Dart cash to pay off mortgages

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    Updated: This story includes a correction listed below. 

     

    Some of the money from the multi-million dollar Dart deal will go toward paying off people’s mortgages, Premier McKeeva Bush told a packed meeting to discuss the deal in West Bay on Thursday night. 

    Mr. Bush said $2.5 million from the deal would be used for a mortgage assistance programme, which could begin by the end 
of this month. 

    “In this awful economic climate where the international recession has hit many Caymanians … some are losing their houses,” the 
premier said. 

    Dart is giving the government $18 million to invest in education, housing and community programmes as part of the deal. 

    Mr. Bush did not elaborate on who would be eligible to get the mortgage assistance or how applications would be made. He said more announcements in relation to the mortgage programme 
would come soon.  

    In response to a comment from a member of the audience who said Caymanians were a proud people who did not want to take handouts, Mr. Bush said these were unusual times when people needed 
help more than ever. 

    He said people who took advantage of the mortgage assistance scheme would have to pay back the money. “This is not a grant,” he said. 

    “I think it is laudable that we can do this,” said Mr. Bush, citing an example a family losing their $250,000 home when they only had $40,000 to pay off on their mortgage. 

    More than 150 people attended the meeting hosted by the government and Dart Realty Cayman Limited, under the banner of the For Cayman Investment Alliance, to discuss the proposed wide-ranging deal. 

    At the beginning of the meeting, moderator Charles Glidden, Premier Bush’s press secretary, asked the audience to bear in mind that the deal had not yet been “signed, sealed and delivered”. 

    Premier Bush said the government was still trying to hammer out a better deal with the Dart Group. 

     

    Hurricane hole  

    While much of the meeting was spent presenting the various elements of the deal that have already been made public, MLA Captain Eugene Ebanks announced a new element of the deal involving the creation of a hurricane hole off Barkers in West Bay for boats to shelter during storms. 

    “This has come up within the last week,” Mr. Ebanks said. “I approached the Dart company and asked if they would consider putting a hurricane hole in there as part of the deal because we boat owners now have nowhere to go in the event of a hurricane.”
He said he had met with 22 local boat owners and spoken to three others in the area and all supported the proposal, which would involve a 400 foot square area with an entry path that is 50 feet wide and 8 feet deep. 

    However, one audience member cautioned against dredging in the North Sound off Barkers to create the hurricane hole, insisting that it would be disastrous for the area. 

     

    Road closure  

    The deal involves the government giving more than 2,000 feet of West Bay Road from Governor’s Way to Yacht Drive, leading to the closure of that section of road. 

    One opponent to the relocation of the road said this set a dangerous precedent. Another expressed dismay that the only section of West Bay Road from which drivers can see the sea would now be closed off.  

    Dart plans to build a four- or five-star hotel on the site of the old Marriott Courtyard, but only if the hotel is situated on the waterfront, hence requiring the closure of the road. 

    Jackie Doak, chief operations officer for Dart Realty, said two previous hotels on the site had failed and for this venture to be successful, the hotel would have to be moved. 

    The panel did not answer a question from one member of the audience who asked why so much of the road had to be closed off and why the new hotel’s beach access should be so wide-spread. “Give them the beach across from the hotel, but why all the way down to the Yacht Club?”, the audience member asked. 

    Another asked how the public was supposed to access the existing public beach and a proposed new one when the road was closed off. Ms Doak responded that access would be possible through roads to various properties that would be located at the site.  

    “The only part we are going to close in the near term, in 12 months, will be the area of public in front of public beach and the hotel,” she said. 

    Premier Bush said the speed limit along West Bay Road would be reduced from 40 mph to 25 mph and he hoped to bring the law governing that speed limit before the Legislative Assembly in September. 

     

    School for WB  

    As part of the land-swap aspect of the deal, Dart is giving 20 acres of land in West Bay to the government. 

    The premier and the minister of education Rolston Anglin also addressed criticism from the audience on why five acres of that land would be given to a private school, Grace Christian Academy, rather than building a new public school. Plans to build the Beulah Smith secondary school in West Bay were abandoned because the government could not afford it. 

    Cline Glidden said no decision had been made at this stage about what to do with the other 15 acres, but it may be used to house a swimming pool and other community facilities. 

     

    Barkers  

    The deal also involves Dart giving the government 70 acres of land in Barkers for inclusion in the National Park. 

