Concerns mount at Safehaven

| 16/08/2012

(CNS):  Sea captains facing eviction from the Port Authority marina at Safehaven have been given a reprieve in the face of concerns that the replacement marina, to be built by property developer Michael Ryan, will not be suitable for their needs. The men say that according to the plans the turning area is going to be too small for some of the operators to manoeuvre their boats, but they also have numerous other issues with the planned project. The captains not only fear that the marina will never materialize, they have also queried the legality of the entire deal now that at least one of the companies originally involved in the land swap with the port is in the hands of receivers.

The previous PPM administration had entered into a deal to swap crown land at Safehaven for Ryan’s proposed mixed use resort known as Dragon Bay in exchange for the development of a new modern public marina in the area for local tour operators. The original contract for the swap the boat captains believe was between Fujigmo, Cesar Hotelco (Cayman) Ltd and the Port Authority.

Since then the development has made little progress and following Ryan’s loss of control of the Ritz-Carlton and the companies involved in that hotel’s development, the future of the entire project, which included the new marina, has been in question. But after several years of inaction in relation to Dragon Bay, Ryan recently announced his plans to begin work on the marina and posted a notice for boat owners to vacate the site.

The captains have said that they will not move as they have a number of queries and concerns relating to the redevelopment, not least the danger that it will never be completed and they will have nowhere to go. Since those early fears made the captains reluctant to move, further developments have made them even less keen to leave the sanctuary of the Safehaven marina, which they have been using for some 25 years.

Speaking with CNS this week, Captain Bryan Ebanks said the group of captains had written to both Michael Ryan and the Port Authority about the numerous problems and were also seeking the support of the attorney general, as they now believe there are genuine questions about the legal ownership of the land.

Ebanks thinks that the contract over the land swap between the Port Authority and Ryan’s companies is in question because Cesar is now in the hands of receivers and Fujigmo does not appear to be a registered company in the Cayman Islands.

“Our first concern is that the temporary location where the developer wishes us to move to is not suitable for turning the boats used by some of our operators, a problem that appears to relate to the new marina as well,” he said. Captain Ebanks added that this problem was going to be very difficult to resolve as the land, once owned by Ryan, which could have been dredged to expand the marina and accommodate the boats, no longer belongs to him.

With Ryan having lost control of the Ritz Carlton and the companies associated with it, in particular Cesar, Ebanks noted that the contract regarding the swap between Ryan and government must be invalid and the captains are seeking the support of the attorney general on the matter.

Although Dragon Bay Ltd appears to be a registered company of good standing here and has not been seized by the Ritz receivers, that company was not the one Ryan used to enter into the contract with the Port Authority.

Having already made enquiries to find a lawyer to help them with the legal question, Ebanks says the captains have been asked for a retainer of $20,000, which the group can’t afford. He believes, however, that because as the issue concerns crown land the attorney general and the Port Authority are the ones that should be going out to bat for the captains.

“We are appealing to the attorney general to look into this as we really believe this deal is no longer lawful,” Ebanks stated. “We also continue to be concerned that should we vacate this site and for whatever reason Ryan is unable to complete the project, we will be left without a marina and our livelihoods will be in serious jeopardy.

"We are also concerned that the Port Authority, which is supposed to be our ‘guardian angel’ in regards to preserving a place for us to operate from, especially given our importance to the tourism product, is not properly defending our interests at present,” he added on behalf of the group of concerned captains.

CNS submitted questions to the Port Authority and the board on 2 August in regard to the confusion that appears to surround what is happening at Safehaven but so far we have not received a response and efforts to contact Michael Ryan remain unsuccessful.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Do these commercial boats pay to use this facility? If not why? I know that if I was to put my private boat there these guys would be up in arms. They belive they own the property, well guess what, we Caymanians pay for the land to be cleaned up, I would put money on that these guys don’t even pay garbage fee to the DOE even though they are a commercial businesses. So we pay for there Sh…t to be cleaned up.

    I don’t feel sorry for these guys at all.

