Miller raises corruption concerns over port bid

| 03/10/2018 | 84 Comments
Cayman News Service

Ezzard Miller at opposition cruise port meeting in North Side on 2 October 2018

(CNS): The opposition leader has written to the Anti-Corruption Commission about the presence of representatives of two cruise lines, which are known to be involved in one of the final three bids for the cruise port project, on the same platform as those managing the process at the tourism ministry’s public meeting last week. Ezzard Miller told CNS that he is concerned that their appearance was a serious conflict for the government’s George Town cruise facility.

David Candib, who is the named representative in the Verdant Isle group for Carnival, and Miguel Reyna from Royal Caribbean, also involved in the same bid, sat with Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell and civil servants in the procurement team.

Despite having the bidders by their side, Kirkconnell and his chief officer, Stran Bodden, categorically refused to name the final three bidders now engaged in the last part of the process to secure the contract, though no reason was given why naming the bidders would undermine the current process.

Even in the face of demands from the audience that government lift the lid of secrecy about who is vying for what will be the biggest-ever capital project in Cayman’s history, they refused. However, information about the bidders has been emerging online, especially the Verdant Isle group, which is a consortium that includes local contractors McAlpine, the Orion Marine Group as well as Carnival and Royal Caribbean cruise lines.

The opposition leader said the optics of having representatives involved in a town-hall meeting, where both of them were pushing the public to support a project for which they have a direct pecuniary interest, were “awful”, as he queried what the cost was for bringing Candib and Reyna down to Cayman for this meeting to assist the minister in advocating for a project that is dividing the community.

In his letter to the ACC the opposition leader said it was an “obvious appearance of conflicts”. He said he did not believe their appearance was “in keeping with best practices for the tendering process” and that the “Caymanian public deserves to have these relationships investigated by the Anti-Corruption Commission”, as he pointed to the spectre of corruption.

Miller added that having representatives from the major projects office being involved with the promotion and public lobby for support for the cruise berthing facility while managing the process was also of concern.

Speaking to CNS following a public meeting held by the opposition, Miller said that he wanted the ACC to determine what is going on. He said it continued to be part of the opposition’s goal to weed out corruption, or the perception of it, within government. He said that the perception of corruption would be lessened if government were more transparent about this project.

“We are calling on the government to be more transparent and tell the whole truth about the project instead of the selective misrepresentation,” he added.

Tuesday evening was the first public meeting by the opposition to outline the information they have managed to gather about the proposed project and counter what they believe is the misinformation being pushed about it by government.

During the first of these road-show meetings, which took place in North Side, a small audience heard Miller and MLA Arden McLean challenge the statistics government is using to justify the project. There was also a compelling presentation from underwater photographer Courtney Platt that undermined claims at the tourism ministry’s public meeting last week that the dredging for this project will be largely in an area of dead coral. (Check back to CNS for a report on that issue later.)

The campaigners who are also pushing for a people-initiated referendum were also present and managed to collect several more names for the growing petition from the people who attended.

The opposition meetings continue this evening at the Bodden Town Civic Centre at 7:30pm.

See the full schedule here

See Miller’s letter to the ACC in the CNS Library

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Category: Business, development, Local News, Tourism

Comments (84)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Only a large demonstration will stop the government’s Port Madness.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    lodge?

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Cayman is corrupt from top to bottom except for those few beacons of shining light thinly sprinkled across the island. Sadly greed is rampant and the thirst for the dollar above everything else is unquenchable regardless of the consequences. So sad.

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    • Dena says:

      This is so sad because our ancestors would turn over in their graves to know what is happening to their beloved Island. Such a small Island with such natural beauty being destroyed by greedy men. Once the Island is depleted of all its natural beauty those seem greedy folks will run off somewhere else and destroy something else. Please my Caymanian people don’t let us go down in history as cowards. Fight for your little Islands.

  4. Anonymous says:

    How can Ezzard question this government’s handling of the largest most costly capital project in the country’s history just because it is being dome in secret behind closed doors with no public knowledge or oversight?

