I write as a follow up to Mr. Richard Arch’s letter to the editor of 29 May and enclose an aerial photo, taken about 1960, of the then recently completed road stretching from what is now the Wharf toward the Beach Club, (which is on the lower right corner of the picture) showing how completely undeveloped Cayman was at that time.
According to the Cayman Islands Report for the years 1961 to 1965, the government in 1959 borrowed 60,000 pounds for road construction. The annual government revenue for 1960 was only 231,000 pounds, which meant borrowing the equivalent of 26 per cent of the annual budget for just 1 project,
Had there been an organisation around at that time that was willing to invest huge amounts of money, no doubt the relocated road would have been built all the way to West Bay. Had that happened, The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman and other developments would not have been built so close to the sea.
One big difference between what happened then and now is that, as you can see from the picture, there was no proper public access areas left from the road to the beach. As I understand it, under the Dart Corporation scheme, proper access is being provided to the public beach, as well as an additional 60-foot public access area further north joined by a cycle and foot path.
Much as many think they would like to return to those bygone days in Cayman with a population of less then 8,000, it would only be if they had today’s creature comforts. Could they stand the mosquitos; no air conditioned houses or cars; three or four flights off island per week; supply ships coming irregularly sometimes weeks apart, no Foster’s, Kirk’s or Hurley’s?
It is a simple fact that for us to continue to enjoy the standard of living to which we have become so accustomed, there has to be continued growth across the entire business community.
As Mr Arch asked, “What will we or our children say in 20 to 30 years when that area is visited? Is it wise to relocate the road? My guess is yes.”
I agree with him.
Neil A J Cruickshank