Verdant Isle and cruise lines win port bid

| 26/07/2019 | 147 Comments
Cayman News Service
Carnival cruise ship and tender in George Town Harbour

(CNS) UPDATED: The tourism ministry has given the controversial cruise and cargo port project tender to the McAlpine-led consortium known as Verdant Isle. The premier made the announcement in the Legislative Assembly Friday, adding that no contracts would be signed before 1 October to “allow for the completion of the people-initiated petition verification” process.

It is not clear why the government has picked that date and what happens after that, as it has been tight-lipped about its position and future plans regarding the petition’s success. However, it has become increasingly apparent in recent weeks that it is the government’s intention to challenge the call for a people’s vote in the courts.

In addition to McAlpine, Verdant Isle Port Partners comprises Orion Marine Construction (formerly Miesner Marine), Carnival Corporation and Royal Caribbean Cruises.

Shortly after the premier made the announcement that the group had won the bid, the Elections Office confirmed that, as of Thursday evening, almost 64% of petition signatures required to trigger the referendum had been checked. This means that just 1,922 more signatures must be verified before the full 25% of the electorate required under the Constitution can be confirmed.

The government said it will be holding a press conference on Monday afternoon about the project and the winning bidders, who were understood to be in the final two. The other finalist bidder was China Harbour Engineering Company, which many people thought would secure the deal because they had been prepared to offer financing to government for projects beyond the George Town Harbour cruise piers and cargo port expansion.

However, the Verdant Isle bid presents its own concerns about conflicts, given that representatives from both Carnival and Royal Caribbean appeared at a public meeting on a platform with members of government and officials who were handing the tender process while the bidding process was open and ongoing.

No details about the re-design or the cost were revealed by the premier in the statement but he said that the information, which could not be disclosed until the tender process was completed, will be discussed Monday.

McLaughlin said that Cabinet had approved the selection of Verdant Isle Friday morning. In response to queries from Opposition Leader Arden McLean, who asked for clarity, he said that the Central Tenders Committee had approved the winning tender because this project began before the new Public Procurement Committee was created.

McLean said it appeared that the government was attempting to steer this process through on a legal basis that it could not really explain, as he raised concerns that neither the premier nor the attorney general could explain why it was being approved by a committee that essentially did not exist. He pointed out that although government has been considering the project for years, it had not started it and the bidding process began only a few months ago.

See the latest figures from the Elections Office below:

Cruise Port Referendum Signature Verification Countdown

* 5,438 submitted June 12th + 199 submitted July 11th
** Constitutionally required 25% of the 21,116 registered electors = 5,292
# of Elector Signatures submitted for Verification*# of verification forms received# of signatures remaining to be verified# of verification forms remaining to reach 5,292**% of the required 5,292** signatures receivedDate & Time of Last Update
5,6373,3702,2671,92263.7%25 July, 8pm

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Category: development, Local News, Politics

Comments (147)

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  1. Sceptical says:

    I applaud the dedication of those who are behind the petition, but with the best will in the world, I cannot see how it can succeed. If it has taken the best part of a year to get 25% of the electorate to sign it, what is the chance that they can get double that number to actually come out and vote “Yes”, remembering that every person who does not vote is effectively a “No” vote?

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    • Benevolent Mindflayer says:

      Well, signing your name to a petition publicly is different that voting one way or another secretly. I wouldn’t sign the petition, but I would vote against the dock (main reason: I don’t believe we need it with the way stayover tourism is going, which I think should be our focus). Still, I do have to agree that a successful referendum for the anti-dock folks is probably a longshot – maybe a 20% chance at best.

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    • Anonymous says:

      THIS IS STUPID

      the government make hundreds of thousands of dollars everyday from the cruise ships…. easy money.

      i trust involving the cruise lines these duties will be waived?

      this is a really bad idea.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Did anyone really believe that Our premier was going to let The likes of Mario Rankin and Yohan Moxam defeat him?

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  3. Anonymous says:

    I hope next hurricane wipes the dock and people who supported this stupid idea off the face of this rock for good.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    I hope bid solicitation process is part of the procurement transparency the government has promised us. Does anyone else thing 2 bidders seems kind of low subject to collusion?

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    • Anonymous says:

      10:08 pm your question indicates that either you haven’t been following this public tendering process, or else you’re deliberately trying to stir up more misinformation/suspicion based on false premises. Don’t you realize these two were the FINAL two bidders, after a public tendering then the steps of a shortlisting process in which there were several more bidders that didn’t make the final cut?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Clifton Hunter, John Gray School?

