Minister: Cruise lines to provide port cash

| 14/11/2018 | 62 Comments
Cayman News Service

Cruise ships in the George Town Harbour

(CNS): Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell has suggested that the cruise lines will be financing the development of the proposed cruise pier facility and cargo expansion in George Town, if the project goes ahead, regardless of which of the three groups of bidders is selected to undertake the development. During an exchange of parliamentary questions in the Legislative Assembly on Thursday, the minister gave another hint at how this project might be paid for, though he remained vague about the issues surrounding this evermore controversial project.

However, he finally agreed to meet the opposition and reveal the information government is using to justify the decision to press on with the proposal.

Kirkconnell denied that government was funding any advertisements which implied that signing the port referendum petition was a ‘no’ vote for the port.

But during the exchange between government and the opposition about the port, he admitted working with a local public relations company understood to be behind the promotional advertisement — reposted by the premier on social media — which suggested that a referendum would derail the project and that supporting the petition was taking a position against the port.

The minister went on to echo that same sentiment when he said that the referendum campaign was “endangering the economic future” of the Cayman Islands by trying to prevent the cruise pier development.

He said it was public knowledge that government was entertaining the idea of the cruise lines offering the financial package for the project, as he tried to explain that holding a referendum would stop the project in its tracks.

But again, Kirkconnell was extremely unclear in his comments as to whether or not an actual offer had been made. He suggested that if it had been made, then a six month clock on the financing package would begin to tick, and a referendum would throw off the timelines of such a package, undermining preferential borrowing rates or other elements of the deal.

Kirkconnell did not explain how the cruise lines would be financing the project, given that there are three pre-qualified bidding teams and only one has cruise line partners. While Verdant Isles is made up of Orion Engineering, McAlpine and both Carnival and Royal Caribbean, neither China Harbour nor the French group, who are also still in the running, are believed to have cruise lines involved in their current teams. 

Answering questions about the government’s promotion of the project, the minister told MLA Kenneth Bryan, who represent George Town Central where the cruise port would be built, that at a future date he would give him details in writing on how much money government has spent promoting the port.

But Kirkconnell also revealed that not all the voices used in radio and TV commercials promoting the project were those of people working in the cruise tourism sector, such as tour operators, vendors or taxi drivers, as people have been led to believe, but were civil servants employed to do the voice-overs.

In another interesting development emerging from the exchange, the minister agreed to a meeting with the opposition members and Bryan, the independent member. Despite a year-long but fruitless effort by the opposition to arrange this type of meeting, Kirkconnell dismissed claims that they had made any real effort to meet with him.

But even if that was the case, he said, that was in the past and he was now happy to arrange a meeting. Furthermore, Kirkconnell said he was willing to revel all of the facts and information that has led to government’s decision to push ahead with the project and why the cruise sector will fall away without the piers.

However, the representatives from the cruise industry involved in the tendering process who attended the September public meeting with the minister said that the cruise lines would not stop calling on Cayman. They said the smaller ships would still be plying the Caribbean region even when, sometime in the future, the number of Oasis class ships begins to increase.

At present there is only one vessel in the area carrying over 5,000 passengers that bypasses Cayman. The failure of that ship to call here has had no negative effect to date and Cayman remains on track for another record-breaking year when it comes to cruise tourism numbers.

Nevertheless, Kirkconnell continued to claim that without the piers the number of passengers calling on Grand Cayman in the future could fall by 40% or even 50% as the ships are decommissioned.

The minister confirmed that he plans to make a statement to the Legislative Assembly on Friday about tourism, when he would be talking more about this proposed project as well as other issues relating to the sector. He said that his ministry intends to hold another public meeting in George Town Central in the near future.

See the exchange between the minister and opposition MLAs on CIGTV below, starting at 1:24:40 running until 1:50:00

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Category: Business, Politics, Tourism

Comments (62)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    We have a “Pinochio” government, every time the speak lies their nose gets longer and longer.

    Soon it will be long enough to reach from Grand Cayman to Cayman Brac to form a new bridge!

