By Hon. Moses Kirkconnell, Minister for District Administration,
Tourism & Transport.
Regarding the Cruise Berthing Facility and Expanded Cargo Port.
As Minister of Tourism, I must dismiss as ‘fake news’ claims that the country’s proposed cruise berthing facility could be underway in weeks, and can affirm that the Cayman Islands government has not made any deal or agreement with any company with respect to the piers.
It is very disappointing that elements of our own local media are deliberately attempting to derail the ongoing procurement process with outrageous and erroneous claims which have no foundation in reality.
As recently as April of this year the Ministry provided an update to the public regarding the prequalification process and outlined what could be expected from the remaining stages of the development process through to the final contract award. That outline remains in effect and the Ministry has not deviated from, or bypassed any of the phases.
Consequently, to state that the public has been ‘kept completely in the dark about the process’ as one media entity claims, is malicious and untrue. So too is the unwarranted charge that ‘the Ministry does not appear to be following the rules set out in the new procurement law.
Following best practice takes time but provides the assurance that the decisions government is taking are based on sound principles, to achieve the best possible outcomes for the Country. I can assure the public that the Ministry of Tourism is committed to taking all the time necessary to follow established standards of best practice to ensure that the berthing facility and cargo port deliver the greatest economic benefit with the least environmental impact and is owned by the people of the Cayman Islands. We are proceeding carefully and will not rush the process merely to please supporters or antagonists; neither will we undertake any actions that fly in the face of full transparency.
Although we have previously outlined the procurement process in detail, for the avoidance of any doubt I am happy to reconfirm that during the pre-qualification process nine prospective bidders were shortlisted and subsequently sent an Invitation to Submit Outline Solutions (ISOS).
In February of this year, the pre-qualified applicants had the opportunity to attend an Industry Day which comprised formal presentations on the major elements of the project and included a visit to the George Town Port. ISOS responses were due in March 2018 and only five of the nine pre-qualified applicants opted to submit proposals to design, build, finance and maintain (DBFM) the proposed berthing facility.
Following a thorough analysis and evaluation of the five submissions by the Cruise Port Steering Committee, three bidders were ultimately selected to participate in the final stage of the procurement process and recommendations were provided to the Central Tenders Committee (CTC), who agreed with the Steering Committee’s assessments.
It is important to note that the Central Tenders Committee exists to ensure that public procurement is carried out in a fair and transparent manner while securing value for money in the procurement of goods, works, or services. Oversight by the CTC certifies proper procedures have been followed and having gained their approval, the three remaining bidders will be invited to submit final tenders (ISFT) this month. Those submissions will be due back in October 2018.
As Minister for Tourism I am satisfied with the steady progress being made, particularly since this is a complex process with highly commercially sensitive elements. Notwithstanding, tender documentation pertaining to the pre-qualification of bidders as well as to the ISOS process have been provided to the media upon their request. The online media entity fabricating reports about the proposed cruise berthing facility and expanded cargo port was provided with this information in May, 2018.
I would also like to take this opportunity to clarify that all of the tenants at the Royal Watler Cruise Terminal whose agreements expired this month were issued with renewals till the end of August 2019. Reports to the contrary are completely untrue.
I would once again like to reassure the people of the Cayman Islands that my Ministry and this Government remain focused and committed to doing the best for our country and the people we serve and we will continue to keep the public informed of all the major developments as the procurement process continues.