MOT ignores key criticisms in response to airport audit

| 22/01/2019 | 75 Comments
Cayman News Service

Construction of the Owen Roberts Airport

(CNS): Responding to the Office of the Auditor General’s audit of the airport redevelopment project and the problems identified by Sue Winspear and her team, the Ministry of Tourism justified the time and cost overruns but completely ignored the problems identified by the auditors that stemmed from the poor performance of the project’s main consultants. The ministry said in a statement that “governance has improved” and things were “in line with the new Major Projects Office (MPO)” requirements on the project. The MOT said that the increases in costs were a result of important improvements and had all been covered by the airport’s own revenue streams.

Despite the criticisms in the OAG report relating to the shoddy work of the consultants, who appear to have been selected outside of the tendering process and were kept on the job even after problems were identified very early on, Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell said in the release issued Monday evening that the “highest standards of quality and service have not been compromised” — a statement that does not appear to be supported by the auditor general’s findings.

The tourism ministry and officials from the Cayman Islands Airports Authority have also claimed that the budget overrun remains around $10.5 million. However, Winspear’s explanations about the redacted parts of the report imply that the final costs could be much higher.

The minister and his chief officer, Stran Bodden, focused on the OAG’s acknowledgement that the project governance has improved along the way, but said nothing about the problems relating to the consultants’ work and the reason why change orders were made after contracts were signed and work underway.

Bodden said that over the lifespan of the project the CIAA board requested improvements to the original designs to further enhance the safety, efficiency and comfort for users.

“These included improving the hurricane protection by upgrading from 9LB to 15LB glass and putting the necessary measures in place to bring forward the planned installation of new generators, to ensure that full emergency power was available to the whole terminal building earlier than originally anticipated,” he stated.

He said that other improvements included the installation of canopies to shield passengers from inclement weather, upgrading the CIAA offices and duty free mall, landscaping within the airport footprint and additional parking space.

“Since the project is being completed in phases and the use of critical areas such as the Customs and Immigration halls would not be delayed by the enhancements, on balance it was agreed that the added convenience for passengers and users of the airport justified extending the timeline,” he stated.

Meanwhile, CIAA CEO Albert Anderson dismissed the increased costs, saying that, aside from the cash injection from government of CI$15 million given to accelerate the project’s completion, it is being paid for from the CIAA’s Passenger Facility Charge.

“PFC revenue is intended to fund capital improvement projects to enhance safety, security, and capacity at Cayman’s airports, which is precisely the way it is being used at ORIA,” he said. “It is important to keep in mind the board’s change order requests were made based on the fact that funds were available to cover the improvements requested. Given that no borrowing was undertaken and there has been no impact to the public purse, the board considers the enhancements to be reasonable and warranted.”

The expansion project is the first major public capital initiative in Cayman under the Framework for Fiscal Responsibility, which raises the bar on stringent goals for overseeing government expenditure with respect to accountability and value for money. However, the project is still at least 20% over budget, a year late and has been plagued with process problems that have fueled the delays and cost increases, the OAG found.

Despite the audit office findings, Kirkconnell said the ministry, CIAA and MPO and many others had worked hard using the funds that are available to deliver an airport that fits the country’s needs.

He stated, “While we may not have all of the amenities we would have liked, the highest standards of quality and service have not been compromised. The ministry accepts that performance audits are a key aspect of good governance and on this basis we welcome the auditor general’s recommendations which aim to further heighten performance and accountability.”

Kirkconnell added, “For growth to be sustainable it must go hand-in-hand with the infrastructure to support it… The airport is our international gateway to the rest of the world, and its expansion is vital to our long-term ability to grow tourism, particularly stay-over arrivals.”

See the full OAG report in the CNS Library

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Comments (75)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    30 years from now someone will be starting a “Save The Arches” movement.

  2. Anomalous says:

    The comments here (besides being generally uninformed and illiterate) mostly stem from a misinformed report compiled by an Auditor General who made no attempt to cross check sources or budget assumptions used, resulting in a highly-biased summary of the facts. It is generally true that bureaucrats will tend to deflect any criticism that could be directed their way and will naturally blame anyone else including consultants or contractors involved for their own management shortcomings – did Mr. Winspear bother to get any input from the professionals involved? An unnecessary amount of finger pointing has started for a facility expansion this is really a bargain given the logistics of renovating an old and outdated transport hub while it remains in use. This government did most things transparently and correctly – references here to corruption are simply ignorant. The simple fact is that we have developed an unfortunate culture of complainers that have no other outlet for their vitriol than crapping on the achievements of others. Good work to the PPM for a facility that is a bargain at 1.2x the budget.