    Moses you can fool some of the people, some of the time but not ALL of the people ALL of the time.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    “He’s making it up as he goes along” John Cleese, Life of Brian

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Look at all that silt in George town harbour over the past three days! now all the coral will die……LOL

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  4. Jotnar says:

    “Kirkconnell denied that government was funding any advertisements which implied that signing the port referendum petition was a ‘no’ vote for the port.

    But during the exchange between government and the opposition about the port, he admitted working with a local public relations company understood to be behind the promotional advertisement”

    And now the FOI shows that CIG did in fact pay for the adverts.

    So if someone lies on the floor of the Legislative Assembly – isn’t the Speaker meant to censure them?

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Please listen to these guys. They are never wrong!

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  6. Anonymous says:

    More than ever do we need this referendum so these politicians elected to serve the people know what democracy is. At first I was on the fence about the dock. Since listening to these politicians, I am now convinced with all the associated secrecy that BIG lies are being told simply to fulfil the whims of career politicians and influential people. This government is a disgrace to these islands.

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    • Anonymous says:

      We need elected leaders and senior civil servants with a vision and courage to plan our future based on where the economy is going not where it has been.

      $12million to remove coral, but no trade and vocational school. No plan to upskill older workers. No plan to attract higher paying tech jobs. No plan to protect financial services! All of this for retail, water sports and transportation jobs?

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Ideally, we should issue a press release that there will be no pier construction in the Cayman Islands due to political, geological, and environmental constraints. We should build the long-delayed permanent moorings for cruise ships, and we should announce a daily cap on cruise arrivals of no more than 8 ships or 30,000 people per day. Put it to all of the cruise liners to book those exclusive limited spots, pay a new at-anchor-casino registration fee, and guarantee locked-in passenger arrival book and fees for the next 10 years. We need to have them conform to our plan, and guarantee our revenue streams, not the other way around. There is nowhere else in the Western Caribbean that comes close to our destination product – we need to own that exclusivity for the right reasons and put parameters on how they will be allowed to do business with our island going forward.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Wow..l wish you would..get this to the right people as l feel this is one of the best choices l have ever heard proposed
      We should invest in the best tendering facility that would also include more comfortable wsiting area with misters shade to help keep cool while waiting. Improve the imagration and customs operations to be more secure and quicker..
      Have various cayman cultural entertainment by caymanians.being displayed . I am sure there are alot of others with more great ideas that make you veiw work well for us caymanians that love our environment more than Power or MONEY!

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    • Anonymous says:

      what are you doing bringing logical, sane solutions to this? shame on you…who’d make money out of those perfectly sensible long term solutions? keep your reason and intellect to yourself!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Tick … tick … tick

    Hear that Moses – that’s your time running out.

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  9. Dubious says:

    “Look over there!”, shouted the Barkers Beach developer, as he pointed to something behind you. “They want to build a cruise ship pier!”, he continued, as he slipped his coastal works application in while your back was turned.

    The Dartmachine is obviously behind this. So, they offered Handel another lease, eh? Why? Because they feel bad for denying a Caymanian a renewed lease on Seven Mile Beach for his thriving business? That is probably what they want the public to believe. If Handel gets his coastal works approved, then it was a Caymanian that removed the turtle grass. Then watch as they activate that vaguely worded clause on the new Barkers lease and then cancel it. Now they have another beach front property, free of turtle grass and “beach rock” to develop. Dartmachine is just using Handel to do their dirty work.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    i dont understand why people think there’s corruption in public officialdom? all of this is so clearly above board and logical and its being pushed by people with absolutely no affiliation to anyone who may benefit….now, where was my unicorn?

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    • land crab says:

      12.57pm You need to remember that unfortunately there is a significant number of local contributors who are utterly unable to recognise tongue in cheek comment and will take what you say at face value. Unicorn, what’s that?.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    I watched the segment and I’m not sure which one Moses wants us to believe.

    1. Older ships will be decommissioned and the new Oasis class ships will take their place.

    This of course is complete bull crap because the schedule of ships being built do not reflect this.

    2. Older ships will be decommissioned and will not be replaced.

    Again, this of course is bull crap simply due to the number of ships slated to be built that are of roughly the same size.

    3. Older ships will be decommissioned and will not come here.

    Cayman is one of the better destinations, the cruise lines would be stupid to not come here.

