Chuckie defends duty waivers

| 20/09/2010

(CNS): Following the premier’s criticisms of the previous administration for giving the developer of the Ritz Carlton concessions on his latest project, the former tourism minister has defended the decision and said the waivers were given when the country was headed into recession. Charles Clifford said the PPM administration offered Michael Ryan, the developer of Dragon Bay, various concessions in order to encourage him to go ahead with the project at a time when many other developments were being cancelled. He said the goal was to stimulate the construction sector, but he added that the former administration should have pushed Ryan to meet his obligation to build a new Port Authority marina. (Photo Dragon Bay site Dennie WarrenJr)

Clifford, who recently resigned from the opposition People’s Progressive Movement, was the tourism minster at the time Ryan was offered the duty waivers but has said the negotiations were headed by the opposition leader, Kurt Tibbetts, whom Clifford said did not force Ryan’s hand over the public marina.
“During the negotiations I felt that we should have pressed the developer to meet his obligation to build the public marina on the Port Authority land before we offered the waiver,” he said. However, although it was written into the heads of agreement as approved by Cabinet at the time, the previous government failed to make it a condition that the marina must be built first.
Clifford explained that the commitment by the developer to create the marina came as a result of a swap over Port Authority crown land that he was allowed to dredge during the construction of the Ritz. “He used the crown land as fill but has not yet met his obligation to create the marina,” Clifford added, saying the requirement remains in the current heads of agreement.
Despite his reservations regarding the developer’s failure to meet that commitment, he still defended the waivers and said the circumstances were very different in 2008 when this deal was made to the economic situation when the deferment agreement was made before the construction of the Ritz-Carlton.
The deferment payments made over the Ritz recently caused controversy when it was revealed in the Legislative Assembly that no quarterly payments had been made for eighteen months. The duty deferments were given to Condoco and Stringray during the construction of the Ritz Carlton hotel, and under the agreement the developer was supposed to make quarterly payments of more than $300,000 over a seven-year period.
Ryan has since asked for a longer period to pay back the outstanding duty of $6 million as a result of the recession. The premier said the negotiations are still ongoing and therefore all payments have been stopped.
Clifford pointed out that theses were two separate and very different issues.
“When we agree to those duty waivers on Dragon Bay we were in the midst of a global recession and development projects were being cancelled everywhere. The goal was to encourage Dragon Bay to go ahead,” Clifford stated, adding that the deferments were made in 1997 when the economic situation was very different.  
Clifford also stated that the waiver was not kept a secret as implied by the premier but was revealed at a previous government press briefing.
The former tourism minster said the agreement not only included the requirement of the developer to build the new Port Authority marina and associated public facilities but also requires Ryan to provide golf membership opportunities for Cayman residents on a new course that is expected to be developed there. It also includes the clean-up and replanting of the mangrove islands adjacent to project.
The mangrove issue recently caused controversy when it was revealed that a considerable amount of healthy mangrove buffer as well as that damaged in Ivan had been removed at the site. The DoE has warned that replanting mangrove is notoriously difficult.
Although, McKeeva Bush has been extremely critical over the Dragon Bay waivers following the row over Ryan’s failure to meet his quarterly payments on the earlier deferrals, he has said that his government will honour the waiver as the Dragon Bay development is expected to be an important one for the island.
The list of incentives given to Ryan for the development include: The extension of the Safe Haven lease to 99 years; the lease of the mangrove islands adjacent to the project; dedicated space in the airport terminal for resort residents and guests; provision of a dock at the airport for use by resortowners and guests; waive import duty for alternative energy generating, recycling and other eco-friendly operations/equipment; fifty work permits for key staff necessary in creating the new development and staffing the hotel; reduction of stamp duty on all land transfers to first time Caymanian owners to 4 percent; reduce import duty on hotel, golf and related construction to 10% for 8 years from date of main agreement; waive import duties on pre-opening and opening supplies for the new hotel; reduce import duties on residential construction to 10% for 8 years from date of agreement; waive import duty on construction materials to build new schools; waive import duty for construction materials to build a church or churches; waive import duty for construction materials to build public beach facilities; waive import duty for construction materials for public roads and related elements; waive import duty for construction materials for new Port Authority marina.
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  1. Da bracster says:

    Seriously what a bunch loosers just there to collect the big cheque. Not a peep out of them about the double dipping scheme. You tell dem Rockafella.

