There is much talk throughout the media of the George Town cruise facilities having to go out for a re-tender, as there is strong doubt that the present negotiations with China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) will meet the UKâ€™s expected â€śstandards of good governanceâ€ť.
Our lead story today spells out the concerns UK Minister for Overseas Territories, Henry Bellingham, has with CHEC negotiations as it was not part of the tendering progress.
Mr. Bellingham said he wanted the premier to seek advice from the auditor general and the chair of the Central Tenders Committee on how to ensure the project will, going forward, meet the standards of good governance expected.
CNS reported that Auditor General Alastair Swarbrick confirmed that so far the premier has not asked him for any advice. It is known that the Auditor General has concerns regarding the procurement process as it was included in his audit report on last yearâ€™s performance.
â€śWe made the shortcomings of the current practices very clear,â€ť he said, â€śand our concerns relating to the involvement of politicians in the procurement process known. Those concerns still exist and we are looking to see how the government will address them.â€ť
If the UK government do not approve the deal still being negotiated with CHEC and insist on the whole project being re-tendered you can be assured the cost of building the cruise ship facilities will soar, plus the delay is another blow to our already reduced cruise ship visitations. At this rate we may end up with a facility no one will want to call in anyway. Cruise ship ports of call are negotiated years in advance.
But I do have a solution. If the CHEC deal is dead there may be no need to go through all the lengthy and costly re-tendering process. There may be no companies even wanting to go through their own heavy costs of tendering for cruise ship facilities that have already been called â€śfoul playâ€ť by the parties that did. Our Government has now a very tarnished record regarding its tendering process. What company would want to pay thousands of dollars it takes for them to put a tender together of this magnitude and then have someone else steal the star part when they didnâ€™t even audition for it?
So what is the solution? Answer: GLF Construction/Royal Construction. They have already gone through a tendering process. They met with the Cayman Islands Port Board. They met with the Governmentâ€™s lead negotiator (at that time Cline Glidden) and THEIR BID WAS RECOMMENDED BY ALL CONCERNED.
The savings in costs and delays would be considerable. The current political pressure on Mr. Bushâ€™s head at this moment would give him a tiny bit of relief. It might even save him â€¦â€¦
And I give this advice freely and at no charge.