Mac: Brac must change

| 03/08/2009

(CNS): Announcing that there will be a forum on Cayman Brac at the end of August to discuss the economic future of the island, Leader of Government Business McKeeva Bush told Brac residents this weekend that he supported the concept of a marina on the Brac and also thought there was the possibility for cruise tourism to come to the island. Speaking at the official opening of the Alexander Hotel, he said he recognized that Brackers “don’t particularly want change”, but that there were some things they would have to accept to move the economy forward.

He said, “To those who say we want everything but don’t want anything to change … you can’t have your cake and eat it too. There must be changes and that’s what’s going to happen if businesses are going to survive.” The LoGB also promised he would cut the red tape for local businesses and hoped that Brackers would embrace the government’s National Development Plan, which would include the Sister Islands.

At a large gathering at the hotel to celebrate the opening of the Brac’s newest, and currently the only, resort, built and owned by Cleveland Dilbert, Bush noted that tourism was a major source of income for the island and the opening of the Alexander played a major role in the island’s recovery from Hurricane Paloma (which severely damaged the island last November). The LoGB said that the Brac Reef Beach Resort was “not far behind”, adding much needed tourism accommodation. (Right: a cake replica of the resort)

Noting some of the Brac’s attractions – diving, birding and also the island’s unique artificial dive site, the Lost City of Atlantis —  he said that Cayman Brac always attracted a special type of visitor, one that is interested in nature, adventure and relaxation. “While we want to see Cayman Brac develop, because that is what it takes, we want to keep what you have,” he said, and promised on behalf of the government that they would help restore tourism to the island through international marketing. He further encouraged local Cayman Islands residents to consider a “staycation” to the Brac and local businesses to consider holding smaller meetings at the Alexander instead of travelling to the US.

“As a country we need to do all we can to encourage and support local investors like Cleveland who dare to put their money into projects like the Alexander,” Bush said, noting that the government would not add tax to businesses that would discourage investors. “For us as Caymanians, we must be understanding of what investors need to operate and create an environment that makes investment feel wanted. This means a better immigration policy and a cutting of red tape which undermines businesses.”

Addressing business owners on the Brac, he said, “It is much more difficult to be profitable on this little island but over years you have withstood many storms and shown entrepreneurial spirit.” Having discussed the situation on the Brac with the Minister for District Administration, Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, he said they had decided to hold a forum towards end of August “to listen to concerns and get ideas that you may have to address the environment businesses must operate in here in the Sister Islands.” (Left: Owner of the Alexander Hotel, Cleveland Dilbert)

“There are things I would like to see done,” he said. “I recognize that Brackers don’t particularly want change but there are some things you will have to accept to move forward.” Bush said he believed it was time for a proper yacht facility and marina in the Sister Islands and hoped the two MLAs for the district would support the idea. “Many governments over the years have talked about it but been afraid to touch environment.”

Referring to West End Cemetery Pier, known locally as Scott’s Dock, Bush said, “I asked my friend Dervin (Scott) how far he was going with his dock, and he said he was going to go all the way to Cuba. I believe that holds out the possibility for cruise tourism.”

He said government would work with Scott, entrepreneurs like Dilbert and other investors to ensure that businesses on the Brac succeed, and said change was necessary for businesses to survive. “Business is not going to come by itself. Whilewe are pleased with the sleepy little island of Cayman Brac, we are going to move forward,” he said.

Government is in the process of drafting a National Development Plan that would include the problems of waste water and refuse collection, Bush said and hoped that Cayman Brackers would embrace this initiative. “You can’t be successful unless you plan properly,” he said.

The opening of the Alexander Hotel was attended by all UDP ministers and the event was emceed by MLA Moses Kirkconnell.

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  1. Quincy Brown says:

    Cayman Brac needs more sustainable development. Mr. Moses Kirkconnell has a great plan and vision for the Sister Islands.  Premier Bush, Minister O’connor Conolly and 1st Elected Kirkconnell could all together do wonders for this island.  In 2006 or 2007 I penned a letter to a local newspaper saying or rather advising Brac Real Estate agents that I saw Brac development as "a ball rolling down the bluff road" – in that once you let the ball go there would be no stopping it.  Well, lets let the ball go, prayerfully and putting faith in Almighty God.  The good people of the Brac must always have the final say though.  No, perhaps we don’t want to be another GT or 7mile beach – but we must strike a balance somewhere in between.  

