Bush supports Brac marina

| 31/08/2009

(CNS): Leader of Government Business McKeeva Bush told Brackers at an economic forum on Friday that he intended to approve plans for Salt Water Pond to be dredged and turned into a marina and also for the development of West End Cemetery Pier (Scotts Dock) to accommodate cruise tourism, and would waste no time helping the developers to get it done. “I promise you that when those things come before my desk, as it will come before the Cabinet, it will have my go ahead. Not in the way distant future but as soon as you can do so, we will support it,” he said.

At the forum, held at the Aston Rutty Civic Centre on Friday morning, 28 August, Cleveland Dilbert, who opened his new Alexander Hotel, located next tothe pond, in June, said he and others had formed a company a year ago and submitted plans and asked permission to dredge Salt Water Pond to build the marina. He said they had tried to control the smell of the pond but were fighting a losing battle. He couldn’t imagine “any real Bracker” objecting to his plans once they looked at the impact the marina would have on the Brac, and said if Bush would give him permission, he would do it.

Bush noted that they would have to “shift road a bit, chase away a few Whistling Ducks, but so be it, that’s common law. If I had my way today … I would sign that document today and say to those gentlemen that proposed it, go ahead and get it done.”

He went on, “We must allow Mr Dervyn Scott to complete his dock because it holds the best opportunity for the development of sustainable cruise tourism business. I believe that if he wants to develop that dock and a marina there on his property, it should be explored and allowed.”

Dilbert also brought up problems encountered with getting flights to and from the Sister Islands on the Cayman Express, that people were frequently told the flight was full but when the plane left there were often a number of empty seats. The new CEO of Cayman Airways, Fabian Whorms, said the booking policy, by which passengers were able to hold the flights, was the problem and that the solution they were looking at was to mandate paying for flights at the time of booking.

Dilbert also said that he had been promised (by the last administration) that there would be a new aircraft to service the Brac. However, both Bush and Whorms, said that the purchase of a new aircraft was dependent on the Little Cayman airport.

Currently, aircraft landing on Little Cayman do so on a privately owned landing strip, which cannot at present accommodate all aircraft. There have been plans to build a new airport on the island for more than 15 years that have been opposed by conservationists and stymied by lack of funds.

The LoGB said if they couldn’t build new airport on Little Cayman, perhaps they could get support to extend the present runway so that they could bring in a Dash 8 or similar aircraft to service the two islands. “Extension of the airport is key. We can’t afford to run three different types of aircraft,” he said, adding that when he left office in 2005 they were heading towards plans to run the Jet and Dash 8. However, without the new airport they would have to continue using the Twin Otters (which are suitable for the short runway on Little Cayman).

Opposition MLA Moses Kirkconnell stressed the need to also look at the short term plansand make sure that visitors could get to the Brac for the coming winter season when more rooms would be available. In the recoveryof the island’s tourism product after Hurricane Paloma last year, Kirkconnell said that having direct air service into Brac from Miami in next tourism season was critical and that the private sector, Cayman Airways and the Department of Tourism must work together.

Whorms said direct flights were being considered and this was very possible. Cayman Airways was also looking at the option of direct cargo flights from Miami to Brac. And in the longer term, he said they were looking to see which of the airline’s functions could be relocated to and operated from Cayman Brac.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Salt Water Pond being turned into a marina isn’t an entirely bad idea. I give a thumbs up to anything that will rid the pond of the horrible stench it sometimes has in addition to moving the Brac forward.

  2. Extension of the runway says:

    Yes but at GCM not the Brac – it is a no brainer to let in direct flights from Europe and boost the summer tourist market.

  3. Right Brac at ya! says:

    Lesser Caymans?!?!? If you mean lesser crime, lesser noise, lesser pollution, lesser congestion, lesser turmoil…then yes, the Brac is a Lesser Cayman and sign me up as a fan of the Lesser Caymans!

