West Bay Road hearing set for judge’s chambers

 

A Tuesday-morning Grand Court hearing in the chambers of Justice Alexander Henderson will set the course for further action regarding persistent efforts to reinstate sections of West Bay Road near Public Beach. 

The session is among the final legal roadblocks to Dart Realty’s reconstruction of 4,000 feet of West Bay Road; creation of new recreational facilities, parks and paths in the area; and construction of the new Kimpton Hotel, replacing the old Marriott Courtyard. 

Scheduled for 9.30am, the private hearing will address arguments from Mourant Ozannes attorneys representing the governor, the attorney general, the National Roads Authority and the minister with responsibility for roads; and Irvin Banks, representing West Bay petitioners Alice Mae Coe, Annie Multon, Ezmie Smith and Betty Ebanks. 

The writ, filed in late February, challenges the Cayman Islands government and its December 2011 National Roads Authority Agreement on constitutional grounds, claiming the decision to close the road in Grand Cayman failed to comply with the Crown Lands Law, to demonstrate value for money and that defendants had not been procedurally fair in agreeing to the closure, abdicating “their statutory and constitutional duty in doing so”, breaching sections 18 and 31 of the Constitution. 

Mr. Banks said the “case-management” hearing would determine efforts by Mourant lawyers to “strike out” the February writ, delaying it another four months while avoiding the need to provide a defence to the allegations. 

“We are saying the decision was wrong, was done illegally,” Mr. Banks said. “We have a Constitution, though. It’s new, but people don’t seem to understand. Attacks on it are increasing. No one really seems to understand, but it is here to stay.” 

The practical effect, however, was more difficult to pinpoint, he said, although the road, “in actual fact, is still standing there”. If the court were ultimately to find in the plaintiffs’ favour, “there would be a lot of people with egg on their faces”, Mr. Banks said. 

Ms Coe declined to comment, on the hearing, although the views of her Concerned Citizens Group have been documented previously. The collective hopes it might stop the remaining sections of the road from being “commandeered” by Dart and that the section of road serving the hotel and Calico Jack’s beachside restaurant might still be preserved, even extended behind the new hotel. 

Dart Realty on Monday declined to comment on the hearing. 

Map West Bay Rd

Map of West Bay road
– The Map Cayman Islands
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