Tourism minister denies signing port deal

| 08/05/2019 | 90 Comments
Cayman News Service

Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell

(CNS): Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell has denied that the government has entered into any premature deals with contractors bidding on the controversial cruise berthing development in George Town. As speculation mounted in recent weeks that the ministry has already given the nod to China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) to take on the proposed project, the minister said the rumours were “completely untrue”, as he asked the public to ignore the claims.

“As minister of tourism, with the responsibility for overseeing the development of the cruise berthing and enhanced cargo port facility project, I can confirm that neither the Major Project Office nor the Cayman Islands Government have entered into any deal with any company bidding to design, build, finance and maintain the piers,” he said in a short release. 

The minister stated that in November three bidders were invited by government to prepare and submit final tenders to design, build, finance and maintain the project, and the procurement was in the final stages. Only when all of the bids have been received and evaluated will the successful bidder be selected and announced, he said.

However, it is widely believed, as a result of leaks, that only CHEC and a local consortium known as Verdent Isle remain in the running after the third bidder pulled out of the process.

Describing some of the speculation about the project as “nothing more than deliberate gossip and untruths… as part of an ongoing campaign to …confuse the public”, the minister said he had addressed similar false rumours in August.

“It is unfortunate that I have to address them again in response to persons whose agenda seems intent on derailing this project by any means possible,” he said. “As every significant milestone in the process has been achieved, the public has been kept informed either by my ministry or the honourable premier. We will continue to provide updates on the project’s progress and urge the public to disregard information on the cruise berthing project that does not originate from official government channels.”

But the government has not been very transparent where this project is concerned.

General and regular press enquiries made by CNS and other media organisations are routinely ignored and the campaigners behind the bid to secure a people-initiated referendum campaign are also still waiting for answers to a catalog of questions, such as details of the jobs government insists will be created by the project and the financing model. 

Cayman News Service

New proposed cruise port design, April 2019 (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

CNS is still waiting for confirmation about information we received relating to the new design of the pier layout (see graphic right), which is important because the final design will dictate the amount of damage that the coral reefs, wrecks and other marine life in the George Town harbour will sustain if this costly development is allowed to go ahead.

Meanwhile, the government has not yet responded to the letter sent by the referendum campaigners warning the CIG not to sign any deals because the petition is now just a few hundred verified signatures short of the required 5,289 voters’ names needed to trigger the national poll.

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Category: Business, development, Local News, Transport

Comments (90)

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  1. Bertie : B says:

    CHEC are being sued for fraud around the whole world , google the company and include fraud in your search , they are involved in Billion dollar frauds , don’t take my word for it .

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    • Anonymous says:

      If CHEC are that bad, then why oh why would anyone want to do business with them ? Somebody please explain.

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      • Anonymous says:

        CHEC are an arm of the Chinese Government, in fact, they are the Chinese Government. The Chinese Government is attempting to win influence around the world and by using low cost Chinese Government bank financing they buy worldwide influence. Buying off politicians in Third World countries is a major part of CHEC’s playbook. The World Bank banned them because of this simple fact.

        Certainly hope Mother in London, blocks CHEC and saves us from ourselves.

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      • Anonymous says:

        So it’s CHEC’S alleged pay offs and bribery of local politicians that gets them their contracts.
        Surely that couldn’t happen here, could it ?

  2. Anonymous says:

    That’s a very interesting map. With the much expanded Port from the previous proposals. Eden Rock is definitely dead now.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    15 years later…still at planiing stage…
    this will never get built and is totally no t nesseccary

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    • Anonymous says:

      Amazing how effective the tender boat owners have been in delaying our country’s new infrastructure for all these years.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Remind us again, who was the leader of gov’t business that “negotiated” to subsidize tender operations, and agreed to only charge our CI Port fee in one direction instead of both ways? What was his name again? Where is he now? Oh yeah.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Petitioners, you better step it up and get the signatures you need to present to government.The ship is about to enter the port!

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Moses is one of the (very) few that is getting things done for our country and our people. They should put him in charge of the dump too if they want progress and success.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    There’s no way thats the right design, because the piers positioning do not spell M K

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  7. Anonymous says:

    It has taken years way too long to get this dock going. It could’ve been paid for a dozen times if the tender boat fees had been used to benefit the Island and build the dock instead of lining pockets.

