‘Port is excuse for quarry’

| 20/06/2010

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman Island Headline News(CNS): The motive behind government plans to develop a cargo port in East End has been queried by local MLAs who say the real goal is to quarry aggregate from the land where a lake would be developed as part of the facility. On Friday Ezzard Miller, the independent representative for North Side, and the PPM representative for East End, Arden McLean, both voiced their strong opposition to the cargo port proposal, which government has cited as one of the public/private partnerships that will form part of its economic recovery plan. The MLAs said the developer who owns the land in the area and who has proposed the initiative is planning to build the cargo port in order to get at the fill, which is worth millions of dollars.

During his contribution to the budget debate Miller said he was very worried about the proposed East End cargo port and the talk of excavating a 50-60 foot deep lake in the middle of the island. He said that the people he had spoken with about the project who were knowledgeable about the commercial shipping industry said it was very unlikely the developer could recoup his investment as there was not enough business in the region to support it. However, it appeared that the fill that would be taken to create the lake would be extremely valuable.  
Miller said he believed the excavation of the lake would produce some 14-15 million cubic yards of fill  — a quantity that Cayman could never utilize. “If this is being done to send the fill somewhere else I have serious objections,” Miller told the Legislative Assembly, warning that the creation of the lake could have serious consequences for his constituents during storms, since they would be down hill from it. “I remain to be convinced this is a good thing,” Miller stated.
When McLean stood to make his comments, the East End MLA and former PPM minister for Public Works also said he had concerns about the proposal. He said if the country moved its cargo operations from town to the eastern district it would require substantially more investment in roads, including four lane highways to accommodate the container trucks.
But he too also had serious concerns about what the developer really wanted to do on this land in McLean’s constituency.
“They want to build a quarry not a dock!” he declared angrily, adding that as long as he had breath in his body he would not let it happen. “We must stop being so gullible,” McLean added as he inferred that too many developers had taken advantage of Caymanians in the past and he said he would not allow the same thing to happen in East End while he still occupied the seat in parliament for the district.
“While I have this little piece of real estate here, no premier and no Joe Imparato is going to walk all over me,” he said, referring to the land owner who is proposing to put the cargo dock on property he ownsin McLean’s district. “This has to stop,” added McLean.
He suggested that the fill would be worth millions of dollars to the land owner, and that it would be sold offshore and Cayman would receive nothing for the literal loss of its land.
The issue of wealthy developers taking advantage of Cayman was also raised by Miller during his address. He said he had concerns about the wide impact on the country’s future. “We need to control people with massive wealth coming and buying up all the land and developing. What are we leaving our children?” Miller asked.
The North Side representative also asked where the money for the fill that would be generated from dredging a channel in the North Sound was mentioned in government’s revenue forecasts as he could not see it in the budget documents.
Miller told the House that, while he supported the idea of a channel, it should be shallower and not built for mega yachts or for the Ritz Carlton and Camana Bay but to assist the marina built at Barcadere by the Scotts, who are Caymanians.
He said government may also want to think twice about who it worked with on the development of the cruise piers in George Town, as he had recently learned a number of things about the developer with which it had signed an MOU. Miller questioned how he had come to be involved when the criteria on the original advertisement government had put out to find a partner for the facility asked for like experience. “It asked for people who had undertaken similar projects and I can’t find any such experience by the company that signed the MOU. So why was it not eliminated right away?” Miller asked the House.
He revealed other concerns about the developer when he said he had received a call from an overseas journalist recently to ask what he knew about this particular developer and vulture funds. Miller said he had known nothing at the time so went looking and learned what these funds were. He said they were so bad that the UK had outlawed them. Miller told the House they involved buying third world national debts and then forcing the governments in question to pay up through court orders.
Miller said he found articles on the web indicating that the individual developer was living in Cayman under armed guard and asked the government how, if it was indeed true, anyone in Cayman could legally have armed private guards. The North Side representatives said he advised members of the Legislative Assembly and the public to ‘Google’ the person in question and ask themselves if this was who they wanted their government to do business with.
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Comments (42)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Sure it can be done, but at what cost?

    Engineering wise, projects such as this are possible and still serve to conserve be additive to the environment if enough money is spent on proper research, testing and planning.

    Yes, this is a much needed part of infrastructure but don’t expect that it will attract trans-regional or trans-global shipping for that matter. Is Cayman all of a sudden on some previously under utilized major shipping channel? Other countries have done it eg. Malta but not without being in a long-standing strategic shipping hub location. What’s the pull for Cayman? No industry, no real international commodity trade, what then will create the attraction? Maybe we should try drilling for oil, oh, that’s been tried already.

