The status of derelict properties such as the former Hyatt Regency and Divi Tiara on Cayman Brac is now in the hands of planning.
“I can confirm the law has been amended to enable the government to deal with these properties… we are expecting an update in the coming months,” said MLA Cline Glidden of the Ministerial Council for Tourism.
“In the meantime, the Dart Group has recently purchased the former Courtyard Marriott and is working on plans to completely renovate this property. When it’s completed, this will not only deliver another new element to our tourism offering but will also be an enhancement to our hotel accommodations pool.”
Mr. Glidden said that based on discussions between Dart and the government, an announcement was expected in late summer or early autumn.
Mr. Glidden spoke at the annual general meeting of the Cayman Islands Tourism Association. He addressed several questions from the private sector, including the possibility of tax-free conventions. The Premier was discussing the issue with Washington, he said, adding that an update would be issued shortly.
Negotiations were taking place regarding the National Conservation Law, but as yet there was no date for the bill to go to the legislative assembly. Mr. Glidden also addressed crime and safety, saying that high visibility officers would be patrolling the Seven Mile Strip and efforts would be made to decide what could be done about lighting. An area near the Strand would be used as a test, with a crosswalk. The question of speed limits on West Bay Road has been referred to the National Roads Authority for resolution; the government supports the reduction of the limit.
On the issue of the ‘tourism police’ idea floated by the Cayman Islands Tourism Association, Mr. Glidden said policing falls under the governor’s remit but that he was happy to help the Association meet with the commissioner of police.
Regarding a planned referendum on casinos, it is up to the private sector to show interest. The government had said that if there were a clear indication of support, it would hold a referendum, but that it would not take a position for or against the matter.
Trina Christian, executive director of the Cayman Islands Tourism Association, expressed the group’s pleasure with Mr. Glidden’s attendance.
“He spoke quite candidly, he was very willing to come and address the membership, which is really important because part of our success as an association is to strengthen the relationship between our members and the government representative.
“It was a very important, monumental exercise to have him speak and to speak on the issues that are really critical to the success of the destination. We work very closely with the Department of Tourism, which is all about marketing and product development, but the larger issues are fundamental to how we grow as an industry, and what directly affects the businesses day to day are largely in the hands of government as far as policy and how they manage things from an infrastructure development is concerned.”