September 21, 2020

The Editor Speaks: What a waste

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The government’s Water Authority has once again advertised for tenders to be submitted for the acquisition and ownership of  “the public wastewater infrastructure on Grand Cayman, and to operate and maintain the sewerage system and to provide wastewater services under an exclusive 25-year licence.”

It is estimated that Grand Cayman’s waste is worth approx. $20 million.

The last Request for Proposal (RFP) did not find a buyer despite the period for bidding being extended SIX times. Yes, you did read the figure 6 correctly.

It was not surprising that there were “difficulties with the bids” when the original committee government appointed comprised mainly political appointees with no expertise in this specialist field. There was incredibly no input from the Water Authority (WA) board management.

In minutes from an October (2011) meeting of the WA board, the chairman had said that decisions over the sale of the sewerage system had been “completely removed from the authority management and to some extent out of the hands of the board” with the divestment decision being a  “political” one. Of course, these minutes were only released under a freedom of information request.

The Central Tenders Committee had also raised concerns that the evaluation report contained no substantial information on the impact the divestment of wastewater assets would have on customers and the local cost of doing business.

This latest RFP requires the successful bidder to:

provide expansions to the existing wastewater system to meet the future needs of the country,

comply with all applicable local laws and regulations,

provide a tender bond in the amount of US$200,000

have no less than ten years’ experience with providing wastewater services for public authorities for systems serving at least 60,000 people,

have the necessary fund without requiring a government guarantee.

Tendering documents will be available on Friday 18 May.

Completed documents and proposals must be returned to the Water authority by 12:00 noon on Wednesday 15 August 2012.

The existing public wastewater system comprises a gravity collection system with a number of lift stations and has a total length of approximately 12.5 miles. Included in the system is approx. 2.7 miles of force mains.

The wastewater treatment plant has a capacity of 2.5 million US gallons per day and currently collects and treats nearly 2 million gallons of waste each day in addition to around 20,000 gallons of septage delivered by commercial haulers.

What this means is that government will not be able (or should not be able) to include the monies it hopes to obtain from the sewerage operations sale in its upcoming budget, as it must be presented in the LA by the 31st May.

Government had instructed the WA it had only until 30th June 2012 to sell off the waste. This was presumably so it could be included in the Budget. The money had already been allocated in the 2011/12 Budget to complete the public high schools.

How much has already been wasted monetary wise on all this? Time is money.

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