     

    Congrats on the Alexander Hotel Mr. Cleveland!  More rooms are coming I understand on other areas of the island and improved air service.  I am optimistic about Brac development and Tourism.  Whether I am on theIsland or not, I am a part of the progress and the positive solution!

    Moderation…

     

    Quincy Brown

     

     

     

  2. Anonymous says:

    Nice to see the new leader goes to the brac to actually conduct business.

    Better than our last leader who only went there to play dominoes.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well said, Mac. They are a bunch of whining discontented spoiled freeloaders with some very honourable exceptions among the business community who have worked hard and done well for themselves and the WHOLE Cayman Islands.

  3. A Bracker Petrified By Destructive Mac says:

    Brackers Please, Please do not allow Mac to do the destructive Grand Cayman style development in the Sisters!

    He will sell us out like he did Grand Cayman.

    Cleaveland beware – Mac is now promoting his “Inward Investment” policy, actually “Cayman For Sale Mac – gets the Commission” policy, he will now import some Arab to compete with you, a Bracker, in the Cayman Brac tourism industry.

    Leave it to Mac he will now destroy the much loved qualities that make up the naturally quiet attractiveness of the Sisters which draws our visitors back to visit over and over for decades.  Our repeat visitors will stop visiting when Mac destroys the Sisters that they love.

    Mac disrespected the opinions of the long term repeat visitors in Grand Cayman because he found ways to make money from the destruction of the Grand Cayman West Bay Beach ambiance by encouraging the ugly sky scrapers to be built – “exclusive” real estate commissions are “legal”.  To compare the beauty of hotel / condo development with times past just look at the Westin Casuarina Hotel with its lush vegetation to the newer ugly oversized Mac instigated over built cement blocks.

    Moses and Julie are you for Mac and MONEY or Cayman Brac?

    If you are for Cayman Brac then tell “Sell Out Mac” we do not want his “Cake” in the Brac!

    Moses and Julie please answer.

    Mac is for Mac – Not the Brac!

    A Bracker Petrified By Destructive Mac

  4. whodatis says:

    SACRIFICE!!

    My fellow Caymanians…sacrifice is what is required from us a people.

    We have been and are still in a peculiar position of desiring "first world amenities" while our visitors (who happen to hail from those first world mega-nations) are constantly growing more weary of said amenities.

    We peaked at a time when such massive development was not present in our country – this is what MADE the Cayman Islands!

    Whereas we may THINK that a new Burger King, Wendy’s or even Starbucks is a sign of us "progressing" as a nation it is in fact harming our desirablity as a sought after destination for tourists.

    I am currently living in Europe and and over the past few years I have persuaded 3 parties to visit Cayman as part of their vacation plans…would you like to know the satisfaction rate between them – 0 / 3!

    They all returned with the same impressions; "Your country feels like America" / "Its nice but we didnt FEEL like we were in the Caribbean" / "We enjoyed the other islands a lot more than the Cayman Islands" /  "We were surprised to see so many international franchises." / "Considering the cost and the disappointing experience we would have been better off staying in Florida".

    This is ALL the information that I need to KNOW that we are going about this whole thing in the wrong way!

    The problem is is that Caymanians, leaders included, view Cayman from an insider’s perspective – whereas we look at small scale development, simplified tourist accommodation, local restaurants, local stores etc. as "under-development" – our visitors CRAVE to experience these things!

    We are steadily becoming just yet another first world metropolis complete with all of its ills (drugs, large lower socio-economic percentage of population, crime, drugs, murders – sound familiar to anyone?)

    It truly depresses me that every time I read a news report on the plans and sentiments of our Government it is in the context of furthering and expanding our extremely outdatedplaybook.

    I am a proud Caymanian but I am depressed when I look towards the future – it is CLEAR to see what will take place yet nothing appears to be being done to correct our misguided journey.

