(CMR) At Wednesday's government sponsored cruise berthing public meeting the two industry representatives have now been exposed as having direct connections to one of the final three entities vying for the port development contract.
Miguel Reyna from Royal Caribbean and David Candib of Carnival Corporation were tooted at the meeting as being independent cruise representatives from two of the biggest cruise-lines. However, it was not disclosed that David Candib is actually part of the Executive Team for Verdant Isle Port Partners; and both companies have a direct pecuniary interest in the building of the port itself.
Both Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd and Carnival Corporation are part of a four member partnership entity called Verdant Isle Port Partners that are bidding finalists on the project. Other members of this group include McAlpine Ltd. as the lead organization and Orion Marine Construction, Inc.
These two cruise-lines employees sit alongside Barry Loudermilk (Orion) and Ian Pairaudeau (McAlpine) as the Executive Team for the project:
VERDANT ISLE PORT PARTNERS
John Tercek – Royal Caribbean
David Candib – Carnival Corporation & Plc
Barry Loudermilk – Orion Marine Group
Ian Pairaudeau – McAlpine
The impression given at the meeting was that these persons were independent representatives of the cruise-lines; who were here to convince the people of the Cayman Islands that islands that cannot accommodate mega-ships will be bypassed for other destinations.
David Candib was introduced as VP for Port and Operations for Carnival Cruise-lines by MC and Ministry of Tourism Chief Officer Stran Bodden. During the meeting's question and answer segment the minister refused to indicate who the final 3 bidders are. However, local activist Johann Moxam can be seen in the video below actually stating that representatives on the panel were part of that group.
Both men stressed their companies's commitment to the marine environment and sustainability but made it clear that a modern berthing facility was a required for continued servicing. Candib of Carnival Cruise Lines stated:
“We have mentioned, and we are here today to say those new class of ships unfortunately won’t go to destinations where they have to tender,”
And he gave the Oasis as an example.
At no time during Wednesday's contentious meeting was this information disclosed. In fact, they were introduced by Minister Moses Kirkconnell as being at the meeting to confirm the detrimental impact if Cayman does not develop it's port. He stated:
“the cruise-lines have told us this; there's a reason why two Vice-Presidents of two of the largest cruise lines in the world are here”
One of the many issues that critics of the cruise berthing process have repeatedly stated continues to be at the heart of this development is the lack of transparency. A local source who had called this port development into question and supports full transparency stated that:
“How could the government have members of a top three bid team on the platform selling us the reasons why this is necessary… it is a clear CONFLICT OF INTERESTS and gives preferential treatment to one bidder over the other two. It goes against every principle of transparency and international best practices. Their presence and failure to disclose their participation in the bids is the charade of transparency”
NNP Capital Partners Ltd. appears to have a connection to Verdant Isle – where on it's website it states that:
“NNP is supporting Verdant Isle Port Partners, a joint venture between Robert McAlpine Group (UK) and Orion Marine Group (USA) to be awarded the Grand Cayman cruise line port renewal project.”
It further confirms that:
“The facility will be hopefully be delivered via a US$240 million Design Build Finance Maintain (DBFM) procurement arrangement with Verdant.”
This site makes it clear that Verdant is a hopeful in the port development project. When contact about their involvement NNP Capital Partners Ltd.'s Chief Operations Officer stated that their involvement was limited to “only a capital and financial advisory standpoint”.