Mac pushes marina row on

| 01/07/2014

(CNS): Seizing yet another opportunity to air his grievances over what he claims is the unfair treatment of a hotel owner in Cayman Brac for a proposed inland marina next to his property, the opposition leader was given leave by the Legislative Assembly speaker to bring yet another motion about the issue Thursday. Having raised the subject several times in the LA and Finance Committee recently, McKeeva Bush once again attacked the environment minister over the handling of Cleveland Dilbert’s application and the requirement that he undertake an environmental impact assessment (EIA). Bush has not only raised this in parliament, he has also taken every chance he has had to berate government over this particular project in public forums as well.

Going out to bat in earnest for Dilbert, the owner of the Alexander Hotel, Bush appears to have made it his personal goal to press this matter until the project is given the green light without an EIA.

The proposal was first raised during Bush’s time as premier and tourism minister but the coastal works application was not considered by his UDP government at the time and it is not clear why it wasn’t, though Bush has pointed to civil service stumbling blocks.

It eventually came before the PPM Cabinet along with two other smaller marina proposals by MMCB Ltd earlier this year and all three were approved as a result of pressure from the Brac business community to boost the economy. With the two marinas proposed by MMCB being less complex and in areas where the Department of Environment (DoE) could predict the impact, the department had advised Cabinet that if it must approve such proposals, these projects were limited in their environmental harm.

However, the DoE had advised that the Dilbert proposal was far more extensive and complex and the experts in the department believed that the risks associated with it were far more significant, and with no way to mitigate the potential risks, they advised Cabinet to reject the proposal. Despite that advice, Cabinet still approved it after Dilbert made a presentation saying he believed the DoE’s concerns were unjustified. Given the potential dangers however, Cabinet said Dilbert should undertake an independent EIA, which, if he was right, would show that the DoE was wrong and demonstrate how the proposal could be mitigated.

Since then Dilbert has claimed that he is being treated unfairly and does not want to undertake the EIA.

Bush has become increasingly incensed over the issue on every occasion he has raised it, suggesting that the two other marinas, which he says he supports as well, are just as environmentally threatening, and asking why, if they don’t need an EIA, should Dilbert be required to undertake the costly assessment. 

The opposition leader spoke about his support for the family hotel, which was suffering because it was built next to a brackish pond that can give off a strong smell, and pointed to the removal of Saltwater Pond's status as a bird sanctuary. However, efforts to address the smell were understood to have failed and the Dilbert family then proposed the idea of a marina, which he said his government backed.

Bush hurled insults at the DoE director and the environment minister, made allegations of corruption and cronyism, nepotism and bad governance surrounding the owner of MMCB and Cabinet members. He accused government of trying to besmirch the Dilbert’s name and a concerted effort by the environment department to turn a blind eye to the environmental damage of the other marinas, while trying to stop the Alexander project due to a bias against Dilbert. He said that it could not be that one developer “can get so much and the other pounced upon and called names”, as he insisted, in contrast to the DoE scientists' assessment, that the impact on the environment by the other marina proposals was potentially just as damaging as the Dilbert proposal.

The opposition leader said he found government’s “behaviour appalling” and was tired of the “self-serving actions" and their excuses.

Responding for the umpteenth time to what he has insisted are Bush’s unfounded allegations, Environment Minister Wayne Panton said he had a sense of déjà vu about the accusations and the opposition leader’s motion.

He said the opposition leader was totally misrepresenting the situation and Dilbert’s application was processed and reviewed in accordance with any coastal works application. Panton emphasised the scale and scope and complexity of that project and how it had to have an EIA to prove that Dilbert was right and the DoE wrong as the risk were significant.

The minister said it involved a canal that was 700 plus feet long, 12 feet deep and 100 feet wide cutting through the reefs and the marine park to connect into the interior pond, which was startlingly different from the other proposals, with layers of complexity that would be impossible to mitigate. The other two proposals, he added, had far more limited impact and it was not possible to compare the projects.

However, regardless of the potential environmental disasters presented by the Dilbert’s proposal, the Cabinet had approved it dependent on an EIA. “Cabinet felt that the only responsible reaction, in wanting to support the Brac, was to ask for the EIA and have experts demonstrate that what he was saying was correct,” Panton added.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Category: Politics

Comments (62)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    Why should everyone suffer because someone is stupid enough to build a hotel next to a stinking pond?

  2. Anonymous says:

    I hope some one will read all these comments to MB.

  3. Anon says:

    We need to be realistic in that the Brac has very little to offer to tourists.