    Does our government really believe we will be able to compete with our Latin neighbor to north with some of the largest deep-water ports in the region? Let’s create another financial sinkhole CAL or Turtle Farm project we can throw money into. Just as long as the chosen few line their pockets and sell out, it’s OK and seems par for our course.

    Caymanians (born and privileged to have the right) who hold positions of power and authority on committees deciding the fate of these projects need also to demonstrate exemplary responsibility and ethics. Too often decisions are made on the basis of a gain for a few individuals and not for the need and benefit of the general population.

    Doesn’t seem like this "build it, they will come" scheme has any valid rationale behind it. Our Premier needs a self slapping to wake up, whom is he kidding?

  2. Jab-Jab says:

    Bet Mr. McLean wishes his Government had passed the National Conservation Law. Then he’d have some legislative framework within which to ask for a review of the quarry/port/whatever plans. As it is now, he has had his say and that’s it. The excavators are coming.

  3. Anonymous says:

    "He suggested that the fill would be worth millions of dollars to the land owner, and that it would be sold offshore and Cayman would receive nothing for the literal loss of its land."

     

    Who the heck is going to buy fill from us?  The mountainous Jamaica? Nonsense.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Proposal: alter definition of land-ownership to stipulate that any land 3 meters below ground level belongs solely to people of the Cayman Islands, to be under the trust and custody of Government. If a person so chooses to dig up this land for legitimate purposes, they may do so with permission of government; however, the volume of land removed in excess of the 3 meters depth will be the property of Government, not the land-owner.

    That will sort out this mess right quickly and get to true nature of the proposed "dock."

  5. Anonymous says:

    What about the land owners that are currently turning their back yards in to quarries!?  Beside XXXXX, they’ve been drilling for months! Sometimes starting at 7am on a Sunday. The day of rest (supposedly). Disturbing the whole neighbourhood without concern.

    Do they need a permit for this? Should there not be a law to prevent people from destroying both properties and neighbourhoods. 

  6. Gobi says:

    What has happened to the Cayman Islands?

    It has gone from a serene island to a nightmare.

    I lived in Cayman from 1980-1997 and can not believe what is going on.

    Can’t something be done? Can’t your Bush be ousted from his dictatorship?

    I remember when Dart moved to Cayman and everybody thought he wanted to change things. Seems like his dreams are coming true..

  7. Anonymous says:

    One must realize that these same investors are the ones that bring money to Cayman. If they were not here the country would collapse fairly quickly. Our economic model needs constant replenishment and inward investment as we do not have other natural resources. Countries around the world are currently trying their best to invite them in as there is a shortage of such people.

    While I am not for letting this group loose in the country by any means, these types of investments and people are critical to make our economy work. So while it might be fun to blog silly comments, we should be grateful that they are here and not in some other country. Sooner or later they will get sick of these blogs and comments and stop investing here. We will then know just how bad the economy will get.

    Regarding the “quarry’ comment from Arden. Obviously the material has valve and will ‘pay’ for the port infrastructure. That is common sense and make this a real project. If we keep fooling around with our base infrastructure and not put it in now we will find the Cayman Islands fall behind most in the region eventually.

    Do not let small mindedness and petty politics get in the way of making a real assessment of these investments and investors and any potential benefit they are to our country. Many are good and can be made to benefit everyone here.

    • Jab-Jab says:

      You, sir, are quite correct. We need a new economic model.

      You are equally correct that clearly everything about this port has not been clarified. Until that is done it would be the height of stupidity for anyone to absolutely oppose (or support) it. I mean, how foolish would it be to make absolute statements regarding its wondrous benefit only to discover later that the numbers don’t add up. Or that there was some codicil that wasn’t noticed at first read of the fine print.

      I, for one, will take your sage advice and heap no brickbats on this suggestion, clearly put forward by the investors only for the good of the country (a country that would weep if they left), until we actually see a plan of how many square feet of cliff and reef they intend to rip out for our benefit.

      I won’t even bother to mention, as I’m sure it never crossed their mind, that that ‘fill’ can be sold on the open market the same way Cayman currently buys fill. We can’t be the only buyer in the market.

