Deputy Premier and Tourism Minister Hon. Moses Kirkconnell told hundreds of attendees at Wednesday’s (26 September) public meeting that a cruise berthing facility will cost around $200 million, but government won’t say who’s bidding on the project.
Among the biggest of the myriad questions posed at Wednesday night’s marathon public meeting: how much is it going to cost and who is going to build it.
Some audience members remarked they were dissatisfied with Mr. Kirkconnell’s $200 million estimate and wondered aloud how much government was willing to spend beyond that cost. The panel could not provide an answer.
When one commentor asked directly about China Harbour Engineering Company‘s rumoured involvement, Tourism Ministry Chief Officer Stran Bodden took the mic and shut that talk down.
“We can’t just discuss it. We can’t discuss the names of the bidders that have put forward, we have to protect the integrity of the process,” said Mr. Bodden, continuing through audience interruption. “Let me speak please: we have to protect the integrity of the process in terms of the bidders that have put forward. They have entrusted their confidence to us, and we must protect that. So once we get to the final bidder, that will be announced.”
One bidder, Verdant Isle Port Partners, is not being as tight-lipped about its desire to take on the cruise berthing facility project.
According to NNP Capital Partners’ website, it is backing Verdant Isle, and described it as a joint venture between the Robert McAlpine Group and the Orion Marine Group.
The website said Verdant Isle is hoping to deliver the port upgrade via a $240 million US design, build, finance, maintain arrangement. That works out to roughly $200 million in CI dollars.
“We can’t discuss who is involved at any point in the project. We can discuss the numbers involved. Nine were shortlisted from the pre-qualification, of those nine, five submitted the invitation to submit outline solutions. We chose three of those five, but we can’t name those three, I’m sorry we have to protect the integrity of the process,” said Mr. Bodden.
Who are these three finalists?
In addition to Verdant Isle, the other two finalists are widely rumoured to be China Harbour and the Macquarie Group out of Australia, however this information has not been confirmed by government.
According to published reports this March, Mr. Kirkconnell confirmed that China Harbour was among the nine shortlisted.
Cayman 27 has reached out to the Macquarie Group for confirmation of its involvement, and is sending a snail-mail inquiry to China Harbour’s Cayman Islands PO box.