The Cayman government has struck a deal with Carnival Corporation and Royal Caribbean and is on its way towards finalizing the plans of its controversial cruise berthing project. Both Royal Caribbean and Carnival have made significant financial commitments and have agreed to finance the project.
The Cayman tourism ministry announced that they are preparing to submit the final tender documents to the bidders on their shortlist. Only one of these bidders is not otherwise partnered with Royal Caribbean and Carnival. Cayman officials have also stated that these two cruise lines will be providing the financing in partnership with the preferred bidder chosen, and that this agreement is part of the invitation to submit final proposals that are expected from the three remaining bidders.
The cruise berthing project has been in the works for some time, but this written proposal demonstrates that the project is officially moving forward. Up until this time, the cruise lines had simply verbally confirmed their commitment to help finance the project. However, officials are seeing this signed agreement as taking the project one step further.
The next step is for those three bidders on the shortlist to submit their final bids by the end of the first quarter of 2019. The tourism ministry anticipates making the announcement of who has won the bid shortly after that point. After that announcement is made, the bidder will need to be approved by the Public Procurement Committee. The winning bidder will be obligated to conduct a geotechnical survey and submit a plan for coral relocation, as well as a proposed plan to deal with dredging. In addition, the winning bidder will need to submit an environmental management plan.
The tourism ministry has consistently advocated that this project is much needed and will produce an economic benefit of up to $245 million in tourism revenue, as well as creation of jobs during the construction process and after construction is concluded. In addition, the tourism ministry believes that this construction will directly and indirectly benefit the local merchants near the proposed port.
Others have expressed concern over how many other jobs will be lost due to the underwater attractions that are already in the harbor being destroyed in the construction. However, the tourism ministry has brushed off these concerns by saying that the redesign that will occur along with the construction will mitigate any damage or destruction to current marine life. Only time will tell as the construction begins as to how extensive the effects will be.
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