     From a diving perspective it is second to little cayman.  From a beaches perspective it is third to grand cayman and little cayman.  From a yachting perspective, our islands are not in demand because of location.   As for the bluff we don't need to say much, no tourist travels for a bluff unless it looks like Grand Canyon. Caves? They seem to be used as highway toilets often littered with human excrement and used toilet paper on top of the fact that they are not attractive for international tourism. 

    therefore the only way toincrease economic activity in an area such as the brac is to artificially make it attractive to investors.  We could try legalizing gambling on the brac and issue license(s) only to 4 and 5 star resort developments.  Back in the day Vegas had nothing to offer either simply because of its location in the middle of a desert.  I'm not advocating for Vegas in the brac but 1 large 5 star resort could do wonders if it offers golf, shopping, entertainment etc. we could even limit the casino license to 1 resort for a number of years to draw interest from large developers.

    The marina will not generate tourism in my opinion unless there is a reason for people to boat there. That is the reason the hotels fail. Not because of some smell, the lack of airline support, the higher cost of living etc.   Let's get real people and be honest as to why not many tourists are interested in traveling to the brac.

    Any other ideas to help the 70 percent of bracers who currently survive thanks to the many forms of govt assistance? 

    • Anonymous says:

      Cayman Brac could also cater to retirees who want a quiet, peaceful and practically crime free place to live.  Retirees usually have money and Cayman Brac offers an even higher standard of living than Grand Cayman when one considers it has excellent roads, no traffic jams, peaceful and loving people, very, very little crime, decent medical facilities, good telecommunications, reliable utilities, and frequent airlift to Grand Cayman with connections to the outside world.  And yes, while the airlift from the USA could be improved somewhat, I still like those little Twin Otter planes.  They are rugged and safe and I don't mind flying them inter-island.  The only problem is that it takes basically a day just traveling internationally.  So for people with money who cherish the above the Brac is the place for them.  Brackers could carve out a good living looking after their homes, yards and household needs.

      • Anonymous says:

        Retirees need good quickly accessible health care  . . .

        • Just Commentin' says:

          Excellent point!  One of the main pillars of Costa Rica's wildly successful strategy to attract retirees is very very affordable and quite excellent health care.

           

    • Just Commentin' says:

      The Brac has very little to offer to tourists? Say WHATTT??  Belief in that moronic myth is one reason Cayman Brac is suffering! 

      I love spendng time on Cayman Brac for several good reasons. That island has things that people will pay big money to experience: tranquility, peace of mind, great people, no traffic, almost non-existant serious crime, and a relatively unspoilt natural environment. It is the way Cayman Brac is marketed that has litttle to offer. The marketing just plain sucks!

      No one can tell me that in this big world of over 7 billion people and with over 16 million of them being millionaires that the number needed to vitalise the Brac's tourism industry and economy cannot be attracted to the island.  Two full jets a week from Miami would do it for now I imagine. Whats that? Under 300 people per week? The lazy, moronic and ineffective way the island is marketed has to go! Now!

      At one time I thought casinos might be one answer and then I realised that casinos would be the lazy man's way out. And they would damage the ambience of the island far more than any marina could possibly damage the environment there. For now, leave casinos for Vegas wannabees. Does Cayman Brac want to be just another glitzy tourist trap?  Would be a shame.  Casinos just don't fit in and are not needed at this time.  I think Cayman Brackers have a higher aspiration for their island.  Hope so anyway. 

      What is needed is to stop leaving the marketing of the island to lazy, impotent, brainless idiots and find a specialist marketing firm that can do an effective job of developing a campaign and branding initiative that will sell the island just as it is.

      A couple friends of mine that are very highly placed and extremely successful marketing executives, and who have been to the island several times, absolutely agree it is all about the marketing. In their opinion effective marketing of the islands would be very, very successful in attracting many more visitors and investors to the island. So it is possible, and at a far, far lower cost in the long run than the subsidies to the Brac economy that government continually shells out every year to keep the island afloat. 

      [Moses? Psssttt? Hellooooo? Are you listening? It's your island, let's see something happpen! Your people are waiting.]

  4. Coconutz says:

    Hurry, hurry, I'm in haste

    Marinas to be built and no time to waste.

    Forget the studies and forget the ducks,

    They're nothing but a bunch of quacks.

     

    Environment, spendvironment I don't care much,

    As long as I make a decent buck.

    The Brac ain't virgin the Brac ain't pure

    By the time I'm done it'll be haute couture.

     

    Politicians, smoliticians, they're all the same

    Avoiding all blame in search of fame,

    They're helpful at times when it suits their needs

    They feast on power and grow like weeds.