  4. Anonymous says:

    After reading some of the comments posted here I am now convinced that you people over here in Cayman have no clue whatsoever what Cayman Brac is all about. Maybe if you were to take some time out from trying to live a champagne life with a cola pocket and visit the Brac to learn more about the island and its people then you would have a change of heart. However, as another poster wrote, we Brackers are intelligent and more down to earth than some people in Grand Cayman and we are often misunderstood and mistreated because we stand firm for what we believe in. When you speak of us being racialtowards other nationalities you should look first at yourselves being racial against us here. I can speak for myself in this instance whereby I have worked for Government for the past 22 years and since 2004 I have been living a nightmare because I am constantly put down and kept back by a handful of people who have publicly stated that they resent Brackers because we come here and take away their jobs etc. I consider this attitude very selfish and don’t mention childish and thank God I love my job and can walk with square shoulders because we are ALL CAYMANIANS and I refuse to let a small group of ignorant fools make me pack up and go home. But then again, in light of the ways things are going here in Cayman, and if it gets any worse, we do have the advantage of going home to sit back, relax and live off of the fruits/vegetables from our grounds on the rugged bluff and the whelks from our rocky ironshores that some of you find so boring. The question is, where are you going to go?

  5. Caymanians for a Fair Cayman says:

    Providing Caymanians with life-time retirement under the guise of "civil service" is a luxury we cannot afford right now.  They need to get real jobs.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Overspending and subsidising the Lesser Caymans is a luxury we cannot afford right now. 

  7. Anonymous says:

    Unfortunately, the word GOVERNMENT is a standard part of the Brackers vocabulary.

    Just strike up a conversation with a Bracker and every second word is Government should do this or that.

    Brackers demand much from the Government although their contribution is much less in comparison to the Grand Caymanians.

    Government is just a way of life for Brackers and they demand everything they can think of.

    The Scotts have the equipment and resources to develop a cruise ship Port. By all means let them do it without Government contributing to it. They will earn money from its use to repay them.

    Also let Mr. Dilbert develop the Pond so long as Government is not required to fund any part of it. Governments only input should be ascertaining that whatever is done, is done in an environmentally safe manner.

    • Anonymous1 says:

      Wow! You people are amazing. 

      I don’t think that government should do everything for me.  But I don’t hear Grand Cayman doing anything and not expecting government to help.  Why don’t you build your own cruise ship dock? 

  8. Sell the Brac says:

    Maybe we could sell the Brac to Chinese investors?  That might solve two problems at once – the budget deficit and the moaning Brackers who bleat "if Grand Cayman has one we want on too". 

    The Brac accounts for about 3% of Cayman’s economy.  It has spending far in excess of this.  The Brac will never do better.  We should focus limited development capital where it will make a difference, namely in Grand Cayman. 

     

    • Anonymous1 says:

      Why don’t we sell Grand Cayman? Oh, wait, I forgot it’s already been sold.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Confuscious says: Confused man cause more confusion. Lawd: I am in stitches.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I can truly appreciate the underlying passion for the environment manifest in the sentiments expressed by  "Protect nature first". However, one must not forget that Cayman Brac is first and foremost an important human habitat!

    The wildlife habitats on Cayman Brac should never be deemed more important than the island being a viable place for humans (of all socio-economic strata) to live, work and play.  I foresee nothing in the marina proposal – provided such a proposal is part of a prudent wholistic economic development plan – that would accrue any substantial negative environmental, social or economic outcomes. (I wish I could say that for the mindless and ill-conceived idea of making Cayman Brac a cruise ship destination. But I will save comment on that for the relevant article.)

    If any Bracker reading this can post a logical, thoughtful and reasonable discussion in opposition to the marina I may change my mind. Until that time comes, I will likely continue to support it.

    I fully concur that should anyone break the laws of the land, that person should be liable for prosecution. However, I will actively support prudent legislation to elimate counter-productive laws and I think Mr. Bush’s promise of reducing red tape is a refreshing and needed paradigm for change.

    And, c’mon, let’s face reality here: How difficult do you think it is for the leader of any party in power to change the laws to suit their agenda? Again, this is reality!

    For over three decades the marina is a project a vast number of Brackers have been wanting and waiting to see. Sorry ducks, we are not going to hurt you but…move over a little bit, maybe the time has come at long last!

    • Anonymous says:

      Mr. Dilbert knew fully well that the stench from the pond would be bad for his Hotel business before he built his Hotel.

      Facing that fact he has no alternative but to Fund the destruction of the Pond if his Hotel is to attract customers.

      As a boy growing up on the Brac, I can recall many instances where it was rumored that the West End pond was going to be developed into a Harbour. I looked forward to it then and still would be happy to see it finally done now.