    Cayman needs to take the money that will be spent on this fiasco of a dock and use it to revitalize George Town. Make real changes and improvements. Create and promote more attractions to increase our value as a destination to the cruise passengers so not only will the ships come here, the passengers will come off of them and spend money.

    Oh btw, note to the Kirkconnells, Dart and anyone else with shops in George Town. Maybe the reason people aren’t spending more money is because they don’t want to buy $30 t-shirts. I know for a fact I can get a t-shirt made with the same designs you are selling and have them shipped and landed for just under US$10.00 and I know this because I have done so. Lower the prices of the stuff you sell and maybe they will spend more.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    The cruise piers are a solution for a problem that doesn’t exist. It is simply a contrived infrastructure exercise designed to enrich a Cabinet that refuses to enact the Standards in Public Life Law. There’s no need to over-think the compulsions on this one.

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    • Anonymous says:

      It is NO solution whatsoever. You mean an idea.
      I thumbs it down just for that one word. It is not a solution for anything, anywhere.

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  13. Anonymous says:

    Mosses and Alden are doing irreparable damage to the PPM with there actions. Myself and many others will never vote PPM for the foreseeable future even if these two are removed.
    The constant lying, backroom dealings, sidestepping of established protocol, and him and his parties refusal to conduct themselves in clear and transparent manner has burned though all public good will they have stored.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Forget the party lines…this whole Cabinet are complicit, as are many on Opposition benches. Nobody is standing up and demanding the retro-active enactment of the Standards in Public Life Law – not while cruise ship port discussions remain ongoing, and DECCO is jockeying for a better swap in the landfill deal and elsewhere. No hands are clean.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Are their hearts pure though?

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      • Anonymous says:

        The only people with the power to enact the duly passed law are the Cabinet collectively or the new Governor

        The opposition has been clear on multiple occasions that they support the enactment of the law immediately

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        • Anonymous says:

          Other than the Aug 30 soundbite from Ezzard, what have they done to press the issue on conflicts? Have they started a people-led referendum to actually force the Cabinet’s hand? They are all lined-up eyeballs-deep in the same trough. The voters hold the power to effect any action they want – they just don’t know how, think they matter, or care to learn. All-sides are counting on the status quo.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Finish our schools in west bay and george town..

  14. Anonymous says:

    Get the heck out of here Alden haha. The public can’t assume anything because you haven’t put any information out there about how this is going to be financed. It’s not just the initial cost; it’s the maintenance cost, opportunity cost while the port is being constructed and the environmental costs that are unknown. This port could cost this island $500 million plus over 10 years and that’s not a ludicrous number for what is planned here.

    If Alden expects the people of the Cayman Islands to just turn a blind eye to this massive public works project in the core of Georgetown he is sorely mistaken.

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  15. Anonymous says:

    we don’t care who is providing the money, We don’t want our environment destroyed, ,,,,,,,plain and simple. WE CANNOT GET IT BACK ONCE IT IS DESTROYED>

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    • Anonymous says:

      I second this. We don’t want the stinking dock. We want to keep our environment. Tell the bidders to take a hike because the majority is against the cruise birthing facility, and we’re ready to give this no good idea an abortion right away.

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    • Anonymous says:

      We can use the piers during PIRATES WEEK to make the polititions WALK DAH PIER oh l mean the plank?

    • Anonymous says:

      4:03 that is why signing the petition really means no dock!

  16. Anonymous says:

    why are Alden and Moses so intent on destroying the environment instead of respecting it? do they know that when it is gone it is gone for ever…..we can’t call it back. Stop thinking about your pompous selves and think about saving the few things we have left to save.

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  17. Anonymous says:

    Vote all out in 2021 that support this madness

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    • Anonymous says:

      As discussed over 4 years ago, we need to change the eligibility requirements for MLAs to end this club, and then petition Governor to dissolve LA and call early elections with responsible candidates; not the corrupt, and ex-con.

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    • Anonymous says:

      #cleanslate2021
      #votethemout2021
      #newblood2021
      #nomorepartypolitics2021

      Limit terms of service.
      3 terms in and done for life regardless of position.
      No outside/third party “political advisory roles” either.

