Letter: Think before approving changes to our shoreline

Regarding the June 16 article (“Public to get a say on 7-mile beach rock removal”), Dart Enterprises have been good to Cayman, and the Cayman Islands’ government has been exceptionally good to Dart Enterprises. English law is based on “precedent” and we must be very careful here. If we allow our coastline to be disturbed now, future developers will also get permission. Think wisely. We need Seven Mile Beach to remain the “Jewel of Cayman.”

An alternative can be found. Why not relocate the Governor’s Residence to Frank Sound on the beach close to the channel? This would serve a good purpose, protecting the area with police. Also, consider moving the road back 250-300 feet in this area to create a second “Seven Mile Beach.” Everyone would benefit.

Government should give Dart the first option to convert the present Governor’s Residence on Seven Mile Beach into a five-star family club hotel, instead of granting permission to remove 1,225 feet of rock from the Seven Mile Beach area near the Kimpton Seafire. No one knows what adverse effects that could have on our beautiful Seven Mile Beach. Nature knows best.

Dart and government would have a hotel on the best part of Seven Mile Beach and the public would have use of the adjoining beach property. Government could maintain interest in the property “in perpetuity.” For example, government could own 40 percent of the land and hotel, with Dart owning the other 60 percent. Then partner with Cayman Airways offer packages and discounts. Interested businesses could offer a discount. Cayman Airways could offer package customers a discount to Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.

Material and furnishings would be supplied by Caymanians. Construction would be completed mainly by Caymanians. Hire as many Caymanians as possible for work in the hotel. Don’t grant any monopolies for watersports, tours, etc. This will give the hotel a very high occupancy rate. If this is done, Cayman Airways will no longer need a subsidy of $20 million or more per year. Caymanians will be able to participate. This will make our people very happy.

Should Dart decline, look for another partner.

Why not, Caymanians?

Government could use at least 50 percent of the hotel revenues and money saved from the Cayman Airways’ subsidy to fund the Cayman Islands government pension fund. According to the 2015-16 budget, by 2019 we will need over $168 million for this fund. We must start now and have a plan, or we will be like the other islands soon.

We have to have a plan to purchase four new planes for Cayman Airways by 2020 — we cannot let our airline fail.

Government employees also should be required to pay 50 percent of their pension and insurance costs, as is done in the private sector.

Let us work together — building wisely for the future, as our forefathers built up Cayman — from the Islands Time Forgot to the financial leaders of the world.

God bless you all, and may God continue to bless these beloved islands we call home.

Eletta Soto

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