Update, Monday, 27 August: Several boat operators remained at the SafeHaven berthing
site Monday morning where no-entry and construction-site signs have been
erected on the recently installed gate at the entrance of the site and a
security guard is now on site. The boat owners said they were awaiting legal advice, which
they expected to receive this week, before deciding if they would vacate the
Earlier story: The Port Authority has ordered the remaining boat operators at Safehaven dock to vacate the property by 5pm today, Friday, 24 August.
According to a statement released to the media by the Port Authority Friday morning, the boat operators must leave the site and can avail of two interim berthing sites which have been set up nearby.
Earlier this month, Dragon Bay developer Michael Ryan issued an eviction notice to the boat owners, initially giving them until 13 August to leave and then extending the deadline until 20 August. While some of the boat owners have moved to the interim sites, others have refused to leave.
Citing the agreement signed in January 2009 between the Governor of the Cayman Islands, the Port Authority, Fujigmo, and the owner of the leasehold on the adjoining Ritz Carlton development, Cesar Hotelco (Cayman) Ltd., which is in liquidation, the Port Authority said the site had been reconfigured to create a new parcel upon which Dragon Bay, which the Authority said had been formerly known as Fujigmo, was obligated to construct the new Port Authority marina.
Until Friday, the Port Authority had been silent on the issue of the operators vacating the site. The boat owners said they had received no communication from the Port Authority in relation to their eviction from the site at which several operators have been based for 20 years or more.
Dave Kelly, an owner of Kelly’s Watersports, one of the operators who remained at the site Friday, said he and the other operators had received no notification to move from the Port Authority.
“Not a soul has said anything to us. We haven’t heard a word from the Port Authority on this,” he said lunchtime Friday.
Mr. Ryan has issued berthing licences to the water sports operators, which guarantees their continual occupation of the interim sites until the marina is completed.
The Port Authority statement read: “A number of operators have now accepted the berthing licences from DBL [Dragon Bay Limited] and have moved their respective vessels to the either the first or second interim sites. The Authority is grateful to those operators who have done so and understands that there remains sufficient space for any remaining vessels at either of the interim sites.”
It continued: “The Authority believes that the current arrangements address the perceived concerns of those water sports operators who believe they may be negatively affected by the construction of the proposed marina, after having explored the legally remaining options with DBL. The Authority believes that all reasonable concerns have now been dealt with.”
Work on the marina has already begun, with heavy machinery beginning excavation of the property.
The Port Authority statement said demolition work to excavate the marina basin was scheduled to begin “imminently” and that the continued presence of the remaining vessels at the site was resulting in “considerable delay to the further progress of the proposed marina”
It also expressed concerns about the safety of the public, including tourists who are being loaded and unloaded at “what is becoming a hazardous construction site”.
If the boat operators refuse to move, the Port Authority would consider “all remedies available to it, including regulatory action and/or the commencement of legal proceedings, without further notice”.
The Authority said it was “disappointed that it has been forced into this undesirable position, to the potential detriment of many longstanding professional relationships, and asks that those parties who, inadvertently or otherwise, are causing or contributing to any purposeful delay in the construction of the proposed marina immediately desist from those actions”.