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  5. Anonymous says:

    The opposition will pay for opposing this project at the next election.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    I guess you had to report on the meeting because there were more reporters and government elect there that actual public. If there was more than a half dozen I’d be shocked.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Finally Ezzard comes forward to say what the rest of us are thinking.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Again most of you have no idea of procurement best practise. Most of the private sector folks are simply out of their depth.

      Build the dock.

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      • Anonymous says:

        @11:55 Umm yeah no.. Most of us understand the procurement process but what YOU fail to understand is that process has been twisted to favor a specific bidder to the point where the CIG may as well have just foregone the bidding process altogether and said “such and such is going to do the port” but that would only prove the corruption in the process and the CIG is just going through the motions trying to save face by making it seem that everything is legit which to anyone with an open unbiased mind will see it’s not. If the price tag alone doesn’t scare you into wanting more transparency then do some research and look up the CIG’s publicly proclaimed “preferred bidder”. You know that communist foreign government backed company and if what you find still doesn’t scare you? Then you my friend are beyond hope and arguing the point further with you is less productive than my pet rock solving astrophysical equations.

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        • Anonymous says:

          @10:19 And what YOU fail to understand is that government doesn’t have any ‘preferred bidders’ in this process. They have pre-qualified bidders which is an entirely different thing and means that the bidders have demonstrated they have the ability and resources available to design, build, finance and maintain the piers.

          As far as the bidding is concerned they are all on a level playing field. They all receive the same information and are all asked to provide their submissions in response. When their final bids are received the one that is evaluated to be the best will be selected.

          Think of it this way, three people are given an assignment with the same question. The person who answers the question the best, gets the highest marks and wins.

          Those are the facts. Your other claims about the process being twisted are just your assumptions..

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        • Anonymous says:

          Oh, I think he does understand it.

        • Dena says:

          Absolutely love your wisdom! I hope you keep giving your Insight and clarity.

      • Anonymous says:

        The private sector is way better at managing their affairs than CIG.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Ref 10.41 am 4/10/2018. I guess that is why the Private Sector have such well managed Pension Funds, that lost over $350,000,000 in the last 10 years.

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      • Anonymous says:

        You! Don’t be evil.

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      • Anonymous says:

        I’m not an eye doctor either, but I know when someone pokes a salty thum in my eye.

    • Anonymous says:

      If Corruption is Ezzard main concern , then he needs to follow Suckoo’s lead in pursuing the real cause for concern .

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Atleast he is trying to be honest. In this ‘global’ world, that is the same as going against the grain!!!

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.

    The government was accused of lying about the cruise lines position with respect to tendering. ‘Let them tell us that themselves,’ and ‘If that were true how come the cruise lines aren’t saying so?’ was the cry from the public.

    So the cruise lines DID say so themselves; not in an email, but in person so anyone who still doubted their word could ask questions for themselves.

    Was that good enough? No! Now the fact that they came and provided the information the public said it wanted, their presence is an issue.

    What does it take to satisfy you people? Or is it that no matter what, you just won’t be satisfied? No matter whether company A,B or C builds the piers the cruise lines HAVE to be involved. They own the ships. They bring the passengers. We need them to have skin in the game so they keep bringing the passengers. Why is that so hard to understand? And why try to twist their presence and their investment into something sinister?

    Same goes for the project office people. For weeks everyone’s been asking for more information, more information, more information. Who could have been better to talk about the process than the people actually managing it?

    Check the CTC website and see if competing bidders are named while the process is still ongoing. Its after the winning bidder is identified that all is revealed.

    When interviewing for a job do you expect the panel to say who else has applied and show you their application? No! Of course not.

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    • Anonymous says:

      You obviously did not comprehend the article. The cruise ship representatives were stated ro be involved with two of the bidders, they would obviously be polarized by this. Secondly both the Compass and CNS reported that many questions were NOT answered. And comparing the process to a job interview is just plain stupid and irrelevant. This is a sizeable chunk of money and a sizeable effect on Cayman.

