Minister fuels further cruise confusion

| 25/02/2019 | 86 Comments
Cayman cruise, Cayman News Service

Cruise ship passengers visit George Town

(CNS): Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell spent more than two hours on Monday morning talking about the tourism industry, but failed to address the questions surrounding the controversial cruise and cargo project. Despite claims that his ministry had been “as open as we can possibly be”, Kirkconnell did not explain the increasingly confusing financing model. He also failed to answer questions about the infrastructure needed to support it, the jobs that will be created, and how a price can be set for the project without any geological or environmental surveys.

During his appearance on Radio Cayman’s morning phone-in show, For the Record, with host Orrett Connor, Kirkconnell, who was joined by his chief officer, Stran Bodden, said that balancing cruise and overnight tourism was a “moving target” but that an increase in both cruise and overnight guests this past year had proved it could be done.

Speaking about the financing, Kirkconnell stated that government was “very aware of the risks” and wanted to make sure the project was successful. But he stated several times that the “ministry still did not have all the information” on many aspects of the project, from financing to details of the jobs that will be created, just months before the final tenders are expected to be judged and a preferred bidder selected.

Kirkconnell said he was not “an expert” and did not have a “magic wand” but had no reason to doubt what he has been told by the Central Procurement Office that the project would cost around $150 million. He said that the ministry was still working on a daily basis and waiting for experts to come back with more information, and that there was still much more to learn about elements of the project.

Kirkconnell said that there were “lots more parts of the puzzle to come out and give us the answer that this will be successful”, as he appeared to raise more questions than answers.

Bodden attempted to explain the confusion over how this could be a 100% design-build-finance-operate project when as many as five cruise lines may now be involved, by saying that the cruise lines would get their money from the developer once the project was complete. That meant that the developer had to finance the project in the first instance. 

The minister, however, remained vague about most of the major issues. Despite being asked again to outline the 900 jobs that his ministry has suggested will be available for locals in relation to the construction and operation of the facility, Kirkconnell was unable to give an answer.

He suggested it was based on how condo developments are done and that a certain number of construction trades people, such as concrete and steel experts, would be needed. He said the government would be looking for a commitment from the developer about the percentage of locals that must be hired to ensure Caymanians are involved.

Bodden said that there was still a lot going on behind the scenes regarding this project but that the final phase of the process was being wrapped up. He said that the last dialogue with the final bidders was at end of January, where they had submitted comments and questions and had now responded.

Bodden said that there will be another dialogue in March before the final submissions of tenders, which will be made in April. The ministry was then aiming for selection in early summer and contract by later summer.

However, Kirkconnell pointed out that there were still issues regarding the environmental aspects, as the geological surveys and the additional EIA would not be done until after a bidder is selected to get to the final price.

Listen to the full programme below:

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Category: Business, development, Local News, Tourism

Comments (86)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Anyone commenting or liking/ disliking in favour of this project has to have some kind of hidden agenda, most likely financial my cinical mind tells me. There is absolutely no way any measured and neutral caymanian could possibly support the destruction of natural habitat, the potential ruining of 7 mile beach, inevitable governmental massive over spending, selling out to cruiseship companies and all to bring more cheap cruise ship passengers. No one in favour of the project has given an ounce of conclusive evidence that would make someone believe this is a good idea so how could anyone without motive support it? These comments in support have to be from a lobby group intentionally trying to sway public opinion. Don’t be fooled people. Spend the money on fixing the dump, concentrating on lucrative stay over tourism, protecting and sustaining what fabulous natural resources we have, improving the island and properly educating the youth.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    I’m just happy that Moses is there and as active and professional with future vision for our islands

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Educated fools destroying the beautiful islands and the people for the love of money. It’s a shame and disgrace.

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  4. Rodney A. Barnett says:

    To me, it would seem easy to judge the ability of the CIG to initiate, manage and complete a project of this magnitude by looking at the 5 largest infrastructure projects undertaken by government in the past 10 years – ignoring Dart managed projects – to see the governments success record. 1) Airport 2) Turtle Center 3)Gray High School 4)Public funded churches 5)CIG funded highway projects.

