Court to hear WB Road case

| 09/12/2013

(CNS): The civil action brought by four West Bay ladies questioning the legality of the deal between government, the National Roads Authority and Dart Realty, which resulted in the closure of the West Bay Road, opens in Grand Court today. Alice Mae Coe, Annie Multon, Ezmie Smith and Betty Ebanks have said that they believe their case has merit and were looking forward to pressing their case in the trial. The writ was filed by the woman in February last year, and the women say that the governor, who is the first defendant, the attorney general, the minister of finance and the National Roads Authority acted unlawfully, as the deal they are all party to is unconstitutional.

Although the suit was filed against the previous administration, thePPM government has continued in the defence of the case even though it has not only questioned the deal but is currently struggling to renegotiate aspects of it. The NRA deal forms part of what was originally a much broader development partnership between the islands’ biggest developer and the former UDP government, known as the ForCayman Investment Alliance.

The NRA deal focused on the West Bay Road area and, among other things, required the closure of some 4,000 feet of the West Bay Road to turn land bought by Dart into beach front property to enable the redevelopment of the former Courtyard Marriott site into a new five-star oceanfront resort.

Part of the road has already been closed and buried under a significant amount of sand. However, the four women, who are part of what was a much wider campaign to keep the West Bay Road open, believe that the closure of the road, which has been in use for over 100 years, is unlawful and unconstitutional for a number of reasons and government did not follow due process.

Using the Bill of Rights and the Constitution to make their case, they claim that the governor, the attorney general, the minister with responsibility for roads and the National Roads Authority breached the National Roads Law, the Crown Lands Law and the recent amendments to the Public Management and Finance Law.

The controversial NRA agreement was originally signed in December 2011. Efforts were made to reach a final agreement by the UDP government and the minority administration that took office following the fall of former premier McKeeva Bush, as well as the current government, but the deal has not yet been formally re-agreed.

In their statement of claim the four West Bay women point to a number of issues they believe make the NRA agreement unlawful. They claim the governor and government failed to follow the requirements of the Crown Lands Law, the easement rights regarding the West Bay Road, which has been in use as a public thoroughfare for more than 100 years, government has failed to demonstrate value for money and that the deal has been shrouded in secrecy.

The women say that the former Cabinet circumvented proper lawful processes and that the NRA was never in a lawful position to sign the deal in the first place. The also say that the country’s parliament, and by inference the people of the Cayman Islands, have never been fully informed of the details of the agreement to close the road and have it absorbed as part of Darts beachfront property.

They also claim that under section 19 of the Constitution, “the first defendant, third defendant and fourth defendants have not acted lawfully, have acted irrationally and have not been procedurally fair in agreeing to” the road closure and giving the land to Dart and “have abdicated their statutory and constitutional duty in doing so".

The women are hoping for a declaration from the courts that the agreement as a stand-alone contract is flawed and beyond the powers of those involved to make.

Since filling the claim, the Dart Group has been joined in the case and will also play a part in the proceedings, which are open to the public and begin at 11am Monday before Justice Alex Henderson in Court 4 and is expected to last the week.

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Comments (43)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    yawn……..next case

  2. Anonymous says:

    These four Caymanian Ladies appear to have a case against what they belive to be circumvention of proper lawful process by the former Cabinet or perhaps more particularly certain Members thereof. Broadly speaking, they seem to be attempting to defend the rights of the Caymanian people, whilst upholding the laws of our country. Who knows whether both parties involved in the "road deal" might have left a lot of suspect actions buried beneath some very odd looking sand. So, perhaps the actions of these Ladies will help staighten out a very fast, dangerous, slippery road that we have been travelling on, or, if they fail then the country will have to concede that it is happy to continue on the roundabout.  

  3. Anonymously says:

    There are interesting cases in TCI which have been tested in their courts of law. Good people the precedence is already there.  Land deal in Middle Caicos sold and developed, land returned to the crown.  HRH queen Elizabeth is not afraid of the big bad wolf neither does he own more money, power or influence than she doe. The land belongs to her so does the entire island!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Isn't this th esame PPM goernment that was so against DART and thr road closure..Still the same dogs lying down with the fleas..Nothing changes UDP or PPM ..Same thing!