    I would be charging these guys minimum $3,000 per month rent, more revenue.. And if they don’t like it get off the dock…

  2. Anonymous says:

    This man seems to be a thorne to the cayman Islands – always in receivership and contributing nothing  but bad debts to our government,  Why should we allow him to  speculate on  Crown Properties.  If this is government's property we should not allow him to jeopardise out captains – He needs to have left  the Cayman Islands long time ago, and find another place where people will deal with him when he becomes a menace. Cayman stop buying these foreigners stories, we do not know where they are coming from and whence they will be leaving. They leave here with a smile as long as their journey.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Actually, Crown land belongs to the Crown. This concept that Crown Land “belongs” to the public is a farce that’s often promoted by politicians. Whilst the proceeds from a sale of Crown Land will no doubt end up in the Governments coffers, that doesn’t give the public true possessory rights of Crown land. That’s why the Governor (himself, as opposed to Governor in Cabinet) has to convey title to Crown Land. And, more specifically, we are talking about Crown Land with a very long Lease registered on it, for which tens of millions of dollars have been paid and stamp duty charged by the Government. Therefore, for all intents and purposes, this is privately “owned” land, during the tenure of the lease.

  4. Anonymous says:

    What people like 7:53 dont seem to understand is that Crown Land belongs to the people of the Cayman Islands. If we re going to give it to someone we should get something for it. The very least the developer can do is build a public dock. Like the American Indians we are  trading our land for a few cheap trinkets. Caymanians are being herded into the most worthless land on the Island. Welcome to the reservation.

    • Jonas Dwyer says:

      What everyone including the “captains” don’t understand is that the space they occupy was transferred in an agreement and the port authority has no power over it. This was a PPM deal/contract, hate putting the politricks into it but it’s true all you brilliant thinkers go and check the land registry. Those who refuse to move are trespassing, plain and simple. If another facility is built and really just about to be finished why are the likes of so called Captain Bryan moaning about. He and others have never paid one single cent for the property, and they kept it like a pig sty and now it seems they are to get another facility. Will they be helping the Port Authority pay for it. This culture of entitlement must end folks, we must all contribute, that why we are in the Financial mess we are in totally dependent on Government to foot the bill for everything.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Despite all the media circus, and amidst all the noise, it is being reported that the “Sea Captains” are quietly moving into the two marina sites that wicked old Mike Ryan is providing to them, free of charge, until the new public marina facility is built, and that they are being given written permission to that effect. Imagine that? But, let’s not let the truth get in the way of a good sensational story, shall we? Now, I wonder, how many of these “Sea Captains” were actually interviewed for this article?

    • Anonymous says:
  6. Anonymous says:

    @ GoinBroke: the land is leased yes, but on a long term lease with full development rights, as is all of the surrounding lands including the Ritz, Villas of the Galleon, etc, which were part of the original Benson Greenall Lease. It is also NOT zoned Public Open Space. The adjacent Ritz property is zoned Public Open Space (as a result of an admitted huge Government blunder that the CIG is contractually bound to fix by rezone, but have never gotten around to it). All of the lands formerly known as SafeHaven is in fact zoned Hotel/Tourism. Get your facts straight.

    • Goin'Broke says:

      I'm sorry but the land IS zoned Public Open Space according to the Government Lands and Survey website this morning. Get YOUR facts straight.

      Yes, in fact the Ritz property was shown zoned as Hotel/Tourism a couple of years ago but when the Stan Thomas letter appeared it mysteriously got changed back to Public Open Space. Wonder why?

      • Anonymous says:

        @Goin’Broke: YOU are wrong and you should be careful what you post. That land was erroneously zoned as POS on the eastern side and on the Western side (next to and east of West Bay Road) is in fact a Neighborhood Commercial zone. Both of these zones were implemented by the Legislative Assembly in December of 1997, when we had the first legitimate amendment to the Development Plan since its inception 20 years prior. The Public Open space zone was erroneous in that it should have been confined to the very same parcel that is now being talked about here, whichis the parcel earmarked, from then, for a public marina, hence the Public Open Space zone. When the government of the day granted an extension to the long term lease on the Ritz parcels in or sbout 2003, in the Lease Extension Agreement (this is a public document, so you can verify it for yourself, if you know how) government acknowledged that the zoning on the subject parcels was erroneous, and Government undertook to rezone the same to Hotel/Tourism zoning. To date, three administrations later, this has not happened. That is why Planning cannot enforce the (aptly named) POS zoning on any development on that parcel, as it would give rise to liability for the Government, who has effectively breached its own agreement. The Stan Thomas letter has nothing to do with it and, in any event, zoning can only be changed by the Legislative Assembly of the Cayman Islands, so to infer it was done clandestinely by Government (who from all indications don’t know how to) as a result of the Stan Thomas letter is simply fictitious and, at best, mischievous on your part. Again, get your facts straight, otherwise you may end up looking down the barrel of a libel action at done point.