      • a fellow Caymanian says:

        why does everyone assume that fill would leave the island when it would be much more cost effective to invest it right back into the island – say to build better roads? why is everyone assuming the government would be so quick to export a chunk of the island? obviously these plans have been thought through and there is some purposeful future for the land being removed…  there are many potential uses on the island that I am sure are being explored before the thought of export is even considered… you all should have more faith in your government and fellow Caymanians before automatically thinking the worst 

  8. vocal local says:

    If Mac can call for a referendum on gabling/casinos then we the people of Cayman should also have a vote (by referenum) on building a port in East End!

    What ya say Mac?…you willing to bet on the people supporting this foolish proposal/project? Call for a referendum then na!

     

  9. Anonymous says:

    Wasn’t the Premier saying the other day we need to look out for the environment and we can’t afford to build more roads, and that each family should have only one car.  Yet we can afford to build a massive cargo port to handle the 5 or 6 cargo ships we get each week.  Please don’t talk about how this project will attract trans-shipment business.  The largest trans shipment port in the Caribbean is only 300 miles away in Kingston and it is massive.  The US recently built one in Puerto Rico as well.  Does Cayman really think that it is going to compete with these existing/established operations with our abundant cheap labor rates (that’s sarcasm by the way).  But its going to be privately funded you say.  Up front perhaps, then all of us will get to pay for it forever after.  This is exactly as it appears, Big Mac doing his best to make a few very rich people even richer at the expense of the country.

  10. IRON CLAD says:

    As for McKeeva Bush…

    People, I am thinking of a most gratifying word…

    that word is…. R E F E R E N D U M.

    Can we REMOVE this man from ‘POWER’ please???

     

    Unconditionally – IRON CLAD

  11. IRON CLAD says:

    ECHO ECHO!!!

    ""What is the name of the owner of the land in East End ?""

    ""What is the name of the developer that we should not do business with?""

    Boycotting can be an EFFECTIVE TOOL?

    What have we waiting on people? Lets put BOYCOTTING in HIGH GEAR!

    Absolutely – IRON CLAD

  12. kianU says:

    Thank you CNS for your Freedom of Information iniative. I find Caymanian Compass is a little too scared of Dart, McKeeva, or certain entities to publish reports such as this one.

    Continue your journalism of truth without fear, bribery, and favoritism from the United Kingdom, Caymanians, political figures and elite individuals.

  13. Anonymous says:

    OK, I have the answer to one of the little issues they have… "Miller said he believed the excavation of the lake would produce some 14-15 million cubic yards of fill  — a quantity that Cayman could never utilize."

    SHIP IT TO THE BRAC.. Government allowed Scott’s Development & Bing Thompson to blow the hell out of the bluff  and ship it to Grand Cayman, leaving a crater you can see from the moon. Fill it back in! It is visible on “Google earth” but you cannot see the depth they have went to. Seriously, next time you fly out of the Brac check out the scenery in the middle of the Brac on your left just as you lift off to the east.

    Perhaps the answer to another couple of issues is… Where do we already have a quarry with lakes 50 feet deep that can be utilized? Yeah they know!

    OH and OMG did you all read this? http://centos6-httpd22-php56-mysql55.installer.magneticone.com/o_belozerov/31115drupal622/headline-news/2010/06/21/debate-ends-ministers-quiet

    The premier accused McLean and Miller of talking nonsense over their objections to the cargo port in East End and that the debate was over. “I have let people say what they want,”

    Bush said, adding that the member for East End could lay down in front of bulldozers or trucks but he was going to get it done.

    Sounds like the people have no choices to me, funny how he can contradict himself in one breath.

    Fill back up the Bluff on the BRAC, I think I am moving there!

     

  14. Anonymous says:

    This debate is a perfect example of why Cayman should implement real democracy and put these types of issues up for referendum. With the electorate being so small, there is no reason that projects such as cruise ship docks, cargo ports, North Sound dredging, ect. should not be put forth for the entire country to vote on. They effect everyone in the country currently and for generations to come. The true meaning of democracy is to have public debate and public votes on all major issues. Voting once every four years for a representitive and then allowing them full control of government initiatives is not allowing Cayman to excercise true democracy.

  15. Anonymous says:

    What is the name of the owner of the land in East End ?

    What is the name of the developer that we should not do business with ?

    What was the reply of the government to Mr’Millers statements ?

    • Anonymous says:

      Joseph Imparato, ex-head of CUC.

    • Anonymous says:

      If this is really a concern, couldn’t the government simply:

      1.  compulsorily acquire the land for fair value prior to the construction of the port; and

      2.  stockpile the fill to be sold at reasonable rates in Cayman only (heck, we may need the fill, particularly if oceans rise as predicted)?