      As a boy the West End Pond was a great source of food for me when it dried out due to the abundance of crabs that could be found in the mud. Walking in the Mud and chasing the crabs over mangrove roots made catching the crabs difficult, however a group of us boys could always bring home a full basket for our meals next day.

      Those were the difficult days, however if I had to live my life over again I would not want it any different.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Can everyone wise up here? Whether its bad or not for the enviornment, and certainly almost any development project on any of the three islands will be due to the sheer size of the islands versus the projects, the Brac will never be a huge mainstay of tourism. The best thing is for the Brac to be left where it is IMHO. There is nothing to do on the Brac after visiting a couple of boring as all hell caves, eating the mediocre food and oh yeah there is not a single decent beach on the whole island. Little Cayman is far more beautiful and less racist and backwards. CAL has invented a million ways to get people from Miami to the Brac and it will all come at a huge loss. Only divers care about the Brac because whats under the water is 100 times more interesting that whats up on top. Paloma didn’t help matters but seriously who besides divers would want to visit an island that doesn’t have a single shop, one passable resturuant and rocky beaches? Marina or no marina, the Brac isn’t going to erupt into some huge tourist mecca but rather will become one more example of how Caymanians have yet again sold their souls to their Northern neighbors for very little to show. Invest in schools, enviornment and sustaibable tourism Cayman. The curtains are dropping.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well said 

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree, as a Bracker, that Cayman Brac does not have all that great beaches, however there are beautiful views from the bluff and it offers peace and quietness away fromthe hustle and bustle of Grand Cayman, so encouragement should be given to persons from Grand Cayman to build  second homes there

      How can you state that there is no shop on the island when there are at least three reasonable sized food stores there?

      As a matter of information and fact as well, most of the big businesses in Grand Cayman are owned by Cayman Brackers

       Where do you get the opinion that it is racist and backwards? Almost every child who is educated on the Brac does well in their chosen careers and they are usually well mannered and young people to be proud of.

      A backward island could not have produced hundreds of sea captains, among them the first colored man to gain an American steamship licence.

      In addition the island has produced many outstanding entrepreneurs such as the Kirkconnells, Linton Tibbetts, his nephew Parker Tibbetts, Stanley Scott and his brothers and many others

       

      • Anonymous says:

        Only a Bracker would think Grand Cayman is full of hustle and bustle. GT is a ghost town on Sundays and the Brac is a ghost town on any day. Look, I am not knocking the Brac for being a quiet little island with a giant Bluff that has a pretty view. I am knocking the Brac for being bolstered as this amazing tourist destination when it is not. Caymanians seem to have never been anywhere else in the Caribbean. Trust me, there are far more amazing and cheaper places within the same flying distance from Miami than any of Caymans three spits of rock. All of Cayman is racist for starters, which is ironic since the territory is one of the most interracial places on earth. Braccers distrust Jamaicans, Filipinos andresent the white forigner. Oh and everyone knows there is a dividing line on the Brac between black braccers and white braccers. Don’t act as if its not an issue just because some guys managed to become boat captians. Hardly a mark of social equality. Black Caymanians hardly hold the stature that Mulatoo Caymanians do. Nuther’ disscussion for nuther time. The three food stores your refering too suck. The jerk is ok but for my money the Brac is just too damn boring. After one day, there is nothing left to do even for a hiker or a diver.

         

         

  12. Anonymous says:

    With what money?

  13. Protect nature first says:

    Protection of an important wildlife habitat is more important than making a playground for the vain and the rich.  Any attempt to breach the laws of the Islands will end up with the Governor and in the Courts.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I am a nature lover; being a Bracker, how could I not be? And I believe that we as humans should be responsible stewards of the natural environment. That concept is in the Bible, but it makes good sense regardless of your religious persuasion. However, one has to pursue a prudent balance between the built environment and the natural environment. To do otherwise is foolish.

    If we shunned all projects which caused "environmental damage" we would still be living in caves. (Provided those caves were not inhabited by any critters that would be harmed or displaced when we moved in.) The fact of the matter is that just about any activity we engage in and any development we undertake will cause some degree of environmental damage.

    In regard to construction of their dwellings – even those of "Billy, Peter, Consuelo, Berna, Karla" et al – land was cleared, trees cut down, and lots of cute innocent little critters were displaced, horribly mutilated or killed. That is reality.

