Road sale won’t need LA OK

| 20/12/2011

la gov bench.JPG(CNS): As a result of changes made to the Governor’s Vesting of Lands Law, which relates to the management of crown or publicly owned lands, the government will be able to swap a stretch of the West Bay Road with Dart as planned without undertaking any of the requirements in the law regarding valuations, advertising of the intended swap or the tabling of a report in the Legislative Assembly. Although section 10 of the law sets out a number of procedures the government is supposed to follow when disposing of crown land, all of them can be ignored as a result of a subsection in the law which was inserted by the previous UDP administration.

The March 2005 amendment says the "Governor in Cabinet my waive any of the requirements” in the law that would have forced government to bring a proper evaluation and a full report to the Legislative Assembly for public consultation before any transfer took place.

The changes were brought by the then planning minister, Juliana O’Connor Connolly, who said in the Legislative Assembly, “The rationale is that the disposition of Crown Land, either in the public’s interest or to statutory authorities or government companies, should not be required to comply with the long and often protracted process of the tabling of reports in the Legislative Assembly.”

The amendment led to the waiver being inserted and allowed government to avoid following the previous processes and procedures if it decided a sale of transfer of crown land was in the public interest. “The waiver would authorise in cases where the Governor in Cabinet proposes to sell, convey, grant, or devise lands, firstly to statutory authorities or government companies or to any legal entity where it is in the public’s interest,” the minister said at the time.

However, government may still opt to go through the process of getting the land it intends to swap with Dart valued since the developer’s CEO said publicly at the groundbreaking of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway extension in September that Dart was keen to follow the proper requirements.

Jackie Doak told the audience that the group wanted to see the proper processes applied throughout the ForCayman Alliance with government, such as coastal work licences and vested lands for all of the projects, even if it took longer than people would like. “It is important to Dart that the appropriate process is followed,” she said.

The independent member for North Side, Ezzard Miller, said that if government has nothing to hide then there is no reason for it not to go through an open and transparent process with the land deal and bring a report to the parliament as set out in the law. He said he had concerns that if Cabinet waived the requirements to get a government and an independent valuation on the land, the people may never know the proper worth of their land to assess if the exchange is fair.

Miller added that it was important for everyone to consider what the value of the land would become once it is absorbed into a beachfront property and what that will do to the value of the land that Dart already owns.  He said that he was disappointed that the NRA element of the deal had already been signed without the rest of the deal being completed or the proposal coming before the Legislative Assembly. “The people should be allowed to know how much this deal is worth and if the swap is fair,” he said. “If the deal was so good then why would government not have been more transparent?”

Miller noted that according to local real estate experts, the transfer of the 2,300 feet of West Bay Road to Dart could triple the value of his land there.

The developer has stated that with the signing of this primary element of the deal it will get Caymanians back to work as it begins the highway extension to West Bay. 

The NRA Agreement calls for the closure of a section of West Bay Road under the Roads Law, and combining the discontinued road lands with Dart property to facilitate the redevelopment of a new four- to five-star hotel on the former Courtyard Marriott site to start within 12 months, as well as the completion of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway from its current ending point toBatabano Road.

Dart said it will also construct an extension of Reverend Blackman Road to connect Willie Farrington Drive to the Esterley Tibbetts Highway. In addition it will construct a new road to Barkers National Park and hand over to government US$5M of the ForCayman Investment Alliance’s negotiated total of US$20.5M. The construction value of the road infrastructure projects is around US$35 million.

Category: Politics

Comments (32)

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  1. Daniel Doucet says:

    This million, billion and zillion money stories, moving west bay road?>?{}< is pure madness…They want to make money…More and more money in such a little country…It's good for the people…What a sad human greed story of a once incredibly beautifull and simple place now becoming just like all other rich places in the world…This surely is not the Cayman i used to know and remember!! No wonder there's is so much crime and guns..Caymanians in general cannot be happy about these situations and an hungry mob is an angry mob..Things will get worse…for the poor and regular people!! The rich don't care!! 

  2. Anonymous says:

    NOTHING the Premier do needs L.A. approval!

  3. Anonymous says:

    That's all great but on another note, whomever went to the Chrighton's house to see the lights and left garbage there needs to make a public apology and be subjected to 500 lashes from the Cat 'o nine. As a result of your vagrant behaviour I can no longer walk the property and enjoy the christmas lights with my TCBY ice-cream in hand! Now i gotta finish it at the gate! shame on you!

  4. Sunlight Please says:

    2003 zoning changes………….2005 law changes…………. 2011 road changes, good forward planning, I would say.