        • Goin'Broke says:

          In reply – I am NOT wrong – I am stating what the land is CURRENTLY ZONED according to the Government Lands and Survey website which is purportedly up to date (as opposed to the Planning website which was last updated May 2010). If it should be otherwise then I suggest you take issue with them and not me!The area in question consists of Block 17A Parcel 261 (proprietor – The Port Authority of the Cayman Islands) and the finger of land extending to the east of this parcel (part of Block 17A Parcel 261 – proprietor Crown) The area in 17A 261 south of Turnberry Drive IS zoned Public Open Space as is the finger of land extending east (the part that is going to be excavated and where the boats are being asked to be removed from). As for the eastern half of Block 12C Parcel 451 (the Ritz golfcourse and condos) it is also shown currently as POS. A couple of years ago it WAS shown as Hotel/Tourism but for whatever reason it was changed back (it must be coincidence that it was the same time that the questions about zoning in the letter arose). I did not infer anything, just stated the facts – you are the one making connections!

  7. St Peter says:

    Why cant we all just get along…

  8. Anonymous says:

    If he owns the land, and the boat captains won't leave when he wants them to, then they are trespassing. Plain and simple. No matter what is going on with his finances, if he owns the property, he has a right to do whatever he wants with it. If the boat captains won't leave, have them arrested and thrown in jail.

    • Anonymous says:

      If he owns the land then the government should put a charge on it for the $6 mill or so he owes us… plus interest!

    • Goin'Broke says:

      He does NOT own the land .The land is owned by Crown and leased. It is also zoned Public Open Space.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Ryan should be a disqualified director after losing control of his companies that owed, among others, the Cayman government over 6 million dollars that seems uncollectable now, all due to his style of directorship. He is unfit to control or direct any other company in Cayman.


    As a director of a company or companies that are now in receivership, and still owing Cayman Government millions that may never be re-paid, what does the Cayman Director's Association and the Attorney General thinkabout Mr. Ryan's abilities to direct other Cayman companies or conduct business in the Cayman Islands?

    • Anonymous says:

      Given that history he would be unfit for even a work permit under our laws. How did he become Caymanian?

      • noname says:

        How does anyone become a Caymanian?  Other than paying tribute to what is the current "honoralbe" Civil service tribal leader,or paying what is the figure now $25 million?, or marrying into an already called Caymanian family.  Is that right?  Then once you are "Caymanian" as Bush has shown you can do no wrong.

    • Anonymous says:

      And yet you tolerate Bush.  Because he is Caymanian?

  10. Anonymous says:

    Can you imagine these captains or owners  some of them hire captains for $80 a trip and $40 a mate charge up to $40 per person. Pay girls on the dock up to $15 per person commission.They put up to 60 people per boat and can do it up to twice a day . Some of the staff can even tie a boat properly to the dock. Then they are all demanding that they shouldn't pay for tying up all night long. they all have new brand new houses. While govt (big Mac ) paid for their insurance . year after year (they all from west bay ). when will this nonsense stop.

    • Anonymous says:

      Mac never paid the insurance on most of the boats there.  Government paid for a certain group of boats that were part of the co-op but I do not know if they are still paying for them or not.  Two final thoughts, we wish we were getting $40 per person and just for the record, being from West Bay is not a crime..

  11. Anonymous says:

    Look First of all this man Michael Ryan SHOULD NOT be allowed to DO NO sort of any kind of Development on these islands again Mr. Bush collect the MILLIONS that is owed to these islands by this man and his company that what u need to do.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Attacking the private sector is the last thing this Government should be doing right now.

    It is very difficult to think of anything more stupid than this.