    And while I am thinking of it, could some so-called "environmentalist" please tell me what in heaven’s name makes a dolphin more important than a snake or a land crab? The prejudicial, self-serving hypocrisy of most PETA-styled animal lovers and environmentalists reminds me of the quote from George Orwell’s "Animal Farm" where it was said "All animals are created equal, but some are more equal than others".

    In the case of the Brac marina proposal, I fail to see how the negative impact on the environment could possibly outweigh the overall benefits a marina would contribute to the island. I may change my mind after seeing the results of a proper environmental impact report, but I doubt it.

    If the whistling ducks do not like sharing the waters with the boats then they can simply fly over to the other pond a couple of hundred yards to the west where Mr. Billy will see to it that they are well-fed. True, the poor pond fry will loose their home but the cold reality is neither pond fry nor whistling ducks contribute to putting food in my loved ones mouths or clothes on our backs. Any tourism dollars we loose from those rare individuals who come here just to enjoy the ducks will be more than made up for by the many dollars brought in by the boaters, fishermen and yachtsmen.

    In relation to a large scale project such as a marina or cruise dock (or road corridor) I fully support the idea that a proper and thorough environmental impact study should be undertaken to ensure that we all understand the full particulars of the environmental impact prior to the developer applying for a permit. Thus informed the public can decide in an enlightened manner what proposals to embrace.

    I disagree with the idea of permission being granted to larger projects in potentially environmentally sensitive areas without an environmental study being completed. If a developer can find funding for a project such as a marina or cruise dock then that developer can surely afford an impact study.

    In regard to being overly protective of trees and cute critters: Mother Nature, in furthering her relentless and ageless agenda, has seen to the extinction of many times more species than has mankind. According to the "He" who "founded" the Cayman Islands upon the seas, the earth and all that is in it was created for man, for our enjoyment and our use. We are to have "dominion" (literally "godhood") over the earth.  Certain tasty (cloven-footed and "clean") animals are said to be given for our eating pleasure, others were created to help bear our burdens. Still others have purpose as scavengers, etc. Yet others seem to serve no purpose other than being pleasing to look at.

    I know my next statement is "flame-ably" politically incorrect, be that as it may it is nonetheless true: Animal have no intrinsic "rights". "Animal rights" is an artificial and silly construct with no scriptural or natural basis.

    Even by animal standards the concept of "animal rights" is a pathetic joke. My cat knows no greater kitty-pleasure than torturing some poor unfortunate captured creature to death. The average bunny considers it a good day when he gets through it without being torn asunder by a fox or swooped up and pecked apart by a hawk or otherwise have his rabbit "rights" violated by some other predator higher up the food chain.

    If you believe in the Bible, we humans are the "gods" of earth and we are the sole reason for the rest of creation. If you believe in evolution, we are the top predators of the food chain. Either way, the earth and its living things are to the service of mankind and not necessarily the other way around. It is not "the" environment, it is "our" environment. Of course if we continue to mindlessly abuse the earth we will in turn suffer the consequences and may one day become a member of the list of the extinct ourselves.

    In conclusion: I feel that it is wrong to negatively affect our environment for no good and useful purpose; it is equally wrong to value a smelly pond and its creatures, or a chunk of ironshore, or a stand of trees, over the potential common good and benefit of the humans living on the island. We must find a balance.

    • Anonymous says:

      You have raised some excellent points and have a well balanced arguement.  However, it doesn’t seem that Mr Bush and Mr Dilbert understand that balanced.  They seem too far tipped in the "other" direction i.e. no concern whatsoever for the environment.  Like you say, I suggest we need an environmental study to know if it’s a risk we are willing to take.  We have to stop assuming that environmental study is an automatic "no".  We have to view that simply as information needed to decide the way forward.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Cayman Brac needs to move forward with development.  Hon. McKeeva Bush, 1st elected Brac/Little Cayman MLA Mr. Moses Kirkconnell working along with Scott Family, Clevland Dilbert, young Cayman Brackers under age 50, the Dart corp, —and a watchful and prayerful, head of District Admin Hon Minister Juliana O’connor Conolly—-will make a good team. Success is near!  Repave roads, water pumped through out the island and more people living on the island. Less red tape will definitely make a better way forward. 

