A New Cruise Ship Pier: ‘Blah Blah Blah’. More of the Same

Recently in the Cayman Islands media there were talks that a final bid had been accepted and that the long-debated new cruise ship berthing facility would begin construction shortly.

This project has been debated and discussed for years on the tiny island nation and people have strong opinions for and against it.

Not so fast… Cayman Islands Government officials have refuted these recent claims saying that the final bids for the new cruise ship facility are not due until the month of October. Tourism Minister Kirkconnell has stated that there are three firms still in the running for the job of revamping Cayman’s antiquated harbour facilities, and that the winner of the civic works would not be selected until the end of the year. He also stated that it would be “some time” after that before any real work could begin. To some ears that sounds an awful lot like “Blah BlahBlah”. More of the same.

The rumors of the pier works commencing soon were circulating online and this prompted the tourism minister to issue his statements. These rumors circulating were centered on the idea that a local consortium was liaising with a cruise line company, had won the bid, and were ready to start construction this coming September.This was quickly dispelled by the minister by a quote of “fake news”.

He elaborated, stating, “I can affirm that the Cayman Islands government has not made any deal or agreement with any company with respect to the piers.” Fake news indeed…

More of the Same – Officials have further muddied the waters saying that once a preferred bidder is selected there will still need to be lengthy negotiations regarding the contract before any real work can commence. They also assured the voting public that the Ministry of Tourism is committed to taking all the time necessary to ensure best practice and that the new facilities can deliver the greatest economic benefit whilst simultaneously minimizing any negative impacts on the environment. The takeaways here seem to be that they are committing to taking all the time necessary and that they are in no rush. For those who have been listening for years it seems like “more of the same”.

In this latest phase of the “go around” regarding the works, the Cayman Islands Government announced a decision to move forward with the cruise ship berthing facility/cargo piers in George Town harbor back in the year 2015. That decision came after months and months of public debate & campaigning on both sides of the issue (for and against). Some folks couldn’t wait to begin, some couldn’t wait to see it die on the vine and the environmentalists deemed it the nail in the coffin of the reef system present in the capital city’s harbour. Studies were paid for out of the people’s purse and consultants reaped the benefits. Finally, though, the massive civic project went out to bid in 2017. Now we are told that out of the initial 5 groups that submitted bids, we are down to three still in the running. These then are allegedly in the final stage of the procurement process. This process, then, is still in the works with a winner to be selected at the end of the year. This has all happened under the guise of “steady progress” (serious questions remain about how the project will be paid for and how much it will actually cost mind you). Financial formula uncertainty, timeline uncertainty, PRICE uncertainty, cost to the environment uncertainty and even the nagging question of the necessity of the whole thing in the first place amount to one thing. Blah, Blah Blah.More of the same.

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