(CMR) The following statement was issued earlier today – confirming the the cruise lines have formally committed to financing the proposed berthing facility.
Cayman Marl Road had previous reported that they were involved in the process; as some were calling it a blatant conflict of interest given their presence at government's only public meeting on the matter.
The minister's statement reads as follows:
The Cayman Islands Government has received formal financial commitments from two cruise lines on Tuesday 27th November, 2018 and Cabinet has approved the terms from the cruise lines.
The Ministry of Tourism is therefore now in a position to issue the final tender documents to the three shortlisted bidders in the cruise berthing project (CBF) at the end of November 2018.
The agreements with Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and Carnival Corporation, form part of the final tender process, and confirm that the cruise lines will provide funding for construction of the piers.
The financing will be provided in partnership with the preferred bidder that will be selected when the tendering process has concluded.
Prior to issuing the invitation for final tenders, the Ministry of Tourism has been keen to affirm the level of cruise line participation in order to maintain transparency and a level playing field. With this goal now accomplished, the cruise line agreement will be included in the Invitation to Submit Final Tenders (ISFT) to be sent to the final three bidders.
“I am very pleased with the progress being made to move the procurement process for this project steadily ahead. Formalizing this agreement represents the achievement of a major milestone and is a great example of a public private partnership working for the benefit of the country, said Hon. Moses Kirkconnell, Minister for Tourism.
“While the cruise lines had verbally confirmed their willingness to finance the CBF project, having signed agreements in place takes that commitment to another level.”
With the final tender documents issued in November, the submissions from the three shortlisted bidders will now be due for return in the first quarter of 2019. They will then be evaluated and the company that is assessed to have won the bidding process (preferred bidder) will be announced thereafter.
Key next steps will occur when the tender process is complete and the preferred bidder has been approved by the Public Procurement Committee. They will be contractually obligated to undertake a number of activities, such as conducting a geotechnical survey and submitting a coral relocation plan; a dredge management plan and an environmental management plan.
The Environmental Statement and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) will also be updated and submitted to the Environmental Assessment Board and will subsequently go out for public consultation as part of the EIA process. A public consultation period will be held, as was the case in June 2015 for the original EIA.
Constructing the cruise berthing facility fulfills government’s vision to deliver a more streamlined and convenient walk-on/walk-off experience for cruise passengers and provides the opportunity to modernise and expand the cargo port at the same time. The current port is 40 years old and operates under conditions that are cramped, inefficient and less than ideal.
With a growing population and ongoing development in the tourism industry our Islands are rapidly reaching the point where expansion will soon become critical in order to fulfill the increasing demand for goods imported by sea. The development of the cruise berthing facility and cargo port expansion are integral to the George Town revitalisation project and will help to bring new life and opportunities to the capital city.