will not happen.

    • Ron Thurston says:

      And you are still pratting like you were told.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Wait they love this number, is that not the same as the court house?

  18. Anonymous says:

    180m for a dock? Well it makes 9m for a gym look like good value I suppose.

  19. UnCivil Servant says:

    Would Max Jones be prepared to bet his job, pension and benefits on the final costs to the Cayman Islands? Also has he and PWD ever been accurate about any project?

    Government still can’t solve the gasboy scandal much less the John Gray High school disaster for the past decade. How PWD be so confident given its track record and CIG’s expertise at cost overruns and love of change orders?

    • Anonymous says:

      Mr. Max is a nice man and smart at his job. If he says this then you know he has researched and studied it well. Thank you sir!

  20. Anonymous says:

    CNS or lawyers out there. It’s pretty clear that there is not much public support for the existing cruise ship proposal. Is there a way to prompt a public referendum on the issue? It would be so nice if the people had a say in where their money is being spent. After all, its a small island, so something like this ought to be possible. .

    • Diogenes says:

      Not unless you can get 25% registered voters to sign, the last time (and only time) that happened was OMOV ( they also did not reach the goal needed to make it mandatory but the CIG took the vote as a mandate because of the fear of being voted out)

      21,211 is the total amount of voters registered in Cayman currently so you would need 5,300+ persons (basically impossible unless you have an organized group or committee , which is what they did for OMOV)

      If you’d like a signature, I’d be the first to sign


  21. Anonymous says:

    It will overrun.

    In any event, do we consider it wise to spend $180m – $300m primarily on a 40 year old business model of selling expensive watches to cruise passengers?

    The year is 2018 and spending habits are changing rapidly.

    Younger people are eco-conscious, refusing to buy personal vehicles (Uber generation), technologically savvy (buying expensive iPhones, smart tv’s, and Echoes) over “douchey” jewellery, resource-conscious (concerned about blood diamonds and child-labour emeralds), etc.

    Add to that the overwhelming selection of activities and on-board “excursions” that the new mega-ships have on offer to their passengers.

    This entire CBF proposal makes less economic sense with every passing day, therefore, one has to wonder what is truly behind this pedal-to-the-metal push to bring to fruition?

    Let us focus on enhancing our stay over experience instead.
    For example, how about spending a chuck of that estimated expenditure on refreshing our capital – beyond the waterfront?

    – Who

    • Marl Karx says:

      This is hilarious
      This project has been in the works for years
      Come hell or high water
      The CDP and PPM coalition will do this as they have been insisting for years
      If they thought the people supported it they would have included a ballot infinitive and gotten the mandate of the people, they know it is not going to benefit the islands, they know it will go over budget and finish late and they know the people don’t support it
      and they will still do it, because our system of government has no checks and balances once elected and once in control of a solid majority, these MLAs have free reign for 4 years
      The LA members and the Ministers for planning and development are all the same persons, we have no secondary house to scrutinize these laws or plans and no midterms or polls to show the popularity of the administration or the proposals
      In short they don’t give a damn what you think, or anyone for that matter and they certainly don’t fear being voted out from the politically apathetic people of the Cayman Islands

      Instead of much needed new schools and education resources, instead of securing our borders and improving our infrastructure with the lack of public transport and so on, instead of investing in attractions and resources on island we are building a dock so that tourists can buy expensive jewelry duty free benefiting the few at the top and adding nothing to Cayman as a whole

      One hurricane or one large scale financial crisis and we will be sucking our thumbs for nutrients and gargling communal Coconut water to keep our mouths moist
      Reading those compass articles on how dependent these islands are on financial services may have struck the fear of God into this Islander

    • Anonymous says:

      – Who is on the money here, we don’t even have enough beach areas anymore for the amount of visitors coming here as it is. Public Beach, not so much, the place is a disaster. Build the dock, increase the volume and further compromise the Cayman product further due to lack of infrastructure. $360 million when all said and done is a lot of money that would be better served to revitalize and refresh the lost Cayman Experience.

      • Anonymous says:

        move the deadbeats, chair vendors, hair braiders, dope sellers, criminals off the beach – then there will be lots of room at Public Beach

    • Anonymous says:

      Gosh, I seem to be in agreement with Who. Though I’d suggest the money is better spent extending the runway to encourage European year round tourism. I doubt GT is ever going to be a selling point.

  22. Anonymous says:

    The only people that want to pretend the port is not needed or that is will cost 2 to three times what it actually will are those that have a monopoly and interest in keeping the archaic tender boats running. end of story

    • Anonymous says:

      6:21 That’s rubbish and you know it. The people opposing the dock simply realise that this whole project makes no sense at all without major support and financing from the cruise lines – two things that are most noticable by their complete absence.

      • A. Foster says:

        Yes, 6:21, You are really concerned about those awful tender boat operators. We know that you think you will get richer if the piers are put in. We also know that it is idiotic to spend money you don’t have to create something that is unnecessary. You want to take from us to benefit yourself. Get lost!

