Bush still backing CHEC
(CNS): The premier has said that he is going to pursue the negotiations with China Harbour Engineering Company as government’s partner for the development of cruise berthing facility in George Town despite the comments of the Overseas Territories Henry Bellingham that he had concerns over the proposal. McKeeva Bush insisted on Tuesday evening that the Chinese were still offering the best deal and that the UK did not like the idea of Cayman doing business with the Chinese as they would bring too much money, meaning the FCO would lose control. He said the deal would not need to be retendered and he would be speaking to the auditor general and the new CTC chair.
During his appearance on Cayman 27’s "The Panel" on Tuesday, Bush said the Cayman Islands was going to get a lot out of the CHEC negotiations, much more than what GLF would have given.
Bush said KPMG were on board examining the proposals and that it would come before Cabinet and he said he was still hoping he would have an agreement by September. In the face of Bellingham’s comments about the need to get the port project back in line with best international procurement practice, Bush said that the UK only needed to worry about value for money.
“The important thing that England should be concerned about … rather than them not wanting the Chinese here, is whether at the end of the day value for money has been had ... (sic) and that’s what we are doing and what that’s what we are going to show. At the end of the day our country is going to get many more benefits than would have had under any other deal,” Bush said on the TV show.
“We have got a good deal for this country. What are they talking about with this process?” he asked. “At the end of the day, is Cayman going to get a better deal? Will we have value for money? Those are the questions and we have not got to that point yet,” he said as he justified the selection of CHEC as a potential partner.
Bush dismissed the issue of the tendering process as he said that others had not been tendered properly.
However, a request for proposals was circulated shortly after the UDP came to office and rejected the Atlantic Star proposal, which had been placed on the table under the previous administration.
The Port Authority received around ten bids and DECCO was identified as the best potential deal. When the negotiations broke down, however,government moved on to GLF Construction, which was identified as the second best choice.
However, when the premier opted to reject GLF, a decision which was eventually to cost the public purse more than $2 million, he moved on to CHEC, which had never participated in the original tendering process.
Defending the failure to get any projects off the ground despite some three quarters of the UDP administration being completed, Bush blamed bureaucracy.
“We can go out and get people … we wine, dine them … make them feel good about Cayman, finally get them here, get them to announce a project, then the bureaucracy takes over … and the governor gets into it and puts a civil servant he wants in place … that’s what takes the time … it’s the bureaucracy; that’s what I complain about a lot."
He said that the world was looking at Cayman and if we continued to build laws that “bounce people away” Cayman would continue to suffer.
Bush said he tells the governor all the time about the need to get people to work as they are losing their homes. “Don’t come and talk to me about regulations," he said. “There is far too much regulation … to do what? To prove that this country is going to make money out of it?” the premier asked.
He lamented the process and wondered what it is “they” (meaning the UK) needed to know when they said they were not satisfied with the procurement process.
“At the end of the day, they need to know that this country will not lose money … and their contingent liabilities will be less. Or is that they don’t want to see us to get ahead?” he asked rhetorically.
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