  5. Anonymous says:

    I hate the changes that Dart has made to the island and wish for a pre-Ivan cayman as bad as anyone else. But ladies you are pissng in the wind….. Do you think their legal team has anything on Darts legal team….

  6. 4 Cayman says:

    12.02 you forgot Consuelo Ebanks. She was a strong person to reckon with on the environment. 

    I wish these ladies the very best and I hope they win. This win would be a significant win for the Cayman Islands, the people and for generations to come.

    i hope history is in the making.

    • Anonymous says:

      Again the ladies of Cayman alone taking the lead fighting for ourrights  Sorry butCayman are useless, spineless cowards.

      ZThey are more drawn to a good bribing proposal than protecting our children.sfuture. Oh how sad.

  7. Anonymous says:

    REALLY????…this nonsense is still going on???….I wonder how many supporters they have now after it takes only 10 minutes to get from west bay to town now!?

    • Anonymous says:

      I live in west bay. I am a supporter. If we filled in the north sound, we could be at rim point in 10 minutes. Bfd. Weak argument. 

  8. Lock, Stock says:

    So what happens ifthe court finds it unlawful? The government will be on the hook for millions and millions of dollars in compensation, which will be disasterous for the country and its people? Is this what the ladies want as there can be no other outcome if successful. It really is like suing yourself. 

    What happended with the road may be unfornutate but we do not have any money to back out of it now. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Hypothetical question: what if the Court finds that both parties to the deal acted unlawfully?  

    • Castor says:

      Your post indirectly speaks to having an educated electorate, not a partisan electorate. We allreap what we sow. It's going to be interesting.

       

  9. Anonymous says:

    if these women win it is the end forcayman…..

    • Anonymous says:

      Bawl bawk. The sky is falling! The sky is falling. How about this on? If these ladies lose, it will be the end of Cayman. 

  10. Git R Dun says:

    I trust that the losing party will be liable for the costs of this farce. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Well, I doubt very much that the 4 ladies from West Bay have the funds to pay the government and Darts costs, especialy when they flew in QCs from London.  So win or lose, I suspect the party paying the costs (at least fro the Governments costs, and potentially darts too) will be the Caymanian tax payer. 

  11. Anonymous says:

    It is a sorry state of affairs that the WB4 hold the Government to ransom and jeopardise all future investment in our islands out of their one sided love for a piece of tarmac called the West Bay Road.

    Do they not realise nor understand that the lands either side of the West bay Road have been in private ownership since the 1970's. It is NOT their land, it is private land.

    The investment made thus far has created employment opportunities and work for many many Caymanians and this will continue for years to come with future investment.

    This is land crab mentality at its finest.

    They should be campaigning for more investment and more work for Caymanians, not fighting it and causing our islands and our people so much pain.

     

    • Anonymous says:

      Simply because the land either side of the road has been in private ownership for years does not mean that those owners have any right to the road itself. The road is/ was public property and maintained at public expense. Property such as this is held in trust by the Government of the day on behalf of the public – it does not have the right to simply dispose of it for the benefit of a private developer. There is a well-recognised principle known as public right-of-way, which clearly applies to this road. In the UK (and like it or not, Cayman Islands law is based, at least originally, on UK law), it requires an Act of Parliament to close a public road, and it is usually only done after significant public consultation and a formal public enquiry, to ensure that the benefits outweigh the disadvantages to the community as a whole. This was not done in this case and the ladies do have a case to argue, that the closure was illegal. Had the process been carried out properly (something that certain elements of the government of the time seemed constitutionally incapable of understanding) it is entirely possible that the road would still have been closed, but at least the closure would have been legal and everyone would have put forward their views BEFORE the fact of the closure, saving everyone a lot of time, money and uncertainty.