    • Anonymous says:

      More Fake News.
      Ignorant sweeping statement from a fool. I have nothing to do with the tenders and I can assure you that I am not the only one.

    • Anonymous says:

      If you are trying to convince yourself, you failed.

    • Anonymous says:

      Did your boss promise you a new watch for writing this?

  23. Anonymous says:

    The better part of 200 million dollars

    I hope this is the point where the PPM finally dies as a political party

    I hope Alden leads them headfirst into their destruction with this insanity

  24. Anonymous says:

    Really. So which ministry official got chastised or fired over the schools MILLIONS in overruns? Noone thats who.
    Or as a result fo the HSA CarePay scandal?
    Accountability much CIG?
    You cant keep up with garbage collection but we have this cast to sink, literally, after this project could have been paid for by the Chinese, by the Cruise Lines, by Dart et al.
    Now it’s come down to royal wastage from the public’s pockets!!
    It will be Cayman’s “Waterloo”

  25. West bay Premier says:

    I think that Mr Jones is talking about the Public Works Department building the pier , not a professional builder .

  26. Anonymous says:

    Government focused on pleasing the Cayman 1%, so that tourists can walk off their cruise ships and buy overpriced T-shirts and other worthless shit

    I would love to run into Alden or Moses inside a supermarket, I would chew them out there and then

    Assuming our Noble Lords and Ladies of the LA even buy their own groceries they probably have manservants to do that for them so they don’t have to interact with the rabble

    • West bay Premier says:

      Anonymous 5:32 pm , I agree with the first sentence of the comment, and wish that the other 98.99% of the population could see that , and send this Gov looking for a new job.

  27. West bay Premier says:

    The Cayman Islands now collects a head Tax on every cruise ship passenger that come to the C.I now, and the Cruise line have to pay it .
    What would / could happen after a cruise ship pier is built, the cruise ships could stop coming to Cayman. Then the C.I Government would be begging the cruise ships to come back , then the Cruise Lines says back to the negotiations table and Cayman Government has to give up 50% of what they are getting 100% of today without the pier . And Cayman Government would also have 300 million dollars pier loan to pay for . That 50% savings on the head Tax is a great amount of money to the Cruise Lines in their savings account. The Cruise line can say you keep your new pier and Islands we don’t need them . I don’t think that the Cayman Government has any contract with the Cruise line to prevent the above mentioned scenario from happening

    Some People who are in business with you just waits till they have you in the corner to put the screws to you if you’re not careful .
    Mr Kirkconnell and Government better be very careful and not too greedy.

  28. Anonymous says:

    “Max Jones added that the OBC was a public document” – where? Does anyone have a link to a posted copy of the OBC?

    CNS: If anyone has it or can find it, We’ll post it in the CNS Library with the rest of the cruise port documents.

  29. IloveCayman says:

    Fix the dump first!

  30. Anonymous says:

    Nothing to see here. Move along people.

    • Anonymous says:

      Can cns post a link to the OBC so we can see what is included in the $180m. Does it include environmental costs of saving the reefs, consultants fees, financing costs, project management fees etc etc

      CNS: All the documents that we have on the cruise port are uploaded to the CNS Library here. I haven’t found the OBC yet but I’m still looking and will upload when I do.

    • SMH says:

      Poor Max
      He just screwed Moses and MacAlden with that summary at PAC especially when there is a new design in deeper waters. Maybe they haven’t shared all the details and costs associated like coral relocation, professional services costs, dredging costs and estimated final turn key costs with him which is strange after all isn’t he a expert construction and project manager? SMH

  31. Anonymous says:

    Let’s make it interesting. With a cap of $180 million, let us have Mr Jones agree that he gives up $1,000 in salary for every $1 million this project goes over budget. Let him put his money where his mouth is.

  32. SSM345 says:

    Unna all need to stop taking us for fools. Biggest pile of sh*t I ever heard. Pray tell which project any Govt. has ever completed without running over budget? And by running over we all no we nah talking about a couple dollars. Tired of this f**kery.

  33. Anonymous says:

    Yawns….$180m initial cost to fool the public, actual cost after all overruns, corruption etc (refer to schools, alleged court house cost) circa $500m.

  34. Anonymous says:

    So if the school projects are anything to go by, we can expect the actual completed cost to be upwards of 300m.

  35. Anonymous says:

    Ok… so only 180m more than we can afford. Not bad.

  36. Charles Darwin says:

    They couldn’t get the price tag right for a certain delayed school that went waayy over budget, yet they’re confident in the pricetag for a major project never attempted before in the Cayman Islands?


  37. Anonymous says:

    Just curious, what is the Public Works Department batting average on coming in on, or below, budget on anything?

  38. Anonymous says:

    That is hilarious. Bookmark this story when the costs hit $200m, then $300m and then $400m.

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