    Our Govt. leader only sees massive foreign $$$ and that’s all that matters to him…he is still aplying the 80’s & 90’s game plan as he charts our future. Please be aware that the "development" rendered by such avenues does next to nothing to actually benefit Caymanians, therefore, the COUNTRY as a whole!

    Anyway, I am signing out now – as I do I will just like to assure all readers that the Cayman Islands that we have enjoyed will NOT be here for your children and grandchildren – not with this current mindset that plagues us as a people.

    Sincerely,

    Whodatis

    • Anonymous says:

      Brac develop sensibly and enhance what you have. I am a Canadian tourist to the Cayman Islands and have visited 3 times. We love visiting the Brac because even Grand Cayman seems too busy for us. It is wise to develop carefully, and preserve the natural beauty of your island. While condo complexes, American restaurant franchises and skyscrapers may seem like progress, they diminish the Brac’s true value. Nature, nature, and more nature. You can’t buy nature, and once you’ve overdeveloped, you’ve lost it.

      We look forward to our next trip to the Brac, and to visit the new hotel. Developments that fit in with the spirit and feel for the Brac should be encouraged. I think many tourists visit the island to get away from the sameness of almost every other place they have visited.

      Nature tours are available on the Brac, but the trails could use upgrading. If money is spent to develop the natural aspects of the island, that would be a HUGE tourist draw.

       

  5. change for the better says:

    why  are we so stupid sometimes to think that change will always be worse than what we have now! wake up brackers! all our lives we have been thrown out to the sharks and slap in our face with hand-me-down equipment, polices, ideas,resrictions and yet we still accept to remain the same. Have u guys lost your fight to erase the old program that they have been reprograming to us brackers for years!!

    The people in the brac are suffering, especially the younger generation. please help us mr. mckeeva to be proud of ourselves and our island again. please remove the corrupt software systems that has us full of viruses(metaphor) andblinded by the greedy shopkeepers who mark up their products and tell us that’s the best they can do, the shopkeepers here hardly have items on sale! well even if they had a sale, they would not still be losing because their products are marked up so high, they would still make a profit. please hold a forum so that we can fix this greedy culture that we are spreading.

    mr. mckeeva we in the brac are no different than the resident of grand cayman….. we want the same things like proseperity, crime/drug free environment, development, competitive rates, better police services, better health care, better education for our children, better airservice! we want it better.better.better.better.better. don’t u think it’s about time the brac caught up with being left behind!!

    come on brackers let change the culture now for tomorrow brackers!! change is better if you getting s…t?!!

    • Concerned Native says:

      Please preserve the sister islands. Cayman Brac and liitle Cayman please I am begging you not to let go of your beautiful islands for the sake of the almighty dollar.Grand Cayman has been overdevoped since the 1990’s and as lost its tranqility. Stay the way you are and God will always bless you.

  6. Anonymous says:
    Brackers are continually offended by perpetuation of the notion that we are somehow morbidly and unreasonably afraid of "change". Nothing could be further from the truth! Brackers have sought change and worked tirelessly to effect changes when such changes were deemed to be in our best interest. Conversely, we rejected change when we as a community judged that something was not in our best interest. What irks us is that we get little credit for being wise enough to know the difference between a sound idea and a foolish one. It seems that the only instances that are remembered are the times when Brackers were left with no choice but to stand firm and go nose to nose with the powers that be to quash silly ideas which we felt were being forced upon us without a clear grassroots mandate from the people of the Brac. That, my friends, is the sole reason Brackers are perceived as being resistant to change. If being wise and independent is a “bad thing” then I stand as a proud citizen of the bad ol’ Republic of Cayman Brac!
     
    One of the reasons Brackers have become very skeptical of “change” is that ideas for change have all-too-often been advanced by past governments without open, transparent, honest and diligent (two-way)dialogue with the community-at-large. Relating to very important issues, too many attempts have been made to “push things through” – while even using committees of locally appointed political "yes men" – without giving any meaningful regard to the way we as a community envision our island moving forward.
     