     

    Like weeds they grow all over the place

    They suck up the air and take up your space.

    Next time one needs any kind of deal,

    It's better to grease more than just one wheel.

     

    But that's how it goes I can't complain,

    Could be livin in England with all that rain.

    So close your eyes and close your ears,

    Notin' to see here folks, best grab a beer.

     

    • Anonymous says:

      Who could possibly give this a thumbs down??? This is a poetic masterpiece, love it!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Hey where's Barefoot and Andy? They could sing this!

    • And Another Zing says:

      The melody to the lyrics is that of It took a long time to leave me Lucille. Come on Foot and Andy here is your next # 1 on the local top 5 charts.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Mac couldnt get the project done because civil servants stood in his way?

    Show me a civil servant who ever stood in Mac's way and I'll show you some civil servants who were put on (very) long leave.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is the first time Dilbert has applied. Please publish the names of the "civil servants" who stood in the way before.

    • Hancock says:

      Agreed. None of it passes the sniff test!

  6. Anonymous says:

    The crazy ass thing is: they (the PPM Government) approved the project!  Mac and the Dilbert's are acting like they were denied.

    Go get the EIA and shut the hell up.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Big Mac should go join the Tea Party in the U.S.A.

    He's just another science denier.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Simple question for you Cayman: if you had to entrust the future of these islands to one person, and the only choices you had were McKeeva Bush and Gina Ebanks Petrie, who would you choose?

    I know I'd back Ms. Gina all the way!

    • pmilburn says:

      I agree 100% and more if I could.On a scale of 1-10 how important is our enviroment to our Tourism Project Mr.Bush?

  9. Anonymous says:

    This "marina" proposal has ben around since 2009, when the UDP took office. Why was Mr. Cleveland NOT given approval on this "marina" prior to the PPM taking office in 2013?

  10. Anonymous says:

    I recall Mr.Bush having taken a keen interest in developers before. Nothing new. Just a different trough.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Mac, your ignorance proceeds you and the louder you shout and holler, the more suspicious we are of you.  History has taught us to not trust you.  I still remember Dr. Frank's piece in the Compass liking you to Anansi and the two plates of food.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I just want to ask Mr. Bush one thing. If the Dilbert marina were to go through….who would pay to relocate the public road? The Dilberts or the people of this country. Seems to me if it is/would be the latter, then I would be very upset to know that only a few would directly benefit from my hard earned dollars.

    • Just Commentin' says:

      Ohhh gawddd! Not again!! This questionhas already been asked and answered and asked and answered and asked and answered and asked and answered and asked and answered, ad nauseum: Dilbert has said he would pay for relocating the road.  Your pennis are safe for now, ok, bobo?

    • Anonymous says:

      As far as I know government already relocated the road to the north of the pond through the residential subdivision but you nah hearing nothing bout that. The DP keeping very quiet on that as they already spent government money to do this. Hush shhhhhhh.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I am sure Mac's West Bay constituents are so pleased he putting so much energy into helping them and their lives by lobbying for a private business on a different island. 

    • Anonymous says:

      His voting constituents probably don't know what day of the week it is.

  14. SKEPTICAL says:

    " Methinks thou dost protest too much "  bush. Why does he have such a personal interest in this issue – could somebody be leaving messages on his email saying – " you told me this was a done deal. As for the Compass " Editorial " on the matter, this seems to b a thinly veiled support of  bush hidden behind a semantic analysis of the new Conservation Law. At least it provided some humour in the last paragraph in suggesting that –  " the new law will amplify by magnitudes the ramifications of any egregious errors they ( the DOE ) commit. " Wow – obviously, the Compass editorial committee has bought a " big boys " dictionary but, the use of "magnitudes" may be obsolescent.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Our government has shown a significant degree of cluelessness and a significant lack of proper due diligence and care this time!  And the people and government have allowed the row over the Dilbert project to divert attention and scrutiny where it should be focused.

    As I understand it, the north side marina channel cut as currently approved is only 30 feet wide. No? As an experienced sailor, I would be absolutely shocked and appalled that anyone in their right mind would approve a yacht basin with an approach channel only 30 feet wide!  Can no one else see the potential danger here?

