October 28, 2020

CHINA DEAL DELAYED

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Premier McKeeva Bush yesterday announced extension of the memorandum of understanding with infrastructure giant China Harbour Engineering Company until 31 March next year.

The agreement, originally due to be completed by tomorrow, 30 November, has now been delayed four months while the Cayman Islands government, accounting firm KPMG and London’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) scrutinise its terms.

In a brief three-paragraph statement yesterday, the Office of the Premier said the work was ”detailed and complex” and, in the wake of last week’s London signing of the Framework for Fiscal Responsibility, both Mr Bush and the Port Authority of the Cayman Islands (PACI) would “formulate a business case and a value-for-money proposition for development of the George Town cruise-port project.

The framework, sought by FCO Minister for Overseas Territories Henry Bellingham, required strict accounting for all capital construction projects, seeking ”effective risk management and improved accountability in all public-sector operations” as well as better financial planning.

Saying that limits on borrowing “cannot reasonably be achieved in the short term”, Mr Bellingham hoped the framework “would return the public finances of the Caymans Islands to a sustainable footing” by next summer

In yesterday’s announcement, Mr Bush said he and PACI would “formulate a business case and a value-for-money proposition for development of the George Town cruise-port project.

“[Mr Bush] further advised” Mr Bellingham, the statement said, “that KPMG had been contacted by PACI from August 2011 to carry out this exercise and the work has been ongoing.”

As a result, “the current MOU will be extended beyond its expiry date of 30 November, 2011. The Cayman Islands government, PACI and China Harbour Engineering Company have agreed to extend their MOU to 31st March, 2012,” the statement said.

The premier also faces a 30 November deadline for a final agreement with Dart Realty, formalising the Dart-government ForCayman Investment Alliance, a $1.2 billion, 30-year programme of infrastructure improvement and economic revitalisation involving roads, hotels, schools, parks and relocation of the George Town Landfill to 110 acres near Bodden Town.

“We are working on the agreements,” Mr Bush told iNews Cayman yesterday, “but I’m not sure which one will be ready. I will let you know.”

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