No meetings between new gov’t, Dart

Dart-Government-Cayman-Islands-Meet

In the seven weeks since the general election, the ruling People’s Progressive Movement-led government had not met with the Dart Group, the country’s biggest developer, despite uncertainties around the ForCayman Investment Alliance forged between the previous United Democratic Party government and Dart. 

The lack of a single tête-à-tête was confirmed last week by Dart, which had officially announced that its new Seven Mile Beach resort will be branded as a Kimpton hotel. 

Meeting soon come?  

“We’ve invited government to discuss our progress on a number of different projects, and we are looking forward to meeting with them in the near future,” Dart Realty 
spokeswoman Melissa Ladley said. 

On Wednesday, the Caymanian Compass emailed Cayman Islands Premier Alden McLaughlin asking him why the new government had not met with Dart, if there had been other types of discussion, or if there is a meeting planned in the near future. As of press time Sunday, Mr. McLaughlin had not responded to Compass requests for comment. 

On Thursday, Dart Realty spokeswoman Connie Buchanan said, “We will be meeting with government to discuss our progress on various projects, including the NRA agreement.” 

Former Premier McKeeva Bush, now opposition leader, said he awaits the outcome of such a meeting between government and Dart. 

“Certainly for the sake of improvements in our economy, those matters need to be resolved quickly. The country needs those developments now. The economy is getting worse and more and more people are hurting,” Mr. Bush wrote in an email. 

Yes to road, no landfill  

With a price tag of US$170 million, the new 10-storey Kimpton will be located on the site of the former Courtyard Marriott, which had stood vacant since Hurricane Paloma struck in late 2008. The redevelopment project was facilitated by a portion of the alliance called the “National Roads Authority Agreement” that involves the closure of an adjacent stretch of West Bay Road and extension of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway into West Bay. 

Ms Ladley said the final phase of the new highway is on track to open in mid-to-late July, once Caribbean Utilities Company lighting is complete and the National Roads Authority has finalised its safety audits. 

The National Roads Authority agreement was signed and subsequently amended two times. Dart withdrew from further negotiations with government in May without finalising a third amendment. 

Other aspects of the alliance involve the closure and remediation of the existing George Town landfill and opening of a new waste management facility in between Bodden Town and Breakers. That portion of negotiations did not result in a final signed agreement.  

During the new Cabinet’s first press briefing in early June, government minister and Bodden Town representative Osbourne Bodden said definitively that his district would not host a new landfill. 

He said, “We’re going to sit and talk to all the stakeholders … but I can say it’s not going in Bodden Town.” 

Camana Bay  

Dart’s interests align with closing and remediating the George Town landfill, which is immediately south of Camana Bay. The landfill closure would allow Dart to expand the residential component of its mixed-use development. 

In the meantime, Dart is busy working on a new four-storey commercial building at 18 Forum Lane in Camana Bay. The foundation work for the 85,000-square-foot commercial building (with retail on the ground floor and offices on the three upper floors) started last week. Construction is scheduled to take about 18 months. 

Reports by PricewaterhouseCoopers on the National Roads Authority agreement refer to other potential new hotels to be developed by Dart. However, the agreement does not require Dart to build anything other than its current hotel development. 

“Our focus is on the Kimpton project before turning attention to any other resort developments,” Ms Ladley said. 

Dart-Government-Cayman-Islands-Meet-Story

Cabinet Minister Osbourne Bodden on the George Town landfill: “We’re going to sit and talk to all the stakeholders … but I can say it’s not going in Bodden Town.” The above photo was taken from a helicopter two weeks ago.
Photo: Chris Court
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10 COMMENTS

  1. I don’t think the new kids on the block want to meet with Dart because if they do it will kind of be like mud in their face after all the bashing these did against all the FCIA deals. They have already promised that the Dump isn’t going to BT and quite a bit of them were only elected because of these types of promises, so if they end up agreeing with it will be the same political suicide that ended the careers as their predecessors and due to this the GT dump will stay where it is as a growing cancer in the Caymanian landscape.