    According to the report on small craft harbour design published by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Task Committee on Marinas, and as per "Planning and Design Guidelines for Small Craft Harbours", the absolute minimum width of a boat channel approach to a yacht basin is 50 feet, or as a rule of thumb, five times the beam of the widest boat expected to be berthed in the facility.  Check it out yourselves if you doubt. Mind you now, this is not the gross cut width and does not include allowance for safety areas on either side of the channel. The safety zones would increase the cut width by between 20 and 40 feet, giving a nominal cut width of between 70 and 90 feet! Thirty feet is far narrower than any prudent safety standards would allow!   If sailboats are to use the channel the safe width would need to be substantially enlarged. In my opinion, since the entrance channel is subject to considerable swells in certain seasons, for the sake of safety it should be substantially wider than the bare minimums.

    I have discussed this with several seasoned sailors and yachtsmen in these islands. They agree that the proposed channel is way too narrow to safely accommodate yachts in all but the most gentle seas. As far as I am concerned it's a bit narrow for a 12 ft dingy in any but the flattest calm weather.

    Now let's do the math according to well-proven ASCE standards: Using ASCE design criteria, and taking into account the minimum safety zone of 20 feet on either side of the channel needed to accommodate the ocean-going yachts such a facility is mooted to attract,it would seem that MMCB is actually anticipating "yachts" measuring no more than 2 feet wide!  Solving for X: (5x+20+20=50 ft  x = 2 ft)

    In their zealous concern for the "environment" the powers that be have demanded Mr. Dilbert jump through certain hoops lest some animals are inconvenienced, but they are all too eager to encourage a potentially dangerous and narrow boat channel to be built on the island. To me this shows a horrific disregard for human life and the safety of people! Typical of this government to strain at a gnat and swallow a camel.

    The potential for disaster should be of serious concern to the developer, our government, and all parties involved with granting permission and operational licences for the future facility.

    I fail to see how the powers that be overlooked so important an aspect of the north side marina proposal when a layman like me could see it!  Did they not do their homework? Seems not!

    This is why an assessment should have been required for the MMCB project. Properly framed, the terms of reference would have mandated that issues regarding the safety of human life would be addressed. But, once again, politicians have failed the people of the Cayman Islands. For shame!

    • Anonymous says:

      In giving the issue serious consideration, did anyone ever think that maybe we are not seeing the whole picture here? In fairness to the developer,  the developer might have have some out-of-the-box ideas in mind.

      Hey!  It just hit me!  Maybe there is a very sound reason in their business plan for the tiny  channel. (Other than courting big-buck lawsuits.) Maybe MMCB is proposing a basin for little radio-controlled model yachts.

      Yeah!  That has to be it! Cayman Brac will be in position to corner the market on a niche heretofore not exploited anywhere in the islands: Model Boat Tourism! This development could make Cayman Brac the model boating capital of the western world. (Better hurry MMCB, before some greedy developer in Grand Cayman gets the idea.)

    • Anonymous says:

      Sounds about right since the developer only owns a 100' house lot that the channel will pass through..

  16. The Janitor says:

    So if UDP gets in the next time around, does that mean the dilbert's proposal will be approved?

    • Gut Check says:

      That is really sad, isn't it?    not that what is best for the Brac is channelled through the proper procedures to ensure that the impact isn't more than anticipated, but that it may possibly be decided by which party (and their promises) are in office.      

      • Just Commentin' says:

        Sad fi true.

        Hmmm???  Makes ya wonder how the MMCB marina with a too-narrow channel and cuttng through a marne park got passed?

    • Anonymous says:

      I would hope so, it makes so much sense.

    • And Another Zting says:

      Woahhhh it's bush Season.

    • Anonymous says:

      No, West Bay might vote UDP, but no other district will again!

      • Anonymous says:

        Other districts will not again…
        …….da wha you hoping for,but how things going now they will certainly be back.

    • Brax Rep says:

      Absolutely! 

  17. Anonymous says:

    With McKeeva being so argumentative and pushing so hard for this "marina", I have to wonder what his real motives are and how much he has invested in this or stands to lose from it not going through.

    • Anonymous says:

      He has no vested interest. He has the vision and foresight of an eagle.

      Just like he had for Grand Cayman's development over the years.  Whats your vested interest for not wanting Dilbert to have this Marina?

      • Anonymous says:

        Thank you. Why only Dilbert is being asked to provide a risk assessment which he would pay from his pocket, and that too is fair. But WHY only him? That is the question. Why are the other two proposals cleard of not providing a risk assessment. Just bias.

      • Nother Nonymous says:

        He has no vested interest???  How do you know?  The vision and foresight of an eagle???  This was obviously a mis-print.  I think rodent or serpent would have been more appropriate.  There's a  l-o-n-g  list of his "developments", but I won't go over them now.  FYI, I think Cleveland's marina is a good idea, but let's make sure it's done right!