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    • Anonymous says:

      That’s your backup? If the rumour’s are true that the cruise lines and Dart corp already have a tender operations plan in play (and when dock gets built tender taxis) then the country is doomed as the Cayman tender company is small fry compared to that prey!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Please stop with the hyperbole. Your bad maths is making it hard for the rest of us to argue for the dock being built when one of the opposition’s arguments is ‘how will we pay for it’.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    I still want an explanation of how tourist fees going to the contractor for the next generation and thus NOT to CI Gov, thus requiring Gov to find funds to pay for the running of Cayman from elsewhere, somehow isn’t us (Cayman) paying for the port. It seems like a simple question. You’d think all of these intelligent MLAs would be able to explain.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Government is not getting this fee now, it is going to the tender operators. So instead of going in the pockets of the tender operators it’s going to pay for the port.

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      • Anonymous says:

        There is no tender fee if there is no tendering so if you build piers there is no tendering money to use to pay for them.

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        • Anonymous says:

          The tendering fee will be replaced by a berthing fee. The point is, the cruise ship companies are already paying a fee (the tendering fee) but it is going to the tendering company to get the passengers onshore. Once the tendering fees go away, they will still pay a fee (the berthing fee) to be able to dock at the one of the new piers and their passengers can walk off or wheel-off as the case may be. The berthing fee will be initially use to pay for the new port.

      • Anonymous says:

        Talking about the head tax not the tender fee.

    • Anonymous says:

      I want to know how many times government has to answer this simple question for you to finally stop asking it. Surely, you are smart enough to understand the answer. So I can only conclude that you keep asking hoping to confuse others!

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  9. Not An Engineer says:

    Wow, where did this drawing come from? Has anyone looked at the design? Are we just planning on having Oasis ships? Can’t see where any other ships would be able to anchor off as Hog Sty terminal has disappeared. Looks like any tendered ships would have to anchor way West? Holy cow it’s enormous, look how much concrete needs to be poured the size of George Town! And what about the black lines around the dredged areas. And the red lines around the National Museum and Bayshore Mall and the corner store on Mary Street? That’s weird? Seriously, anyone looked? Glad they haven’t signed anything yet as this design needs to go on the bonfire.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    There is so much fake news these days. A sure sign that the entire Government will get re elected. Well without Bernie!!

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  11. Anonymous says:

    Here’s a big boy that should step down.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I pray to God that Mr Moses dosent do something so silly as to step down. We need more of his caliber in Government. He is an intelligent and honest man. I am very proud of him. A man of true words.

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      • Anonymous says:

        We need people with his tenacity to take on the tender monopoly multi millionaires on our behalf. Without him we would continue paying the tender boat toll for another 20 years.

        Please Minister keeping fighting to get that money to build our country’s infrastructure instead of lining the tender boat owners pockets.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    This is one of the few projects going on that is actually for Caymanians. Everything else is either dart developing just for dart or other private developer with send profits at heart

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    • Anonymous says:

      Nonsense. Other than the politicians who’ve been bought and their cronies, Caymanians won’t see a dime. How quickly do you forget about Carnival setting up their own companies to make sure that the spend comes back to them? Blind, thick sheep.

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  13. Ron Ebanks says:

    DI’d anyone noticed in about all of these comments that mentioned Mr Moses name got a lot of thumbs down . Do you believe that he is the only perfect man in the world and can’t do wrong , you’re wrong.
    There’s not such a man like that in the world.. so learn to see when he’s right and when wrong , the best thing you can do for kids and grandchildren future .

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  14. Anonymous says:

    This lot are utterly shameless.

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  15. J|) says:

    The dock and cargo port will be built.. watch

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  16. Anonymous says:

    “enhanced cargo port facility project” doesn’t look all that enhanced to me!

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  17. Anonymous says:

    Moses you know better….an agreement was reached with them years ago after cancelling contract with Italian firm (remember the fee for cancelling Italians wasn’t to be born by the Cayman people and then it showed up in the government financial statements). Whether on not someone was paid by Chec back then, it is believed it is the intenion of this government to honor that agreement by re-awarding to Chec. This is supported by government lack of transparency in the procurement process. We’re not that stupid buddy.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Please don’t let these made up stories cause more delays and distractions. Build the dock and ignore these ongoing delay tactics by the tenders people.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Sounds like someone doesn’t want to “kick-back” money to CHEC.

