Archive for December 16th, 2011

Mac signs West Bay Rd swap

| 16/12/2011 | 242 Comments

dart shovels.JPG(CNS): Government has signed a deal with the Dart Group which will see the West Bay Road closed and become part of a new beachfront resort on the site of the former Courtyard Marriott. Sources close to government confirmed Thursday night that the premier signed the agreement with Dart giving the developer a stretch of the West Bay Road in exchange for the development of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway to West Bay, the new Reverend Blackman Road extension and $5 milllion in cash. The government source stated that this is only one element of the ForCayman Investment Alliance and will ensure that Dart can begin work on its proposed five star resort.

The agreement was signed at the Government Information Services conference room on Thursday afternoon but it is understood that neither Cayman27, iNews, or Cayman News Service were invited to the ‘press’ event where the premier agreed to give 2,300 feet of the existing West Bay Road to Dart. Cayman 27 reported this evening that footage of the signing was sent to the television station by GIS.

This first step in what is expected to be a much more complex deal does not yet include the refurbishment of the existing public beach or the new public beach north of the new resort, the land in Barkers, the land in West Bay for the development of the Grace Academy school or the full cash donation that was proposed as part of the what has been described as the West Bay Road Corridor projects. Government did receive a cheque for $5 million that will be split equally between education projects and helping people with residential mortgage arrears, the government source told CNS.

All of the other West Bay Road related projects, as well as the land swap for the George Town landfill with land in Bodden Town for a new waste management project, will all form part of the full ForCayman Alliance when that is signed.

This deal focuses mostly on the National Roads Authority element of the deal but it does include the use of crown land as part of the swap. This means government will still need to go through a proper legal process and an independent valuation of the land that it has now formally agreed to give to Dart. That valuation will also need to go through a public consultation process and go before the Legislative Assembly.

On Monday a petition of almost 4,000 signatures was submitted to the governor opposing the closure of the road but the campaign to preserve the road appears to have fallen on deaf ears now the premier has officially signed over to the Dart Group the stretch of West Bay Road from the public beach to the yacht club.

Check back for more on this story Friday.

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CoP faces removal from ACC

| 16/12/2011 | 16 Comments

_DEW9188(2).jpg(CNS): The government has said it wants time to consider a proposal to remove the automatic membership of the police commissioner, the complaints commissioner and the auditor general from the country’s Anti-Corruption Committee (ACC). The independent member for North Side filed a private member’s motion Thursday calling for the Legislative Assembly to vote to change section three of the anti-corruption law removing the automatic appointment of the three senior independent civil servants from the board. The proposal calls for the governor to appoint five people to the commission, one of whom would be a judge, magistrate or JP and one a retired lawyer. (Photo Dennie Warren Jr)

Although the government did not accept Ezzard Miller’s motion as submitted, it did not vote the motion down but instead altered the wording on the proposal to allow “government to consider amending” rather than allowing the Legislative Assembly to vote on the material change to the law there and then.

The premier said that the government wanted to consider a number of elements within the anti-corruption law, which came into effect in January 2010. He told Miller and his other legislative colleagues that government wanted the time and leeway to considerthe whole law as he felt there was room for improvement.

Meanwhile, the first ever annual report of the commission was tabled in the parliament on Thursday but it gives very little away about the work of the body so far. It does, however, reveal that the commission has plans to educate the public, particularly public servants, about reporting information to the commission.

The anti-corruption law places significant responsibilities on the civil service to report instances or suspicions of corruption and places penalties on people who fail to report apparent or suspected breaches of the law that they encounter in their work as public servants.

The commission said in the report that it intends to create a “learning package” that will spell out the role of government employees about their responsibilities under the law. The report also stated that the commission was seeking ways on top of the confidential hotline to “make things simple” for people to come forward and report concerns confidentially.

The report said that since the implementation of the anti-corruption law, it has investigated 21 reports. So far, the only person that has been charged under the law is a civilian member of the RCIPS who was recently suspended and is now awaiting trial. A second man and former member of the National Housing and Development Trust Board was arrested in October under the law but he has not been charged with any crime.

The report is now a public document but it is not yet posted on the ACC website.

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