Activist groups will ‘occupy’ road

Premier says organisations are destructive

Members of separate activist political groups in West Bay and Bodden Town agreed Tuesday that they would ‘occupy’ a section of West Bay Road along Seven Mile Beach as a last resort to prevent the closure of a 4,000-foot section of the street.  

The closure is proposed as part of a construction and development plan between the Dart Group of companies and the Cayman Islands government known as the ‘For Cayman Investment Alliance’. Part of the agreement involves the relocation of West Bay Road to accommodate a resort development on the property of the now-vacant Courtyard Marriott and the extension of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway into West Bay.  

Plans to ‘occupy’ the section of West Bay Road – similar to the Occupy Wall Street movement that sprung up in the US last year – have been threatened publicly before. During a mid-February public meeting in George Town, West Bay political candidate Paul Rivers urged individuals to “step up” and occupy the road if the Dart Group and government went ahead with plans for its closure.  

“I’m not going to lay down in front of any bulldozer, but I may lay a few bulldozers down,” Mr. Rivers said in February. At the same meeting in February, North Side MLA Ezzard Miller threatened to “burn down” a Dart-sponsored park in his district if he heard company representatives “bragging” to him about it one more time.  

On Tuesday, during a meeting with the local press at the George Town library, local 
activists said they supported Mr. Rivers’ call. “Paul isn’t going to be alone,” said Mervyn Smith. “We are not just willy-nilly going to allow this to happen.”  

Mr. Smith said the ‘occupy’ option would be used as a “last resort”, but he said they would need to be convinced Premier McKeeva Bush and his government was listening to their concerns. West Bay Action Committee Chairman Henry Orman Morgan said Tuesday that there was no room for negotiation on the removal of the 4,000-foot section of West Bay Road.  

“This is our road,” Mr. Morgan said. “Just please, leave it alone.”  

Alice Mae Coe of the Concerned Citizens Group, also in West Bay, said that she would still like to meet and discuss matters with Premier Bush. However, she noted attempts to do so last month were rebuffed by Mr. Bush on 27 March.  

According to a letter Mr. Bush send to Ms Coe: “The views and reasons for objecting to the road closure is a repetition of what you and the destructive groups you represent have previously stated and misrepresented on multiple occasions, and therefore, in light of other national priorities and urgent community needs across these Islands, the meeting that you have requested will come after other government business, based on my availability.”  

Ms Coe said she was “offended” by the wording used in the letter and told the Premier so on Tuesday.  

“You are blatantly wrong in making such a statement,” she wrote to the Premier’s office. “It is you, your government and the Dart group who have misled and misinformed the people of the Cayman Islands.”  

The combined activist groups submitted a petition to Governor Duncan Taylor in December asking him not to assent to the removal of the West Bay Road section near the old Marriott hotel. Mr. Taylor basically said all such decisions should be left to the local government, not the United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Mr. Bush’s office was contacted Tuesday about the activist groups’ press conference, but had not made an additional response by press time.  

The groups will be holding a public meeting later today [Thursday] in the empty lot across from the West Bay Fosters store. The gathering is set for 7.30pm.   

Henry and Alice

Henry Orman Morgan and Alice Mae Coe look at pictures of damage to West Bay Road from 2004’s Hurricane Ivan. – Photo: Brent Fuller


  1. The compass poll only showed 43% totally against the road closure. The way the poll was devised split the Yes vote.
    I believe the proposed 5 star hotel will be a great boost for the island and provide employment opportunities for locals.
    I think closure of a section of the road and construction of the bypass extension will calm traffic along west bay road which will benefit the tourism industry.
    It will be interesting if the Compass got feedback from existing business owners along SMB to get their opinion.
    As a West Bay resident I am glad the road is being re-routed inland so that we don’t get cut off every time there is a storm.

  2. First of all you people need to learn how to build a sentence and how to spell. I have no idea what you 2 guys are talking about. Make some sense please.

