Land list published with PAC report

| 30/08/2017 | 34 Comments

(CNS): Following a meeting of the Public Accounts Committee earlier this month, PAC Chair Ezzard Miller was able to secure a copy of what has, until now, been the secret list of land parcels that the government plans to sell off. The fact that the government had not revealed the potential sales to the public and was discussing them behind closed doors compounded what was already a controversial issue, as many people no longer see the need for the property to be sold.

But the list of more than 80 properties, three of which have already been sold, is now in the public domain, allowing the people to see exactly which parcels of land government plans to sell or has sold. Most of the plots, which are located across all three islands and all districts, ranging from beachfront tourism zoned plots to slim land-locked parcels without access, have not been sold.

Miller and other members of the PAC queried the decision by government to press ahead with the sale, even though the government now has a surplus, having stabilised the once precarious finances.

The Office of the Auditor General has recommended that government divest land it does not need for operational purposes as a legitimate way of raising cash, but highlighted the need to follow process and ensure that the public purse gets value for money.

In its report about government land in 2015, the OAG found that some 279 pieces of property owned by the government from its inventory of around 575 were non-operational. The chief valuation officer had told the auditors that some land owned by government was a liability.

Government owns the land for a variety of reasons, for example as a result of seizure for debts under the companies law or taken from developers who have not fulfilled their obligation to set aside public land on specific developments. But the OAG also found that in some cases government had purchased land under the political direction of ministers and had paid too much for it.

As a result, the fact that government has until now kept the proposed land sales out of the public domain has led to concerns about possible backroom deals.

The list is now public, and although there is no indication that government intends to do a wider public consultation on the sell-off, people can now contact their MLAs or the minister responsible for lands, Julianna O’Connor-Connolly.

See the list here: Parcels of land that government plans to sell

The full PAC report is in the CNS Library here

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Category: Government oversight, Politics

Comments (34)

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  1. johnnyfever says:

    this is a front for back room deals! people of cayman should demand answers. this is never about favourite politicians who can do no wrong! this is right vs wrong.

  2. Sharkey says:

    Now this new action by the Government of selling the Islands property in such a way should show us what kind of Leadership is running the Government .
    We had the past Leader accused of gambling away Taxpayers money, now the present is cought in the act of selling the Islands property. Who can you TRUST today ?

    If there’s any of GOVERNMENT PROPERTIES that has been sold behind closed doors . I think that the people of Cayman Islands need to demand that Government buy it back , and people set rules that Politicians /Government must live with when dealing with the People’s / Islands property.

    I think that certain things like selling Government property should be done in a honest and transparent way such as holding public meetings to discuss the reason for disposal of the property .

    • Anonymous says:

      I first saw the list in February, and the letter attached stated that it was shared with all Government departments, Statutory authorities, and MLAs. If so, for Ezzard to treat this as evidence of a Government secret conspiracy would be less than fair. CNS reports that Ezzard “was able to secure a copy of what has, until now, been the secret list of land parcels that the government plans to sell”. Ezzard, as an MLA, were you not supplied this list many, many months ago?


      • Anonymous says:

        Closed single-bidder auctions do not generate maximum bids. Never have, and never will.

      • Anonymous says:

        It should be mandatory that NO Politician can purchase any of these properties, then the Public will have a better feeling toward these sales.

        • #Caymankind says:

          Person acting as a front, business associates, their political and financial bag men, family members, loyal supporters and those who hold the properties on behalf of the politicians is how the system works. This is how politicians are part of the corrupt practices yet non have ever been investigated, charged and convicted.

          Instead many of the participants to these schemes are held as pillars of integrity and successful business men. The question is how did many get into these positions without taking advantage of the system and the corrupt practices that have been happening for decades?

  3. Jotnar says:

    If you actually look at the lots on the lists, a fair number are small, residential plots, some with derelict houses on them, others not but embedded in existing residential areas. The raw land lots tend to be small and disconnected – so value of adding these to the crown land reserves as a bulwark against development quite limited. So some of the knee jerk comments here on environmental protection and preventing further development agree a little overstated when you look at the lots concerned rather than having a general argument that government shouldn’t sell raw land to limit further development.

    The bigger issue is surely the lack of process and transparency in how the first three were sold – all of which have wider implications for value; the Home Gas “adjoining” lot looking like its already been used by Home Gas and would have considerable value as a ransom lot, especially with Vampt adjoining it, the Little Cayman lot right next to the airport and with a lot of road frontage, and the Linford Pearson spanning lot – entirely unclear whether that is being sold before or after buying out the land necessary to expand the road – and even if it was, bordering on the highway has considerable value.

    Simple questions for CIG: 1) How did the three sales take place, and how does that comply with the regulations 2) why does CIG not simply expose all the lots to them market nd let competitive bids drive the price. In the absence of answers, the public is going to suspect the worst.