    Let see how soon we here of all the other options they said existed.

    Dart for one is just moving along with Business as usual and it doesn’t really seem like they actually needs any of this so I’m sure they’re not really sweating it..

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  2. @ Michael,

    All very true. I think their whole plan was to go to the UK and say, we are not McKeeva, can we have some money? Now that is not happening, seems like they are fresh out of ideas.

    What will likely happen is that they will say, we tried to get some money to fulfill our campaign promises but the UK turned us down, we will just sit on our thumbs and ride on the coat tails of the previous administration and the projects they backed.

    Shetty Hospital…..Check
    New Highway………Check
    New Hotel………..Check

    Believe me, the backing out of the waste management facility will be the millstone around their collective necks, the biggest thing they could have done but didn’t just because they needed something to rally the people against to get elected.

    This is how polarizing politics in Cayman is. Once you make a public stance, they will not budge even if its for the good of Cayman, they will not change their position because that is usually political suicide.

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  3. If this photo is a view of the GT dump, it looks disgusting. In the same breath I must congratulate Dart on his new proposed project the Kimpton Hotel
    Many occasions I would always hear old people say these words Dey nuh want notin good fe dem self and I would always wonder what were they talking about. Well it took some time to realize what it really meant.
    I am not here to tell the Government how to run things, but as a citizen and a voter of this Island I feel justified in giving my opinion. I truly think that some serious consideration need to be given on discussions with the Dart foundation paving a way so they both can move forward for a better Cayman. Any man who can tear down millions in one day and spend 170, million the next day on one project, where money is concerned, we can’t touch him. We have heard the call of many governments and they all have made some statements; some positive and some negative however; again I would always hear these words Don’t burn your bridge, because we may have to cross it again So as people, we need to be cautious about promises we make and bridges we burn. Where the GT dump is concerned, frankly speaking something has to be done, it is too disgusting, and I do hope we can sit down and have sensible agreements to solve this problem, instead of everyone just saying not in my back yard.

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  4. Are those used tyres in the photo?

    If they are you’re sitting on a timebomb. When (and this is not a case of if) they catch fire the only option is let the blaze burn itself out, you won’t put it out, and that might take weeks.

    Ever seen a car tyre burning? It is nasty.

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  5. All those tires can be recycled into many different things from Rubber landscaping Mulch which is sold at most home centers in the US to Roofing Shingles. Every government that let this situation go by untapped needs to be really ashamed of themselves and when disaster strikes they will all share in the blame. This should be treated as a clear and present danger to Caymans health and wellbeing. The government should not even consider embarking on any other projects until this situation is handled. They squashed the Dart offer or the BT Waste Facility promising that other feasible options exist that Cayman could afford and would not cost the public purse. I think that before anything else they need to share the details of these options with the public and get moving on them. So far all that has been said is it’s not going to BT, OK fine so what’s going to be done about it..

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  6. If government had followed the point by the UK to initiate a logical payroll tax we would have the revenue necessary for government to maintain these public projects. Failing the tax option, and the universal recognized process of financing such a large project, Loans, Cayman has looked to Dart for the age old process of barter.. The problem many has recognized, is that our officials are not very good at barter. For goodness sake, the bank will not think of lending you money for a piece of land without a proper appraisal..

    So far the government has started the correct process for the Cruse ship piers. They will just have to work out the correct processes for the landfill in due time; which I still believe the most logical approach is a waste to energy plant.

    One of the most productive uses of used tires forms an ingredient for road paving.

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  7. I had to laugh when I read the CNS take on this, as the PPM’s personal news service they certainly do their best to sway public opinion to suite their own agendas. Funny how Alden says they have been in talks when Dart says they haven’t. I can never find even a since of reliability in anything they print. I like to read the facts and come to my own conclusions not have them distorted to suite personal and political agenda.

    Thanks for your integrity in just bringing the facts and reporting the news Compass.

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  8. @ Michael Davis you hit the nail on the head. It is so obvious that CNS is a very biased news source and do tell fibs at times. You just have to pick out the sense from non sense.

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