OAG didn’t review latest Dart deal

| 02/06/2016 | 30 Comments
Cayman Neww Service

Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa – artist’s rendition

(CNS): The newly revised deal between government and the Dart Group has not been reviewed by the auditor general, despite his criticisms and concerns about the so-called NRA Agreement in a scathing report published last July, which was discussed during the Public Accounts Committee hearings in March. “To date, the Office of the Auditor General has not been provided a copy of the draft or final agreement with Dart,” an OAG spokesperson told CNS, adding that they were therefore not in a position to comment on it.

However, the spokesperson pointed out that in its 2015 performance audit report National Land Development and Government Real Property, the office raised concerns about the process used to negotiate and approve the original NRA Agreement and the subsequent amendments.

“Specifically, we informed the Legislative Assembly on the lack of compliance with the PMFL (Public Management and Finance Law) with regard to ensuring value for money. We also reported on the circumvention of Legislative Assembly scrutiny and authority for the spending and revenue concession arrangements. We would expect that the report’s recommendations were implemented when finalising the 3rd amendment,” he added.

Government sources confirmed yesterday that the new deal will be made public after Planning Minister Kurt Tibbetts presents this final deal to the LA, which he is expected to do when he makes his contribution to the budget debate in the next few days. However, the deal was not discussed before the government signed the agreement, which it has been negotiating for more than three years.

The PPM administration has made a point throughout this term that it has followed the process laid down in law and international best practice in regard to all its capital projects and public-private partnerships. But although the agreement with Dart is the largest government deal with any investor or developer, the entire process has taken place behind closed doors.

The problems of this approach were well document in the OAG’s report and emphasised again in March after Martin Ruben, Performance Audit Principal at the OAG, told PAC that the ongoing talks were not following the law.

The deal, which was signed on Monday, removes the original 50% accommodate tax reduction given to Dart in the original agreement and instead increases the amount of duty waivers the developer can have on the forthcoming planning projects. That figure has not been revealed.

It is also not clear if the land swaps in relation to the closure of the West Bay Road have been enhanced as there has been no mention of previous beachfront land donations for another public beach.

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Category: development, Government oversight, Local News, Politics

Comments (30)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The OAG is probably still working on 2014/15 which puts them in good shape relative to past year’s Audit backlogs. Now you expect them to audit in advance of transactions?




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  2. Anonymous says:

    The truth is that alot of us (not all) are nagging and complaining about Mr Dart buying everything. The real issue is that a lot of those same people are the same ones who are selling out to him along with those who have been offered a good sum and took the bait! No doubt about it that he does a fantastic job in whatever he invests in or builds, but at the end of the day when you have an extremely powerful and wealthy developer he will not build junk. After all it is profit for him.
    It’s just the realversion to the game Monopoly.




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  3. Anonymous says:

    The Cabinet should not have the authority to sign anything without prior approval of OAG. Didn’t we already see this movie?




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    • Anonymous says:

      What an asinine and uninformed statement. Let the AG run for election or if he wants that power, otherwise let the OAG do audits.




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  4. Cyclops says:

    I won’t be around when this real life Monopoly Game ends, and to those who are around then remember that some people tried to warn those who were so busy rolling out the Red Carpet.




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  5. Anonymous says:

    I have lived in Cayman long enough for me and my children to call it home. It saddens me that we seem incapable of learning from our mistakes. It is very interesting to ponder why no other Vulture Capitalist is interested in Cayman. Dart, one of the best things to happen to this island, had become too big, too powerful and our elected representatives are no match.




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  6. Anonymous says:

    My take on purchases made by the Dart Group is they cannot buy what persons are NOT willing to sell. We cannot blame the company, every day they are contacted by persons wishing to sell land, etc, people need money these days, they can’t eat the land.




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    • Anonymous says:

      I wonder what influence Dart has had in elevating the cost of the living beyond the means of the average Caymanian to force them into these positions to sell.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Such a schoopid silly statement in 2016..”you cant eat land”. Wow.




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  7. Anonymous says:

    I would be very careful with what Alden negotiates.




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  8. Anonymous says:

    Has anyone considered the effect of one conglomerate owning the whole country as we are seeing? What will happen if the next generation of the family decides to “take up their marbles and go home”?




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    • Anonymous says:

      What are they going to do? Box up Camana Bay and the Kimpton a ship them to the US?




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    • Diogenes says:

      Or Mr Dart goes bust, or simply gets fed up with all the vilification he gets in the public media and goes somewhere where at worst he gets left alone and perhaps even appreciated. Not going to replace that level of investment, or the willingness to make very long term returns and incur substantial short term losses, in a hurry. Some people seem to think he’s stealing the crown jewels – but a lot of his investments lose money in the short and medium term. Camana Bay is a perfect example.




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      • Anonymous says:

        Then maybe he and his corporation should stick to what they know and can do – which is not retail or restaurants and bars. Perhaps the only way that they believe that they’ll look like they are succeeding is if they have a monopoly?




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  9. WaYaSay says:

    Please lay it out for me one more time………what is the difference beyween Alden and McKeeva?




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  10. spearman says:

    The original agreement called for 24M in rebates, the PPM’s new, better deal, has the government giving up 37M in revenues in various forms. No room tax rebates, but more duty concessions, and +13M can never equate to a better deal for the country.




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  11. Banana Republicans says:

    PPM are no different to UDP when it comes to signing secret deals or giving away concessions like candies. Ask the Office of Auditor General if you doubt the facts.




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  12. Anonymous says:

    Nor should they have.




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  13. Perry says:

    Are all deals not done behind closed doors. The difference with this deal is that elected persons did not lead the negotiations and there is value for money.

    So many positives things happening I can hardly keep up.




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  14. Anonymous says:

    Sick!! All of you are sick! You think it’s foreigners taking away your heritage and your jobs etc. It is YOU people and YOUR elected government that is throwing it away.
    Sell your family land and your businesses quick while Dart is still digging in his very deep pockets.
    Your government has proven that it knows Sweet FA about value for money. You are dealing with a professional here. A Vulture Capitalist. He knows how easy you are. And you have proven that beyond measure. You are way out of your league.




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    • Anonymous says:

      You are right. Our “leaders” are in awe of Darts money. They bow down to him like he is a saint.
      I think it is even too late to say “God help Cayman”.




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  15. Anonymous says:

    Never heard of an audit being done ahead of the deal. I think somebody is confusing deal making and auditing. What you would hope is that the deal makers noted the AGs observations on past deals and made sure the same mistakes were not made again.




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    • Truthsayer says:

      This is no time for jokes, 2:10!




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    • Anonymous says:

      “and made sure the same mistakes were not made again.” Pretty obvious they did make the same mistake.




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      • Anonymous says:

        Nothing about the recent Dart deal is obvious 9:03. This deal will be audited in due course and the facts will be made known. Then the value for money proposition will be “obvious”, one way or another. Audits don’t happen in advance of a transaction so don’t get too excited about the headline.




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