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      • Anonymous says:

        I am sure at one point it was said that the cruise ship companies were building the docks
        so where do the corruption come in?

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      • Anonymous says:

        A job interview benefits two parties, the company doing the enterview and the person being interviews. In this instance the company and the persons being interviewed are onecsnd the same. Try again!

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    • Anonymous says:

      3:32 pm thank you for the comment, I could not get it that good, every word is true
      that is what they been asking for.
      but I am sure that night they were caught with a live surprise!
      the only thing the anti dock leaders and their followers heard was what they did not want to hear.

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    • nauticalone says:

      Read the article again….and try to employ some objectivity. And this is no job application….not even close comparatively!

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  10. Anonymous says:

    Interesting story from Europe – https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/dubrovnik-cruise-ship-cap-croatia-overtourism-two-dock-a8565166.html

    Note the final comment, “We are ready to lose some money, but we will have a better quality of life for citizens and tourists.” We need more honest politicians like that.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    With the amount of money involved here anyone who believes there’s not going to be kickbacks and quid pro quo deals greasing the wheels is delusional. But why is Ezzard singling this particular project out for attention when there are numerous other projects in recent years that have clearly been edged through with secret payouts and handshakes?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Cause it is really obvious that things are NOT above board and the government are hiding the facts. The question is why?

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      • Anonymous says:

        2:09 Money? If it goes ahead we’re talking a serious chunk of change here, more than enough for the people involved to pack up and retire somewhere the law can’t touch them.

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      • Chris Johnson says:

        There are more red flags here than the Matadors use in Madrid. Ezzard I am right behind you.

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      • Anonymous says:

        I don’t think you all really knows what government means.
        It means; A group of people that governs a community, sets and administers public policy, exercises executive, political and sovereign power through customs, institutions, and laws within a country

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        • Anonymous says:

          Also add for the people by the people in that because it’s the people that hires them, pays them and can ultimately fire them.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Yep!
          i.e. – a global business infiltrating and cohersing youths to be like you and most other elders…lost n’ damned.

      • Anonymous says:

        Check CHEC 2.09, THEN FOLLOW THE MONEY.

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    • Anonymous says:

      You just compared your Country’s education standards to cruise ship visitors who spend peanuts.

      The fact that you aren’t bothered about the CIG spending 300-400 MILLION on a port….just baffles me.

      This is A LOT of money. Which could be spent on Education, Health Care and Immigration. To start.

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      • Anonymous says:

        @ 2:43 – and its A LOT of money that WON’T go into the public coffers if the piers are not built, that could have been spent on education, healthcare and all kinds of other services. Cruise tourism is 80% of our tourism industry. Our treasury gets money for every passenger that comes here whether they get off the ship or not. And those that do get off also spend money here to the tune of 200 MILLION a year. That’s a lot of ‘peanuts’ by anyone’s standards.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Where the hell did you get these numbers from.

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          • Anonymous says:

            If you’re pro port, you don’t need to ‘get them’ from anywhere. Just make it up.

            Here’s one back at 4.12pm:

            1 staying guest spends 4,000 times more than a cruise guest.

            (just like 4.12pm I made that up, but they do spend lots and lots more, but they won’t when it’s time Orlando on steroids)

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        • Anonymous says:

          4:12 well said.
          and after Education, you will most likely start working somewhere or at something that somebody built!

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          • Anonymous says:

            Hopefully it won’t be the new dock, I don’t think the high schools, UCCI or ICCI offer Mandarin as an elective.