      • Anonymous says:

        Vision and foresight of an eagle to get everything for himself and his cronies whether it is damaging to the environment or not.

      • Anonymous says:

        Foresight of an Eagle?? more like Foghorn.., rooster that is.

         

        How much money has McKeeva cost this country, from Boatswain's Beach (70million and counting, 10million per year since 2006), Mike Ryan (6million outstanding duties), GLF (3millon lawsuit), Nation Building Fund (approx 6million with only blocks to show, check BT "church"), Luxury Travel (8million between him and Julianna). That's about 90million wasted by Mac alone, with nothing but more and more bills each year to show for his "foresight".

         

        Rabble-Rouser

    • Anonymous says:

      Why would you have to wonder? It's obvious.

       

    • Anonymous says:

      In light of all that has occurred this is an entirely reasonable take on why this fellow is being so persistently vocal.Is there a vested interest?

  18. Anonymous says:

    Mac, please stop acting irrational and irresponsible.  What you are attempting to do in overiding process is very dangerous, because after the damage is done, who is going to pay to try to mitigate the irreversible damage.  Gina has done the right thing by pointing out the real dangers.  Wayne has done the right thing by saying demonstrate that those dangers are mitigable.  Now stop being a Jackass and for once try to follow the right process.  You are scoring no points here by showing your ingnorance.

    • Anonymous says:

      I fear your request that he ceases acting irrationally and irresponsibly is futile. He has a history of acting in this manner and shows no sign of  changing.

    • Just Commentin' says:

      At least Dilbert's design proposed a safe and navigable channel that actually could accommodate yachts safely. 

      Now that the point has been raised, why did we not hear of Gina or Wayne or Moses or anyone else in Cabinet question the very real dangers involved with a channel meant to accommodate ocean yachts approaching from open ocean comprising a cut through solid ironshore a mere thirty-feet wide?  Somehow, none of them followed the right process on that. Dumb!  Why is this? Maybe because no assessment was conducted? 

      Talk about overriding the process!  Wayne and Cabinet acted like they were back in the wild west in giving the approval for the marina. Shoot from the hip and too bad who gets injured or dies because of their carelessness. As long as no critters fur or scales or feathers are ruffled, the safety and well-being of humans is a secondary priority.

      This was a concern of mine relative to the Conservation Law and Gina et al: that the safety of animals was one day going to have priority over the well-being of humans. Sadly, it has now come to pass. That day is here.

      It will be interesting to hear what Wayne and Moses and Cabinet have to say about this issue and I'd say it is a pretty bloody important one from a human life safety standpoint. I am just dying to hear these bobos try to talk their way around this issue on the radio. It should be great entertainment! Tune in!

      Who is going to mitigate the damage when a boatload of people has an accident and people get injuried or die?  Which brings up the question of who is liable if indeed the channel design of the MMCB project is deficient and someone gets hurt or there is loss of life? Cabinet needs to answer this question before the project begins because the tax payers have borne the liability of stupid choices of government morons to the tune of millions of dollars.  Do we have a guarantee that the developer and operator of the marina will be bonded and fully insured will be solely responsible for any accidents? This is among the question I want answers to before one rock is moved!

      Who is looking irrational and irresponsible now?  Mac did some pretty damn silly stuff and might even be convicted of trying to feather his own nest, but I do not recall him approving something that was as potentially careless relative to human lives.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Can we please have a declaration from M B on what his involvement with this is?  Dilbert seems to have acted (by building the hotel) on an assurance by someone (!) that the pond wasn't going to be an issue.  We now have that same person apparently pushing the same agenda from the other side of the floor.

    Surely there must be some limitation on how much political interference there can be?

    • R. U. Kidden says:

      "Surely there must be some limitation on how much political interference there can be?."

      Limitation on political interference?   Now I know you are joking!

  20. Anonymous says:

    The ACU should look into the reasons Mr Bush is pushing this so much when it is not even in his continuency. It does look very suspicous

  21. Anonymous says:

    An empty vessel making a lot of meaningless noise….

    Mac you are confusing rabble rousing with honest leadership, something alien to you, as you have proved in the past by your actions and are continuing to prove with your words.

    Go sit down, keep quiet and wait for your trial in September.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Give it a rest Mac, we know that you are only trying to divert attention for your own misdeeds.

  23. Cheese Face says:

    Keewa got shares in the hotel or summit?

  24. Anonymous says:

    Why should everyone suffer because someone is stupid enough to build a hotel next to a stinking pond?

  25. Anonymous says:

    Bush's advocacy seems a little too intense for mere concern about fair treatment of a developer. This does not pass the smell test.