    • Anonymous says:

      The Brac lot south of the airport, might at first glance look like a junk lot, but it is situated across the road from the unsecured wreckage of the world famous trimaran “Teignmouth Electron”. There are at least three movies made in the last 5 years on this intriguing subject, including a big budget film being positioned for pre-Oscar release later this year called “the Mercy” (starring Colin Firth and Rachel Weisz). It would not surprise me if someone buys that lot for peanuts and drags some, or all of that wreckage across the road as a souvenir stall – with signage on rear of building visible to all of the taxiing aircraft. Nobody seems to care much now that it is there. No signage. Much of it has been stripped by souvenir hunters. The wreckage should really be secured in the maritime museum. Sad that people in the business of historical preservation and tourism have no clue about the Cayman Islands connection – even when they are handed this golden egg.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Give it to Dart. Zzzzzzzz.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Anthony Eden is buying properties in East End.
    Isn’t he representing Savannah ?
    O wait, he is representing himself and his family…..Sorry, I got it.

    • Anonymous says:

      But the private sector (EY) recommended this course of action. Are you saying that the private sector made a mistake. Oh my godness. Is this possible.

      • Anonymous says:

        we’d love to see where the private sector recommended closed-door “by-special-invitation-only” lone-bidder crown land sale negotiations. Does it get any more corrupt than this?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Even a third world country like Brazil can see the importance of protecting the environment… what does that make us?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Oh Alden & Roy…. we didn’t hear anything about this in the SPS plan that you presented last week in the LA! I wonder why??? Why would this parcels need to be sold if we are so financially strong?! Or is it because your overly ambitious strategic plan including the port requires you to sell these parcels for the funds?? Why keep this a secret from the public? As many Facebook posts & tweets we see, especially you Mr. Premier, you never mentioned this???

  8. Richard Wadd says:

    To the best of my knowledge, any divestment of Public land / properties / assets is to be done by means of ‘Public Auction’, and must be Advertized and / or published in the Gazette. This is not just scandelous, it is possibly a criminal act. Does anyone remember a fellow named Michael Misick, former Premier of TURKS & CAICOS?
    The last thing we need is a repeat of that mess happening here.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Who are the parties who already bought the three parcels? How was that a “fair & transparent” sale?

  10. Anonymous says:

    keep up the good work CNS…….exposed their …..?

  11. Anonymous says:

    I cannot imagine why the need to sell any of it. LEAVE IT

    • Anonymous says:

      This wasn’t designed to be a public auction to raise money. This was a quiet “thank you” to party faithful. Nobody was supposed to see, hear, or comment about any of this until after the candy was distributed. Kind of like the NRA deal. The ACC should be all over this, starting with an audit of campaign pledges from XXXX family, who clearly benefited from being sole bidder on the adjoining crown land sold to them.

  12. Amar Sheow says:

    Is there a fair transparent process in place for giving these Listings to real estate agents equitably so everyone benefits and not just a select few?

    • Anonymous says:

      Why use an agent and then have to pay their commission. NO need for an agent. These shouldn’t even be sold but if they insist, for whatever reason, it should be auctioned!!

  13. Anonymous says:

    My understanding of these reports was that there were parcels of land that government COULD sell. Not that they were GOING to sell. I seriously doubt that anything would/will be disposed of with due process. As far as I am aware any disposal (selling) of government property MUST to go before the LA. I guess it does suit certain persons to create a nonexistent fuss.

    • Anonymous says:

      Pray tell, which LA session discussed the disposal of the crown lots abutting home gas? How were these crown asset sales advertised to the public? Have any of our hundreds of real estate professionals been given an opportunity to bring competing bids?

    • Anonymous says:

      Have you read the documents? Some of the land has been sold already.

    • Jotnar says:

      Then explain how three properties have already been sold. Due process my a:$&

    • Anonymous says:

      Please note the Joyce Hylton Family Life Centre, page 10, is listed as ‘currently out to public tender’. So we can assume “that they were GOING to sell”. Then ask if you knew it was out for public tender? I don’t know what the due process is here, I’m just helping you answer that question for everyone.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Wow! Wouldn’t even surprise me if they tried to sell my land and house right from under me!

  15. Anonymous says:

    Everyone (including 100% of Real Estate Industry) should click on the properties in this link. I was expecting jungle plots in the middle of nowhere – many of these are prime milion-dollar oceanfront residential/hotel tourism that were quietly going to be sold by the handful to crony bidders – OUTRAGEOUS!!!

    Can anyone explain how it could possibly be in the public interest to keep the availability of these lands from the eyes of our hundreds of local realtors that are in the business of bringing bidders?!? Does anyone believe that such an error could be made unintentionally?

  16. Sharkey says:

    This little bit sounds like take the list of properties and shut
    up , because that’s all we are going to get . How arrogant and disrespectful to the owners and the people who pay their big salary.

    I hope that everyone read my last comment on this subject .

  17. Anonymous says:

    Ongoing corruption. Simple as that. These aren’t “possible” back room deals, since we can clearly demonstrate that steps have been omitted in an effort to conceal negotiations on their disposal. Arrests should be made.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Some of these parcels (57A4, 59A41 ,38D26, 59A10, 71A41 for example) should be transferred to the National Trust and preserved in their natural state?

  19. Anonymous says:

    The Cayman Islands, a tropical paradise run by a bunch of incompetent, thieving donkeys.

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