Activists to fight on over West Bay Road

| 17/05/2013

WB road protest_0.jpg(CNS): The various groups opposed to the West Bay Road closure are continuing on with their fight, despite the recent disappointment regarding one of the legal challenges. The judicial review application filed by Rupert Ackermon, one of the leading activists in the Truly4Cayman group, was thrown out by  Justice Charles Quin as a result of the time line, and the legal questions surrounding the deal were therefore never aired. However, a second legal action filed by four West Bay women who are also part of a broader group of activists opposing the Dart-NRA deal with government are awaiting a court date for their writ of summons to be heard.

Ackermon had opted for a JR application but because of the issues relating to the timeline that route was closed down by the judge earlier this month.

"I and Truly4Cayman are naturally disappointed by the decision,” Ackermon said Friday.  “Since the first announcement of the For Cayman Investment Alliance, I and Truly4Cayman (and its predecessor groups) have endeavoured to obtain information, raise public awareness and voice opposition to the closure of the West Bay Road. At all times government has refused to provide information which would facilitate informed debate.”

The government finally did release the documents relating to the deal on Friday evening, including the value for money reports and details of the minority government’s recent failed attempts to improve the existing deal. Negotiations failed as a result of the myriad shortcomings in the agreement, which were pointed out by the local consultants PricewaterhouseCoopers, who reviewed the agreement.

Since the proposed deal between government and the Dart group under the umbrella of the ForCayman Investment Alliance was announced to the public three years ago, the activists have made repeated FOI requests, which were refused, Ackermon said. He also noted that government had  refused to meet with members of the group and there was no genuine consultation with those opposed to the closure of some 4,290 feet of the West Bay Road.

During that time documents about the deal were leaked and the community concerns continued to mount as it became clear that the secrecy surrounding the deal and the continued talks between government and the islands’ largest developer were hiding what could be very questionable concessions. These included the revelations that the Dart Group would be able to take 50% of the accommodation tax for ten years on any new hotel it was to build, renovate or acquire over the next three decades.

A petition signed by more than 4,000 people, the vast majority of which were residents and voters, against the deal was dismissed by the government and as a result the activists took to the court room in an effort to stop the road closure. Despite the disappointing result, Ackermon publicly thanked the group's legal representatives from Campbells Attorneys At Law, including  Mark Goodman, a Senior Associate with the firm, and Neil Timms, QC, “for their combined efforts and hard work, for which we will be eternally grateful”. Ackermon described them as “true fighters for justice”.

He also extended his gratitude to the “wonderful people who donated funds to assist us” and everyone who gave their time and worked to make the cause widely known.

“We will continue to fight against any injustice we see being perpetrated on our community, by those whose only objective appears to be that of financial gain,” Ackermon added.

The women who are continuing on with their legal action said that the court room battle was far from over as they are still waiting for their case to be listed to be heard before a judge. They said they remained optimistic that the courts could still intervene to prevent any further closures.

sand1 (218x300).jpgAt present only part of the road which was scheduled to be closed has been formally gazetted and handed over to Dart. The strip that runs from the former Governor’s Way to Raleigh Quay will soon be under some 4,000 tonnes of sand, some of which has reportedly been imported from Colombia and is of an entirely different colour and texture to Cayman’s own indigenous white sugary sand. This may prove difficult but not impossible to reverse. However, the remaining road closure has not been gazetted and following the collapse of talks between Dart and the minority government recently, that issue will be a decision for the new administration.

Thecurrent impasse is reportedly over some $16 million in tax concessions and Dart has said it is expecting the government to honour its obligations to gazette the remaining part of the road. But because Dart changed its plans regarding the redevelopment of the former Courtyard Marriott, the developer and CIG have both failed to meet their proposed commitments on the deal.  

The entire ForCayman Investment Alliance is now in abeyance as Cayman awaits a new government after it goes to the polls next Wednesday. At present, unless the UDP manages to gain a majority government, the deal is unlikely to go forward in its present form.

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  1. Party On says:

    It is really sad that people get so upset about an ugly little bit of road, when we are going to get so many fantastic things built as a result of this deal. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, wonderful things, like concessions that existing businesses do not get, which will, of course disatvantage them.    

    • Anonymous says:

      We're happy YOU'RE getting something built because we're sure as hell not.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes. And I am a plastic cup.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Bunch of occupy wallstreet idiots.

  3. Anonymous says:

    This is the future of West Bay Road after the next MAJOR Hurricane, earthquake, boating disaster, flipped over dump truck, cyclers accident, car fire, completed development plan, etc.  Either that or once Dart decides to implement a toll to cross the bridge.  



    And the original:






  4. Anonymous says:

    "4,000 tonnes of sand, some of which has reportedly been imported from Colombia and is of an entirely different colour and texture to Cayman’s own indigenous white sugary sand."