    It seems Government has lost sight of exactly where it confiscates its money from.

    What is urgently need is a crash  education program on economics for all public employees. They all need to understand that money does not grow on trees.


  13. Anonymous says:

    Rich developers come here and take away the access to our beaches, our land, our money and anything else of value.

    They can do this with the help of the same politicians that we hired to protect us.

    People like Dart and Ryan specifically look for countries where politicians are XXXXX. In return they give concessions (Dart), rezone properties (Stan Thomas), change laws (Shetty).

    All these projects will NOT add anything to our pocket or economy.

    The tour operators in SafeHaven won't fit in the new marina, that will cater the rich, so in the end they will HAVE to leave.

    As long as we support the politicians this will go on and on and on.

    So at the next elections, just stay home . . . . . . . . . .


    • Anonymous also says:

      They are not done yet soon The developers of the new hospital and the other land owner there will be asking for that  most beautiful piece of road to be moved inland.  They are settin us up for it.  Wait and see.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree that any other voters who pine for the Grand Cayman of the pre-1960's, and direct their maligned misplaced hatred at any of their helpful neighbours (that they might never recognize), should probably stay in their cave next year, or do us a favour and devolve completely and crawl back into the sea.

      • Anonymous says:

        This is for Poster 9:31,I do not want to go back to the 1960s but tell me how great is your countrys economy right now ? can you give me advice on how to run our country? ,or do you want my country to go down like yours, where y going to run to next, if you was so smart why did you not save your country, patriotism cannot put food on my table,tell that to the fools that follow politicians blindly,your smarts is no smarts.

    • Anonymous says:

      That kind of attitude is why the island is in such a mess in the first place. Voter apathy with seriously damage any country in time.

    • Castor says:

      "Rich developers come here and ……." I wonder who sold them the land in the first place?

  14. Anonymous says:

    The welfare mentality has reached its peak in Cayman. Not only do we want a new facility to dock our boats in for free, all provided free of charge, but we want to make sure that it’s big enough, so that our “captains” can manage to turn their boats around! And, in order to ensure we are going to get that, we are going to prevent the progress of the very think that we are dmanding! And WE, the “Captains” of the industry, want to tell Mike Ryan, the Port Authority and the Government how to design and build this thing, because we are entitled by their largess to do so! Amazing, simply amazing!
    But wait, there’s a message here! This is indicative of the much larger problem that the whole country is confronted with right now:- a bunch of incompetent “captains”, all fighting amongst themselves, al la crabs in the barrel, not really having any idea where they’re going, or how to turn the boat around, but knowing that no matter what, it should be done totally at the public’s expense! And when it all comes crashing down, just blame it on the money grabbing developers. Alas, it appears our concept of “welfare” is neither well, nor fair, and will not fare well, in the end…

  15. Anonymous says:

    I am suprised by the Port Authority silence on the matter, however I think our good Captains should consider the possibility that the Dragon Bay project (as the golf course) may have abuyer?  We might say all we want about a certain group but when they enter into an agreement to purchase a property/company they assist the seller in fulfilling any previous obligations. It will be a difficult one for Captain Bryan to swollow but they may give him a Marina and facility to properly serve our tourist (but he may have to share it)

  16. Anonymous says:

    @20:59:- you hope “the Captains hold their ground”?! Really? Which “Captains”? You ever take a drive down there to see what these clowns are doing? Anyone ever given any thought to what kind of third world image the current site gives to those thousands of tourists that use it every year? And the worst part is, these guys are making good money and have had the luxury for many years of running their lucrative businesses at the public’s expense, and simply want to remain there to maintain the status quo.. Has it ever occurred to anyone that maybe theyre resisting change because they fear they may have to pay something for a space in the new marina? But no, lets put a spin on this story so we can bash Michael Ryan, who from all indications, despite his troubles, is trying to build another project against local resistance, just like he did with the Ritz. This sort of attitude is exactly why this country will one day slide back into its previous state of the islands that time wants to forget. Why the hell is it that every time there is a mention of Mike Ryan’s name, so many people start frothing at the mouth? Don’t we want him to build the new facility? Or would we rather frustrate another project, just so we can complain that he hasnt done anything for Cayman? Seriously, anybody given any thought to what kind of tourism product we would have without the Ritz? What if he had caved in to all the negative press years ago and walked away then? Think, people, think! And then write. Otherwise, like the good Capt. Bryan, we end up shooting off our feet and then shoving them in our mouth!

