CIG anxious for Ironwood deal

| 10/12/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS Business): The Cayman Islands premier has said that he and the government are anxious to get a deal to facilitate the proposed Ironwood development in Frank Sound. But despite holding a press conference this week with the designers, developers, financiers, engineers and top professional golfer Arnold Palmer, it was revealed that government has still not come to an agreement with the developers about the extension of the East-West arterial.

CNS Business

Arnold Palmer

The proposed development of the mixed use resort and golf-course is dependent on the road extension through to Frank Sound and the developer plans to pay up-front for the road’s construction and take back the money from the public purse via the duty and fees it would have otherwise paid.

Given the nature of the proposed arrangement, it is still essentially a type of loan or private financing initiative, which means that the government has to follow the letter of the Public Management and Finance Law and the rules under the controversial addition of the Framework for Fiscal Responsibility.

Speaking at the press briefing where there was no real announcement, Premier Alden McLaughlin said that the deal was in the hands of the lawyers, who were combing through the agreement and going through the usual “agonising exercise” with the structure of the deal.

McLaughlin said it was already approved by Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office and there was no specific stumbling blocks but he was keen to ensure the deal was done right.

“I am as anxious and the government is as anxious as anybody to get this project going, but we want to ensure this is done right and structured right and the legal documents are in order,” he stated. “We have spent a lot of time repenting over the past years with other deals and want to make sure this is right,” he added emphasising that the “project is a go”, though he was unable to put a timeline on when the agreement would be signed.

Some ten months ago the Cayman government signed an MOU with the developers but a final agreement about the development and the road remains elusive. Nevertheless, developer David Moffitt said that he was confident they were now in the home stretch. He said Ironwood had contracted GLF Construction to build the road and CTL Capital to finance the project.

GLF has done business in Cayman before but an exclusive deal it had with the former UDP government to build the cruise berthing facilities ended when the premier at the time, McKeeva Bush, moved to talks with the Chinese firm CHEC.

However, Joseph Beard from GLF said that the firm was “very happy to be back in the Cayman Islands and really looking forward to working on the road project”. He added, “We are in no way put off.”

All of the principals involved in the project expressed their desire to get the project moving as soon as possible and have the licensing agreement in place.

Arnold Palmer, who is designing the course and resort, said that Cayman was “as about a nice a spot” to do what they planned as any he had experienced. But he said that it was important to see that it was done as quickly as possible and that they would do a job that Cayman could be proud of.

Moffitt added that he had been hoping to sign the deal before the end of the year but continued to be hopeful of an agreement early in the New Year, as he expounded on the claimed benefit to Cayman about the project and spin-off development.

The premier said the road would create other development opportunities as it would open up new land and business possibilities in the Eastern districts that are presently not accessible. “It is going to spur a whole range of development along that ten mile stretch of road,” he maintained.

McLaughlin denied that any of the recent and controversial changes to the planning law had been made specifically to facilitate the Ironwood project but that the changes were designed to assist all development equally.

Video courtesy of CIG GOVTV

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Category: Construction, Government, Local Business, Real Estate

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