  3. This opposition group is trying to join up with the OMOV and Anti Boddentown Dump groups as the road closure is a different animal all together. People are in favor of developing this land and this is how it will happen. The majority are not against this road closure.

  4. Laying Down Bulldozers…Burning Down Parks….what are you people thinking! You have an island with so much potential here that has struggled in the last few years and its only hope for future success is a move forward with quality and sustainable developement. These types of arguments and oppositions are so disheartening to anyone who understands that this island is not going back to the old fishing village days and must move ahead in order to grow all the benefits Caymanian people currently enjoy!

  5. And don’t forget to get your Occupy Wall Street (Strikeout) Dart/Progress/Change of Any kind/Not my Politics t-shirt, caps and posters, from CNS.

    Editor’s note: For clarity, we have not been able to confirm whether any such items are actually for sale at Cayman News Service.

  6. change is not always a bad thing, Political leaders threatening to commit arson on the other hand is, should the police not investigate these comments?

    So people have to drive 40ft to the east and we get a nice cycling/walking track, an improved public beach and land for schools, even a park if the MLA doesn’t burn it down….it would seem to me as if some people have too much time on their hands or the wrong priorities, what about the crime on the island? is moving a road 40ft more important??

  7. You say protestors dont have any solutions to offer to the table… well here is my solution for government and stimulation of the economy:

    Stop looking out for the big shots like Dart and start looking out for small business owners. Lower import duties, permit fees, TB licenses,so that businesses and supermarkets can pull down their prices, maintain the running of their businesses, save, and create more jobs! Stop showing favors to single entities that are rich and cherishing the hopes that they will trickle down their wealth to bless everybody! Reduce the size of a bloated governemnt via privitization, creating public-private partnerships, and the selling of some government assets. Create a program where business must be required to contribute to the education of young Caymanians. Provide incentives to Business that hire a percentage of Caymanians and support the communmity in one shape or form. Stimulate the Bracs economy! Enforce more labor laws, protecting workers from cheaply being paid and being used by employers! These things is what I recommend. I am protesting too… maybe not the same things like the other protestors, but as a Caymanian I am not dumb, and I know what it is like to put all of your eggs in ones wealthy mans basket. There may be generous donations for a time, but my point is, you have put all of your eggs in this mans hands, and hence he can do whatever he likes with them, because you have not only sold your birthright but your economic autonomy to one man! You may not see the seriousness of this… but down the road, this is setting a bad precedent!

    Brand them all you like as destroyers of the economy, but some of them have valid arguments, they see more of a big picture than accumalating a little wealth for these islands. Instead of creating jobs, government should be focusing on creating more businesses. Unfortunately, they some how supporting a wealthy man that will create a monopoly in Cayman… then where will al those small business go when he starts fluctuating his own prices??? So condemn us, but time will tell. We have are reasons behind why we stand up to these deals. We are not against development! We are against he favoritism and the possible outcome that may befall us!


  8. I am curious, I have been reading about the opposition to the road closure and it seems to be that the good outweighs the bad. Is it mostly an emotional drivin opposition to this road move or is there something concrete that will as people say destroy the island if this road is moved further inland? From what I hear, the move will inject quite a bit of needed funds into the island, get a new road that the CIG cannot afford which will lessen the impact on traffic during the next storm, eliminate the dangers to local people and tourists trying to cross West Bay Road and create an additional and better developed Public beach. It seems that it will also open up the area for future high end development which could mean more jobs. The gripes I hear are that Dart will make money, Darts land value will increase or I wasn’t asked.
    Would people really prefer to have the road stay there instead of the having the boost to the economy based on these issues. I understand that the premier has been entertaining some rather radical ideas to boost the economy and a lot of people do not like it. But I have to ask where are all the alternatives or do people think this problem will solve itself.