  5. Anonymous says:

    CNS. Get your facts straight.  The Governor Vesting of Lands Law does NOT apply here nor does the amendment you refer to.  It is the Roads Law that applies to the discontinuance of public roads.  Check the Government website for previous gazettals where exactly the same thing has been done…..all legal and all part of existing, established Government processes and laws.

    • Anonymus says:

      Any references you care to provide? I didn't see anything like you suggested but then my serch skills are probably lacking in this area. Someone with your closer knowledge of the relevant processes/events could, I am sure, quickly post a link to the relevant gazettals.

  6. Lachlan MacTavish says:

    The Dart Group is the"only" private sector developer that the voters and people of The Cayman Islands can trust and be comfortable with. The Dart's have a huge invested interest is seeing that the islands prosper and remain stable. They are the only group where cronies, back handers and conflicts of interest for the public sector are out of the equation. They are business people and want to make a profit. So projects will get done and there won't be padded budgets or huge over runs or no accounting. Bush believes that Capital projects are the only thing that will turn Cayman around, which is not the case, and he has failed to get any project into the ground in 3 years. This project is sadly needed and will benefit the whole island, not just a few at the top. Hopefully a new hotel will open up the Minister of Tourism's eyes and just maybe he will re focus on stay over tourism. 

    Merry Christmas Cayman …have a great and prosperus 2012.

    Lachlan MacTavish

    • R.U. Kidden says:

      "The Dart Group is the only private sector developer that the voters and people of The Cayman Islands can trust and be comfortable with."

      Dart Group?  Trust?  You can't be serious!!!

    • Knot S Smart says:

      The issue is not about whether the Dart group does good projects, or have a big investment here – there is no doubt about that.

      The concern of everyone appears that they are getting a bigger and bigger hold on the economy in the major industries, and this increasing control will prevent present and future generations from having a fair opportunity to compete.

      It is never good when one group controls the economy. Even a simpleton understands that.

      Another major concern are the concessions that they will receive – I cannot think of any concession ever having been offered to a Caymanian developer.

      Additionally, the road that they are building appears to be mostly through their own properties, which will drastically increase the value of those properties – why should we give millions of dollars in Govt tax or other concessions for that?

      The Dart group will benefit more from this arrangement than will the people of Cayman – Again there is no doubt about that.

      And Mr. Lachlan – I usually agreewith most of your posts, but unfortunately I do not know anything (whether good or bad) about the workings of this group, so I cannot share your view as stated in your third sentence.

      Merry Christmas…

  7. Plan Ahead says:

    This shows why potentially dubious deals in 2004 are very relevant today – the law change was at the same time as the deals under investigation with the police and give more power to those who are under investigation.  Can we have an update from the police or the Governor please.  Somehow "How do you know I sent the fax" feels an inadequate official response on such an important issue.

  8. Bushwacker says:

    People-Initiated Referendums

     

    Pursuant to Section 70. of The Cayman Islands Constitutional Order 2009, which reads as follows;

     

    70.—(1) Without prejudice to section 69, a law enacted by the Legislature shall make provision

    to hold a referendum amongst persons registered as electors in accordance with section 90 on a

    matter or matters of national importance that do not contravene any part of the Bill of Rights or

    any other part of this Constitution.

     

    (2) Before a referendum under this section may be held—

     

    (a) there shall be presented to the Cabinet a petition signed by not less than 25 per cent of

    persons registered as electors in accordance with section 90;

     

    (b) the Cabinet shall settle the wording of a referendum question or questions within a

    reasonable time period as prescribed by law; and

     

    (c) the Cabinet shall make a determination on the date the referendum shall be held in a

    manner prescribed by law.

     

    (3) Subject to this Constitution, a referendum under this section shall be binding on the

    Government and the Legislature if assented to by more than 50 per cent of persons registered as

    electors in accordance with section 90.

     

    Therefore if the recent petition presented to the Governor did in fact have on or about 4,000 signatures pursuant to Section 90. of The Cayman Islands’ Constitution, the Governor pursuant to Section 33. (2) Governor may act Contrary to the advice from Cabinet. In addition the Governor is Constitutionally obliged under Section 31. (3) to ensuring good governance and to act in the best interest of the Cayman Islands in the exercise of his or her functions under subsection (2).

     

    Therefore the Governor MUST consider and perform his due diligence on the recent petition hand delivered to him a few days ago before he allowed the signing of the ForCayman Agreement between the Government and Dart consequently suspending this Agreement until his due diligence has been completed. Failure to do so would be mean that he and Cabinet are breaching the Constitution of the Cayman Islands!

     

    Unfortunately this Governor by all accounts appears to have taken a rather lackadaisical approach to his role insofar as ensuring good governance from matters such as this immediate one to the continued retention the Commissioner of Police and Public Prosecutor that repeatedly demonstrate with each dismissal of serious Crimes such as but not limited to Charges of Murder that they are out of their scope.

