At this time 12 months ago the country was recovering from the arrest and forced resignation of our first premier, fretting about the imminent closure of a section of West Bay Road, and processing the wreckage of the China Harbour cruise berthing deal.
Readers of this newspaper know what has happened since then. Former Premier McKeeva Bush now faces multiple charges related to alleged misuse of a government credit card. Mr. Bush’s United Democratic Party split into two factions — with the spinoff People’s National Alliance suffering resounding losses in the May 2013 election. Mr. Bush, though, proved resilient and easily made it back into office. He currently leads the newly rebranded Cayman Islands Democratic Party.
A new political action group Coalition For Cayman formed, propelling several candidates into leadership positions with the majority People’s Progressive Movement government. The Hon. Alden McLaughlin is now premier, taking over from Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, who made peace with the PPM and was selected to be Speaker of the House.
The Progressives have begun to make good on promises uttered on the campaign trail, with one of their first priorities being to abandon discussions with the Dart Group on closing the George Town Landfill and opening a new waste management facility in far east Bodden Town.
The result is that only a portion of the “ForCayman Investment Alliance” is in effect. Dart was allowed to close a section of West Bay Road near Public Beach and is building a 10-story hotel resort on its new prime beachfront property. In exchange, motorists are whizzing up and down the new Esterley Tibbetts Highway that now reaches into West Bay.
Meanwhile, the George Town dump continues its noxious reign as a prominent protruding menace on the Grand Cayman skyline.
The government has been inching slowly toward cruise berthing in the past year, and China Harbour has receded into the background, joining jilted cruise contractors Atlantic Star, DECCO and GLF.
The government’s latest attempt at constructing a cruise dock follows a U.K.-approved blueprint requiring detailed studies, ongoing legal consultation and open bidding. The plan, generally, is to engage private sector entities from the cruise industry which would finance and build the dock in exchange for repayment out of passenger fees.
A lot has happened in the past year, not just to Cayman as a whole, but to this newspaper in particular. The Caymanian Compass and Cayman Free Press are now a part of Pinnacle Media Ltd., led by co-publishers David and Vicki Legge.
While there are some new personalities in the newsroom, additional quality-driven changes are planned for the new year. The primary goals of the newspaper, however, remain the same: to inform our readers, engage the community and facilitate public conversation about important issues. We will continue to be an independent editorial voice for positive change within our community.
As the year 2013 winds down, we look forward to our country’s ambitions and actions that will fill the pages of the newspaper in 2014.
Happy New Year to all of our readers!