    • Anonymous says:



      Anonymous at 14:00 your post does not make any sense.  If the tarmac does not worth anything why does Mr. Dart want it so badly?  I don't think he has money to throw away like that, do you hink so?  We all love that piece of tarmac, even better than ForCayman because our navel string bury right here!!  

      • Translatrix says:

        Back to grade one grammar and spelling classes before we consider your point…  Sorry…

      • Anonymous says:

        With this deal Dart has pulled off one of the most amazing "land grabs"  in history.   And all without the government of the time letting the people know what was happening. 

        There is no end that justifies those means.

  12. Anonymous says:

    How did this mess of a claim even get to trial? If they lose the government should pursue them in full for the costs of this fiasco.

    • Anonymous says:

      And if they win so so sad for you. I am not from here and I would say that if you're not from here to just relax and stop being overbearing 

    • Anonymous says:

      You should be thankful there are people willing to stand up to the underhanded dealings that brought this about on the first place. I guess your not but beyond your little green world, you should be. 

  13. Anonymous says:

    I wish these brave women well in their case.

    May the spirit of Annie Hulda Bodden, Ena "Royal" Watler and Leila Yates be with you.  Just a few of the brave Caymanian women who came before, who fought for what was right, ethical, moral and just.

    • Anonymous says:

      What is 'brave' about these women?   Brave to stand in the way of employment.   Brave to stand in the way of completion of the new beach park?   Brave to stand in the way of bike trails etc?  

      Would you prefer we still had the derilict shelled-out Holiday Inn Courtyard to stare at?  Take some solice in that you can stare at the derilict Hyatt like we have for almost a decade. 

       

       

    • Anonymous says:

      If the thumbs down to your comment are any indication, the average yahoo cares nothing about bravery and who came before much less what is right, ethical, moral and just.

  14. Anonymous9 says:

    Good thing Dart joined in with his bottomless pocket full of cash to crush whoever stands in his way.  Nothing will stop him.  His way has already been paved with the help of our politicians.  

    I was told in the past that Cash is King and this will prove it.  And all we can do is hide and watch. Then say 'I told you so'.

    If you have the cash, everyone will want to jump in your pocket. All Dart has needed to do is hold his open. (The wannabees are the first to jumpin!)

     

    • Anonymous says:

      09.48..cannot find one fact in your statement proving your allegation.

      Of course he is a businessman, he will want to make a profit, they all do. Show me one that doesn't. I suspect at home you have Microsoft products, Apple products, some kind of car, all of those companies make millions at your expense. But let me ask you, when did Ford build anything here of benefit to the Island? Or Apple come to that? CIG saw fit to put sign up for this deal. People you elected. You surely did not vote for corrupted politicians I hope?? (some of whom have court cases against them to be heard, unlike Mr. Dart).

      Until proven differently, I would suggest you stick to the facts. That might prove difficult for you, but is an imminently more sensible approach. And no, I do not work for Dart, but continue to be amazed by the ignorance and non factual based rubbish that turns up on here. It is pure emotion from jealous have nots.

      • Anonymous says:

        Many people feel shammed. Hell I feel shamed and I'm an expat. Just because some one is crafty, doesn't mean they are ethical. Why don't you relax and let the good people of Cayman vent? They were EXTTEMELY outmatched by this person. Show a little compassion. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Wannabees?  Do you mean those greedy unethical untrustworthy money-grubbing politicians?

    • Anonymous says:

      All hail, King Dart. *low bow*

  15. Anonymous says:

    I don't see how the court can overturn this plan without creating a breach of contract situation holding the government libal to huge fiancial liabilities. With so much money already having been spent it is regretable this legal action didn't take place 2 or 3 years ago.

    • Anonymous says:

      Don't you worry about it. Let the court worry. If it was an illegal deal, maybe lord dart will be accountable as well. 

    • Anonymous says:

      So sue Dart before he even signs anything huh? Interesting concept!  Now that's the ticket!!

      Here is another concept, if you sue him and win maybe the $$ will help with spelling lessons.