    • Anonymous says:

      I cringe when I drive by the Ritz and the rest of the behemoth SMB developments and long for the days of the Holiday Inn, the small cottages at Caribbean Club, Beach Club and so forth. Those were better days indeed…and we could see the beach!

  17. Anonymous says:

    “Fujigmo” really? A popular acronym for ” Fxxx You Jack I’m Gonna Move On”. There was a crook in my hometown in the US that named his boat the same thing. Sounds like Mr. Ryan’s business mantra.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Judging from the majority of comments so far, I believe Eden hurlston is fighting a losing battle in trying to unite expats with Caymanians .These expats posting here are only interested in degrading and mocking Caymanians;therefore only a handful of Caymanians will join.

    • Betty says:

      Many caymanians, me included do not agree with the captains stance  – just because they are caymanians does not mean that we have to blindly support them if we think it is wrong. Each human being has the right to make her or his own mind up – thank you.

    • Anonymous says:

      What has expats got to do with this… I believe its Caymanian against Caymanian… and I know which group of Caymanians this expat is supporting!!


    • Pit Bull says:

      I think they are criticising entitlement obsessed scroungers rather than the Caymanian population.  We can see the difference.  Can you?

  19. Anonymous says:

    If only half of this is true it is still completely nuts. Is there anyone at the Port Authority to answer, or did the premier fire them all again?

  20. Anonymous says:

    You have got to be kidding me. These are the same boat operators that undercut the entire industry by charging the least for stingray city tours because their overheads are substantially less than other operators that have to pay to have their own docking space. It’s rediculous that they expect to use this land for free and then can complain that the ‘Port Authority’ should be paying their legal fees. These operators will no doubt have the benefit of using land that is not theirs and which allows them to collectively bring in easily $1M worth of business in a year but cannot put their hand in their pockets to find $5k each to protect this livelihood. like another poster said its an entitlement mentality.

    • Anonymous says:

      These operators will no doubt have the benefit of using land that is not theirs! are you for real? these operators are Native Caymanians and each and every inch of crown lands on these islands belong to them.  I would much rather Native Caymanians earn $1M worth of business for free because they are entitled to it, by birthright. Than to have  some swindler and prospector without DNA to terra firma come here with their entitlement mentality of concessions for investing money that they don't even have. These islands got a bad reputation in the international press for his shady business practices and numerous lawsuits.  You have the galls to talk about Caymanians and entitlement sure every Native Caymanian should be shouting entitlement from the roof tops like the Native Americans when all is taken from them that is all that they will have eventually.  I hope that those operators demand that the $6 millions dollars that is owed to the government be paid by the same developer who believes he is entitled to his concessions and not having to pay government monies owed.  It is indeed a sad day in the history of this country when Third and Fourth generations of Native Caymanians  are not suppose to wear the badge of entitlement in there own country.  Caymanians had better wake up and see that we have no entitlement anywhere else but on this little rock of ours and we should not be ashamed of being entitled to our lands. 

  21. Anonymous says:

    What happened to the $ he owes us? Why is this man even being allowed to buisness here and his credit record is horrible! Keke can you please answer?

  22. Anonymous says:

    I for one hope the Captains stand their ground….

    How is Ryan able to start another project after the Ritz Carlton fiasco?

    How can he even think about another project when he owes the CIG so much money?

    One would think if he hasn't got the money to pay off past debts owing how could he

    be trusted to have enough capital to start and complete another project..?.

    • Anonymous says:

      Who helped Ryan get the Ritz Carlton to fiasco stage.  The head Caymanian.

      How can the CIG think of doing any project when they owe so much money?

      One would think if they would have screwed up so many projects and haven't got the money to pay of past debts how can the Caymanian Government be trusted to do anything else.?  Because they are Caymanians.  And now so is Ryan.  Hope this helps answer your questions.

    • LLC says:

      You obviously have no concept of the limited liability company do you?