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Isn’t it ironic that those who constantly scream “fix the dump!” are the very ones who are making a substantial daily contribution to the dump?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Shut up and fix the damn dump

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    • Anonymous says:

      Congratulation! You win the award for the stupidest comment of the day! Now you can crawl back under the rock from which you slithered.

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    • Anonymous says:

      DARTBOT you spoke again.

      DARTBOT you and DART fool some, but not all of the people.

      Now isn’t it ironic, the government subsidized DART has made MILLIONS of DOLLARS from selling MILLIONS of CUBIC FEET of plastic non-biogradable foam containers to the Cayman Islands.

      Now, these containers form a large part of the dump.

      Now, the Caymanian people will soon enter into a multigenerational multidecade, an over HALF BILLION DOLLARS contract, to clean up the dump that DART made great profits creating.

      DOES ANYONE SEE OR SMELL ANYTHING ROTTING AND STINKING IN THIS “PUBLIC PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP” (PPP)?

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      • Anonymous says:

        There’s help available. Google is a good place to start.

      • Anonymous says:

        Tardbot got internet access.

      • Anonymous says:

        Do you actually have any facts or evidence to support your assertions that a) there are millions of cubic feet of containers in the dump b) the containers make up a large part of the dump or c) the costs of capping and remediation of the dump amount to half a billion dollars? Or is it just something you are assuming?

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    • Anonymous says:

      The dumbest comment of this year

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    • Anonymous says:

      Note to 10:45 am: How do you know they are? Maybe they are saving it until they get a big truck load…. then they can take it over to the Premier’s front yard.

    • Anonymous says:

      We need The Dump fixed before we build a new port. Please, CIG, get your priorities right.

  7. Anonymous says:

    So we will soon have a cruise dock!!! And with it comes our tallest building on the island!!!!!!!!!!!! An icon for the the the islands. THE DUMP for all to see!!!!!!!!! Fix the F*#@&*$ dump first

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Great news!

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  9. Anonymous says:

    I’ve yet to meet a single person who thinks this damn port is a good idea. Who the hell is pushing this? Destroying the reason so many stay over tourists come here so we can have more cruise shippers is idiotic beyond all reason.

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    • Arthur Rank says:

      Interesting isn’t it, every way you look at this, economics, aesthetics, eco impact, this plan makes no sense, thats why you have yet to meet a single person that wants it. So, the real question is, why do supposedly sensible people in the LA consistently support it?
      I cannot believe that it could be so, but you have to wonder if there is some kind of self interest at play, does someone somewhere stand to gain personally, because otherwise why would they persistently ignore the evidence, and there is plenty, and ignore the people who have protested?
      It is difficult to believe that such a thing could be so, but what other theory would explain it?

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  10. Anonymous says:

    hey cig….after the shambles you made of a simple airport expansion….we are not supporting anything you do relating to cruise berthing facilities.
    end of story.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Amen

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    • Anonymous says:

      Shambles? They did a $60+ million renovation of a 30 yr old building, kept overruns below 20%, and never borrowed a penny due to FFR restrictions. That’s what you call a shambles? More like fear mongering BS from wannabe politicians and special interest groups.

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      • Anonymous says:

        So going over the budget by 20% is fine? Even though we do not have jet ways?All projects that Alden handled in the past ran over budget and were not completed. The common denominator in this equation, is pompous Alden.

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      • Anonymous says:

        keep swallowing the kool-aid…and the project still ain’t finished!

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      • Anonymous says:

        Below 20% overrun? Its a tad more than that isn’t it – not that a 20% overrun is anything to be proud of. Especially when the AG says the overrun are attributable to a combination of bad design and changing specifications AFTER awarding the contract when you are at the mercy of the contractors. And have you used the airport? What do you call a renovation that results in low quality fixtures and fitting, inadequate capacity to actually deal with passenger numbers now let alone in 10 years time, a building that floods when it rains because some idiot expanded the envelope to include the cistern overflows, whose ac cannot cope with passenger numbers, whose passengers have to board flights in the pouring rain because their was no money left for air bridges after building cozy offices for CIAA, where boarding frequently gets stopped to avoid intermingling incoming and outgoing passengers because there is no segregation, who could not even fix the parking ticket machine – a stonking success?

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  11. Anonymous says:

    forget the kirkbots….
    here is the real story:.under ppm and 8 years later….we are still at square one.
    port will never happen.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I wish you were right.