  9. Panama_Jack – I too am not against having a brand new road, but please bear in mind the reason behind them wanting a to close down the old road for a new one, is to divert traffic to the proposed Dart hotel and to his Caymana Bay. It is using government to pave him a road to compete for customers and cut off the other businesses!

    It is obvious that the West Bay road closure for a new one really has nothing to do with alleviating traffic from West Bay. They could care less for the West Bay residents! It all has to do with PROFIT FOR DART and UDP getting re-elected! The party is about the party – not the people. In Bodden Town, two MLAs have decided not to even consult the people about the dump issue… this demonstrates that they are all about themselves and big shots! The new road has nothing to do with benefiting the already establisments that are along the Seven Mile Beach that will have their road closed off once the new road is paved!

    Just food for thought

  10. NJ2Cay – I noticed in your list of positives below on the Dart road closure deal, there is nothing in list that guarantees FOOD ON OUR TABLES!

    Yes, it will lessen the impact on traffic during the next storm, eliminate the dangers to local people and tourists trying to cross West Bay Road and create an additional and better developed Public beach. HELLO!!! WHAT ABOUT FOOD ON OUR TABLES! WHAT ABOUT BOOSTING OUR ECONOMY INSTEAD OF DARTS ECONOMY?!

    Are you suggesting that the economic boost will be the low-wage paying jobs that Dart is going to offer with his brand new hotel??? Right now, look into the newspapers and tell me if Dart pays low income people good wages? I don’t think so!

    NJ2Cay, there are many positives in your list, but not the right positives! PRIORITY: HOW ABOUT GOVERNMENT HELP THE ENTIRE BUSINESS COMMUNITY INSTEAD OF JUST THIS ONE MAN?!

  11. Bodden, that dart would have a road close to benefit himself and no one else is a bit rediculous! However, I do agree that the UDP ministers have given their allegiance to dart and certain elite individuals. They publicly support the dart alliance and have seem to put hope in them. Thats politics.

    P.S. It is better you oppose the waste management move to BT.

  12. I hope that some of the posters on this site get off-island occasionally and read/look at what goes on outside Cayman. These posts too often read like a caricature of an unreal community, and also, too often, don’t offer the possibility of a quiet, balanced, discussion. But maybe that’s unhappily true of most small communities?

  13. Allow me to join ranks with Bodden. Is anyone out there naive enough to believe that Dart is going to fix up the public beach for Caymanians? Wake up! He’s fixing it up for his expected upscale guests at his hotel! We Caymanians won’t even be able to access it or the so-called bike paths, etc. We will be totally blocked off if he closes the road.

    Furthermore, you cannot believe anything that the ForCayman Investment Alliance tells you. Didn’t they lie about the length of the road? Yes, they did. In fact, they’ve gone even farther by incorporating the road leading to Salt Creek. So, I ask you, who is fooling whom? One must read between the lines.

    Everything that Dart does is ultimately for his own benefit. He may throw us a bone just to make it look good. But don’t be fooled or placated by this. Look deeper. Then you will see what his true motivation really is.

    That road has been in place for over a hundred years. Suppose an accident was to happen on the proposed new road. Not having an alternative, how would people get to town? Anyone ever thought of that?

    The West Bay Road is our birthright and we will fight to keep it. Whatever it takes. Power to the people!

  14. Mamaus, Those are big accusations you’re making, basically what your saying is everything is an outright lie, so just to be clear you’re saying that the two public beaches as well as the Bike path will be inaccessible to Caymanians ? I don’t see how this will happen when all the other beaches on 7 mile beach have access paths for public use. And why build a bike path for only Hotel Visitors to use?

    One question, people said the same thing about Camana Bay. Are the amenities in Camana Bay not accessible to Caymanians? I do not see any Gates are the place or any No Caymanians Allowed signs.

    People need to realize that Dart Enterprises is a Business and all businesses look to make moves that make money. In this case in order for him to make money he has to inject a lot of money into Cayman, I think that beneficial.