  2. Mickey Mouse Too says:

    It is always someone else’s fault when it comes to Chuckie…sigh!
    Do not now try to say you were not in the PPM administration…we have the photos and the newspapers.

  3. Rockafellas says:

     The PPM with King Jong Kurt ,Alden, Anthony, Arden

    KT – kill That

    AM-all mouth

    AE- all empathy

    AM- all Macho

    Ran out out of government by UDP- Unbalanced defunct party and they have made the people PPM Permanently pessimistic Man. The PPM seriously needs to disband and stop wasting peoples time and effort.


    • Anonymous says:

      Yea, yea, yea….PPM did this/UDP did that and on and on with the blame game! Between the two, you have completely and totally destroyed our paradise home. Out with all of you clowns. Back to direct rule from the UK.

    • Anonymous says:

      Anon 16:38 – very mature. I hope you pass your primary schools exams, but with a mentality like that I suspect that you will be kept back for an extra year to catch up.

    • Anonymous says:

      Perhaps you think you are a Rockfella and dream "Rich" that is  why you hate Caymanians who have tried to improve the country FOR ALL. It would be advisable to stop beating up on those who really care.We know who you are and will touch you on the shoulder this week. By the way, What have you done for Cayman  lately that has made it better than those you dispise. You must walk in their shoes first before you become the expert to discredit people. YOU KNOW   WHAT THEY CALL YOU "THE GOD OF THE UNDERWORLD"

      The time is near Cayman  watching is you

      • GoU says:

        Improve the country for the chosen few to benefit from. You really care hahahaha thats a good one. I see you have been infected with the same cowardly,secret and ominous threatening PPM behaviour against those who rejected or opposed its fool fool financial and immigration and government decisions and policies, it kind of reminds me of how the Mafia do business. My good deed this week is to remind our poor citizens of what a bunch hypocrites we continually elect, and to pay a friends utility bill because your party help negotiate or rights away to the power company. I would love to walk in their shoes of financial security two salaries with all the perks home security personal firearms utilities and assets and deals that are continuing to make money whilst everybody else struggles to survive. Could you please at least tell me the brand of shoes because we can’t afford it. Yes the god of the underworld we are all having to now consult and make a deal with him to make ends meet because of your grandoise leader’s mismanagement of the islands economy. You self righteous disciple.

  4. whodatis says:

    A bit off topic but still relevant …

    Re: Duty concessions.

    As a once (perhaps still) hopeful Caymanian entrepreneur – I only wish that such ‘waivers’, ‘deferrals’ and similar terms were so quickly extended onto us.

    A while back I approached the relevant authorities in regards to a business proposition / model that RELIED upon the STATED and LEGISLATED provisions of duty concessions in regards to particular types of goods – PLUS the nature of the goods fell under the "import for purposes other than final consumption (manufacturing)" category.

    (Basically there were 2 avenues in which the goods could / should have fallen under a reduced / zero duty category.)

    Oh the run-around that I received.

    I evenwent to the extent of approaching well positioned personal contacts on the issue but alas no one could give me a clear answer on the matter.

    Bear in mind, at the time I was outlining the laws and regulations that clearly made it an open and shut case (to the reasonable individual) to all persons and bodies that I came into contact with. Nada.

    There was a tendency to interpret the regulations in the most negative or anti-cooperative way possible – very frustrating.

    When I forwarded the query as to what exactly do our provided regulations and concessions apply – I was told;

    "Oh … that’s normally for the temporary importation of heavy machinery for the big construction companies for the big multi-million dollar projects."

