October 27, 2020

MAC: NO RED BAY

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“The public will understand what I’ve done for them”

Premier Bush

Premier McKeeva Bush yesterday laid to rest any lingering hopes for cruise-ship berthing in Red Bay, saying construction in George Town would make the best use of national resources.

At the same time, he predicted as much as another eight weeks until the final ForCayman Alliance Agreement would be signed with Dart Realty.

“It is a ‘go’ with the China Harbour Engineering Company,” he told iNews Cayman, alluding to the prospective contractor for the two-pier port and upland development in George Town’s Hog Sty Bay. “We are doing the business case, the value-for-money study, and as soon as it is done, it will pass to the Central Tenders Committee.

“I’m not saying that George Town is the best place, but that is what has been promised, what people are expecting and where things already are,” he said.

Mr Bush said he still did not have a date to conclude the $1.5 billion, 30-year infrastructure and community-development ForCayman Alliance programme, but that a negotiating committee was making progress. The alliance had originally scheduled a late-November signing, but delayed the pact for further talks.

“We have a committee that has been working on it, and it will take from one month to three months from when we signed the National Roads Authority (NRA) agreement,” the premier said, referring to the 15 December conclusion of a subsidiary accord among the NRA, Dart Realty and elected government to start work on the Esterley Tibbetts Highway extension to West Bay.

While Mr Bush’s projection moves the signing to late February, Dart Realty yesterday declined to comment on the development.

The premier also, after months of debate, finally rejected outright alternate cruise-berthing proposals in South Sound’s Red Bay, while at the same time dismissing questions surrounding the Spotts Landing foul-weather alternative to George Town.

The plans at Red Bay will be sunk without trace

“I haven’t got time for Red Bay,” he said yesterday. ”I’m doing nothing untoward and am getting the best deal.” He acknowledged criticisms that docking facilities in George Town could not be enlarged to meet future demand, but said the decision had been made.

“No, you can’t expand George Town, but that is where we choose to go and what the agreement is. So George Town is a ‘go’.

“We have to go ahead with Spotts,” he said, lamenting the rejection of his own proposed substitute. “I gave an alternative. It was in North Sound, but no one wanted to go there. North Sound has been on the table for generations. People have been saying we should go there, just past the airport, up around there. We have to go to Spotts.”

Initially, Mr Bush had proposed dredging a channel across the reef above the Cayman Islands Yacht Club, tracing the shoreline past the Ritz-Carlton hotel and Camana Bay, past the George Town Barcadere, extending nearly to the police marina at the end of Hirst Road.

In May he dropped the plan after public outcry.

“When we come out, when the deal is finally signed, the public will understand why and what I have done for them,” he said, pointing to efforts by George Town MLA and chief negotiator with the China Harbour group Ellio Solomon.

Last week, Mr Solomon announced “tremendous progress” in the talks, settling a range of issues including local employment and subcontractors, supply of building materials and visiting-worker accommodation. A final signature, he predicted, would come in mid-February.

“He has done a tremendous job,” the premier said yesterday, “taking up the challenge that I have outlined to him, getting the whole thing to where we use all our assets for the best for this country.”

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