      • Anonymous says:

        Which part is made-up? That after a visit to Jamaica, Big Mac cancelled GLF contract and awarded to a company regionally (Jamaica) and internationally known to use bribery to obtain engineering contracts? Or is it about the GLF fine that Big Mac said wouldn’t be born by the people and then tried to hide payment in “other executive expenses” in government financial statements? You’re a slimeball!

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  18. Anonymous says:

    If the process was transparent the Government wouldn’t have to come out every 6 months crying “fake news” and “don’t believe your lying eyes and ears believe the sweet nothings we whisper to you”

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  19. Anonymous says:

    How could the deal be premature even if they did sign? They said at the public meeting a year ago that they were going to announce the winning bid in November 2018!

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  20. Ron Ebanks says:

    Mr Moses must think that everyone is stupid and believe him .
    I say the best to handle Politics that aren’t transparent to the people should be voted out every 4 years .

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  21. Anonymous says:

    If anybody believes Alden, McKeeva or Moses on any topic I have a bridge to Cayman Brac I have to sell you.

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  22. ppm Distress Signal says:

    The minister doth protest too much

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    • Anonymous says:

      Make up your mind. You complian when he ignores the rubbish rumours because they’re rubbish and you complain when he sets the record straight. There’s just no pleasing some people.

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  23. Anonymous says:

    This government cannot be trusted on any issue

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  24. Caveat Emptor says:

    Mr. Kirkconnell

    Please confirm if China Harbour Engineering Company are in the list of final bidders for the port project?

    If so, how is that possible given the concerns expressed by the then leader of opposition in 2012 who is now the current Premier Alden McLaughlin?

    Is the unity government not concerned by CHEC’s reputation and allegations of corrupt practices which were expressed by Alden McLaughlin when he was leading the opposition against McKeeva Bush’s UDP deal with CHEC. The same deal that required intervention from Governor Duncan Taylor and the FCO?

    http://archive.caymannewsservice.com/2012/06/29/mac-insists-chec-to-do-port/

    http://archive.caymannewsservice.com/2013/04/03/chec-port-deal-leaked/

    https://www.caymancompass.com/2012/06/06/Concerns-over-China-Harbour-amid-World-Bank-sanctions/

    http://www.legislativeassembly.ky/portal/pls/portal/docs/1/10290144.PDF

    What has caused circumstances to change from the concerns expressed about CHEC in 2012 to the current position and favorable consideration by the Premier, Deputy Premier and Unity Government In 2019?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Listen you trouble maker and spreader of fake news; Honorable Kirkconnell and Honorable Premier are doing a bang up job on the port project. There will be a fair bidding process but at the end of the day only the CHEC/Dart consortium can handle a massive project like this. We will be very pleased once CHEC gets things going and the great work they have done all over the world plus at a lower cost than anyone else. Having China here will only do our country good. Just leave our leaders alone!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Alden McLaughlin can’t stop you, or anyone from bidding on a tender. Bidding doesn’t mean you got the job.

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  25. Anonymous says:

    Importantly, as Baird has shown via its own computer simulations, damage is not constrained to the excavation area or limited construction period. It is continuous, forever. CI Port will have to guarantee depth and will have to maintenance dredge at regular intervals. Reef-suffocating silt sediment plumes from prop wash are continuous and ongoing…

    https://www.baird.com/case-studies/cayman-islands-cruise-berthing-facility/

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    • Anonymous says:

      So what, that will be more work for CHEC to do.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The World bank warns against doing business with the CHEC/Chinese and even Bangladesh refuses to do business with CHEC because of alleged corruption…..and we are considering awarding the contract to them. ???

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      • Anonymous says:

        Why doe our government officials want to do business with CHEC? Same reason that Willie Sutton robbed banks 🏦

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      • Anonymous says:

        Because they are a top notch company who also will be working together with Decco/Dart. There management will make sure everything goes smooth. You trouble makers are just stirring up the people but us who know are not afraid!

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      • Anonymous says:

        Oh Governor and Mother in London. Please block corrupt CHEC from being allowed to do this deal in Cayman. Save us from ourselves.

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  26. Anonymous says:

    Wasn’t this same Minister proudly declaring he had entered into a deal with Carnival…or is that just an MOU of BS? Where is it, what does it say, why can’t we read it?

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  27. Anonymous says:

    OK. Please Minister tell us what the cost of the new port will be? The tax and fee payers of the Cayman Islands have a right to know by now.

