October 25, 2020

The Editor Speaks: Cruise ship terminal won’t be coming soon

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Colin WilsonwebIt is shocking that the previous government controlled by ex premier McKeeva Bush wasted four valuable years and a considerable amount of our money in achieving absolutely nothing in bringing us a cruise ship terminal that is of paramount importance to our economy as a tourist destination.

How anyone could elect any of the individuals again to the Legislative Assembly who allowed Bush to continue on his trail of woefully and willfully ignoring the conditions and parameters already in place here and the stark warnings given to him by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to desist on this course is beyond me?

His reasons for continuing with the Chinese to build the cruise ship berthing facilities are unclear. His insistence that he remains convinced the offer by the Chinese company to build and finance the dock is the best offer that Cayman received and is in the best interest of the people of these islands, is pure conjecture.

At no time have we ever been given ALL the details of the deal. Not even his colleagues knew and yet they voted with him.

“It is unlikely that any other organisation will make an offer which has the long term financing and benefits for our people as that made by China,” he said recently.

What he left out is the conditions and charges the Chinese were going to impose in order for them to not only get their monies back but with interest.

We will never know now because no one knows except McKeeva.

What we have left is nothing but more debt that Bush blames on the previous Governor Duncan Taylor and the FCO.

Well I blame him and every member of his government. The blame must start at the head and like a rotting fish it eventually reaches the tail.

What we have now is a completely new proposal that should and could have been executed when he came to office. It actually started out almost right with the first negotiations until Bush pulled the rug out from under the feet of his then West Bay colleague Cline Glidden who was in charge of the proceedings.

Even though we have no one in place to build the cruise ship terminal, not even Architectural plans, we know more than we ever did under the Bush Berth Binge.

Deputy Premier and Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell, chief officer Stran Bodden and PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Simon Conway addressed public questions and concerns on a host of issues connected to the project at a meeting at the Mary Miller Hall, Red Bay on Tuesday (5).

We learnt this:

The cruise ship berthing facility will be built in George Town Harbour.

Minimum cost to develop two basic piers in George Town will be approx. $100M, but could be $200M

Length of lease to whoever develops the port will be approx. 20 years. (This is in order to recoup investment.)

Two piers to be constructed.

Piers life expectancy would be 50 years.

Piers will allow mega ships to berth.

Pedestrian areas would be required immediately in front or by the berthing facility together with other major infrastructure changes.

Involvement from the major cruise lines as a consortium of Carnival and Royal Caribbean is vital. Not one company must have a competitive advantage.

Private partnership identified as best model for financing.

All private entities involved in the project must demonstrate they can control cruise volumes therefore a cruise line is the preferred option.

An environmental study will be executed. If the study identifies substantial risks, such as significant erosion of Seven Mile Beach, the berthing project will not go ahead.

Commencement of construction will not take place until January 2015 (earliest).

Compare all this to what we learnt from the 4 years of the Bush berth?

Although we know we won’t have a new cruise ship berthing facility soon we have more confidence that we may actually get one.

 

 

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