    Here’s an Idea, why don’t the rich Caymanian families along with the concerned citizens of Cayman, put together their own Not for Profit Save Cayman Group and come up with Investments and Ideas that will help stabilize the economy and put people back to work. Then maybe the government will not need to look to people like dart for help.

    If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem…

  15. In a democracy it is majority which rules. The OMOV has proven to enjoy such large numbers as to merit a public vote. Let the road closure stand on it own merit, forget the dump issue and the vote issue. The question is, Does the majority of voters support the road closure? If the activists felt confident they enjoyed a majority they would stand on their own.

  16. NJ2Cay, like Mamaus was saying, I think the fact that the Dart group would LIE or GIVE A WAY OFF INACCURATE FIGURE about the length of the road, is a RED FLAG that there could possibly be other things that they are not disclosing.

    A question for you: Do you personally know Dart or the Dart group to be a trustworthy and reliable group or entity? Or, are you going to endorse him, forget the mishaps because of all the goodies proposed? How far will you go on the limb to support the Dart group???

  17. Bodden, It’s not that I support Dart, I do not know the man. I just haven’t been convinced that this is a bad thing for Cayman not that it matters to anyone because I am not Caymanian . However I have gotten accustomed to seeing a certain group of people opposing everything that comes up. What you refer to as goodie’s, I thought were things that Cayman needed but didn’t have the money for. The complaints I hear such as if there’s an accident that closes the new road traffic will be blocked, isn’t that the same as the current situation with West Bay Road?. And then there the issue of Dart making money and increased property value, Why else would he do it, he’s a businessman. Even the dump thing, I actually understand the folks of BT not wanting it there, but what I don’t understand is with all the people saying it should be taken care of in GT, what I don’t hear is how they propose the CIG pay for it. The Dart deal handles a notional issue at no cost to the Caymanian people and the CIG cannot borrow the money to do it, what he get ‘s is a better view. It sounds to me that without Dart’s offer it would just stay there and get bigger.

    Without things like this Cayman would have to start Direct Taxation of its residents to survive, how would that sit ?

  18. TO NJ2CAY:

    FYI, I was referring to the beach closest to the Courtyard Marriott. No mention has been made as to how Caymanians would access that beach after it’s blocked off. Where would we park our cars? We certainly could not just drive up, as we do now. It will not be that easy to reach it; intentionally so, we believe.

    If there is an accident on the West Bay Road now, we can always use the Bypass. But if you take away the West Bay Road, we have no remedy.

    Dart is not our salvation; he is not our only hope. Don’t you see what’s happening? Or maybe you don’t. The country is in a weak financial position. Mr. Moneybags Dart steps in and offers to fix everything. The only problem is, he wants us to sell our soul, basically. Much like a deal with the devil, which we will regret in time to come if we lose that road. Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever.

    Not being Caymanian, I would not expect you to see nor understand things the way we do. If you notice, that contested stretch of road is the only part of West Bay Road that Caymanians have to view the sea and the shoreline. All the rest of West Bay Road is occupied by hotels and condominiums. Our view of the sea is restricted. Good God, we live on an island and that is the only part of it we can see as we drive along. Now Moneybags Dart wants to take that, to. We must stand up for what is ours, for what has been ours for years and years.

    Do you fault us for that?

  19. Mamus,

    I hear exactly what you’re saying. I don’t agree with the part about it being the last stretch of road where you can view the sea, unless you only mean in the Seven Mile Beach Area. Because I see plenty of water heading down Seaview Road. As far as parking, From what I’ve read there is supposed to be designated public parking lots created for both public beaches as well as access roads down from Esterly Tibbitts highway where people will be able to park and walk to the beach, but it doesn’t seem like people will be able to pull up and park on the beach any longer. I’ve been down there plenty of days and saw cars lined up parked up in the sand, which I never really thought was a good idea. It definitely does sound like it will change quite a bit, but I just don’t think all will be lost as some folks describe it. That Island feel of Seven Mile Beach was gone a long ago if anything it’s more like Miami.

