McLaughlin: Re-open WB Road

The Cayman Islands government’s Opposition Leader Alden McLaughlin said he wants to chat with the Dart group about reopening the strip of West Bay Road that was closed in mid-March. 

Swapping that section of beachfront road in exchange for the new Esterley Tibbetts Highway extension defeated the objective of having two ways in and out of the district of West Bay in times of emergency, Mr. McLaughlin said Tuesday during a Chamber of Commerce forum for George Town candidates at the South Sound Community Centre. 

 

Dart road  

Mr. McLaughlin, a People’s Progressive Movement candidate, said the road and Dart’s planned hotel on the site of the former Courtyard Marriott don’t have to be mutually exclusive. 

“It can be done and accommodate what Dart is doing by slowing the traffic down, say to 15 miles per hour, as it passes through that particular development. Those sorts of things are done in many places around the world,” Mr. McLaughlin said. “Most people are not going to use it unless they absolutely have to.” 

Jude Scott, an independent candidate endorsed by political advocacy group Coalition for Cayman, said public officials mucked up the ForCayman Investment Alliance negotiations with Dart. 

“Our government failed us,” he said. 

Mr. Scott said major public private partnerships should have a due process, assess value for money, have tangible and sustainable benefits to the country and be conducted with appropriate transparency. “We really can’t tick any of those boxes on this deal,” he said, adding that the fault lies with government, not the private developer. 

He said at this point officials should try to negotiate having emergency vehicle access over the closed strip of West Bay Road, just in case. 

 

Double-dipping  

Independent candidate Stefan Baraud and PPM candidate Lucille Seymour participated in the forum along with Mr. McLaughlin and Mr. Scott. 

In response to a question about government debt, Mr. Baraud said it’s difficult to see how government can address its serious financial problems without election officials leading the way on responsible and ethical use of funds. 

“How can we address these types of matters when we see our elected representatives in the House double-dipping, taking pensions while they are getting paid. Where is the example in that?” he said. “How are they going to address it when they’re doing things of that nature?” 

Mr. McLaughlin said the amount government spends on debt financing is not the greatest concern, and neither is the $261 million bullet loan due in 2019, which he said government will simply have to refinance. He said the real concern is unfunded healthcare and pension liabilities of an unknown amount. 

Meanwhile, Mr. Scott said government debt is another form of wasteful spending. 

 

Lawyers bill  

The proposed Legal Practitioners Bill, amid other sweeping changes, seeks to regulate the practice of Cayman law from overseas offices. Ms Seymour said the legislation should accommodate overseas and local attorneys. 

“The Cayman Islands really needs to have the business overseas, but at the same time we need to regularise our own homefront to ensure that our local lawyers have their piece of the pie, especially the newly trained ones,” Ms Seymour said. 

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11 COMMENTS

  1. Swapping that section of beachfront road in exchange for the new Esterley Tibbetts Highway extension defeated the objective of having two ways in and out of the district of West Bay in times of emergency, Mr. McLaughlin said Tuesday during a Chamber of Commerce forum for George Town candidates at the South Sound Community Centre.

    Duuhhh !!

    What a pathetic, useless lot these so-called politicians in Cayman are !

    And that’s just putting it mildly; a few more choice, unprintable adjectives might be more appropriate in describing them.

    As the opposition PPM parlimentary leader, its taken Alden McLaughlin this long to have any say in opposing this road closure, when the LA was and would have been the appropriate place to voice his, his party’s and his constitutients opposition to this ‘beachfront swap’ deal with Dart.

    But now that there is political mileage to be gained, he’s jumping on the ‘opposition-to-the-WB Road-closure’ bandwagon ?!

    Cayman’s voters need to remember one little thing…

    You get the leadership you deserve !

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  2. He is vote seeking with these comments, he knows good and well that the road will not get reopened. Anyone can say they will chat about it with Dart just to get people to vote for them but they know it will not happen. The reason for this whole thing is because every other hotel on that site failed and the only reason Dart is doing this is to change the product a hotel on that site will offer. This mess needs to be stopped and anyone who believes he actually thinks it will happen should take off those rosy colored glasses.