      But remember it was Alden who said “Only God could stop him from building the schools”!

      After wasting hundreds of Millions of dollars only one is completed.

      Mac’s UDP used the schools as a cash cow to pay back political supporters until thankfully the UK government pulled the plug on him.

      Too many crooked people have been promised too much to stop the docks – they will be built.

      Soŕry CPR you just did not evaluate the crooked forces against your valiant efforts to protect Cayman.

      Crooked money always wins and in the end if it goes to Court buys the judicial system.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    should the petition be approved…alden should resign…his inability to read public sentiment is obvious.
    well..that what would happen in any other 1st world country

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    • Anonymous says:

      How do the voting populace kick this fool out of office? There must be some way this can be done legally.

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  13. I ❤️ Kirkbots says:

    Kirkbots in attack mode in the comments section.
    I wonder how much Kool Aid crew and fountainhead are getting paid per comment?

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    • BeaumontZodecloun says:

      Well, so far, it looks like only me, and I’m not a bot, nor a Kirkbot. I’m just a person who likes to hear other peoples opinions without political trollery like “kirkbot”.

      Why can’t people just say what they think? Why do you insist that it’s a control conspiracy if someone expressed an opinion contrary to yours? I can’t lie; that nonsense pisses me off.

      Say what you think! Not so hard.

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      • A. Bodden says:

        I wouldn’t be so brash as to say what I really think about the high rollers who pay the bots pumping the dock, but I think it sucks! I’m just one person that is against the dock because it is a waste of money and will not be a good thing for average Caymanians, and I am just an average Caymanian.

  14. Anonymous says:

    It is useless to comment. Those who are engaged to post as many “support” comments as they can, give your fingers some rest. Even a million comments won’t sway my position toward supporting the project. Besides, your tactic is so silly.

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  15. Anonymous says:

    This is the best news for Cayman! What a great day!

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  16. Anonymous says:

    Everything else in Cayman is first class but our port and cruise experience is third world. This is desperately needed for the future of our islands, we can’t keep neglecting this and think it won’t hurt our long term tourism.

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  17. Anonymous says:

    Great Job Alden!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Future generations will recognize this Unity Government for Building the infrastructure to support sustainable tourism. With the International pressure on our financial services industry, tourism as a source of jobs is critical to us. And we all know we can’t be one dimensional with only stay over tourism.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Future generations will never know what the harbour used to look like or the beauty that was in it. They’ll rarely get to see from George Town to West Bay with the gentle curve of SMB again. George Town will not be beautified by Government or receive any further inward investment. Dart has a vested interest in keeping George Town shabby and full of t-shirt shops, holding all the cruisers away from the stay-over and rich locals paradise he thinks he’s building. Kirk still won’t sell any Rolexes. This will be good for almost no one, bad for everyone (including those it is good for, because it will be bad for everything except their pockets, and even that is just a hope). At least we know some people are getting paid because of this project: you cheering posters, who strangely never talk about how you or even a relative or friend will benefit and yet all support whatever the project turns out to be, regardless of the details. Not even a single cab driver have I seen on here saying ‘I will get more business so I support the port’.

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  18. Anonymous says:

    I’m pleased to see how the Government stuck with their plan of being thorough and transparent and following the plan from the get go. No shortcuts, no cutting corners. They ignored the noise from some loudmouths. And now making them eat crow.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Are you serious or simply talking rubbish, there has been no transparency and even now no one knows just how much this port plan will cost. If you believe it will come in on or under budget you live in a dream world.

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  19. Anonymous says:

    Could we fix the dump first!! What an embarrassment. Third World and visible from most places on Island including the cruise ships. Not to mention the smell………

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  20. Anonymous says:

    Seems like there will be some anti-port critics with shoes in their mouths. A lot of fake new being debunked with this news. Firstly, no China Harbour deal, which many claimed was a done back room deal. Secondly, they are waiting until the referendum count is finished, showing transparency and listening to the people. Thirdly, now they can release the numbers and info on the design before even signing the contract. Hard to argue with this decision making. Maybe we were being sold a bill of lies from the anti-port people the whole time.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Proceeding and approving, while failing to white-wash facts with paid misinfo campaign, and despite the grave initial professional EIA opinions is a special kind of tone deafness for tourism founded and built on a unique aquatic-based product. This is a regime that refuses to enact basic anti-corruption and conflict legislation.