    Ah, just like Mac's skeleton closet the stupidity continues. Those who think Dart does everything so right only need to go look at those piles and piles of disgusting filth and think again.
    Can't fix stupid.
  5. 4 Cayman says:

    11.27 it was illegal from the get go as the people of the island never agreed to this unfair swap. The people got swing sets out of the deal whilst Dart got hisbeach front property to built his 10 storey hotel tax free! Mind you a couple of people got rich over night but this was only a few and the majority of people are still struggling to make ends meet or there are those that lost everything. Remember the cenima that was 100% Caymanian owned until dart came in to take over?

    Now tell me if you still think this was a fair deal for the Caymanian people?

    • Anonymous says:

      It wasn’t “illegal”. There is a government agreement. Yes, they forgot to ask YOU……..

      I think the vast majority of people are in favor of this development, if the 150people I work with are any barometer. You can’t always get your way. Suggest that you enjoy it and move on.

  6. The lone haranguer says:

    What do you not understand here. Done deal. If we renege on this Dart will have us for multi-millions of dollars, rightly so.

    • Anonymous says:

      Big deal. He's already had us for tens of millions.

    • Anonymous says:

      Even if that's true, it would still represent a savings over the one-sided, unfair concessions he will garner if this shoddy 'deal' is allowed to continue.

  7. Anonymous says:

    These protestors should focus on building a better Cayman not wasting everyone's time about the dreaded WBR. Just look for yourself. No traffic jams coming out of West Bay. Save divided smooth roads for people to get to work in no time at all. Ample space for future generations to enjoy when hotels and amenities are finished.

    This is why Cayman is losing out in the global marketplace beacuse of protestors who have no better use of their time than make a stink about nothing.

    Campaign for the Turle Farm to be managed properly and start making some money.

    Campaign for Cayman Airways to be managed properly and start making some money.

    Campaign for CIG to manage this country better so we can live better!!

    That's something to campaign about – unless you are a Dart Hater and will cut off your own nose to spite your face just to make him suffer! Shameful. Backstabbers.

    • Anonymous says:

      You seem to be confused as to exactly who the Backstabbers are. How can people be so myopic and short sighted. Once Dart finishes developing all along the new "public" road, traffic will be backed up all over again with no hope of relief in the future. Some people just can't stand people standing up for Justice.  Go figure.

      • Anonymous says:

        Based on recent articles even with 4-5 hotels in the area this will not vastly alter the traffic flow as most tourists are staying in the hotels and sunning themselves on the beach whilst we are making our way to work. Even on the typical Friday – Sunday US short vacation schedule most traffic to/from the airport will be outside regular commutor hours.

        Also Mypoic IS short sighted, they are one and the same thing… just saying.

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh, I’m sorry. Are we wasting your time? There there, you just continue to make out your lists and well do whatever you say.

    • Anonymous says:

      Can't see the forest for the trees, can you?   Try for just a moment to look beyond your own selfish needs and to that of what is good for our country long-term.    Read the recently (finally!) released terms of this project.   It's a horrible, horrible deal for the Cayman Islands.  

      • Anonymous says:

        16:11, I read the report and it is not uncommon for conession such as this to be granted on such large projects. This happens all the time, all over the world. It's how things get done. Do you think $16m in suppposed value difference is worse than the tens of millions plowed into Cayman Airways every year? The millions sunk into the Turtle Farm every year? The legal settlements paid out due to failed contracts etc.

        COME ON – you think $16m to get more construction jobs, more full time jobs a much improved road infrastructure and new tourist product is not worth it – when CIG has wasted milions and MILLIONS each and every year.

        Talk about the long term future of our islands! If we continue to burn throu money at this rate we will have no alternative but to tax our citizens and then the slim benefit of being here for so many will vanish, just as they will in short order.

        The net benefit to our country is worth have more the concessions given. Focus on Cayman Airways, Turtle Farm, CIG and question why HUGE loses are still occuring and how we can stop it – becuase a patient can only lose so much blood before not even the best doctors in the world can save them.

  8. Fashion Police says:

    I note that opposition to the Dart development is inversely proportional to dress sense.

    • Anonymous says:

      Nice one dapper tool. I’ll bet you’re the life of the cocktail party.

    • Anonymous says:

      That is because they shop on Shedden Road rather than Camana Bay.  It is a form of nationalist protest.

    • Anonymous says:

      I note that the kiss-up fashionistas that are so pro the Dart developments lack morality and common sense.

    • Anonymous says:

      A large majority of Caymanians can not afford to shop at Camana Bay stores.   We can expect a bigger class gap as dart controls more and more of our life.

  9. SSM345 says:

    Zzzzzzzzzzzzz…………..What exactly do they expect is going to happen?

    Open the road back up, pull up the new roads into West Bay, re-build the old Marriott, and dig up the new parks and parking across from Public Beach?