    Over the years the paradigm for so-called “progress” proposed by successive governments has been modeled after the way Grand Cayman developed. If Grand Cayman’s development were any model for good, sound and well-rounded social, economic and physical planning, I would hate to see an example of poor planning! Thus far our past leaders have been unable to offer better alternatives than the Grand Cayman recipe: cruise ships and wall-to-wall condos and ever-larger hotels. We realise that we need more development – condos, hotels, new businesses, (casino?) – but we want carefully controlled development and a well conceived and well implemented plan for our island. I trust an intelligent and progressive thinker like Mr. Bush will not fall into the same well-worn rut as past leaders.
     
    One thing we Brackers do fear is “becoming another Grand Cayman” or anything even remotely like it. We of the more recent generation who choose to live on the Brac and not relocate to the more financially rewarding lifestyle offered by Grand Cayman do so because we love this island and we appreciate its tranquil relatively unspoilt beauty and relaxed lifestyle. We will continue to resist changes that we feel will compromise the uniqueness of the island. We are keenly aware that without our uniqueness we will become nothing more than another Caribbean “tourist trap” with the ensuing crime and social ills.
     
    I am of the opinion that Brackers are far less concerned with harming the environment than we are with the destruction of our social climate and being robbed of our peace of mind. If, giving respect to the needs of the community, we have to cut down some trees or clear some mangroves or dig up some ironshore, so be it. However, we will be far less tolerant of ideas which we think will compromise the chances of our children and their children inheriting a wonderful place to live and work. Once that is gone no amount of money can buy it back.
     
    Brackers are too often portrayed and thought of as a simple-minded folk. Again, nothing could be further from the truth. Go down the list of successful and wealthy Caymanian-born residents of Grand Cayman and the list will include a remarkable proportion of Brackers. While not all Brackers possess a fancy degree, we as a community possess a healthy share of what the country sorely needs: common sense and a good work ethic!
     
    Brackers are a practical people with little tolerance for foolishness and even less tolerance for being pushed around. Call us unreasonable and resistant to change if you must but, yes, if Brackers felt a matter was about to be “shoved down our throats” with little or no consensus from the local community, you are darn right we soundly declined that “change” with a loud, clear and unified voice – regardless of how sweetly that idea might have been packaged by politicians, bureaucrats and their minions!

    Brackers eagerly anticipate the opportunity that Mr. Bush promises, to have the opportunity to discuss how to move forward. We heartily laud his promise to cut hindering red tape. We even look forward to the long-promised marina! However, some of us expressed alarm at his choice of words: “There are things I would like to see done,” he said. “I recognize that Brackers don’t particularly want change but there are some things you will have to accept to move forward.” We would rather like to have heard: “There are things you would like to see done and I promise my support in assisting you to accomplish those things in a way that is compatible with the aspirations of the people of Cayman Brac”. 

    Mr. Bush, you if anyone knows what it is like to be the underdog and yet succeed. This is something you andBrackers have in common. I trust that slight slip of words was more a matter of semantics than intent.

  7. Anonymous says:

    The Friday evening flight to the Brac has been in place for many many years…..where have you been living ???

  8. anonymous says:

     Mckeeva wants Cayman Brac and Little Cayman like how he has West Bay. Brackers, please put this man in his place. These two islands are the only thing we have left with little history that we caymanians have to offer, all he wants to do is sell our the country. he is too GREEDY. Brackers are no different from People who live on Grand Cayman. We are all Caymanians. Lord do i hate to go somewhere and hear people talking about the Brac is so boring, i betcha when unny want lil bit of relaxation unny quick get on that jet flight and go east. Brackers might be proud people when they ready but guess what, who holds the highest jobs in government and has the best education system in the Cayman Islands, answer that for me. And no, we don’t have Burger King or Kentucky, but we eat what we grow in our gardens and we go get our fresh fish daily. That is why Cayman Brackers live long and they nah lazy people either.

    I wonder if UDP Posse really know the crowd they was speaking to friday night, at the opening of The Alexaner. Mckeeva is all for himself and not for the people if these islands. Oh Did Pearlina see how beautiful Cayman Brac women is or did she think up there never had pretty women. We might grow up in tha bush boy we gah some pretty gyals.

    Brackers, I say wake up and dont let PPM/UDP mess up these 2 islands. Paloma did nuff damage already and I am proud to say I am happy to see veryone working together to bring these islands back .

