Questions about dump remain

An open letter to Jackie Doak, Mark VanDevelde and Dart Realty (Cayman) Ltd.

On November 15th, the Legislative Assembly adopted the Public Management and Finance bill submitted by your government, which transposed into law the Framework for Fiscal Responsibility. According to the FFR, all major public projects and divestitures of public assets must be submitted to public tender.

An example of the impact of this new requirement is the cruise berthing project for the George Town port, which now can only proceed subject to due process and public tender. Had it not been for the FFR and the intervention of the UK’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office, as has just been revealed at the Chamber Forum, a secret agreement between government and China Harbour Engineering Company would have been signed and sealed behind our backs.

The FFR impacts, as well, several components of the agreement between Government and DRCL – the so-called “ForCayman Investment Alliance” deal – which have not been tendered. These include the plan to close the George Town landfill and establish a new one in Midland Acres; and “swapping” the Crown land on which the GT landfill is located.

In the interest of good corporate citizenship, an informed public, transparency, and the rule of law, we respectfully ask how DRCL, as the key partner in the FCIA, plans to make the terms of the FCIA agreement legally compliant with the FFR?

The spirit of the FFR is to ensure our country of good governance of the public finances, fiscal responsibility and best value for money; and that public procurement is undertaken in a transparent and competitive manner. The FFR is intended to ensure that all major public development projects are done openly and properly – not secretly behind the people’s back – subject to due process and public scrutiny, and in compliance with international best practice on procurement.

In his letter to Premier Bush of November 2nd last, Minister Mark Simmonds of the FCO, a major force behind adoption of the FFR, wrote of the “serious risks” involved “…from not following the proper procurement processes which have been clearly set out to you by the Chair of the Central Tenders Committee and the Auditor General.” In regards to the continuing absence of such procedures, Minister Simmonds wrote that he is “…now becoming very concerned about the damage this may be causing to the reputation of the Cayman Islands.”

Respecting due process and the spirit of the FFR would help prevent suspicion, conflicts of interest, confrontation with the UK, and potential accusations of corruption.

Respecting the goals and guidelines of the FFR would help ensure that our country makes the right decisions. As such, not only is compliance of the FCIA deal with the FFR a legal requirement, but it’s clearly in the best interests of our country.

We anxiously await your response to our question.

Alain Beiner

For the Coordinating Committee Coalition to Keep BT Dump Free

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