      • Anonymous says:

        Basically, it looks like cayman doesn’t know how to look after it’s children. All this talk about the port bringing in money is Bullshit AND irrelevant. TAKE CARE OF YOUR CHILDREN! TAKE CARE OF YOUR CHILDREN.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Because this is the single largest project proposed in our history
      and has the ability to saddle our tiny nation with yet unforeseen quantities of debt, ecological damage and other consequences

      The public has never been as openly opposed to a project in my lifetime as much as this one, there were always grumblings but this port is different
      People are willing to take action
      and the Opposition knows that

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      • Anonymous says:

        3:30 thats because if Mr. Berkley Bush had built the cruise ship dock, years ago
        at this time we would have found something new to worry about
        but after ten years it will all be forgotten
        millions are not farfetched like they used to be.

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    • Anonymous says:

      @ 1:48pm: “there are numerous other projects in recent years that have clearly been edged through with secret payouts and handshakes”

      Really? Prove it. If its been so clear over the years as you say, it should be easy for you to back up your allegations. Go on, I’m listening.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Anon 1:48 if you know of such you are legally and duty bound under the anticorruption law to report the projects and the names of the beneficiaries or you are guilty of a crime.

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    • nauticalone says:

      If you’re aware of improper or possibly corrupt deals you can do the same as Ezzard…report it to the ACC.

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  12. Antiport Caymanian says:

    CNS, maybe the anti corruption commission should be investigating this matter.
    Or we just call for an election and see who now gets in.
    The current government members seem to have forgotten who put them there, we can’t get answers.

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    • Anonymous says:

      If you think they are going to vacate power voluntarily to risk not being reelected only a year into a four year term I have a tower in Paris to sell you

      This isn’t the UK there are no principles or overarching understanding of the system

      Cayman politics is above surviving at all costs, even against the people

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    • Anonymous says:

      What has the ACC done that we know about. The CIFA fraud was reported over three years ago. What have they done? Zilch. Complete waste of time and money. Fire the board and get some aggressive people in there.

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      • Anonymous says:

        perhaps you haven’t been able to read the papers of late. The numerous arrests of the Immigration officers, customs, turtle farm, in addition to ongoing arrests for CIFA and health care are all being carried out by ACC. They are not even sure how to handle all of the persons arrested for the immigration matters in the court house because there are so many. Those are the investigation/ arrests we know of and says nothing about the investigations ongoing that we don’t know about. And by the way do you have any sense of how many complaints they must have to filter on a daily basis.

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  13. Anonymous says:

    Lol, that’s what he told the 7 interested souls who bothered to show up? Were refreshments served?

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  14. Anonymous says:

    Honorable Mr. Miller, although I admit that there many issues that you and I do not agree on, I am glad that you are standing your ground on this matter. This has shown me that when it really boils down to what really matters to the people of Cayman, you Sir are stalwart in your beliefs and stance that the interest of the people of Cayman are more important than a few want to be oligarchs who are more interested in what their positions of power can do for them.

    Thank you Sir, my respect for you has grown tremendously. Steer the course and bring us out of of this darkness and back into the light.

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  15. Anonymous says:

    Dear honorable Miller, more important is that CHEC & Decco are very tight on this project plus they have the ear of our leaders. Please get that investigated.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Here here, and if the ACC determines there is indeed corruption then personal/business finances on all of them need to be subpoenaed and if need be, charges brought up.

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      • Anonymous says:

        please, I think the expression is ‘hear, hear’ and not here here

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        • Anonymous says:

          hear here or here hear, it’s not what you say but how you say it.

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          • Anonymous says:

            Remove not the ancient landmark thy fathers have set.

            Hear, bloody hear!

            If you have never read, you cannot write.
            Butcher another language, but leave our English alone.
            When I was a child, I was taught to cherish and respect English.

            I have taught my children the same and I am so proud of their vocabularies and written work. It blesses my heart to see them teach their own kids.

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      • Anonymous says:

        How many times have subpoenas been issued for corruption in the last couple of years? How many times SHOULD they have been written?

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      • Anonymous says:

        The acc will do bugger all. Just what have they done in the past? The CIFA fraud springs to mind.

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      • Anonymous says:

        With these heavy hitters and our darling politicians, nothing at all will come from this. The deal is done and we will soon be under the Red Flag!

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