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    • You dear poster are an idiot. The unfortunate part as you did indeed state there is one, is that we have continued to place more idiots in positions for which they are not qualified and elected more idiots to the Legislatuve Assembly. I am not complaining. I am DEMANDING answers and accountability.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Hilarious

    • Anonymous says:

      “mostly stem from a misinformed report compiled by an Auditor General who made no attempt to cross check sources or budget assumptions used, resulting in a highly-biased summary of the facts.”

      – and I suppose you have sources right?
      Cause seems like you are just pulling your opinion out of your ass and presenting it as fact

      I know this is the age of “alternative facts” but I mean
      Just go back to being insignificant somewhere else

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    • Anonymous says:

      a bargain for upgrading to a more expensive airport that will still be too small for its needs???….yep well done all round!

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  3. Anonymous says:

    wait till they realize they forgot to put the bridge over the runway..or is it a tunnel…overpass…i’m just going round and round here

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Really?

  5. Anonymous says:

    wow… it’s like cig totally ignored the miller-shaw and e&y reports……zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

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  6. Anonymous says:

    when can we be honest and address the incompetence of the civil service generally???
    they can’t build a sidewalk or run a parking ticket machine properly….
    when can we have an honest discussion on the performance of the civil service(the #1 employer of caymanians)????…will the truth hurt too much?

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  7. Anonymous says:

    from the ppm…the party who stopped doing cig press briefings because they didn’t want journalists asking hard questions…. banana republic stuff!

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Enhancements were added and funded by airport revenues. That seems like a smart decision given our tourism growth and needs. I travel frequently and can see the good progress from CIAA and MOT.

    Misconstruing the project Status to be anything else is just politicking.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Wrong: $15mln “funded” from new Passenger Facility Charges we were promised wouldn’t be necessary, because “all the funding had been secured”…sound like the Port talk to you?

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      • Anonymous says:

        I’m not sure what you’re smoking dude. All facilities are expected to use their revenues to upgrade their services. That’s what CIAA, Mr. Anderson did.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Getting passengers to pay the same money twice? CAL habitually fails to remit unpaid landing fees to CIAA, CIG then bails them out, or in this case: creates a new Passenger Facility Charge (that MoT said wouldn’t be necessary) to fill that hole…that’s paying twice, sucker!

  9. Anonymous says:

    The airport “upgrade” is an embarrassing epitome of incompetence of grand proportions.
    The millions spent improved nothing. The chosen design is an absurd for a tropical destination in a hurricane zone. Passengers safety is regularly compromised due to the building occupancy fire Code violations when they are jammed like herrings in a barrel due to weather or other reasons.
    Does this country have a fire marshal or fire commissioner? Does MOT run this country?

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  10. Anonymous says:

    The CIAA CEO seems to have no idea of what is going on and will not take responsibility. It is the public’s money that is being wasted with no accountability.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    Kyd$64mln and counting, 40% more than estimated, public travelers subsidizing $15mln via facility charges that we were promised wouldn’t be levied against us…and we’re still nowhere near completion…and they want us to trust them with a Port?!?

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  12. Anonymous says:

    If the ac is working the tourists will be content.

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  13. Jill says:

    Wait till you hear what kx new budget is

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  14. Anonymous says:

    what do you expect from the ppm…the guys behind the clifton hunter fiasco…

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  15. Anonymous says:

    I’m not going to get into the jet-ways argument but the harsh reality is that a simple structure without all the (as the Compass has just called them) ‘aesthetically pleasing’ features would have done the job just as well and at a fraction of the cost. In the UK I regularly use London City Airport and from the outside it’s as ugly as a block of council flats but by heck it works. ORIA is an airport not a work of art and that’s how the rebuild should have been approached.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Expecting a project to be completed on time and at or under budget is not a ridiculous idea

      The public did not force the government to announce the completetion date as “January 2018” nor did we force them to set the budget for the project
      They did it themselves and then we are supposed to turn around and just ignore they can’t even stick to their own budgets and timelines