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    • Anonymous says:

      No one is worse than the paid bots working for the establishment!…… unless it’s the people hiring them who will make a fortune make fortunes if the dock is built.

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    • Anonymous says:

      How did the anti-port people know who gov’t would pick? They told no lies. The risk of CHEC getting its corrupt tentacles into Cayman was indeed more than enough to oppose the port, but it was just one of many, many reasons to do so.

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  21. Anonymous says:

    To 3.30pm. What sort of lunacy are you promoting? You’re actually praying for violence in the streets of Cayman.
    CNS I’m not sure how this one slipped through but it seems like this is inciting violence and lawbreaking. Setting fires?

    CNS: Since the poster referred to the recent demonstrations in Puerto Rico, which was largely very peaceful, I had assumed that he was talking metaphorically, not suggesting actual fires, more like ‘fired up’ protests. Perhaps the original poster can confirm.

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  22. Anonymous says:

    Just how many cruise ship ports have McAlpine built? What a joke.

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    • Anonymous says:

      To 7.27pm Orion Marine Construction (formerly Miesner Marine) is the frm with Port Construction expertise

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      • Anonymous says:

        Yes, the same port that Baird said is falling apart after a couple years.

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      • Bertie : B says:

        Miesner Marine built the bridges in the florida keys . I worked for them and quite frankly they are very experienced in this sort of construction and professional . Not saying I agree with the port project , but if it is built thank God the Chinese firm didn’t get the bid .

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    • Anonymous says:

      The current one for a start. And many will remember the massive repairs and other works needed on this over the years…

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    • Anonymous says:

      If one looks at the Sir Robert McAlpine website one can see that they have absolutely ZERO / ZERO experience building ports. That is not their area of expertise.

      Assume they are going to subcontract out to someone in America?

      Does anyone know?

      Also, how is the port going to be financed? No word on that.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Orion/Meisner are recognised leaders in this field and McAlpine, who have been in Cayman for more than 50 years , will bring local strength and logistics.
      McAlpine’s record of building North Sea oil platforms makes them more than qualified.
      Check your facts before spewing small minded foolishness.

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      • Anonymous says:

        That is bullhockey! If this stupidity goes on they will destroy our coral!

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        • Anonymous says:

          Global warming is destroying the coral. We all need to make sure the tender owners aren’t allowed to destroy our jobs.

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        • Anonymous says:

          I would pay to see bulls play hockey. The Zamboni would be doing more than just resurfacing the ice in between periods!

    • Anonymous says:

      So it would have been better to get the communist Chinese in here to do the job? You need to go to China and thrive – thank goodness that McAlpine got the nod.

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  23. Anonymous says:

    This dock couldn’t come at a better time and done in a better way. No debt for government, no cash out for government and we’ll own it in 25 years. Hopefully all the information on the dock will come out now, it will be one of the only developments not owned by Dart group and will be totally for Caymanians and local jobs for the future.

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    • Wake Up says:

      You really believe that PPM line don’t you?
      What about the revenue that we had been getting but will not get for the next 25 years because it will go directly to Verdant to pay them for building it.
      If you had a place that you owned and were renting and you got into an arrangement for the rent to go to a bank to pay a mortgage on another property that you weren’t going to rent, would you say this other property that you are getting isn’t taking any cash out of your income stream? You mightn’t have to part with any cash that you have but you will certainly have to make do with less cash for 25 years.
      Nothing in life is FREE!

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    • A. Bodden says:

      7:23 pm; I think you are a bald-faced liar. If you think it’s so great why don’t you use your name with your statement?

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  24. Anonymous says:

    Go to Cozumel and see how the local businesses dried up as the cruise ship companies lined the new pier with their shops.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Before you take any trips you should probably wait to hear the details of how the piers will be built and regulated in our country. It’s better to operate based on facts rather than assuming something done abroad is what we will be doing.

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  25. Anonymous says:

    CHEC was merely an effective distraction from the very start.

    Good on Arden for calling out the government for technically selecting the winning bid by an outdated / illegal / unconstitutional (take your pick) process.

    The question of “who” builds the port is, and always was, immaterial.

    The meat of the matter is the proposed port itself, as a quasi-local entity winning the bid does not automatically negate the many potential pitfalls of this project.

    This port will be a game-changer for the country – in more ways than one can count.

    CIG, I urge you; present your proposal, carry out the mandatory updated EIA, release your findings to the people, and finally – let the country decide whether they want it.