    No one ever described Dart as being Caymans Salvation, but the investments he’s making are highly needed and I doesn’t sound to me like Cayman will be selling its soul or making a Deal with the Devil, unlike the CHEC deal, which by the way I despise, Cayman will owe him nothing and in order for him to make money he will have to keep pumping money into Cayman which will leave him with a vested interest in seeing things turn around.

    I do not fault you or anyone, I know I am just an outsider looking in.. But the one obvious thing I see, is that without deals like this the Government will have no choice but to start Directly Taxing people in order to Survive, which is what the UK has been pushing for, for the longest hence why they won’t allow Cayman to borrow any more money. I think at this point Caymanians have two choices, give up some of the things you’re used to or start paying to keep them.

  20. NJ2Cay – And so then because the UK in 2009 under Gordon Brown says that they intend to Direct Tax (DT) us if we dont balance the books within a given time, means we must rush and crame every project there is?!

    Tell me, under the Tories and hung parliament have you ever heard them pressing us about DT? No… instead they say their going to work with us. They are more negotiable than their predecessor.

    I think you are stretching the fear of DT too much! I would rather have a free and fair market in the Cayman Islands with a DT, than have a few monopolies pulling the strings of everybody and controlling our market and hence a detriment to our environment.

  21. TO: NJ2CAY

    Thanks for your reply. I was referring to the Seven Mile Beach area.

    Yes, you are right. Seven Mile Beach has lost that island feel, partly because our leaders have allowed the building height to extend to 7 stories, and now the new Watercolors building was given permission to rise up to 10 stories, I believe. It looks more and more like a concrete jungle. As I drive along West Bay Road, I realize more and more how much we’ve lost.

    There are many things the government can do to avoid direct taxation. But we believe that too much reliance has been placed on Mr. Dart. Are you aware of just how much of Cayman that man has bought up?

    Go down to Lands Survey and look up all the land holdings Mr. Dart has. It’s really scary once you have the total picture. No one person or entity should be allowed to own that much of a country. Unfortunately, the political will to stop this is not there. But we are afraid that if this keeps up, very soon Mr. Dart will own all of Cayman, or enough of it to make things go his way. His motives are not altruistic, trust me.

    By the way, why don’t you google Kenneth Dart and do some research on his background, as we have done. Then you’ll see what we’re talking about.


  22. You might be right Bodden, coming from the US I guess I have an extra sensitive side when it comes to Direct Taxation. Giving up 30-40 percent of my income every year makes me feel that it’s the worst of all evils and I always feel ripped off. Which is why I don’t blame Dart for kicking them to the curb.

  23. Yes, please Google Ken Dart and tell me what he’s done that Citibank, JP Morgan Chase, and Bank of America have not done. Buying debt. Just because he’s rich enough to invest where multinationals banks operate doesn’t make him the devil. It’s amusing that half those complaining about Ken Dart will seek to make money when he builds these infrastructure projects and the others will ask for a myriad of donations from the Dart Group for any number of causes. The class and political warfare promoted on these Islands against not born here Caymanians is a pathetic pandering tool.

  24. Hi Mamus, If you Google Ken Dart or his family name you’ll get a lot on info but nothing that would make me think he’s out to destroy Cayman as people try to make it look. I wouldn’t expect the US to have anything good to say about him, because they feel that the money he’s invested into Cayman should have went into their pockets. Hence the hate remarks from Bill Clinton. And as far the write ups about Argentina, My take on it is if you loan someone money you expect them to pay it back, no different than if you go to a bank and get money to buy a house, they expect you to pay it back. If you default it is not their fault. The one big difference her is that what he’s offering Cayman will not cost them any money up front nor will it leave them owing him money. I don’t see how that’s a bad deal.

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