    Analysis of estimated and final costs, compare projected timeframe to actual time, percent of overrun/undercosts would give a quick and easily understandable picture of the government’s ability to manage large scale infrastructure projects.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Airport parking machines.

    • Time4honesty says:

      Great comment, Rodney. If CIG is so good at initiating, managing and completing projects, then CIG should be eager to supply the proof that Rodney refers to. So, CIG, what say you?

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Crabs in a bucket mentality at its best. Our wannabe porliticians have nothing better to do than criticise. Please do tell how you would be moving out Country forward.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Save the money on not building the cruise ship dock. 1st fix the dump, 2nd get the education system teaching, 3rd revitalize downtown George Town close Church street between Boiler Road and Fort St. plant shade trees and brick the road add seating.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Simple brilliant strategy here 7:55am. I’ve been banging this drum for years.
        I’d like to add an item;
        Sidewalks/cycle paths ALL OVER the island starting with South Sound. Build this type of thing and they will come. People want outdoor activities!!! Years ago I spent time on another small island with wide paths connecting neighboring towns. They ended up not being big enough! They were always in use. New businesses such as bike and inline skate rentals..
        But more importantly, the people that live here!!! That is who we should build all of this for. Who will be here in the slow season?? When it’s rough seas??
        We will still be here…

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        • Anonymous says:

          9:18 you are missing your own point, the people that live here are ex pats!
          anywhere you find yourself on this Island, look around and give me the ratio, of ex pats to natives.

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      • say it like it is says:

        7.55am I agree except for 3 which should be our health system. Your suggestion has cosmetic value only, what it will achieve is traffic chaos as we have seen many times when this arterial road is closed for special events.

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      • Anonymous says:

        There is no money being spent by Government on the dock. I’m sure the cruise lines aren’t going to invest in fixing the dump.

    • Anonymous says:

      And our wanna-be press, the same.

      Another rubbish story!

  6. Anonymous says:

    His new Airport is a failure. 15 years too late, too small and so so so over budget. God help us with his plans for this Port.

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    • Anonymous says:

      6:10 I think you are saying it should have been built 15 years ago why not 30!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Let’s build the piers! This type of procurement is too complicated for the majority of CNS negative posters. Remember these are the same posters who said that thefts over long periods didn’t happen in the private sector.

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      • Anonymous says:

        9:19, Financing is not complicated. But the CIG needs to tell the good people how the biggest project in the history of the Cayman Islands is going to be financed. They owe this basic political decency to us.

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      • Anonymous says:

        its made to look “complicated” but thankfully the protestors see thu it.
        unless you have shares in a business on cardinall avenue you need to wake up and ask what is really in the cruise piers for you.
        these cruise piers are not for you.
        you are just cannon fodder.
        so go bang your drum.

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    • Anonymous says:

      We would be here another 15 years with the old airport if this Minuster didn’t make it happen.

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      • Anonymous says:

        This was a CIAA plan from years ago and their decision. Moses just happened to be Minister to hold the golden shovel and wants the political credit.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Briggsbots mobilized hunting cruise docks

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  8. Anonymous says:

    I wish all our politicians were like Moses then this place would be really rocking. He’s the most productive leader we’ve had, all I can hope for is that he decides to keep running and becomes Premier.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Cayman one of the leading finance centers of the *World* (Thank you finance people), but government can’t build a relatively small cruiseship dock in 3 decades.

    Please Alden doesn’t allow these obstructionist clowns continue to purposely derail 1st world progress, for their own self interests.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    This government is the only one in decades that had made progress for our caymanian people. The whole country is better today than before they took office

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    • Anonymous says:

      The world economy is better today than before they took office. You think they’re responsible for that too? What a great government we have!

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    • Anonymous says:

      The global economy improved and Tourism to these parts increased in great numbers.It would be easier to thank Obama than to praise the PPM.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Sure, tell that to the parents, students and faculty of John Gray High School who have been looking at their wasted monument since 2008.