    Why don't they channel their demonstrations into having Mac removed and banned from serving in any public capacity for the remainder of his years?

    • Anonymous says:

      THANKS..  A voice of reason on this blog and I share your annoyance.   


      • Anonymous says:

        More appropriate to say you share their laziness and lack of concern.

    • Anonymous says:

      Regardless if I think this deal was right or wrong, in the end it was signed and agreed by cabinet.

      It means to get out of it will be very costly or we are stuck with it.

      Thats called UDP policy making.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well if mac is removed I don’t know how you hero dart will cut such sweet deals. You seem to forget the mac and dart are a team. You know : for cayman.

  10. Anonymous says:

    if you think you have wide public support on this…please get a legally binding petition……

    but the fact is: there is no wide public support for this 'cause'……

    save a road?..only in cayman…..zzzzzzzzzzzzz

    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly.  The "Road Lovers" should be excited as there will be three access roads into West Bay now.  And if these guys love roads, this will bring years of joyous asphaltene pleasure.   

      Why would anyone waste one breath of their live on this???

    • Anonymous says:

      Either the negs that have a problem with human rights do not live on the island or do not realize they are living on an island. When you have to take a canoe to get to and from WB like the the early Caymanians did because that will be faster than taking the ETH through the fully "developed" Dart version of West Bay, then maybe the goon squads of negative haters will understand the historical importance of the coastal road. No problem you say? Dart will operate a ferry for us! Good luck with that. I am not holding my breath for you all to grow a brain.

      • Anonymous says:

        What are you talking about?   Development all along ETH????   If this is REALLY what you are worried about?  Seriously?

        • Anonymous says:

          You are obviously one of the many that has not read the agreements, amendments and schedules CNS posted when they were released.

    • Anonymous says:

      It's not JUST about the road!!  Are you really that obtuse?   Say it's not so.

  11. JJTA says:

    Boycott Dart

    • Anonymous says:

      Agree.   The families I saw last Saturday afternoon laughing and  enjoying themselves at Camana Bay — this needs to stop.   Camana Bay is a horrible, horrible place, and people need to stop going there.  

      ……………and if this tactic works, then less crowds for me at Camana Bay for me and my family to enjoy! 

      • Anonymous says:

        True, people should spend the leisure time at all the other places that were built by Caymanian businesses for Caymanians to enjoy. lets support all the other companies and developers that hire Caymanians and give back so much,,

        • Anonymous says:

          Agree, but come down to Shedden Road at about 3pm onwards tonight, and you will see about a 100 loud guys drinking beer and (some of the guys) making rude comments to and whistling at women as they pass by.   Downtown is unsafe at night and uncomfortable to be at.  I feel safe at Camana Bay.

          In the end, it comes down to personal choice, and if folks like going to Camana Bay its because its a quality product that everyone, Caymanian and expats, justifiably should be proud of. 

          • Anonymous says:

            Silly Rabbit! Tricks are for Dart!. He planned it that way and you fell for it.  Divide and conquer always works on the feeble minded.  How anyone can feel safe with all the dark alleys and parking areas in Caymana Bay is another head scratcher.


        • N Somniac says:

          I prefer very expensive and good, over expensive and crap any day.  So forgive me but I will not follow your suggestion.

        • Loopy Lou says:

          Err, no.  Why should I suffer and overpay for rubbish?

        • Anonymous says:

          I would rather bring it in from the US by container. Even with the duty you will still save a massive amount and get the quality and choice that you want.

          I try and buy as little as possible locally.

      • Anonymous says:

        the only people laughing at Camana Bay were the tenants, who don't have to worry about paying rent

    • SSM345 says:

      “Our Father, who DART in heaven, Camana Bay thy name…”

      • Anonymous says:

        Thy kingdom go, may thy will never be done in Cayman as it wasn't in the last place you got kicked out of. Give us this day our daily import duties and room taxes. And forgive us our trespasses in Caymana Bay, as we forgive those foreign investors and premiers who trespass against us. For theirs is not the kingdom, nor the power, nor the glory.

    • Anonymous says:

      caymanians should boycott dart…..

      • Strike! says:

        Yes, they should all not show up to work on Tuesday. That would show him!

    • Loopy Lou says:

      Please do.  It will make the weekends so much better for the rest of us.  Perhaps all you miserable protestors can arrange someone specific to get together and moan, and we can just avoid it.

    • Anonymous says:

      I already have! And I refuse to go to Camana Bay for any reason whatsoever. Sorry about the merchants but Dart-be-Damned!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      I already do, and have been for several months. One greedy developer set on exploiting the kindness of our people, in my opinion. If they had any sense of decency they'd have understood the level of opposition to the closure of any part of the WB road and built a coastal road. But did they? No, because they want something that can eventually become a self-contained resort with its own private beach – you just wait and see.