    There is zero urgency surrounding this issue, furthermore, our tourism figures have never been better.
    Interestingly however, our network infrastructure, tourists sites, roads and hot spots are already stressed to the limit..with the current system in place.

    Have a referendum and let the people decide.
    Simple.

    – Whodatis

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  26. Anonymous says:

    PPM getting things done the right way, step by step following the regulations. Very impressive! With God’s Grace we may finally get the port we have needed for decades.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah 5:57 they getting things done alright ,,,,,can’t finish the high school ,garbage problems,,our mental disturb are begging in town, the more they build the worse it is . But it’s not alarming ,cause it’s all about fame ,,and I know this is fulfilment of Gods word .

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    • Anonymous says:

      A personal message to Mr. 5:57 pm. PPM has NEVER done anything right! The truth still stands. We don’t need a dock that will end Grand Cayman’s diving tourism!

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    • Anonymous says:

      This regime hasn’t enacted the Standards in Public Life Law required by Constitution Order a decade ago. Several know they would be on their way to jail if it were in force.

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  27. Anonymous says:

    It’s about time they got this moving forward. Great step ahead for Cayman and Caymanian jobs.

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  28. Anonymous says:

    Geez what a surprise!McAlpine has been the company of choice for the PPM for years.

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  29. Anonymous says:

    Great news.

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  30. Anonymous says:

    Thank God almighty CHEC didn’t get the bid.

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  31. Anonymous says:

    The good news? Its not the Chinese. The bad news……….

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  32. Anonymous says:

    What happen to the petition????

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  33. Anonymous says:

    this is definitely not a government for the people but a government for themselves.
    What a legacy to leave behind.
    ” hi I was the premiere of the Cayman islands but I didn’t listen to the people”

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  34. Anonymous says:

    Nothing to see here usual World Class Friday afternoon news dump

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  35. Anonymous says:

    I am not sure we need an expanded port. The existing cruise ship traffic is enough (maybe 20% too much). There is not much to see downtown other than jewelry stores, t-shirts and souvenirs (and traffic already gets choked). Once Dart closes Royal Palms (for eventual hotel construction), that just leaves public beach for a ‘beach excursion’ (packed already mid-week). Stingray City is already at capacity during midweek in high season.

    Whether a new port or not, cruise ships will still come here for any Western Caribbean itinerary (if doing Cozumel and Jamaica, not much else to see in this area other than Cayman).

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  36. Anonymous says:

    How much will government need to pay Verdant Isle if they lose the referendum? #nofreelunch #staywoke

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  37. Anonymous says:

    This government is a sellout. Just how Dart is given his way to destory or take over whatever he wants. I am praying that this will be another Puerto Rico or South America. Start with fire in the streets and move on.

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  38. Anonymous says:

    Can we see the plans now and what is the cost?

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  39. Anonymous says:

    That’s great but how they gonna build it when the Government loses the Referendum?

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  40. Anonymous says:

    They are coming coming very soon, oh beauteous isle to us..

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  41. Anonymous says:

    Course the CIG waits till Friday afternoon to announce this, to minimize the initial exposure over the weekend and have less discussion, No papers printed,very little news written on the weekend and no talk shows

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    • Benevolent Mindflayer says:

      The Friday afternoon news dump is right out of Donald Trump’s playbook. Unfortunately for the Cayman Government, the Cayman news cycle isn’t like that in the U.S., where in an environment of 24-hour news,weekend sports and reality TV, people have the attention spans of gnats. CNS has this now and it will still be headline news in the Compass and the focus of the talk shows on Monday. All this does is gives the opponents more time to develop their arguments.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Oh please the Trump reference is stupid. All governments, companies, agencies etc put out bad or controversial news on a Friday afternoon or when other big news is out there etc to hide it. Get a life.

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      • Anonymous says:

        What are you upset about 3.56? Are you afraid that Cabinet is not looking like they have anything to hide?

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    • Anonymous says:

      CIG S.O.P.

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    • Anonymous says:

      And if the news had been released on a Monday, you would complain that it deprived the people of an opportunity to think about it over the weekend…right ?

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      • Anonymous says:

        We really pretending governments the world over don’t use the Friday news dump into the weekend to lull sheeple like you back to sleep

        Don’t mind this deal that no one wants head on down to happy hour, where you can drink yourself into a stupor and forget about your miserable existence

        People like you are why Caymanians will never have a piece of the pie in Cayman

        Willing to let the CIG get away with murder

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