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    • Anonymous says:

      What exactly have the PPM done that has been so earth shattering?
      Please feel free to show us the policies that they have implemented

      We will wait

  11. Anonymous says:

    Unfortunately Moses is inept. He presents very poorly (I heard him speak at the CITA gala dinner a few years ago and it was cringe worthy embarrassing to have him as leader of this industry). His political track record for getting positive things done successfully is also very poor. The Cayman public must be incredibly worried to have him leading this project. If this goes wrong then it will be an absolute disaster! And worst of all is the news that the cruise ship company’s will be the ones calling the shots with this project. The way they strangle the small stingray city operators currently (paying them scandalous per head rates whilst keeping the bulk themselves) shows how they will strangle the country once they have their claws in Cayman! Lastly, where are the hoards of cruise shippers going to go? There is no public beach left on 7 Mile and the sandbar is so over run on cruise ship days it is the awful!

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  12. Anonymous says:

    At this stage of the port project, it is absolutely incredible that the Minister cannot answer the basic question, HOW IS THE PROJECT GOING TO BE FINANCED?

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    • Anonymous says:

      We tired of hearing how it’s going to be paid for. Government has explained this til the cows come home. We can’t believe you don’t understand too, so why you keep asking?

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      • Anonymous says:

        4:06, You obviously have a problem with your comprehension and reading skills. SAD

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      • Anonymous says:

        You must be hearing voices in your head!!

      • Anonymous says:

        OK 4:06 and the 23 thumbs up. I am totally stupid so prove I am totally stupid and tell me how the port is going to be financed? Please help a stupid Caymanian understand the financing of the port.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Good point 4:06 I think the anti port people keep asking questions that they already have answers for to create a falsehood that it’s all a big secret. And all they are doing is making themselves look very foolish, like they can’t understand that the $16 million a year the cruise ships have to pay The Briggs for tenders will now go to the developers of the pier to pay it off.

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    • Anonymous says:

      If you and friends were asked a dollar towards the projects you would have to think three times.
      y’all are only blocking progress!

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  13. Anonymous says:

    I listened to the radio on my drive in this morning and thought this man must have the patience of Job. He has been willing to answer these same questions over and over knowing full well the anti-growth anti-Port few are just trying to confuse everyone else.

    God Bless him. We need more Ministers willing to take the heat for the good of Cayman.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I think Government Ministers only goes on the talk shows when they get the urge to be humiliated.
      If I were a G. Minister I would not stoop that low!

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    • Anonymous says:

      God Bless him for what? Bobo he gets paid very big bucks to do the job. I would have the patience of Job if I had his salary.

  14. Anonymous says:

    ” But he stated several times that the “ministry still did not have all the information” on many aspects of the project, from financing to details of the jobs that will be created, just months before the final tenders are expected to be judged and a preferred bidder selected.”

    ARE YOU F**KING SERIOUS!?!?!?! This is information you should have had a LONG time ago. If this doesn’t show beyond a doubt that you and the current government is absolutely and dangerously clueless then I do not know what will.

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    • Anonymous says:

      3:13 what will you do with the info.?

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      • Anonymous says:

        @ 9:45 – It’s not what I would do with the info you muppet, it’s what HE should be doing with the info. They want to throw this country into a $200 million plus project and they do not have all the info on things like financing just a few months before it’s final tenders are to be chosen. Do you not see/have an issue with that?

        I understand how a bidding process works, by this stage you should have a very good idea on that type of information if not all of it. If not you are a dumbass and again, this does not put the CIG in a good light. These politicians are enept and should be removed from power before they screw things up more.

        This is like having a beauty contest and your contestants are wearing masks, if you can’t see what they look like and they are just standing there then how are you supposed to judge them?

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        • Anonymous says:

          8:53 Profane language is the chosen vocabulary of the uneducated (fact)
          Government will decide.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Its really very simple. If the one on the left has agreed to go out with your cousin if she is selected, you vote for her. You don’t really care what she looks like, or who is going to pay the bill for dinner, as long as its not you (or your cousin!)

      • Anonymous says:

        SIMPLE. The information will allow all of us to decide whether the project makes economic sense. How can we ever know if we do not understand the financing structure.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Forgive my skepticism, but I find it difficult to trust Moses’ quote of $150m for this underwater mega-project when this very PPM govt spent over $100m constructing a school in the bush of North Side.