    Several people raised concerns that Cayman was losing its public areas of Barkers Beach in West Bay as part of the deal. Mr. Bush, however, insisted that Cayman was gaining land in Barkers, not losing it. 

    Mr. Ebanks agreed, saying government owned 1,142 feet of land at Barkers and would have 3,236 feet of beach there under the new deal. 

     

    EIA  

    Asked if an environmental impact assessment study would be done on the project, Mr. Anglin said there was “nothing sensitive in the area that is being proposed”.  

    Later, the minister responsible for the environment Mark Scotland said that if there were regulatory requirements to carry out an environmental impact assessment on any parts of the projects, those would be met. 

    The company and the government in June signed a Heads of Terms Agreement, which records what has been agreed between the government and Dart prior to entering into a formal contract and formed the For Cayman Investment Alliance. 

    The deal will cost the Dart Group more than $100 million in cash outlay, not including construction-related investment. All together, Dart is committing to US$415 million of direct investment over the next five years, US$200 million of which will be spent in the next two years.  

    The Dart Group anticipates spending more than $1.2 billion during the next 20 years. 

    There is no debt, sovereign guarantees or cash outlay required by the Cayman Islands government as a result of the deal. 

    Other elements of the deal include Dart giving government 110 acres of land for a new solid waste disposal facility in Bodden Town and taking ownership of the George Town Landfill, which it plans to close, cap and remediate. 

    Dart also intends to pay for the extension of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway north from its current terminus at Raleigh Quay to Batabano Road and create at least one more feeder road from the highway to West Bay Road. 

    Another public meeting on the deal will be held at 7.30pm, Thursday, 11 August at the Bodden Town Civic Centre. 

     

    Update: The size of the hurricane hole referred to by West Bay MLA Captain Eugene Ebanks was changed to “400 foot square”, from the original published “400 square foot”. 

    dart meeting in west bay

    At least 150 people attended Thursday night’s meeting in West Bay. – PHOTO: NORMA CONNOLLY
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    21 COMMENTS

    1. He said people who took advantage of the mortgage assistance scheme would have to pay back the money. This is not a grant, he said.

      Seriously…Have the people of the Cayman Islands gone totally crazy ??!!

      Do Caymanians know the history of Darts most recent mega-million scheme…buying up the debt of bankrupt countries like Agentina and some of the Eastern European ex-Soviet republics literally for pennies and then calling in the debt when the coutries defaulted on the the repayment of the bonds ?

      A loan has to be repayed and also collaterised; what else will be collateral for these mortgage loans but the deeds to the borrowers properties ?

      And if these borrowers cannot pay their existing mortgages to the banks who now own them, where will they get money to repay Darts mortgage loans, which is really just another refinancing mortgage ?

      And who will own these properties if the owner default on Darts loans ?

      Bingo, Jack, you bright lad, you get an A for figuring this one out; DART, the Cayman Islands biggest landlord because those same properties that have defaulted and been taken over will then be rented back to the very same former owners or…

      The owners kicked out on the street and the properties again re-sold.

      If the people of Cayman accept Government funds being given to fund private organizations and accepting financial assistance from politically-connected private organizations such as this scheme, they are condoning political corruption at its most blatant but then again, maybe many people in Cayman do not actually know what political corruption really is.

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    2. which would involve a 400 square foot area with an entry path that is 50 feet wide and 8 feet deep

      400 square feet is 20′ by 20′. Can’t fit too many boats in that area!!!

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    3. Firery,

      The way I read that statement was that it would be a Govt run scheme, not a Dart run scheme. Govt is simply saying that they will appropriate some of the funds of the dart deal to that scheme.

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    4. I will bribe you with jobs, that I should be providing anyways, I will take the food out of your mouth and make you reliant on govt handouts. I will pay off your mortgage with my money and to sure votes for 2013. I take them and now that I have been found out, I want to involve you the people.

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    5. Wake up Cayman before it’s too late and Dart owns the whole Island. Why do we need another luxury hotel on the beach? The Ritz is never at full capacity, neither is the Westin nor Grand Cayman Beach Suites. We do not need another hotel on this Island.

      The big announcement was money to pay off people’s mortgage. Incentive to back the plan; however, if people can’t afford to pay the bank, how will they afford to pay the government back?

      The government is blinded by greed and is pushing Cayman down the toilet.

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    6. Beenie

      Same difference; Darts money, Darts scheme.