    Quincy Brown 

  16. Anonymous says:

    Cayman Brac Spending on Projects,

    If Mr. Cleveland and Mr. Dervyn want to do the projects, let them do so at their own expense with the clear understanding that Government is not going to commit any funds towards it.  End of story.  You want to build it, Government wants you to do it, so get it done!

    Sign Me,

    Whistling Duck Marina and Scott Enviromentalists Dock  (ha, ha, ha come on now ya got to have a laugh). 

    Best Wishes to Mr. Cleveland and Mr. Dervyn – ya got my support.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Strangely no mention of the status of Salt Water Pond as Cayman Brac’s one and only Animal Sanctuary in this commentary… or that Whistling Ducks are a protected species under Cayman Islands Law. Perhaps there has been some confusion between "common law" and "The Animals Law". Come to Cayman Brac – Land of Quarries. I hope the new marina will be able to accommodate the overspill of tourists eager to sample your industrial delights.

    CNS: This isn’t a commentary. This is an article on what was said at the meeting.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sorry for any confusion CNS – I was referring to the commentary from Mr. Bush, not your own reporting (which is excellent- keep up the good work!)

  18. Anon says:

    Lets hope there is a proper study done for the demand for such a marina and what boat owners are likely to pay to park their boats therewhether visiting or resident.

    Lets hope the numbers stack up before spending more on such capital projects. The income needs to be there.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Make it Happen Mr. McKeeva & Private Sector,

    I was glad to hear with my own ears the support that the Leader of Government Business has for the proposed private projects by Mr. Cleveland Dilbert and Mr. Dervyn Scott.

    Years ago when I first met Mr. McKeeva I could tell that he was interested in helping to develop the Brac. Plans then were to extend and further develop our water system (I know because I help get over 300 signatures in support of this initiative). Unfortunately this did not work out – damn politics.

    Anyways, Mr. McKeeva I invite you to readdress the issue of extension/development of our water system on the Brac. You have an outstanding Water Authority Board Member in Mr. “Billy” Bodden and have recently added a young Caymanian (Mr. Corlan McLaughlin) onto the same Board.

    Although “Government” may limit the input of civil servants, like myself, I will strongly support and assist Mr. Billy and Mr. Corlan in being a proactive part of this project. The Water Authority is one Government entity that has the ability to generate enough revenues to justify the expenses.

    Sign Me,

    Hope to See Better Days Ahead for the Brac

  20. Anonymous says:

    So where are all the environmentalists that were giving the PPM a hard time even when the PPM were trying to do the RIGHT thing and carry out the necessary EIA’s for the GT port and Cayman Brac.

    Where are you now ?????? You have lost all credibility by keeping your mouths shut and now McKeeva will finish destroy our country with his knee jerk reactions to everything and his never ending quest to get more "MONEY" into the country and into Cambridge !!!

    This is your final opportunity Environmentalists….where are you Billy, Peter, Consuelo, Berna, Karla and all of your connections and groups. Oh but I guess its ok now since this is your government and if McKeeva says that the port project will not affect Seven Mile Beach and dredging the Salt Water Pond in Cayman Brac will have no impact that must be so because McKeeva said so.

    Well McKeeva I suggest that you go ahead now and complete the extension of the Linford Pierson Highway through the Ironwood Forrest. Just simply decree that there will be no environmental damage as a result of building this road through the forrest and your blind and loyal followers will follow you down the road that is paved with good "MONEY".

    • Anonymous says:

      In reply to Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 08/31/2009: 

      "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing"… note, the key phrase is "good men", not "environmentalists". 

      We all live in the "environment", so I would suggest we all have in interest in maintaining its function.

      If you would like to blame someone else for not speaking up for your rights, that this your prerogative. However, if you really feel so strongly about this issue, I suggest that you might like to consider speaking up for not only your own rights, but for the rights of others also – those who do not speak up for themselves? 

      Why jeer from the back seat, when you could be the one to get and take the lead?

       

  21. Anonymous says:

    Although McKeeva’s audacious pro-business Chutzpah is appealing to many, there is rarely a plan or budget, or ROI projection; and that makes his pledges rather reckless – particularly in a time when there is no money for such promises. This behaviour should no longer be complicitly ratified with our applause.