    In any event, the country needs to hold a referendum on what will be the largest single capital works project in the history of the Cayman Islands.

    Especially as the Minister responsible appears rather confused and uninformed on the most basic elements thereof.

    If this goes belly-up and leaves us in an unfortunate financial position, we will only have ourselves to blame as it is pain-fully obvious the proposed cruise port requires greater scrutinity

    – Who

    #section70 #signthepetition

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    • Tell it Like It Is says:

      A project of the magnitude being discussed is certain to give quite a few sprained necks and backs etc to the uninitiated and certainly construction and high finance uneducated members of the Port, the CIG and indeed the public at large.

      It is all very confusing in deed when there has not been a select group of professionals drawn together from both the Private and Public Sectors of Cayman to face off against the wily and crafty Cruise ship mogul companies as well as the bidders on this heinous project. Surely more confidence would have been generated in the minds and eyes of John public if they saw not only professional indigent and immigrants working side by side along with a healthy dose of common sense being utilized; along with transparent and honest discussions with all stake holders on the pros and cons of the project. Some may say that the.CIG has done this, then why is there still so many loose ends to bring together and still so much uncertainty?

      Obviously it is now too late to pull together the stated entourage and now we are left with a Central Tenders/ Procurement regimen with little experience with this type of investment and attendant risks it poses. So we are left where What’s his name left the other without a paddle, and indeed only the intervention of the Sovereign ( as happened once before) or the dramatic push of a referendum by so called Guardians of the Turtle who are really covertly plotting the demise of the Administration as a matter of urgency.

      All in all I dare say you the people are really timid and with a lack backbone and the few who speak out are so power hungry, are yet ill prepared to do better than those who they have given the reins to. We know that there are Men and women Caymanian of course out there who not only have the education, the ambition and real love of country who could really run this country in a sensible, professional and productive manner, but I wonder what will it take for them to rise out of their complacency . Remember you arm chair patriots out there if a fire starts you may not just be able to POOF it out.

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  16. Anonymous says:

    Tenderbots are out in force today. The closer the Country gets to building our needed dock the more hostile the tender bots get.

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    • I ❤️ Kirkbots says:

      Anything is better than Kirkbots and ppm bloggers committed to destroying recklessly destroying the country’s finances and marine environment with a cruise dock Cayman does not need and cannot afford.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Yawn. OK Kirkbott.

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  17. SSM345 says:

    Once again this guy takes us all for complete fools and in turn confirms that he is the biggest of the lot currently at the helm of our Country.

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  18. Anonymous says:

    The ministry is as “open as we can possibly be”? Sure you are.
    And we know why don’t we?

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  19. Anonymous says:

    Shocking display of ineptitude.

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  20. Not confused. says:

    I am not confused – I have already concluded that:

    1. We need a referendum
    2. This Government has failed its people miserably.
    3. The Port, if built, will be a financial and environmental disaster.

    Signed
    Not Confused.

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    • Anonymous says:

      You and the rest of the complainers can stick it as our leaders know what they are doing and once CHEC and Decco get it going everyone will be proud.

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      • Anonymous says:

        You really need to take the blinders off and get your head out of the stinky hole about CHEC. I say build the dock BUT not with CHEC.. Anyone else by CHEC. And not by means of this shadowy round about method our government has employed. There is some shady shit going on here.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Not confused, question, if the referendum was for building the dock
      would that be a perfect reason to build the dock yes, or no? be careful!

  21. Anonymous says:

    Moses: Agrees to come on radio show

    Orrett: asks completely reasonable and basic questions.

    Moses: I’m not an expert. Cant really answer.

    The Public: ….

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  22. Anonymous says:

    At times it sounded like Moses couldn’t find his backside with both hands and an instruction manual. That’s the real problem – he’s just way out of his depth here.

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    • Anonymous says:

      If it is so bad why don’t you just leave here and let our leaders get on with things. They are doing there best for our country but all of you whiners keep trying to start trouble. Keep doing the great job Unity team, we are behind you 500%!

