West Bay high school touted

Leader of Government Business McKeeva Bush said a new high school is planned for West Bay.

Where the money would come from for construction is unclear.

Mr. Bush did not elaborate on the West Bay high school, but did say that it would be built in addition to the already planned high school in Frank Sound. He made the announcement during his address at the Cayman Business Outlook 2005 conference Wednesday.

The high school in West Bay would help fill the gap left by the unavailability of George Hicks High School, which was severely damaged during Hurricane Ivan.

‘George Hicks is structurally unsound and will have to be torn down,’ Mr. Bush said.

Permanent Secretary to Education Joy Basdeo said the plan would be to build small high schools. She said some of George Hicks could be salvaged, but most of it would have to come down.

Fidelity Group Chairman and CEO Anwer Sunderji asked how the Cayman Islands Government would fund infrastructure rebuilding during his address immediately before Mr. Bush’s.

He noted that there would be roughly a $1.8 billion gap between insured value and losses due to Ivan, and noted that the Government might have to absorb up to $1 billion of that gap.

Mr. Bush assured the audience his administration would not impose any taxes. ‘I don’t believe in taxation, I believe in a free market economy,’ he said.

Opposition member Alden McLaughlin dismissed the idea of the new West Bay high school as ‘pie-in-the-sky.’

‘Where’s the money going to come from?’ he asked. ‘He hasn’t told us that.’

Mr. Sunderji offered one possible solution. ‘It seems that the Cayman Islands will have to tap the capital markets and float some form of reconstruction bonds to raise the necessary funding to rehabilitate the infrastructure,’ he said.

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