    I also find it confusing when someone says that the 261 Million dollar loan due in 2019 is not of great concern when it will simply have to be refinanced. If this is so simple why hasn’t or isn’t it being done now when interest rates are at an all-time low. And I would also think that the intention would be to get it paid off so it’s not hanging over Caymans head for the next generation to pay instead of just dragging it out longer while paying millions every year in interest and barely effecting the principle.

    Unfunded Heathcare, OK. There obvious answer to that is to STOP GIVING IT AWAY FOR FREE!!!!!!!!! The Civil Service is already a huge drain on Caymans economy because of the sheer overblown size of it and free medical insurance just pours salt into that already seriously bleeding wound.

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  3. Mr McLaughlin, please get over it. The road is being completed, it looks good, and the Beach planned by Dart is going to be the best in the world. Sorry I cannot agree with your suggestions and thoughts on this. Stop fooling the people. The Government is talking about watching persons for bribery on election day. Will someone tell me what is this. Why would you make these request knowing fully well that it is not going to happen. Get over it, and tell George Town what you have done in 8 years, and what you can do in four years if your seat is returned. I keep saying what have you people been doing beside objecting to progress and cause thousands of Caymanians to be un employed. Get over it. It is a done deal and a good one. Move on to the next chapter and stop dragging the West Bay road on your campaign trail.

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  4. If the PPM faithful have confidence listening to their leader talk about reopening West Bay Road and an almost 300 million debt in the future being no big deal then they should reexamine their political affiliation.
    His comments offer me no confidence in his PPM leadership, call them what you may.

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  5. Alden,

    The road is perfect as it is right now. There is no traffic whatsoever anytime of day or night. There will be multiple exits and entrances into West Bay eventually. The only way it could get blocked is if something happened between Public beach and Salt Creek roundabout that completely blocks both sides of the road, which is now highly unlikely as the road has been set back from the beach.

    In the event that one side of the road is blocked, I agree it would be wise to place at least two breaks in the median to allow northbound traffic to pass over to the southbound lane and vice versa in case one gets blocked. The diversion would only be temporary to allow emergency crews to clear the blockage and attend to any injured.

    Please abandon your crusade against the new road and Dart, they have helped many Caymanians only to have dirt heaved upon them and to be demonized by politicians looking a vote. They are the ones taking a risk building those hotels, yes for their gain, but if Dart wins Cayman wins also. The farmers wins, the water sport companies wins, the tour company wins, the restaurants wins, almost every commercial sector in Cayman wins. Why can’t people see that. Why do you want Cayman to stagnate and die off?

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  6. Alden,

    you really made my Friday morning! Joke of the day! There is still access to any part of WBR that you need to get to. I work in Camana Bay and can go have a chat with Dart about re-opening WBR also. Will it be done? You and I both know, that will not happen. So stop lying to the people for votes! Every one that objected against the road closure might believe you, but please stop playing with these poor ignorant people’s emotions.

    Concerned young Caymanian

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  7. unbelievable, you couldn’t make it up….if Alden thought voters preferred yellow pigs and a free trip to the moon for cheese he be promising that tomorrow. It is a sad state of affairs that this man believes the voters to be so dumb they would think he would even attempt to open the road if he got elected let alone actually be able to. The only way possible would be to gazette the road, which would mean compensating Dart to the tune of hundreds of millions and this gazette would have to be signed by the governor……..I would be delighted to take any bets and pay odds of a thousand to one on any bets that West Bay Road re-opens!

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  8. What nonsense Alden!
    Did we have 2 roads before the bypass? The new bypass is the best road in Cayman, four lanes centrally located that are high and dry. Before is was a 2 lane strip on the beach. He’s just looking to pick up a few votes from the Dart bashers the same way he’s trying to get votes in Bodden Town by opposing the dump closure.
    With the billions of dollars Dart is investing in Cayman, I doubt he will see a dime of profit in his lifetime. Maybe these anti-Dart people should think about that the next time they oppose one of his projects.

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  9. Panama_Jack – I agree that is probably simply politicking to suggest that the WB Road may be re-opened but I don’t see where Mr. McLaughlin is quoted as saying that 261 million bullet loan due in 2019 is ‘no big deal’. According to the article he said it is not our biggest problem. And he’s right; it is a serious issue but it can be addressed far easier than unfunded pension and healthcare liabilities. It’s fine to take the politicians to task for what they say but let’s keep it factual.

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