Land commission to deal with rogue beach vendors

| 23/03/2018 | 94 Comments
Seven Mile Public Beach

Vendors on Seven Mile Public Beach are a growing nuisance

(CNS): The Central Planning Authority (CPA) has approved plans for the redevelopment of the Seven Mile Public Beach by Dart. However, concerns about the behaviour of certain beach vendors and the dangers posed by some taxi drivers in the area were raised during Wednesday’s planning meeting, when it was revealed that the newly created Public Lands Commission has been tasked with dealing with the challenges posed by the growing trade on the beach, especially from beach chair rental businesses. 

Residents in the condos next to Public Beach were present at the hearing to raise concerns about the rogue vendors and drivers and to find out exactly what Dart plans in the location, which has become increasingly dominated by cruise visitors as beach space available for daily visitors dwindles.

Dart’s enhancement plan is part of the deal it made with the government and the NRA, which paved the way for the Kimpton Seafire Resort, and includes three volleyball courts and a soccer pitch, with bleachers. But there will also be special areas for beach vendors to operate, with plans to have all the food sellers situated in one place.

Government officials sought to reassure the authority and residents that infractions by the vendors will be policed more strictly going forward and that enforcement falls under the remit of the Public Lands Commission. The CPA heard that, even before the area is enhanced, there are concerns about the way the beach vendors in particular are interacting with tourists.

Tristan Hydes, the deputy chief officer in the planning ministry, said he was meeting with the PLC in two weeks to discuss these concerns, which included the sheer number of chairs on the beach. “One of the big problems is there are too many chairs and no regulation,” Hydes said. “The chairs are all over the place.”

More serious than that was the attitudes of some of the people renting out the chairs, mainly to cruise visitors, who are telling tourists that if they don’t pay for the chairs, then they cannot stay on that part of the beach. “We can’t accept that sort of behaviour and we will enforce against it,” said Rupert Vasquez, chairman of the Public Lands Commission.

Hydes explained to the CPA that some of the initial contracts with vendors were due for renewal in May and would be tightened up significantly and vendors that didn’t toe the line would have their licences pulled. As for the sea of chairs on the beach, which everyone agreed was an eyesore, Vasquez and Hydes said they ideally wanted to see all the chairs removed from the beach at the end of each day.

How practical that would be remains to be seen, but some kind of fenced storage solution may be appropriate, Hydes said.

Although letters of objection to the Seven Mile Public Beach improvement had been sent to the CPA from the Harbour House and Avalon condo developments, these were really because of the lack of detail of the proposed improvements rather than necessarily objecting, and stemmed from a desire to be fully involved in the planning discussions.

Robert Loverd, who attended the meeting as a longtime Harbour House resident, said he had been impressed with the attitude of the government, in particular the newly formed PLC. Speaking to CNS after the meeting, he said, “What occurs on or around Public Beach is a big thing and for that reason, all the right people were here. And they ‘get’ the issues.”

From their front row seat to the changes on Public Beach over the years, Loverd and his neighbours have been particularly irked by the way taxi drivers keep stopping on the sharp bend in West Bay Road to pick up and drop off passengers and unload strollers, creating real danger for other road users and pedestrians. Accidents have happened, they say, and near misses are taking place with a greater frequency.

The discussion centred on the taxis because in the previous meeting of the CPA, the government was requested Dart to submit a revised plan, including a five-foot high concrete wall along West Bay Road. However, according to the NRA, a wall of this height would need to be set back by 15 feet, and that would effectively create a lay-by for taxis and compound the problem of them pulling over on the road.

Harbour House residents have been writing to the police about the dangers to pedestrians from taxis since 2014, when West Bay Road was first diverted, and have been calling for a cross-walk since then.

The other issues these residents want addressed is security, as they questioned why people would need to be on the beach in the late hours of the night, advocating a closing time of 10pm or 11pm. They also requested a security guard be employed by the government to police the vendors at the beach.

All these issues will now move to Vasquez and his eight-member Public Lands Commission, who are charged with regulating the use and enjoyment of all crown and public land and protecting the right to beach access, an increasingly thorny issue.

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Category: Business, development, Local News, Tourism

Comments (94)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The public beach is a disgrace. I mistakenly took our children there for a party and there was nowhere for our group to set up. The beach was disgustingly dirty and we watched people urinate where ever they wanted. It is an embarrassment for us who live here I can only imagine what visitors think. The government should be ashamed.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Why CPA allowes highly prized land on a miniscule island to be developed into fields, courts, olimpic size pools is beyond me. This is a Caribbean sea island, not a Disneyland for adults. Your one and only treasure is SMB and other beaches. You should guard every inch of it as a hawk.
    People come here for your beaches only.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Rogue Vendors???? There shouldn’t be ANY to begin with. But as usual, Gov gives in to some sob-stories of “earning a living” and then are surprised when people abuse the laws and take advantage. How much will it cost the public purse now to deal with those “rogue” vendors??????