      And with a UDP Government running the scheme ?

      Has McKeeva Bush been taking advice from Bruce Golding ?

      Haven’t Caymanians understood what happened with Dudus Coke and the Tivoli Gardens situation and the ruling JLP Government in Jamaica ?

      Do you think that these mortgage payment loans will go to any other people but UDP supporters ?

      I guess I was right after all.

      Caymanians don’t have a clue as to what constitutes political corruption.

      And… the other important question is ‘who will own the deeds of the properties that will collaterise these so-called loans’?

      If it is McKeeva Bush or any organization he sets up within the CI Government, that makes it even worse.

      Does not the CI Government already have a development bank that could be lending these mortgagers holders a limited amount of funds if they only owed a small balance on their mortgages to the banks and…

      At what interest rates will these loans be made ?

      Anyone who participates in this scheme is committing financial suicide.

      I have absolutely no doubt that if this scheme goes ahead, it will trigger involvement by the British Government in a major investigation in the Cayman Islands.

      It seems that certain elements in Cayman are determined that what has happened in the T C Islands will also happen in Cayman.

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    7. We are going through a global economical situation in which we get confused and struggled with our priorities! Nowadays, keeping a sheltered family is definitely a priority, but losing your head top for quick-cash investment with no guarantees, well…… I am not surprised in the least, every senseless decisions made in the island’s economy…….comes from WEST BAY. People, please, when will be the time to LEARN from previous experiences??

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    8. Missy

      I didn’t want to be the one to put it so bluntly.

      Ask any citizen of Jamaica, Zimbabwe, Somalia et al et al who have fled their home countries looking for a more peaceful, stable, political-corruption free life what they have left behind; there are some of those very same people now living in Cayman.

      There are also some who are very capable of supporting the same corruption that they have fled from, taking root in Cayman, if they are to be the ones who will benefit from it.

      Where is the political opposition to this prepostrous scheme or do they intend to sit back and let it be implemented so that they can take advantage of it when their time comes but then blame it on McKeeva Bush ?

      There was a time when Cayman could actually hold its head up in the world and claim to be free of direct political corruption on any major scale.

      Those days are gone now and the results will be predictable if it is allowed to take further root.

      Does anyone have any idea what living in a corrupt and independent Cayman Islands would be like ?

      Just take a quick peek next door at Jamaica and you will get a fair idea.

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    9. I guess when you are in the eye of the public, its more like a bullseye at the firing range.

      Does Cayman need a another hotel to attract highend ourism? Yes. Does Cayman need more highend tourism? Yes. Does Cayman need the Dart deal? Yes.

      If you are saying no, then you have your head in the sand.

      Back to the mortgage assistance scheme. The banks will take your house without blinking if you cant pay so lets just get that out there.

      Many states in the US have a scheme like this already in place, thanks to Obama. It is aimed at out of work homeowners, has a cap of like 35K and is only for 6-18 mohtns. During that period you still have to pay a small amount towards the monthly payment but
      the idea is to give homeowners a chance to find employment and get back on their feet. Govt works with the banks and the homeowner to give them a break. No one but the bank will take your home if you cant pay and thats the way it has always been.

      Firery,
      Lets not jump to conclusions, speculate too much and or try to predjudice everyone against it before we actually see what happens. I know its hard but please try.

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    10. What is happening on Seven Mile Beach, with the road being moved, is also happening in South Sound. This will continue to happen until all areas along the ocean are adjusted to accommodate development. If Cayman is to preserve sections of the beach for public access (demand for public beach space will only continue to grow), the few strips remaining need to be acquired and set asise as public land.

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    11. It’s not my place to comment on any of the issues raised at this particular meeting but I find it very interesting that 150 people turned up here compared to literally a handful who attended the recent RCIPS meeting?

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    12. Overlooked in this story is that the speed limit on West Bay Road will be lowered to 25. TOO SLOW! It’s already difficult to get to work on time from west bay with the traffic. Now they are going to move the roads around and create more traffic, and lower the speed limit too?

      40 MPH is very reasonable. Lowering it to 25 is crazy.

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    13. the idea is to give homeowners a chance to find employment and get back on their feet. Govt works with the banks and the homeowner to give them a break.

      Beenie

      If this was the idea, Premiere Bush would have already initiated some dialogue with the banks on an assistance scheme or work through the Chamber of Commerce to negotiate as a middle man for their employees with the banks who hold these mortgages.

