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THE COMPANY at the centre of a looming lawsuit against Government after being granted the $505 million Bridgetown Pierhead Marina Project is to be awarded the $320 million Cruise Pier Project at the Bridgetown Port. SUNDAY SUN investigations have revealed that SMI Infrastructure Solutions, owned by accountant Glyne Bannister, joined with foreign company RCCL Cruise Lines and under the brand – Sugar Point – placed a bid for the project. The other company considered was Home Port Inc., a merger of two companies – Idea Inc. and Ashtrom. JADA Limited and Pelican Island Consortium were initially shortlisted but not finally considered. In a February 19, 2011 report, the Technical Evaluation Committee (TEC) for the project recommended to the Barbados Port Inc.’s board of directors that Bannister’s grouping be given the contract. The TEC noted that though Bannister had only incorporated SMI Infrastructure Solutions Inc. in St Lucia in October 2009, he had previously been involved in major local projects such as the laying of oil pipelines and the erection of a prison (HMP Dodds, in collaboration with VECO). However, the committee’s report revealed concerns about SMI/RCCL’s(Sugar Point) high costing for the project. “The pricing and revenue considerations in both solutions presented by Sugar Point are two and three times the original cost estimates provided in the RFP [Request for Proposal document]. These should be reviewed . . . ,” the report stated. SMI also proposed costly changes to the existing design of the cruise pier project but the TEC suggested they be carefully considered. “SMI however proposes adjustments to the current design to meet Oasis class standards, but at an additional US$16 million price tag. The reasonableness of this additional design work has to be carefully evaluated,” the committee noted. In its bid, Sugar Point proposed a Build, Own, Lease, Transfer (BOLT) arrangement with the transfer of the facility to the Barbados Port Inc. for a nominal fee of US$1, free and clear of debt at the end of 25 years. Several concerns, however, were raised by the TEC. The committee noted that all the risk was transferred to the port for the entire 25-year period. It also indicated that the level of fees and the guarantees required by Sugar Point appeared high compared with the level of financial risk that would be underwritten under the BOLT arrangement. Sugar Point has already deposited $1 million in bid security for the project. Home Port Inc.’s failure to do likewise, as required by the bidding process, led to its disqualification by the TEC. Minister of International Business and International Transport George Hutson has previously indicated the upgraded facility would accommodate increased numbers of mega cruise ships and “free up” the berths inside the port for cargo vessels. Phase 1A of the project, comprising two cruise ship piers and land reclamation, is slated to be completed by the end of 2012.