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  18. Ambassador of Absurdistan says:

    Just Another Day in Absurdistan

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  19. Anonymous says:

    Not true. Then what about the ghosterments surplus?

  20. Anonymous says:

    With all of the issues that need to be addressed in Cayman how can politicians support this debacle? I am not convinced that the benefits outweigh the costs as information is not forthcoming ie. “Extremely unclear, did not explain” etc.

    Give me the details if you want my support .

    At this point I have had enough. I will be signing the petition because it is is obvious you do not have answers to the many troubling questions.

    Tourism is already breaking records can you say the same for our failing education system?

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  21. Anonymous says:

    Build the piers!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Stooge. GFY

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    • Anonymous says:

      Strictly from a numbers standpoint, the Equation is 24,000 (without landing revenue for 50+ yrs) Vs. 28,000 (with):

      4 x 6,000 = 24,000, where we must acknowledge only one 6k ship actually exists, and CIG makes $0 for 50+ years….. Vs….. 7 x 4,000 = 28,000, where hundreds of ships exist and ARE being replaced for as far as you care to look in the order book, and CIG continues to collect KYD$2.46/passenger, and we retain our very limited environmental and recreational attractions, like they mean something to us.

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  22. Anonymous says:

    Note the, ‘Moses Kirkconnell has suggested,’ with the key word being ‘suggested’.

    Bluntly, if he thinks that is the case he’s talking out of his backside. When a cruise line puts money into a project they always want something back – normally exclusivity. A cruise line might put money into the dock, ‘cruise lines’ never will.

    This is getting very sad. To paraphrase Apocalypse Now, ‘the bulls**t is piling up so fast here, you need wings to stay above it.’ What we really need to find out is who is pulling the strings on this project. It must be clear to a blind man that there’s something very screwy going on here.

    The fact is this project has so much scope for what I’ll politely refer to as ‘misdirection’ of funds it needs very, very careful oversight and that’s another thing I don’t see happening.

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  23. Anonymous says:

    Sign the Referendum…it’s the only way to end this culture of Cabinet-led backroom dealing. Moses has done it to himself.

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  24. Anonymous says:

    what a tragedy.

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  25. Anonymous says:

    OK. The words “financing package” frighten me. If the cruise ship companies are paying for the entire debacle then so be it. But if they are merely lending the money we and future generations will still be strapped with ever increasing duties and fees to pay off the debt and interest. And we would still be destroying acres upon acres of what is probably the most valuable commodity to Cayman’s tourism industry and ecology. When will we the people ever get something back out of all this money of ours that they so love to lavishly spend?

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    • Anonymous says:

      5:45 pm….. “We the people” will never get our money back! It will go into the pockets of the insiders and politicians and cruise lines. The Cayman people will get little more than crumbs. Even then, the environment will sustain such damage as to divert the tourism that is coming here now! The Cayman Islands will not need a big dock, because visitors will go elsewhere.

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  26. Anonymous says:

    In Moses WE DARE NOT TRUST!

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  27. Anonymous says:

    A new day of questions leads to more lies from the government

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  28. Anonymous says:

    Then go with the Cayman Skybridge opportunity… “The most environmentally sustainable and economically viable solution for cruise berthing in Grand Cayman.”

    Why not stand out?

    http://greentech.ky/work/cayman-skybridge/

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    • Anonymous says:

      It too is predicated on the bullshit premise that this is something vital and necessary when all evidence points to the opposite.

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      • Anonymous says:

        I would see the skybridge as a great compromised. A fraction of the development needed and it will be able to service the Oasis class ships Moses, Alden and McKeeva have lubed each other up for.

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        • Anonymous says:

          There’s only one boat carrying (best case) 2000 passengers more than any other usual boat, and at best, it “might” call on us every other Thursday for the “high season” quarter. Have you ever been on a ski gondola or chairlift in 20+kts? Not fun, but pretty normal wind speeds during that time of year.

        • Anonymous says:

          That proposal is unimaginably complicated given we can’t even keep the CIAA parking machines and gates working under normal mild weather conditions.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Thats rediculous

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    • Anonymous says:

      Thumbing down for what? Damn, ignorance is bliss.

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