      Simple case of biting off more than they could chew, while overlooking actual necessities like jetways

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    • Anonymous says:

      The reality of air travel today is that people want to spend the absolute minimum time they can in an airport building , get on the plane and get off it at the destination , again spending the absolute minimum time in a terminal building. In order to do that , the building has to function for the purpose it was built. Grand archways and glass walls looking out onto nothing is what I see with this new construction , meanwhile inside the people in todays world are hell bent on social media and their phones just wanting to get out of the building & onto the plane. They may have needed to upgrade the glass here due to the pure size of the wind exposure from the south-east and north ( for a hurricanes passage ), but that will do nothing against north sound , we all saw how that affected air travel back in 2004, with the current building.

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  16. Anonymous says:

    Ignoring is what they do very well – except their own paychecks at the end of each month! I guarantee, there will be no accountability and no lessons learned!

    Morons in charge, all the way to the top!!

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  17. Anonymous says:

    20% over budget and a year late proves once again CIG can not deliver a project within parameters they set for themselves.

    I am not surprised because mismanagement of public funds seems the norm in GCM. The only redemption is that the airport upgrade is justified with the increasing tourism air arrivals.

    Can anyone say the same for the port?

    Imagine the overruns, destruction of the environment and lack of foresight for the unnecessary.

    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

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  18. KT says:

    Attention Public:
    To whom it may concern.
    Just demand that Moses Kirkconnell step down now.

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  19. Now or later says:

    Well. Lets put it into context.

    Either they start answering the questions now, as free people.

    Or they can answer it after they all get arrested for corruption.

    What I can guarrantee them is that NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS, AN INVESTIGATION, PROSECUTION, CONVITION, SENTENCING AND FORFETURE WILL FOLLOW.

    Its only a matter of when for both the Airport and Dock projects.

    Personally, if I was them, I would try to answer all questions now, truthfully, BEFORE IT GETS OUT OF HAND FOR THEM.

    But its their choice. Now (less prison time) or later (more prison time).

    But an investigation IS forth coming.

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    • Anonymous says:

      @ Now or later: That would be great….. but you know that won’t happen! Cayman is so far behind in governing. There aren’t enough qualified people to round out a good government team. Where does that leave us? It leaves us in the situation we have now………… incompetent and/or dishonest leadership. What can we do about it??? Nothing that I know of!

  20. Anonymous says:

    I seriously think its time to consider that various members of our govt are not mentally fit to continue. These statements are delusional and/or negligent. All the independants who currently joined the coalition govt to ensure service to their country/community need to join the opposition and motion a vote of no confidence.

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    • Anonymous says:

      its just a pity the independents are a bigger joke than the government…

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    • Anonymous says:

      @5:52 pm
      Exactly. The recent announcement by MOT “10 new government buildings planned for Brac”…..”as a means of stimulating the economy” clearly demonstrates compromised conceptual reasoning.

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  21. Anonymous says:

    Why is government so corrupt?

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    • Anonymous says:

      …because not a single Caymanian voter is smart, or brave enough to initiate the democratic process to change status quo.

      Cowards get what they deserve: corruption!

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  22. Anonymous says:

    Then again, ignoring valid criticisms and passing it off as success has always been Moses Kirkconnells specialty

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  23. Common sense is not common says:

    Are we invited to tour his new office – you know the one upgraded after the plans were passed.

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    • Anonymous says:

      You have no idea what you are talking about. Moses has the same modest and accessible office he had before he ran for MLA. I hope your MLA is even half as accessible and approachable, but I seriously doubt it.

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      • Anonymous says:

        poster is talking about Albert Anderson – its his offices got upgraded (after the original plans were approved).

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        • Common sense is not common says:

          Thank you! Guess common sense is not very common after all. I truly hope that he/she has benefited from the vote to Moses Kirkconnell. FYI – I have no MLA. I refused to vote in my district as there was NO ONE worth the vote in my opinion – thanks to the one man one vote crap!

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      • Anonymous says:

        6:46am – MLA’s office, what? PAY ATTENTION!!!!! Maybe read the article.

      • Anonymous says:

        You can be accessible and approachable ( on purpose I might add) while dealing with ignorant constituents who do not even have a clue what question to ask and pass it off as being approachable and accessible. That is how multi- rich persons in power keep you eating from their hands because you keep believing that ” poor old” so and so is so kind, he always listens to us

    • Say it like it is says:

      He got jealous after he saw the upgrade at the Port Authority.

