Archive for August 4th, 2011

Dart to host public meetings over government deal

| 04/08/2011 | 33 Comments

(CNS): Representatives from the Dart group of companies are hosting their first public meeting this evening to discuss the new deal the company has made with government. The developer entered into a complex investment agreement with the Cayman government in June that includes land swaps, road realignments, the moving of the George Town dump and the development of a new resort on Seven Mile Beach. Dart Realty management will meet with the people of West Bay Thursday evening at the John A Cumber primary school to outline what the ForCayman investment alliance includes and allow the public to ask questions about the deal.

The meeting which starts at 7:30 pm will be the first of a number of meetings which will be held in the various districts on Grand Cayman to discuss the wide impact that ForCayman may have across the island but mostly in West Bay and Bodden Town.

The investment agreement has received a mixed response from the community with some welcoming the deal as a way to boost the country’s flagging economic fortunes while others are concerned that Dart is being given a significant number of major concessions but what it is giving in return will not necessarily benefit the wider Caymanian community.

The realignment of the West Bay Road to enable the developer to turn the land he has purchased around the courtyard Marriot into a beach front resort has tripled the value of that land. However, Dart will be absorbing the cost of constructing a new by-pass through to Batabano in West Bay and will be donating land to government for an extra public beach along the West Bay Road as well as land in Barkers. Dart is also giving government several acres of land in West Bay but government has stated this will be given to a private school to develop a secondary level campus.

Dart has also been given the George Town landfill by government, whichthe developer will be capping and remediating and removing what was a problem for Dart as it can be seen from many of its properties in Camana Bay. In return Dart has purchased land in Bodden Town which will now be home to a new landfill where Dart will develop the infrastructure and then, it is understood, will hand over the new dump to government to operate.

The group’s representatives have stated that the deal signed with government is not yet set in stone and various elements may change but they will be available to answer questions about the general issues at the public meetings.

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Rotarians working to extend Brac library

| 04/08/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Rotary Club of Cayman Brac is hoping to add an extension to the Cayman Brac Public Library. According to Club President Brian Enright, an estimated $80,000 is needed to get the project going, but only $5,000 has been raised so far. There has been a fund established for the extension, The Rotary Club of Cayman Brac Library Fund, and there are more fundraisers being planned to increase funds for the project. Enright said that the construction of the extension was a long term goal of the club and that it could take a few years to accomplish. The proposal for the extension was made by John Elliot, who served as club president from 2007-2009. 

Immediate Past President Andrea Stevens said that fundraising efforts for the project have been ongoing for a few years and that the formal architectural plans for the project would be submitted to the Planning Department for approval when enough funds have been raised. While no time frame has been set for construction work to begin, the new president said he was hoping that volunteers from the construction industry would build the extension, which would cut costs substantially.

The current library building was built by the Brac Rotary Club and was officially opened in 1995. While Rotary retains ownership of the building, the library falls under the Ministry of Education, Training, Employment, Youth, Sports & Culture and the government paysstaff salaries and purchases books.

Members of the public can help by donating money to the cause. Cheques can be made payable to either the Rotary Club of Cayman Brac or the Rotary Club of Cayman Brac Library Fund or cash can be given to any Brac Rotary Club member in a sealed envelope.

“Our hope is to build an extension to the library, so it can continue to meet the needs of Cayman Brac,” said Enright. “This project could be one way that the Rotary Club of Cayman Brac would be able to support the increased emphasis on literacy in the Cayman Islands.”

Enright took up the post of president at a Rotary changeover ceremony on 2 July. After being installed in his new position, Enright promised to continue the work started by Past President Stevens and set his theme for his time in the position: “Pulling together in one direction for the common good of the Brac”. Rotary Assistant Governor Rosie Jamieson travelled from Grand Cayman to install new club members.

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Canadians to build airport

| 04/08/2011 | 65 Comments

(CNS): Despite speculation that the Beijing based firm which has signed an MOU with government to build the George Town Cruise port would also be taking on the redevelopment of the airport, the premier announced that the airports authority has signed an MOU with the Canadian government. McKeeva Bush said, Wednesday, that the Canadian Commercial Corporation, which is Canada’s official international contracting agency, will find Canadian companies with the capabilities to take on the project but that Caymanian companies and labour would still be used. Asked by the opposition when the MOU would be a public document, the premier said he didn’t know as he hadn’t signed it.

Bush made the announcement about the deal with the Canadian government and the CIAA in a short statement, in which he said the Cayman government had formed a strategic alliance with the Canadian Commercial Corporation, whose primary role, he said, was to “facilitate trade with other nations through the provision of commercial solutions.”

The government company will now enter into negotiations to redevelop both the international airport in George Town on Grand Cayman and the airport on Cayman Brac.

As well as finding the financing, technical expertise and management skills to develop the two airports, Bush said the deal would stimulate stronger ties between Canada and Cayman and allow government access to Canadian expertise and capabilities.

The premier revealed that the Cayman Islands Airport Authority had signed a non-binding MOU "to establish a framework for discussions" in relation to the re-development of Owen Roberts International Airport on Grand Cayman and Gerrard-Smith International Airport on Cayman Brac.

“The corporation has been granted the exclusive right, for a period of six months, commencing August 1, 2011, and subject to mutually agreed extensions, to conduct due diligence and develop a proposal for the construction and concession agreements in respect of the redevelopment of these airport projects,” Bush stated.

“As part of this MOU, the corporation will utilize the services of Canadian technical companies whose financial and managerial capabilities have been subjected to due diligence by the Canadian government. Caymanian companies and labour will, of course, be utilized.”

He added that the Cayman government and the CIAA would now enter into dialogue with the Canadian Commercial Corporation to facilitate the successful completion of negotiations that could result in the commencement of the redevelopment of the airports in 2012.

However, when asked by the opposition leader when the MOUwould be public, Bush said that as it was signed by the CIAA, when they are ready it will become a public document. Alden McLaughlin pressed for an answer and asked, “Ready for what?” as he pointed out the MOU has been signed and now the announcement has been made.

Bush said that he did not sign it and he was “just a humble minister” but that he expected in due course the CIAA would release it if such a “sensitive commercial” document could be released.

The premier also refused to be drawn regarding the previous speculation that it was CHEC which had been earmarked to develop the airport as a result of comments made by the premier.

“There never was an agreement,” he said, adding that the Chinese firm had merely expressed an interest. “Now we have an agreement,” he stated, referring to the deal with the Canadian government agency.

CNS has submitted an FOI request to the CIAA for the MOU.

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UK Government e-petition website launched

| 04/08/2011 | 1 Comment

(The Guardian): The Commons Speaker, John Bercow, has emerged as a strong supporter of government plans to allow electronic petitions as a way of shaping the parliamentary agenda and increasing public engagement. A government e-petition website will go live on Thursday, showing petitions that have been accepted for consideration for debate in the Commons. The leader of the house, Sir George Young, has saidpetitions that garner more than 100,000 signatures should warrant consideration for debate. Bercow is understood to be flexible about how parliament should be seen to be responding to an e-petition garnering big support.

 He does not necessarily think every issue should be considered at a full- length debate, but might simply require a minister to come to the house and answer a question on the issue. The e-petition page on the government's Directgov website will show the e-petitions that have been accepted so far.

It is widely expected that supporters of capital punishment, immigration controls, withdrawal from Europe and opposition to green taxes will initially dominate. An e-petition will only be allowed to stay on the website for a year, and duplicates will not be allowed.

See HM Government e-petitions

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