At every significant milestone the Ministry of Tourism has kept the public informed and updated on the latest developments regarding the cruise berthing facility project, including the financing aspects of the project.
On 30th November, 2018, the Premier formally announced to the public that two cruise lines had made a financial commitment to the cruise berthing project, and stated that “those commitments, coupled with the finance to be provided by the preferred bidder on the project, effectively ensure that no public money will be required to build the new berths.”
A press release dated 1st December, 2018 was subsequently issued by the Ministry of Tourism which clearly indicated that “the agreements with Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd and Carnival Corporation, form part of the final tender process,” and specified that “the financing will be provided in partnership with the preferred bidder that will be selected when the tendering process has concluded.” (Emphasis added)
The cruise lines agreement was included in the Invitation to Submit Final Tenders (ISFT) that was sent by the Ministry of Tourism to each of the final three bidders, and this was also explained in the Ministry’s press release of 1st December, 2018.
The Ministry has actively sought to finance the cruise berthing facility using the Design, Build, Finance, Maintain (DBFM) financial framework, which is the type of public-private partnership best suited to large scale infrastructure projects. This is in keeping with the outline business case which recommended a public-private partnership involving cruise line participation as the preferred procurement model.
Minister for Tourism, Hon. Moses Kirkconnell explained that the cruise lines involvement underscores their commitment to the project and ensures that the number of passengers brought to our islands will be maintained. Once the piers are operational, cruise passenger numbers are expected to increase to 2.3M annually.
“The DBFM model means that the project will not require any government loans or bonds,” the Minister stated. “Construction of the piers, including the expansion of the cargo port will be paid for by the cruise lines using the passenger fees which would otherwise have been used for ferrying passengers to and from the cruise ships.”
This information has been shared by Minister Kirkconnell in various interviews, speeches and media releases, as well as in the Legislative Assembly and at the public meeting held on 26th September, 2018. Additionally, the Ministry has issued full page infomercials to help the public understand that the berthing facility will continue to be owned by the people of the Cayman Islands and operated by the Cayman Islands Port Authority.
Speaking specifically about the project’s timeline, Minister Kirkconnell emphasized that the information and data gathering aspects of the cruise berthing project started in 2013 and the bidding process has been ongoing since May 2017. “The project is now in its sixth year and has reached the stage where three bidders will be submitting their final bids shortly. I look forward to updating the public when those final submissions are received and the successful bidder has been identified,” he said.