      M

      • Anonymous says:

        Acquirre the land with what exactly? Didn’t the Premier say we are broke? Didn’t he say we should be divesting our assets?

    • Anonymous says:

      The people of Cayman must also check out who else has shares in the land where the proposed dock is to go. Just check it out deep, not everything can be seen on the surface! Silence is golden, but it is not always "right"! Check it out, please!

  16. John says:

    I MUST TELL YA!

    OUT OF ALL THE CRITICS… I MUST AGREE 100% with Ezzard Miller and Arden Mclean.

    I back them on this one, because I believe anything is possible when it comes to a Premier that puts "making money" before the "people and their environment"

    • Sarah says:

      I have to stand beside Ezzard and Arden on this.   People watch the unfolding of this carefully.

  17. peter milburn says:

    Birds of a Feather Flock Together.Nuff said.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Mac will do everything he can to support his wealthy Expat buddies.

    How else could a gardner from West Bay become a multi millionaire?

    • Cesar says:

      God help us please.

    • Anonymous says:

      The really sad part is that these people are no longer expats. Dart and Ryan and others have irrevocable Caymanian Status courtesy of McKeeva Bush. We should NEVER forget that our childrens birthright was given away and cannot be taken back from people like this.
      Thanks for making me a third class Caymanian Mac! My status can be taken away (quite rightly I believe) if I commit a serious crime and I have lived in Cayman for 32 years and have been married to a sixth-generation Caymanian for 24 years. For this alone, McKeeva should have never been voted back in. We know why he did it tho’, with families included, there were about 1000 new voters at the last election from his list of "pets", imagine how many will vote in the next election!

  19. peter milburn says:

    As said on here before the Premier has stated that this proposal is going to cabinet but he later mentioned that it was basically a done deal no matter who objects to it.Is that what is called a Totalitarian Govt or is there another word that should be used here instead?I will leave that to others to decide but we are surely on the path to confrontational issues and it be interesting to see what the populous of the Cayman Islands will allow the Premier to do.(if indeed anyone will stand up and be counted)Folks its your call!!!!!

  20. Anonymous says:

    Joe Imparato, Mike Ryan and Kenneth Dart all have enough money.

    It is time to support Caymanians instead of helping the rich get richer.

    • Anonymous says:

      Mr. Joe Imparato is Caymanian.

      • Anonymous says:

        lol. Dart and Ryan also have status. 2003 was a great year for wine and a few other things.

      • a fellow Caymanian says:

         

        Joe Imparato has had a long history of helping to improve not only the infrastructure but also the social infrastructure of Cayman, ie the development of CUC, Cayman Hospice, etc… He is a proud Caymanian who has had a substantial presence on the island for 30 years; by no means is he some fly by night vulture.  

         

    • Anonymous says:

      Anon 07:43, you mentioned Imparato, Ryan & Dart, but you forgot to includetheir puppet, the one that allows it all to happen.

      Oh, the temptations & lure of the almighty dollar. Poor Cayman.

  21. Right ya so says:

    Are they only now discovering this information!? Hard to believe when this is and has been public knowledge for more years than I can remember!

  22. Anonymous says:

     Can we have another election PLEASE!!!

  23. Anonymous says:

    Could Mr Miller be referring to this these links from Google?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vulture_fund

    http://www.businessweek.com/archives/1995/b343279.arc.htm

    It’s sad that our elected members don’t know this information or perhaps they know and are playing the fool.

    • bradley says:

      Thank you! 

      Interesting read!

      Here is what it says in Wikipedia.org: 

      "A vulture fund is a private equity or hedge fund that invests in debt issued by an entity that is considered to be very weak or dying… A single vulture fund run by Kenneth B. Dart, heir to the Dart Container fortune, claimed 700 million USD in a lawsuit against the government of Argentina. However, Argentina was behind many of the secondary market purchases. Some estimate that in the debt exchange of 2005, Argentina controlled over half of the debt tendered."

      You know it is interesting that even on this year April, 2010, BBC News has broadcast Britain’s Parliament vote to ban so-called vulture funds which profiteer from third world debt.

      BBC states: "Vulture funds buy up a poor nation’s debt at knockdown prices, before going to court to recover the full amount." It is in other words, picking on the poor. 

      See  http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/newsnight/8610062.stm

      XXXXXXX

  24. Anonymous says:

    Too bad they didn’t "google" Dart.  I would love to "google" the person in question but don’t know who it is. ?