     

    Continuation of such acts will undoubtedly paint the Cayman Islands as the NEWEST and Most Ranking Member of the Banana Republic  and Absurdistan Movement that has swept away many a good nation, leaving in its wake a torn apart country further burdened with devastated people!

     

    It is not unreasonable to anticipate additional indicators of poor governance by this Administration when initiatives contained in the FFR are accelerated by the UK with a possible suggestion of devaluing the currency of the Cayman Islands. Then what?! When this “UDP Gowerment” just literally gave away the last little bit of leverage The Cayman Islands had left to the Dart Group!

  9. Anonymous says:

    You can't say he didn't learn anything from the time spent with Misick.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Since when was this road deal "in the public's interest"?  As this is apparently the only part of the deal struck thus far and the other components are not yet in place then this land swap cannot be said to be in the interests of the public – at this stage this is solely in the interests of the developer.

    • Anonymous says:

      Maybe the 55 Million in Upgrades and Cash that Cayman is getting out of it makes it worth it, You know the 35 Million in roads the 20 Million in cash…

      But I'm sure you 'd say Caymanians don't need it…After all they have so much in thier kitty…

      • Anonymous says:

        50 million to be wasted like all the other cash taht government had

      • Anonymous says:

        The operative word here is "Maybe".  We know that Mac loves to gamble.  but do we want him gambling with the future of the Cayman Islands. 

        Once he commits us to all the "deals" there is not turning back.  What he has given to Dart stays Darts.

        here is a man under investigation for alleged corruption that we are letting sign away the future of our country with out even a second thought.

        How much sense does that make.  Let's give him the benefit of the doubt;  suspend any commitments until he is able to fully clear himself.

        The world has got to be having a good laugh following the way he is going about this sell out of the country.

  11. Anonymous says:

    "The group wanted to see the proper processes applied"  

    SERIOUSLY???  The same group that is stumping up money to help convince people that this is a good idea and the same group that derailed a valid tender process for the GT landfill and the same group that have pushed through plans for a dump in BT without any environmental study?

     

  12. Anonymous says:

    A government run by a few for the few that's all it is here. Mean while in Cayman the poor get to pick up garbage on the roadside for two measely weeks while the few in leadership talk in tongues of hypocrisy and get paid excessive salaries. Here is another little act our lady in waiting did not tell anyone exactly what she did while our Great leader Kim ping pong $art Bush was in China she graciously gave the chosen Few a raise in a certain ministry. Heres to you your grace from a lowly servant suffering the economic deprivation of these islands. Could you please wash my feet too because i ain't getting any bonus for Christmas. i truly feel really sorry for this little island if this government continues in power!

  13. Anonymous says:

    seems every udp administration has same disregard for due process…

    a little poetic justice for all the West Bayers stuck in traffic every day for continuing to vote for McKeeva and his 3 puppets

    DA WHA UNNA GETTTTTTTT

  14. Anonymous says:

    Why would it need "LA OK" if it is done by the premier? That is not how it is done in a dictatorial regime. DUH!

  15. Anonymous says:

    The Governor in Cabinet MAY waive… All that provides is discretion and the Governor himself must still sign off. Can you imagine the FCO explaining to the British taxpayers in future thatthe UK has to bail out the Cayman Islands by 100 plus million in part because it’s Governor voluntarily waived due process on the transfer of a valuable asset at the request of a local politician who was already under police investigation for “financial irregularities”.

    Your move Governor. You cannot ignore your responsibility to occasionally make difficult decisions, forever.

    • Anonymous says:

      Silly. Read your new constitution you all voted for in 2009…governor not really that important on local business decisions anymore. UK has no contingent liabilities anymore.

      • Anonymous says:

        It does not appear that you have read it. The only reason the UK is involved in approving our budgets is because it does have contingent liabilities. The Governor's power is not diminished; he can still act in the interests of good governance. The Law still says "Governor in Cabinet". 

        • Anonymous says:

          And I think I'm right in saying that the last unilateral act by a Governor in the 'interests of good governance' was Operation Tempura. 'Nuff said!

        • Anonnymous says:

          "Governor in Cabinet" does not mean the "Governor".  It means the "Cabinet".

          • Anonymous says:

            Ummm, no actually. It means the Governor in Cabinet. It means Cabinet has to approve AND the Governor has to approve.

            • Supercalifrgragilisticexpialidocious says:

              You are all wrong. It actually means whatever suits them best on any given day.

        • Anonymous says:

          "Governor in cabinet " is not the Governor personally – its the Governor acting on the advice of the Cabinet.  In practice if the Cabinet says yes, its rather unlikely the Governor says no unless its a clear and obvious breach of the Constitution or Law.  .