     

    God Bless

  9. Anonymous says:

    Can we have a Friday evening flight to the Sister Islands (ie after 5pm) so we can spend our time and money there when we want a weekend away rather than going to Miami?

  10. Anonymous says:

    "There goes the Island, what a shame"

    People never seems to amaze me, here we are complaining about hard times, and our people out of work, yet we critize the government because they are trying to do something about it.  unless you people come from an unknown utopia, in this world you have to give something up to get something; that is simply how it works. Now to the Brackers I would say this, you have a choice; you can keep your quiet little peaceful Islands as is but then you don’t get top complain when the Boat pass you by…take your pick

  11. Anonymous says:

    This is a shame, i’ve beencoming here to the Caymans for 6 years in the summer to Dive on the Brac. My husband and I enjoy the peace and tranquility that Grand Cayman can no longer offer.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I said it before and I will say it again, Cayman Brac and LIttle Cayman are the untouched Islands in the sun. We have Three BEAUTIFUL islands to make the best of, It is most definitely safe to say that Grand Cayman has gone to the dogs in terms of remaning the island that time forgot. STRIKE one!

    Now our new goervnment is aiming to hit the Brac thats strike Two, go ahead and aimfor Little Cayman Next and that will be strike 3, AND YOU"RE OUT!! Do you get it people? Yes us braccas dont like change, unless its to better our island. So get off your high horse about We dont like change but we are gonna have to accept some things.

    What kind of Government is this, is it FOR the people? Are you forgetting that THA CAYMAN ISLANDS is NOT just Grand Cayman? Oh yeah I forgot most of unna NEVER EVER even been to Cayman Brac and LIttle Cayman which make up this country!

     

  13. Anonymous says:

    There goes the charm that differentiated the Sister Islands of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.

    Greed is what caused the mistakes to be made in Grand Cayman but here we go again. Greed is in power !!! The Cayman Government cannot even learn from their own mistakes.

  14. Anonymous says:

    there goes the Island….what a shame.  We really enjoyed our 3x year visits but nowwill travel elsewhere with our dive dollar to escape the crowds & criuse ships…..

    • Anonymous says:

      Wonderful idea Mac.

      Bet Brackers will want it put on the Bluff though.

      I bet Derwin could achieve that goal with a couple sticks of dynamite.

  15. Anonymous says:

    You need to understand that its money and not Caymanians that come first with Mac.

    You should also note his comments about the environment…..they are quite telling. No regard for the environment…….it is an obstacle to his money funnel !!!!

     

  16. Anonymous says:

    "more protection for Caymanians" – protectionism always undermines and constricts an economy, and ultimately reduces the long term opportunities for Caymanians.

    "Many Caymanian small businesses are suffering because of the more aggressive foreign investors who are already here" – it is called competition and the free market.  If you want to complain about why is everything so expensive then you cannot have it all.  Most things in Cayman cost 50%-100% more than they need to because of oligopolistic profits and barriers to entry.  Given some of the outrageous mark-ups here it is a good thing for some of these business to suffer. 

    • Crime is not supposed to be happening says:

      protectionism is not a word you idiot old time bracker

  17. Anonymous says:

    The following quote from this news story should be noted:

    “For us as Caymanians, we must be understanding of what investors need to operate and create an environment that makes investment feel wanted. This means a better immigration policy and a cutting of red tape which undermines businesses.”

    Actually Mac, what is needed is for you and your government to gain a better understanding of Caymanians and create an environment where others of us can follow in Mr. Cleveland Dilbert’s footsteps. Where we can feel wanted and able to succeed in our own country!

    I trust that your "better immigration policy" will provide more protection for Caymanians and does not include giving away permanent residency to every would be investor who turns up here, as seemed to be suggested in other news coverage! That will will not profit this country but will only open the flood gates even wider, to the detriment of Caymanians. Many Caymanian small businesses are suffering because of the more aggressive foreign investors who are already here.Many are bringing in their friends on work permits and shunning the locals but they are getting away with it. So, please create an environment where Caymanians come first!

  18. Anonymous says:

    Moses – UDP.

    I am so glad to see that MLA Moses Kirckconnell is working with the UDP for the betterment of Cayman Brac.

    If only the rest of PPM would follow his lead and not oppose everything for the sake of opposing.