50 years ago: Big land deals; airline strike averted

In the Jan. 25, 1968 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, the following story appeared on the front page: “Several large land deals are being transacted at the present time, which include large areas of beach land.”

“R.B. Kirkconnell & Bros. Shipping Company have purchased 1,500 feet on both sides of the road at South Sound, including the tarpon lake from Mr. Benson O. Ebanks Jr.

“Along the West Bay Beach, Mr. Ashton Reid is finalising negotiations for the purchase of 400 feet of beach land and 500 feet on the opposite side of the West Bay Road which goes right back to the Sound, bordering Palm Heights. It is possible that this may be the site of a large hotel at some future date.

“Mr. Jim Bodden, real estate agent, has bought the Cayman Preparatory School in the centre of town for £23,000 on behalf of himself and his client, Mr. J. McLendon, and expects to develop this area as a shopping centre. The school will be re-sited on Walkers Road, next to the Government Grammar School by September.

“Mr. Bodden has also secured 400 feet from the Webster family, situated on the West Bay Beach, near to the Government Sandpit for a foreign interest who expects to build rental units.

“From recent transactions, it is evident that land on Seven Mile Beach is now going for well over £500 per foot.”

Another front page story provided a follow-up story on potential strike action by airline staff, titled “BWIA strike averted at 11th hour.”

“At one hour before midnight on Wednesday last, BWIA staff succeeded, after 6¼ hours of negotiations, in getting one-third of their demands met and thus have agreed not to go on strike as intended.

“After spending the greater part of the day in the BWIA office in George Town doing a survey, Mr. A.A. Mora, Personnel Services Superintendent, met with the staff and the Station Superintendent at 4:45 p.m.

“At 11 p.m., when the deliberations were concluded, the following had been agreed: the staff would receive all back pay; confirmation of two new members of staff with wages to be adjusted; and increments enjoyed by the Jamaica staff would applicable to Cayman, payments to be made retroactive to Oct. 1 1967. These the staff considered amounted to about one-third of their total demands.

“An assurance was also given by Mr. Walter Girling, General Manager, that consideration would be given to the remaining two-thirds within seven days.”

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