Development board reappointed after audit report

All serving members of the Cayman Brac and Little Cayman Development Control Board have been reappointed through mid-2017 following the release to lawmakers of an auditor’s report that questioned some of the board’s activities.

The reappointments were made by Cabinet on July 21, just prior to the public release of the planning and land use audit by Auditor General Alastair Swarbrick’s office Thursday. However, Mr. Swarbrick said local lawmakers had a copy of the report at least three to four weeks prior to its public release.

Reappointed board members were, according to official government gazettes released Friday: Edgar Ashton Bodden (chairman), Capt. Arlin Tatum, Royce Dilbert, Melgreen Reid, Alva Bodden, Garston Grant, Zanda Scott and Andrea Stevens (executive secretary).

The audit found that both the Development Control Board and the Central Planning Authority in Grand Cayman were operating in an opaque fashion, without open meetings and not providing reasons for their rulings. The report also noted that the boards often comprise members who have potential conflicts of interest with certain development projects that come before them.

In one case reviewed by auditors, the Development Control Board approved an extension to a quarry despite the Department of Environment and the Water Authority informing the board that the applicant for the extension was in breach of license terms. The departments asked that the quarry operator remediate the breach “as a condition of the application approval.” The board approved the application without requiring those conditions, noting that it had taken the concerns “into account.”

Mr. Swarbrick’s report was also rife with examples of the Central Planning Authority disregarding technical advice from government agencies in the development of several high-profile, high-dollar projects, including the Health City Cayman Islands and Kimpton hotel construction efforts.

“Often, the decision would state only that the authority or board had ‘considered’ information from other agencies,” the audit report states.

No one in government had responded to the auditor’s report regarding land use and development issues as of press time, Mr. Swarbrick said.