    Mind now – my business plan was no where near millions of dollars on turnover much less projected ROI – however, what it did happen to entail was the requirement of popular and modern qualifications (computer field) that many of our young Caymanians are currently excited about. Furthermore, it would have required a fair amount of physical laborers (warehouse / technical / operators) … unemployed, idle young Caymanian men (and women) anyone?

    Crime, gang activity, low self esteemed recently released young Caymanian males anyone?

    Hello … anybody home?

    Sadly there wasn’t when I went knocking.

    In my humble opinion that was a lost opportunity for our community. Worst of all, what I experienced is in no way a ‘one-off’.

    Many Caymanians can tell of similar stories.

    Very frustrating and disheartening.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Chuckie is correct but pray tell why hasn’t Kurt opened his mouth to defend himself when Mac was "manufacturing" the facts on this issue ???

    Come on Kurt if you’re tired step aside and take your adviser Alden with you.

    Arden and Moses step up please !

    Chuckie you keep doing what you’re doing the others will soon realise that public sentiment is behind you on your position with respect to politics in Cayman.

  6. Anonymous says:

    What about duty concessions for companies thatmanufacture in the Cayman Islands. It appears that help is available for all except Caymanianns.

    By the way who is Mr. Ryans Caymanian partner?

    CNS: Michael Ryan has Caymanian status.

    • Bobby Anonymous says:

      Did he have status when he started the Ritz?

      • Chris Johnson says:

        Interesting question. The answer is no. He was granted status on Dec 23 2003 whilst demolishion of the Holiday Inn took place in August 1998. One assumes therefore that Mr Ryan had a  Caymanian partner or his companies had obtained Local Companies Control Law licences.

    • chris Johnson says:

      There was a law in the 60/70s called the Industry Pioneers Law which gave various concessions to anyone Caymanian or foreigner who set up a new business in certain fields. I believe it was applied to hotels amongst others and possibly the turtle farm. Others may have a better memory than mine.

      For unknown reasons the law was later repealed.


  7. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Clifford is correct when he says that the PPM announced these concessions for Dragon Bay at one of their regular press briefings. But the Premier in his usual fashion misrepresented the facts and said that the PPM Ministers tried to conceal the concessions.

    Perhaps the Premier meant to refer to him and Truman in that regard.

    BTW – When was the last UDP Press Briefing ???……so much for openness and transparency…..but why am I surprised about that given the attacks by our Premier on Freedom of the Press, Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Information.

    There are many red flags people !!!!!!!!!!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Chuckie is right these waivers were given in totally different circumstances……we had just entered the worst global economicrecession since the 1930’s…….I wonder what the reason was for Truman and Mac to give the waivers for the Ritz – we certainly wasn’t in any recession then and besides it wasn’t like we didn’t have a hotel on that site……remember they had to tear down the Holiday Inn to build it.


  9. Anonymous says:

    I agree that KT should have forced Ryan to build the public marina first……no concessions until that is built……its been promised long enough.

    • Anonymous says:

      yeah right..Kurt was the head of the Government..he should have done it then when Chuckie was cutting the deals!! He was asleep at wheel as usual…or should I say "out fishing!"

      • Anonymous says:

        "out fishing" is better than "passing out in bars" or "taking the people’s money wrongfully" (stuffing personal pockets) don’t you think? That’s right, Kurt Tibbetts may go fishing (a great Caymanian pleasure) but thank GOD he does not steal from his people, you know what I mean?

  10. Anonymous says:

    Whether you are a Chuckie supporter or opposer you can always count on him to tell you his position on issues……whether these positions are popular or not he will state them.

    In this case I agree with him…….all Governments around the world were giving concessions at that time and up until now to try to encourage or retain investment in the midst of a global economic recession.

    What is interesting is that as soon as Mac got elected the payments by the Ritz Developer to the government stopped………hmmmmm………oh well its probably just another "residence" at the center of this.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I am amazed at how contrite, frank and humble Chuckie is these days!! What is happening to the arrongance and self serving appeal that we had all grown to love in the Chuckster!!! …Come on Chuckie,you can do better than this!!!

