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(CNS Business): During his recent trip to Asia the Cayman Islands premier signed an MOU with a major conglomerate in the Philippines. Although government has not yet released the details of the deal with the San Miguel Corporation (SMC), a food corporation and majority shareholder in Philippine Airlines, it is understood to involve investment into Cayman Airways Limited (CAL). McKeeva Bush signed the deal when he was in Manila, which sources say could involve efforts by the Cayman government to assist the firm’s airline to expand its flights into the United States. However, this may be blocked by the FCO because of problems regarding safety standards in the country.
Alongside an investment in Cayman Airways and a possible involvement in the development of local airports, including the one in Little Cayman, the premier has reportedly described the MOU as presenting an opportunity for the Cayman Islands government to explore various investment opportunities with the Asian corporation that will be “mutually beneficial”.
At this stage very few details of those “opportunities” or the basis of the memorandum of understanding have been revealed. Nevertheless, Bush’s office did release a picture of the premier signing the deal with SMC’s president, Ramon S Ang, on Bush’s Twitter account.
Despite the possibilities that may or may not arise regarding investment with the Asian firm, sources close to the deal tell CNS Business that there are already some concerns regarding the possible areas of discussion. Questions have been raised about the potential investment in CAL by any outside operation, but it is the offer of assistance to Philippine Airlines Limited (PAL) by the Cayman government that may prove to be the sticking point for the deal to move forward.
PAL has been listed by the US aviation authorities as a category two airline for some five years and has been blacklisted by European airports. This has prevented the airline from expanding its flights into North America or Europe due to concerns over safety standards in Manila, which impacts all air carriers from the Philippines. It is understood that the talks between the Cayman government and the San Miguel Group have involved the possibility of Cayman assisting the airline to get around this issue, which is preventing the airline’s expansion.
It is understood, however, that the US authorities would object to any attempts to circumvent its rules regarding safety standards and has already lobbied the UK to ensure that it does not allow any of its overseas territories to circumvent important safeguards.
Bush is expected to reveal the details of the MOU along with other details of his recent trip to Asia when the Legislative Assembly returns on Monday.
The comments posted do not necessarily reflect the views of CNS or any individual staff member. All comments are posted subject to approval by CNS. Read more
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