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  24. Accountability... what is that? says:

    I don’t suppose any of the government members who stepped forward for to take credit and partake in photo Ops at the ground breaking or the topping off ceremony will also be stepping forward to take any of the blame?
    Of course they wont, because according to the minister “the highest standards of quality and service have not been compromised”
    and even if they had
    Who gives a XXXX right?

    Topping off Ceremony:
    https://caymannewsservice.com/2018/08/owen-roberts-international-airport/

    Ground Breaking:
    https://www.cita.ky/groundbreaking-ceremony-at-the-owen-roberts-international-airport
    https://caymannewsservice.com/2015/09/golden-shovels-start-airport-project/

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  25. Anonymous says:

    The only thing this reminds me of is a school if you let the students grade their own work

    “What do you mean you don’t believe that all of us got A’s?”
    “We did so well that I think we need to take next year off”
    “We might not have gone to class at all this year but our exams that we graded say we got 100% so clearly that means we passed right?”

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  26. SSM345 says:

    Typical response from the f**ktards ruining this country’s future.

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  27. Anonymous says:

    Wait a minute..so the MOT selected a contractor outwith the tendering process, the project ran over budget by millions and the MOT are refusing to answer any comments about issues caused by the contractor? This reeks of backhanders. This government are so arrogant and corrupt it’s frightening.

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    • Arthur Rank says:

      Yes, that was my conclusion!
      I always find myself asking why procedures are not followed, why is a bid accepted when it doesn’t seem right, why are faulty work and late delivery acceptable. Trouble is we never get the answers.
      This time there is a further “why”!
      Why isn’t the whole audit report available? Maybe that carries the answers!
      We can count ourself lucky then that we have a good Auditor, so that raises a “when”, when will her contract be terminated/not renewed!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Read it again, issues caused by the CONSULTANT. The Contractor is an entirely differently party

  28. Anonymous says:

    Seriously, Albert didn’t say that..How irresponsible! Who does he think pays the Passenger Facility charge and doesn’t he think those funds could go elsewhere..

    These people have no clue. The airport is just plain ugly and I don’t know who pick the colors or the designs but it is just God awful. Every wall has an advertisement on it and it just looks tacky. Why couldn’t they do something that was uniform and looked nice? What with only one door in the check in area? If there is ever an emergency, people will kill each other getting out of there? Who designed this anyway? Slokey? no Slokey had more sense then they did!

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    • Anonymous says:

      What else should they spend a passenger facility charge on? The airport is the only facility a passenger can use.

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      • Anonymous says:

        MoT had assured traveling public that there would be no extra PFC because CIAA had the cash on hand to proceed with construction.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Yes, you are correct but the PFC is for ongoing maintenance of the airport not to pay for overruns caused by incompetence…

        This monstrosity will need some serious ongoing maintenance as it is already leaking and I know the size of this building will be costing a lot more for maintenance so start looking for them to raise the PFC charge to cover this..

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    • Cess Pita says:

      2.33pm How on earth could they forget to provide a facility to corral our feral chickens..They are everywhere in this third world country and surely our world class airport managers could accomodate them, having apparently feathered their own nests.

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  29. Anonymous says:

    Moses K and this ppm government are disconnected from reality. Their arrogance knows no limit. In the real world there would be consequences but this level of mismanagement is nothing new and accepted by the public who ultimately pay the price.

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    • Anonymous says:

      ANd yet they will be re-elected in the Brac!

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      • Anonymous says:

        Of course they will he is bringing them more public funded artificial growth
        and I’m sure Juliana will be back with her paving equipment soon too
        These islands elect clowns to run the ship and wonder why we keep ramming into the reef

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  30. Johnny Rotten says:

    Maybe Mr. Mo needs a fundamental lesson in what is sustainable and fit for purpose. First impressions by tourists arriving here make their mark forever and this glorified glass walled hangar is not what most of them see as an improvement.

    Furthermore, MOT’s canned responses are akin to being hogtied and forced to take medicine through a high pressure syringe. Whichever hole they pump it into, it will not be taken well.

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  31. Anonymous says:

    The Ministry has nothing to delcare.

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