Dart: Gov’t tried ‘last minute changes’

Negotiations over a third set of amendments to the National Roads Authority agreement between government and Dart Realty [Cayman] Ltd. “broke down” when government tried to make “yet more last minute changes” to what had already been agreed a month before, Dart Realty officials said late Friday.

The statement came within minutes of the release on Friday night of reams of documents detailing a value for money assessment on the initial National Roads Authority agreement and subsequent amendments to it.

The NRA agreement has, among other things, dictated the terms of the West Bay Road closure in the Seven Mile Public Beach area and the extension of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway into West Bay.

However, those issues are not holding up matters. In fact, the break down of talks between government and Dart officials apparently had to do with a series of concessions offered to Dart Realty for the construction of a hotel on the site of the old Courtyard Marriott along West Bay Road.

According to Tourism Minister Cline Glidden Jr., Dart and government were about $16 million apart on talks over the hotel tax breaks and couldn’t seem to make up the difference. Those tax breaks, or concessions, were contained within the third amendment to the National Road Authority agreement.

However, Dart Realty Chief Operating Officer Jackie Doak said late Friday that government and her company had actually agreed to a version of the third amendment of the NRA deal in April after “several months of negotiations”.

“But that was then taken off the table by the current Cabinet, seeking yet more last minute changes, at which point negotiations broke down,” Mrs. Doak said.

The value for money assessment, performed by international accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, states that the development of a new hotel in the Seven Mile Beach area – including the closure of a section of West Bay Road – along with the extension of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway into West Bay, does provide value for money for the Cayman Islands government.

Economic benefits for the first hotel development on the site of the old Marriott were calculated at $755 million over 20 years.

However, some of the concessions being offered by government for the National Roads Authority agreement did cause PwC accountants some concern, which were reported in recommendations to government.

For clarity, the only section of the agreement where talks have broken down involves the third amendment, which – among other things – seeks the widening of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway at its southern end in George Town, and grants of land in Barkers and Smith Cove to government.

Dart Realty said it would continue to fulfill its obligations under the original NRA agreement, which currently includes work on the Public Beach park, completion of the Esterley extension to Batabano and continued design, demolition and construction work on the hotel which began in September 2011.

Please see much more on this story in Monday’s editions of the Caymanian Compass…

 

0
0

4 COMMENTS

  1. Does this really surprise anyone, they have been trying to suck everything out of this deal that they can after. I can’t wait to see how the next government handle this.

    0

    0
  2. It was a good attempt – Rolston, Cline, Julianna, Mark, and Dwayne; the PNA Alliance. If this was UDP, I am certain McKeeva would have sold out more of our lands for the third amendment to be granted. What a mess he would have put the country in. Did you see the drafted deal he was going to make with the Chinese… who knows, if McKeeva was still in, what sort of deal he would have made with Dart behind our backs.

    Again, well done PNA team. You could salvage back Smith Cove, but at least it was a noble attempt.

    0

    0
  3. Sir Turtle, the fat lady has stopped singing and have returned on stage for a second bow. I see signs of readying the white flag with statements such as the original deal still being value for money.

    Signing an agreement and then conducting the value for money assessment was like putting the cart before the horse. The courts has already set a precedence, by failing to hear arguments re. the closing of west bay road, Submission not timely they said. Still Secondary Modern school VS Harvard at play here. Too late the hero if your leader left you in the middle of a minefield.

    0

    0
  4. One thing I can say about this whole thing is that Dart doesn’t actually need the stuff he’s asking for he just wants it. On the other hand the infrastructure upgrades Cayman is asking for are highly needed and Cayman has no way to pay for them and most likely will not for Generations to come. So if this deal falls through who will actually be hurt the most. People are always saying that Dart is no savoir to Cayman but that he just a businessman looking out for his own bottom line. This is true so way is it that people think it’s unusual that they want to make money. You can’t get something for nothing, no one is going to invest so much without expecting to make a profit…

    0

    0

Comments are closed.