October 19, 2021

The Editor speaks: Big business v small business

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There is a huge divide between big businesses and small businesses and one is more likely to side with the small (trying to make a living) than the big (I want it all including yours).

This is clearly illustrated in the business bidding application process currently going on at the Owen Roberts International Airport.

The Cayman Islands Small Business Association (CISBA) has accused the Cayman Islands Airport Authority (CIAA) of requesting bidding proposals with confusing paperwork, forcing bidders to engage costly consultants to meet the “onerous bid requirements” and having to provide architectural drawings.

I can 100% agree with them.

It is obvious from the CIAA’s reply that they are clearly not interested in the small businesses that are at the airport now form continuing their operation.

The CIAA said there had been discussions a year before the bidding about the new concessions. They said they were looking to “exceed guest expectations by creating a memorable shopping and dining experience through appealing retail and food and beverage concepts”. This was the criteria they were executing to “make the proper selection of future vendors”.

Their latest press release (published in iNews Cayman today) says :

“It is also our objective to optimize revenue for the Authority. To ensure we meet these objectives, it is incumbent upon the Authority to make the proper selection of future vendors who will have the highest possibility for successfully operating in a unique business environment. In order to accomplish this, it is important for the Authority to receive important information from proposers including, for example, references, concept descriptions and revenue forecasts. We have established a fair and transparent bidding and evaluation process to garner the information we need to make the best decisions possible. Our standards and minimum qualifications complement the elegant design of the new airport

terminal. They represent airport best practices worldwide and help us compete in the region and beyond as a choice destination.

“The airport is the front door to our country and the last impression for our visitors returning home. The CIAA is passionate about ensuring our guests have an outstanding travel experience by providing a modern facility, and amenities we can be proud of.”

The CISBA said businesses will have to hire a consultant for their applications and they have researched this “and it is a minimum investment of CI$3,000 to help conceptualize, draft and submit all requirements inclusive of proof of two years balance sheet and income statement,”

The CISBA are correct.

They asked the CIAA to consider the small businesses when making their decision, and they offered to engage in discussion with the authority.

If the CIAA really wanted the small businesses they would have and could have helped them more with approving someone to act for them as a group.

That they have not done so nor entered into any discussions now with the CISBA speaks volumes.

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