Housing deal still on

Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts said the sale of National Housing Development Trust property off Eastern Avenue to Cox Lumber is still on, contrary to a report in Cayman Net News this week.

Mr. Tibbetts read the first four paragraphs of the report aloud in the House.

‘Nothing I have just read is the truth. Nothing’ Mr. Tibbetts said.

‘I have spoken with the principals of Cox Lumber and they told me they have every intention of going ahead with the purchase of the property.’

Cox Lumber’s Cayman Islands Operations Manager Paul Tibbetts confirmed yesterday the deal was still on.

‘We’re committed to going through with this,’ he said.

The Leader of Government Business took issue with the apparent writer of the article, former United Democratic Party backbencher Lyndon Martin. He called the article a deliberate attempt ‘to make me out a liar’.

‘That is one thing I am not,’ he said. ‘But he can’t look anyone in the eye and say he’s not. He was one when he was here and he is still one today.’

Mr. Tibbetts said Mr. Martin did not speak to anyone either at the National Housing Development Trust or at Cox Lumber before writing the article.

‘One is the seller and one is the purchaser and yet he’d put this one on the front page and make this country believe its fact.’

Mr. Martin said it was an abuse of power for Mr. Tibbetts to attack him from the floor of Parliament with immunity.

‘His attack will not in any way hinder my chosen profession of pursuing the truth,’ he said.

The sale of the 4.2 acre parcel of property was expected to go through more than a month ago. However, there were some objections by adjoining property holders, which he said was usual. The zoning of the property is consistent with the use proposed by Cox Lumber, so there should be no problem in the end, Mr. Tibbetts said.

‘It’s simply a matter of going through the objection and then having the sale go through,’ he said.

The NHDT decided to sell the property when Cox Lumber offered to buy it. Instead of just selling it straight away, the NHDT put the property out to public bid, and Cox Lumber was still the highest bidder, offering $2.7 million for the property.

Based on that value for the property the fact that the NHDT only proposed to put 29 house lots on the property, each lot would have been worth more than CI$93,000, about as much as the houses will cost. Since that did not make financial sense, the NHDT decided to sell the property and build elsewhere.