    Yours in the pursuit of financial transparency.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Why do the 20 thumbs down not want to know the cost of the port? They all must be on the take or are totally stupid and financially irresponsible.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Because we have been to the meetings and are smart enough to understand the procurement process. Call Mr. Stran Bodden if you want it explained to you again.

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        • Anonymous says:

          The “procurement process”, with all its secrecy, is not something you start until there is a consensus for the project. There was no consensus on this project before the process began. Just a bunch of greedy, short-sighted politicians got elected and found themselves holding the ball and went oh look at that we all supported the port and we’re the government so everyone supports the port. Not so. Neither of the last two elections was fought on that issue. The reason people get mad is because they did not agree to this project, the information they have received indicates that there will be unacceptable costs to the project and it lacks justification, and we want the truth about it exposed so that everyone can see for themselves, exactly what they want to do with our beautiful harbour and who is going to benefit, because it won’t be us. They have hidden behind the “procurement process” the whole time as a way of ignoring a lack of popular support, as a way to proceed no matter how much we protest. ‘It would be illegal to tell you what we are doing’ is the perfect excuse. Only the referendum will even put a dent in their arrogance and contempt for the people.

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        • Anonymous says:

          So why 10:36, does no one in the CIG explain the financial aspects of the procurement process? Why does one have to call Bodden?

      • Anonymous says:

        No, their not stupid. They understand the total cost won’t be known till the bids come in. It’s the same with any tendering job. That’s what tendering is all about.
        Whose stupid now?

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        • Anonymous says:

          So when you go to build a house you don’t have an idea of how much its going to cost before you get bids/tenders? How do you know you’re getting value for money? Or that the low-bid isn’t too low?

        • Anonymous says:

          The general rule for large capital projects around the world is that when one bids one also puts in a proposal on financing. If one has no financiers then one has no project. However, as CHEC is the Chinese Government Chinese Government banks will finance projects often with no interest loans and grants in an attempt to win political influence in Third World countries.
          Hope Mother in London disciplines the financially irresponsible child in the Caribbean.

      • Anonymous says:

        Whatever you may want to say about the Government, they do follow the law – in this case namely the Framework for Fiscal Responsibility and the Procurement law. Opponents are taking advantage of this as they know that cost estimates at this stage are not the final estimate and cannot be announced. As I understand the process, we are at the stage represented by (C) below. We’ll know the final cost estimates when the steps associated with (D) are completed. Government will not sign any contract until if and when we get past (E).
        (A) previous steps
        (B) 3 bids = 3 cost estimates
        (C) selection of preferred bidder »» one cost estimate
        (D) announce preferred bidder
        and update and publish EIA and business case including the final cost estimate
        (E) public consultation and next steps depending on what happens with the referendum….

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        • Anonymous says:

          Are you suggesting that if there aren’t three bids the whole thing will have to reset? Are you sure you know what you’re talking about?

          • Anonymous says:

            No to 1:20 PM. But I do invite 1:20 PM and anyone else who think they know better to share with us the SPECIFIC DETAILS of how they think the process should work. Its easy to spout generalities.

            • Anonymous says:

              Very simple, the way the rest of the world does it on large capital projects. The bidders must also submit a financing proposal with their bid. It would also be useful for the bidders to know as well as the Caymanian public whether the CIG is proposing to give a Sovereign Guarantee. Does anyone know?

              Also believe that due to the large amount of the financing and loan, Mother in London, will have to approve. That’s probably a very good thing considering the way the CIG has handled this whole bidding process with a total lack of transparency.

        • Anonymous says:

          The Baird EIA screamed CAUTION, DON’T DO IT. If you’ve already promised liners you’ll go ahead in spite of the irreversible damage (as our guys have), and questionable economics, doing it all in secret, then you are a dishonest ambassador of the truth and shouldn’t represent the people. It in no way represents good governance or a transparent procurement process. Moses won’t even share the guarantee letter he purports to have in hand from the liners.

        • Anonymous says:

          6:55, You obviously have no idea how long it takes to put financing in place for a capital project, however, if the decision has already been made to award it to CHEC financing will be immediate from Chinese State banks.

          On projects of this type and size worldwide a financing proposal is always included in the bid because this will impact the overall cost in the end.

          Is the CIG going to give a Sovereign Guarantee?

  28. Anonymous says:

    I wonder what the other of his two faces has to say about this.

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