Sea captains gain court victory

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Cayman
Islands Chief Justice Anthony Smellie ruled to protect several boat captains’
rights to continue using a piece of land in SafeHaven for their boats and
businesses.

The chief
justice Wednesday extended a previous court-ordered injunction that preserves
the status quo with regard to use of certain SafeHaven land and ordered that
the matter go to trial.

The
proceedings centre around a piece of land in the Safe Haven area that the
captains claim they have used as a docking and loading area for more than 20
years. The land is owned by the Port Authority of the Cayman Islands and is
being leased to the Dragon Bay Development to be developed into a new marina.

The
captains previously won a temporary injunction against any further work on the
site that would impede access and infringe on their business operations. This
was done primarily so the integrity of the site would remain fundamentally
unchanged before the Chief Justice returned his decision about whether the
matter would go to trial.

In his
decision, Justice Smellie said that part of his consideration was that measures
had to be taken to preserve the site. He added that it was evident that the
boat operators have carried on business interests that generate substantial
funds on the land. He said the boat operators felt their rights were being sold
away and are concerned about the developer’s aims and objectives.

“I am
satisfied that the balance of convenience is with the plaintiffs and grant the
interlocutory injunction until trial,” said Justice Smellie. The ruling means
that the developers of the site can do no more work that will lead to
fundamental changes to the integrity of the area until the end of the trial.

Justice Smellie
invited both sides to look at mediation options.

 

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An eviction notice that was posted at the SafeHaven site last month.
Photo: File

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