    Chuckie for Premier!!!!



  12. BT VOTA says:

    Chuckie, you make us all proud. Now put your intelligence to good use and run as an INDEPENDENT!


    • Tracy from Swamp says:

      Have you gone Bananas, No way, an leave out Ozzie.  and a few others.  Bodden Town know where the rocks are on the reef.  We are going fishing

      • Anonymous says:

        Tracy from swamp..We  havegot enough people in the PPM  out fishing already and unfortunately most of them live in BT..

        PPM is dead whether they believe it or not..UDP better get their act in gear and do something or else they will be right where the PPM is come next election.

        As for Chuckie..I am sick and tired of "has been" politicians. He has too many axes to grind and too much vengeance to impart. Let’s look for new educated and sensible people to move our country forward.

        Chuckie you had your day..your people rejected you!! Move on and stop trying to make people believe you are going to be the next Moses..You are Chuckie, you have a track record, a leopard does not change it’s spots…

        Enough said!!

        • Anonymous says:

          Well the WB people keep on re-electing McKeeva Bush, & who has more axes to grind than him. If the Bayas can do such foolishness so can the BT people. Come on Chuckie, they trying to keep you out because they know McKeeva Bush is scared of you, but let him you that you are going no where, you are here to stay & we’ll put you back in the LA to keep Bush on the straight & narrow. But if Anon 18:34 is looking for "new educated & sensible people to move our country forward" then obviously that does not include McKeeva Bush!

          • Anonymous says:


            I said nothing about supporting McKeeva and I don’t support Chuckie either. Bodden Towners are a proud people, please don’t characterize us with everyone else.We gave Chuckie a chance, he failed us, we fired him, Enough said!!

            And BTW who cares whether Mckeeva is afraid of Chuckie or not. I care about my country and not individual personalities and I am tired of these "has been" politicians acting like they are our savior when they are nothing but proven political failures. As far as I am concerned I would like to see a whole new group of faces come net election and yes, educated and intelligent faces…not those that have won popularity contests..

  13. Anonymous says:

    If you want to stimulate the economy why are you letting Michael Ryan close Cayman’s only public golf course?

    • Rorschach says:

      uhh, I would offer up the simple statement of this…its PRIVATELY OWNED…he can do WHATEVER HE WANTS with it…NO ONE can prevent someone from doing what they choose with what belongs to them…I’m no  Mike Ryan fan, but come on…he can do what he wants with what’s his…Maybe you should petition MR himself to keep it open to the public…

      • Anonymous says:

        Rorschach, perhaps you could research who owns the Blue Tip golf course, and what it is zoned. What was that about land you own?

      • Anonymous says:

        Not so 15.28.  Ryan had to apply to the government for the necessary planning permission to demolish the North Sounds golf course and develop the land. 

        That means someone in government had to look at the application and decide that Cayman needs another condo development more than it needs an18-hole golf course accessible to the public, tourists and visiting business people.


    • Anonymous says:

       What about Britannia?

      • Anonymous says:

        Britannia is not a real golf course. It’s 9 short holes and the greens are shocking. 


  14. Tracy from Swamp says:

    Like who?…….  Anyway I do believe what Mr Charles clifford is saying, and if I remember quite clearly, the  Ritz Carlton’s projects were then the UDP buddies, not the PPM buddies. 

    However;  I do hope the leader and ministers of the then PPM see what foot dragging Train can cost.  It has cost them their seat, regretably,  split  wasted voting in elections, andhas now come back to jump up in the face and bite you.

    But dont worry, because UDP is going to be on the same train for the same things a the next stop.

    • taraT says:

      lol… maybe you should be Independent then instead of jumping sides

      • Tracy from Swamp says:

        The Grass is dry in this grass piece.  I am not letting my cows starve.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I’m confused by this response.

    (1) the deferments were given in 1997? or by PPM administration?