    • Anonymous says:

      It's amazing that rent-free tenants (of >25 years) can afford to be so picky about who pays for their new marina….and that they will conjure every manner of objection simply because they don't like the person behind it.  

      • Anonymous says:

        Twenty-five year rent-free oh my lord is there such a law as ownership after a certain amount of time in not paying rent.  The Captains should challenge this in a court of law and tie up the whole process for another 25 years.  For once Caymanians need to stop bending over backwards for prospectors who is only here to scrape everything that they can get and leave these islands like the do every where else like in Costa Rica.  Let them leave with what they came here with nothing except a dream.  We don't need their dreams let them take it with them… I also have a dream that one day Caymanians will wake up and stop being so passive and stop the foolishness by giving in to every swindler and con artist.

  23. Anonymous says:

    I cant understand why anyone should expect anything for nothing. You guys have been making a fortune for years and all you have to show for it is a bunch of ramshacle looking vessels.

    You should have provided your OWN marina for your boats.


    • Anonymous says:

      it's called the caymanian entitlement culture…..

    • Anonymus-mus says:

      They did. Via the Port Authority. They're just demanding that the contracts be hooured. Sorry that you don't like them.

    • Anonymous also says:

      Who has been making fortunes?  The boat operators?  They have been making a living, but not millions.  Now the developers have been, our Eternally Honaorable  Premier has, but not he boat operators.  A living yes.  Not millions.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Can you say entitlement….

    Can any local water sports operator us the port authority site at safehaven?

    Did the Port Authority give them a written lease and say Ok this is your spot or is it first come first served?

    How many local operators can dock there.  If a boat leaves can I just come in and take their place?

    Who owns the boats that sit there forever and don't even look like they can move?

    It seems to me that its been a free ride for the operators in there for too long and every business in cayman is struggling and Government does not have the money to help everyone out so why should using the docks there be free when all the other operators including caymanian companies that dont use this site have to pay dock fees.

    Why does the Port Authroity have to be a "gurdian angel" and preserve a place to operate from.  How about the Government provide me with a building rent free for me to operate my business from?  How come the Government is not providing me with this.

    Now dont get me wrong as I agree with everything they say about Ryan and agree he will not finish it or will come up with some sort of changes but the free ride should be over and unless this free docking space is open to ALL local operators and an invitation should be sent out to find out how many local watersports operators would be interested in taking  a slip and then formulate a development plan that takes this into account or is it just for the few that feel they are entitled to use that space for free just because they were there first.

    Funny thing but I heard that a local operator was selling his water sports business and the sale included "his" dock space at the Port Authority Safehaven site.

    Someone needs to explain how the Port Authority intends to operate this new marina – if it ever happens and who is going to enforce the regulations at the new site.

    Nothing new – its the "cayman" way of doing things….

  25. Anonymous says:

    Michael Ryan can be found surfing down in South Sound in front of the community centre, to answer any questions…….

  26. Anonymous says:

    Boy, y’all should step back and see the big picture. If only chess were taught in school here and the boat owners could see two or three moves ahead. Anyone clock Mac’s announcement about the sale of the freehold of Dragon Bay hidden in his other mutterings about expat taxes and the budget?

    Curiosity may have killed the cat, but naiveté killed Caymanians.

  27. madazhell says:

    efforts to contact Michael Ryan remain unsuccessful.


    He's not coming back here to do anything.

    Just like Canada.

    Just like Costa Rica.

    Just llike Vietnam in a few years…


    Mike and his money are long gone.

    But as per his modus operandi, debts remain.

    • Anonymous says:

      If RBS hadn't been so eager to bankroll him all this would never have happened. Look what happened to RBS! 

      • Anonymous says:

        RBS only bankrolled because CIG (McKeeva) back-stopped and guaranteed the loan.

  28. Komrades says:

    Welcome to the parallel universe where the something for nothing squatter brigade hold a blockade of boats in various states of disrepair until they get an evening bigger something for nothing than the something for nothing they are being promised while they ask someone to do commercial legal work for the benefit of their businesses also for nothing or worse still from limited public funds.  "What to we want?  Our entitlement"  "Who is going to pay for it?  Somebody else"