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      • Anonymous says:

        3:18 I see a product of our education system at work here. You can’t even spell ‘their’ correctly :-{

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      • Anonymous says:

        And it sounds like your maths is pretty consistent with the port financing projections – it just doesn’t make sense

    • Anonymous says:

      Do you think? Or is ignorance a convenient cover for not answering the questions?

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    • Anonymous says:

      And your solution is ….?

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  23. say it like it is says:

    He needs to follow standard Govt/Civil Service procedure whenever expertise is required (as it’s never been available in house) and employ consultants to answer these questions.

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  24. Arthur Rank says:

    I agree, 12.03, this sounds like a man who knows what he wants to do, but either doesn’t know, or won’t tell WHY he wants to do it.
    If it’s the first, he doesn’t know, then he really isn’t up to the job.
    If it’s the second, he won’t tell, then my regular question comes up, WHY won’t he tell, WHAT is the thing influencing his decision that he cannot share?
    Forgive all of us for wondering, but if it is irrational at so many levels, a few mentioned in the article include a vague and erroneous reference to the benefits, questions about the cost and financing met with frankly bewildering incompetence, and really no reference at all to cost benefit and ecological issues.
    It would not be unreasonable for people to wonder if there is undue influence happening here, its difficult to believe that could be the case, particularly given the involvement of such worthy bidders as CHEC, but as I said, we can be forgiven for wondering. Sherlock Holmes opined: “if all possibilities are eliminated, and what remains is impossible, then maybe the impossible is the truth”!

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  25. Anonymous says:

    We have had some very outspoken Kirkconnells represent us in parlament over the years.Moses is a disapointment.Never had to work a day in his life inherited everything.The supermarket in the Brac says it all.

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    • Anonymous says:

      We get that you’re pissed off and tend toward hyperbole. If you think he’s “never had to work a day in his life”, then you know very little about Mr. Mose.

      I am not convinced the proposed port is a good idea, nor can I guess about the questions we all want answered, but I do know the man, and his motives aren’t greed but benefit for the Cayman Islands; he may be wrong, but he is not working for self-interest or a familial one. If you knew him as much as your words infer, you would understand.

      He is an easy target. It comes with the job. Much more productive to attack the port and process than the individuals working for it.

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  26. Anonymous says:

    Let me get this straight: you are very aware of the risks AND there is still a lot of information you do not have.

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  27. Anonymous says:

    clear as mud from the guy responsible for the economic wasteland that is cayman brac.

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    • Anonymous says:

      This port is desperately needed for the future of our tourism. Cruise feeds stayover. Most visitors came on cruise first. Right now we have the worst experience of the whole Caribbean

  28. Anonymous says:

    “Not an expert” is finally an open admission that this rogue Cabinet aren’t qualified to be out-foxing the seasoned negotiation teams (and lawyers) from Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Disney and others. All the more reason for the public to be TERRIFIED with their pressing ahead in full-acknowledgement of their mental handicap – without open consultation from many Caymanian business leaders who may be better QUALIFIED to help us (a) evaluate whether any of this makes sense, and if it does, (b) seek consent from the public, and (c) ensure the best terms possible for the people of the Cayman Islands.

    We haven’t even begun to start talking about pre and post construction insurance costs for this marine engineering marvel at 80 feet, with open exposure to blue ocean, and drilled into loose cavernous limestone…20 miles from an active tectonic plate boundary zone.

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  29. Anonymous says:

    Pure fluff and rambling nonsense from Moses K and his puppet Stran. They failed to answer simple and direct questions about the project.

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  30. Anonymous says:

    So in simpler news, the MoT has no idea what’s going on but is agreeing to it anyways. Sounds like Kirkconnell is just the scapegoat for this entire situation. Him and his CO need to be sacked immediately.

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    • ppm Distress Signal says:

      Another $hit $how from the Minister of Tourism and his technical expert Stran Bodden both are either disingenuous or inept failing to deal with basic questions on the project.

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      • alaw says:

        Once you are opposed, to building the dock, the Government will never find words that will please your ears,(proved to be a fact)

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