      Bush has been two years or more in power now and has had more than enough time to suggest such a plan, if that was his intention.

      Obama, as president of the USA could never initiate a private mortgage loan scheme for anyone, under US law;not if he didn’t want to end up in jail.

      Using funds from a private investor for private loans through what channels and by what criteria for qualification for these loans, may I ask ?

      Look at what has already been done; can you also justify earmarking govt. funds from a ministerial allocation for so-called Nation Building that has not been approved by the Cayman legislature and given arbitrarily to some private institutions but not others, as well ?

      And for which no accountability is in place.

      I agree with the overall Dart agreement in principal but remember, McKeeva Bush is making a long-term financial committment on behalf of the people of the Cayman Islands that will have to be legally honoured, whether he is in power or not.

      This loan mortgage scheme was not announced as a part of the original deal and looks like Bush siphoning off funds from the main investment capital to fund his election campaigning by securing a block of voters; that is what it appears to be.

      Can you honestly say that the recipients of these loans will not feel obligated to vote UDP in the next election, even if they were not UDP supporters before ?

      Forgive me for my cynicism but I’ve spent a major portion of my growing up years in Jamaica and no one can blind me to blatant electioneering when I see it.

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    14. Another political scheme!
      Where does this man end?
      Ezzard and Alden, TALK to us please EXPLAIN THIS,

      Big Mac is offering home mortgages to his constituents by using Dart ‘s money to help West Bayers First or Only, and have the country pay for it. Remember these are the district voters causing us the most trouble by voting for this man that is wiping out Cayman and Caymanian’s identity on a daily basis..
      This man is desperate for power and he is determined to get reelected every which way. Stop him.

      GET THIS MAN OUT OF OFFICE AND DO IT FAST!

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    15. Jeremiah Jane,
      Who’s going to fill the hotels?

      heis going to flood the country with X_PATS working in those hotels and Caymanians will be left out to just watch the movie from a distance from the sidelines.
      McKeeva Bush is building for McKeeva not for the people.
      Time to get this so called christian that have no idea who Jesus is OUT OF OFFICE
      The man is a full grown hypocrite!

      Which God is this man serving? I’m curious!

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    16. Hey guys did you know Prwemier Bush is playing games with Caymanians.
      Here’s the latest:
      IN THE FACE OF ALL THE CRIME COMING FROM JAMAICA
      AMD THE BURDEN ALREADY PLACED ON RCIP here’s what McKeeva Bush have for us.

      Jamaicans will be able to travel more easily to the Cayman Islands, according to Premier McKeeva Bush.
      He says from next month Jamaicans coming into the country will not need a visa to visit.
      Instead Jamaican nationals who hold either a United States, British or Canadian visitors visa will get in.
      And any Jamaicans coming into the country.

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    17. Vietnam,

      Some Caymanians have this attitude of entitlement, that they should get first pick of any job. Wake up! The best person will get the job. Go out, get some training, make yourself competitive against xpats. God favors those who look out for themselves.

      Dubai,

      People will vote for McKeeva becuase the man is looking out for Cayman on a whole and doing alot more than the previous adminstration did. He has funds set aside scholarships. I guess only westbayers can apply for those too. The mortgage scheme will be the same thing. Everyone will be able to apply, not just westbayers. Same with hotel employment. Apply yourselves.

      Again, its going to be a Govt run mortgage assistance sheme.

      No details have been released yet but people have already set themselves against this initiative.

      Firery,

      Of course obama had to go through congress to get the funds approved and laws in place but he had to set the wheels in motion someway. Mckeeva will have to do the same through the LA. Simple.

      As for how the nation buidling funds are distributed, my guess is that you have to apply for the grants, be able to show the need for the grant and also what exactly the grant will be used for. Charitable entities approach Govt and private sector all the time for donations. Govt and private sector have money set aside for this purpose, when they have money. Is this illegal? No.

      Stop giving Big Mac a hard time cuz we are lucky to have a leader with a progressive mind and not stagnanted like the others. Give credit to where credit is due.

      I am really curious as to what the opposition would be doing right now if they were in power. Oh thats right, they cant give any viable alternative suggestions, all they can do is mouth off.

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    18. Caymanians have the first entitlement to the country’s resources and services including financial aide.
      Who are you to question or decide what our people are entitled, what a nerve.

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