    (2) why didn’t Chuckie ensure the marina was included as a condition if he felt that was a critical point? He was a sitting member of cabinet, minister of tourism and was involved in the negotiations.  He cannot now hide behind Kurt (not literally, anyway) and absolve himself of collective responsibility as a cabinet member.

    CNS Note: Yes, it has been confusing as everyone involved seems to want it to be confusing but it is two separate issues. In 1997 Truman Bodden’s government gave deferred duty payments on the development of the Ritz hotel and condos until after the hotel opened — it is these payments that have been missed for the past 18 months but remain outstanding. In 2008 the PPM agreed to waivers and concessions on the Dragon Bay development, which has not really begun yet, to encourage the project to go ahead in face of the recession.  These are all listed at the end of the article.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thanks for saving me having to respond to much of this, CNS. It seems that the Premier has succeeded in obfuscating the issue for some at least. People seem to think that the terms "waiver" and "deferment" are interchangeable.

      My understanding of the article is that development of the marina was included in the Heads of Agreement but Chuckie is complaining that Govt. (of which Kurt was LOGB) did not insist upon its performance. 

      He can hide behind Kurt literally.       

    • Anonymouse says:

      While Chuckie is at it, why dont he give the true details of the Cuban Low cost Housing which caused the bitter rift between himself and Mac.

      There is still a lot of questions there that need some answers.

      • Anonymous says:

        What did Chuckie or have to do with Housing……that was Dr Frank fool !

  16. Anonymous says:

    Sad that people like to blame Mr. Bush for everything but when it’s time to lay blame on the PPM there aren’t that many of the practically automated naysayers on this site.  It’s disgusting how Kurt and his bunch did so much to hurt the country and they can’t even bring themselves to take even a bit of responsibility – Chuckie you are included.  The country would not have spent so much money on tribunals and lawsuits if you had not used your position as a civil servant to get elected.  If you can’t be loyal to the people who stook by you when you were taking your licks, then how can any fool trust you?  CNS, I note that any time I post something unfavourable to PPM it is conveniently not posted.  Is it my imagination?

    CNS: Yes, it is your imagination. Comments are not deleted because of political persuasion but for some other reason. However, it is much easier to accuse CNS of bias than to put your brain into gear and think about the alternatives. I also delete many comments about the premier and the UDP – many more than about the PPM since they are the ruling party and therefore we get many more comments about them. They are also more likely to be unpublishable.

    • taraT says:

      CNS… don’t know how to rate this – thumbs up or thumbs down?  You should have commented above the commenter!

      Also, I don’t think the commenter is not putting their "brain into gear" when it was the Premier who recently attack this news site for false reportings. Wouldn’t it be logical to surmise that your site would have a bone against the Premier?  Or, are we just going to pretend you and the Premier are good friends? : -)

      CNS: The comment was not about our reporting but about moderating the comments. The premier clearly doesn’t like the comments, but while he has singled CNS out at times, he has also attacked other media houses and, at some length, the media in general. Whatever he might say, we don’t have a bone against the premier, nor do we have any intention of giving him a free pass. That is not the role of the media.

    • Tracy from Swamp says:

      Say what you like about Charles Clifford, but he could be listed as one of the most intelligent persons in the house at the time.   Ever listen to him speak?   I think he is a great man, who knows his homework, and can represent Cayman anywhere in the world without us feeling embarassed.

      About using his position as a civil servant to get elected.?   Where is that proof?  He may have done some things not favourable to a few of us, but have you given it a thought that he was coached.?   Dont you think he has had enough time to remember it all,  dont you think he has had a good reason for throwing in the towell,  and besides that which of us has’nt ate cookies from the cookie jar when it was on the table..

  17. whistling duck says:

    Wow!  We like to blame Mac and criticize him to the core. Yet it is interesting to see how you won’t find so many critics that would venture to hit at Chuckie.  Is it because he is not Mac and these bloggers just don’t like him?  Hmmm… let’s see the ratings now