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  4. Anonymous says:

    time for a class action by the people against cig on this issue….their negligence is criminal!

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    • Anonymous says:

      While I agree regulations need to be put in place and enforced, we don’t need to become another “Class action” lawsuit happy place like the United States, thank you.

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    • West bay Premier says:

      I think that the Government should get a better handle on the issues of this public beach .
      I wonder if Government has put in place enforceable sanitary criteria for these vendors who are renting towels, chairs etc ? We need some sort of sanitary regulations that cover these vendors who are renting to the public .
      I would think that it is very unsanitary for them to be renting towels and not properly sanitizing / wash them , which I believe that they aren’t .
      What if someone came of the cruise ship with health condition which is contagious .

      I think that the Health Department needs to be looking into this situation.
      The Government needs to be looking into the whole public beach rental vendors situation .

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      • Anonymous says:

        The answer isn’t ensuring they are using sanitary towels. The answer is NO VENDORS ON PUBLIC BEACH!

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        • Anonymous says:

          @12:35pm You are absolutely correct. I don’t understand why there is debate about complying with Trade and Business Lic requirements, training etc. There should not be any vendors – end of story and end of problem!

  5. Anonymous says:

    The Chairman of the CPA should immediately resign for ethical reasons. He is severely conflicted, and his conflict of interest occurred from at least the time he sold his building and land on Lawrence Boulevard to Dart. How can government allow this man to continue in that capacity. Time for him to go.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    The whole mess at the Public Beach could’ve been easily avoided if the CIG had stopped the first vendor when he initially set up shop. What did they do? Tried to find a way to accommodate the vendors rather than stopping the problem in its tracks! I am so frustrated by this mess that I’m now happy to watch the disaster unfold and seeing the incompetent CIG scramble for a solution.

    The latest solution? Spend ‘public funds’ to improve restrooms and stalls for vendors, effectively facilitating the growth of problem, encouraging more vendors to come on down and setup shop. Madness!

    There will soon be an outright war between vendors as they quarrel over OUR Public beach space. Someone will get hurt and sadly our tourists have a front seat view to the event.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    This is a clear and present threat to Cayman unique tourism image. This is what has happened to my native country. Also, check out an undercover ABC News story of what it’s like in the DR. The entire social order is gradually being chipped away and soon this country that we all loved will be no different from a BR symtomatic of crime and the breakdown of the rule of law.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Selfishness and greed is the order in Cayman and much stereo typing…

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  9. Anonymous says:

    The land they put those chairs on is public. So I can go move the chair and sit on the sand as its public. How does that work CIG?

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  10. Anonymous says:

    4 years for CIG to let it go to SHIT and then stop giving a SHIT and then to give in to the SHITTY vendors and let them have the PUBLICS shit!

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    • Anonymous says:

      I think you are holding back there 2.08pm…don’t do that, it is bad for you, just let it all out…get it out in the open..

  11. Anon says:

    Sincerely I’m so glad something is being done.Its a national disgrace how the jewel in the crown of the Cayman Islands (SMB) has been treated .
    I appreciate that the local beach vendors need employment but there is no management of the facilities . At weekends the local resident population have to peer around stacks of sun beds strewn around the public cabanas …
    So thank you for listening and making this positive common sense step
    We hopefully will ALL now be able to enjoy what the public rightfully own

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    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah and after the weekend the vendors have to come and clean all of the mess that the locals leave on the beach, like empty beer bottles and used condoms.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    Clear every vendor out now and start fresh once an organized plan is in place. In the interim heavily fine violators and arrest them if they don’t pay or don’t cease and desist. Beach space is an ultra premium commodity and the gov should be collecting an ultra premium rate if a vendor wants to operate there. This alone will clean up the riff raff.

    What they should do is designate a commercial area with proper facilities, lease it to an investor to develop it with strict covenants. Lease funds should be earmarked to maintain public beaches.

    With Royal Palms soon to be a memory, it’s important that local residents still have a place to go to enjoy SMB.

    In my view, the Governors residence should be bulldozed and Gov beach should be opened up and set up properly with facilities. That plot is way too premium to be used as a government residence. Move the governors house to a more suitable piece of property.

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    • Anonymous says:

      All good ideas except there should never ben vendors on any public beach, period.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Nothing wrong with a commercial area on a public beach. It’s nice to get a cool drink or a snack but its has to be organized and strictly enforced. You can’t walk into a shopping mall and set up a kiosk without a lease. The same thing should be true on the public beach. Limit the number of licenses per category. Probably only need 2. Food and beverage and watersports. Put it out to the highest bidder…done.

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    • Anonymous says:

      What you suggest is a rational managed approach to the public beach problem but it will never happen. Law enforcement to that degree does not occur in Cayman.

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  13. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like cig should take an unannounced field trip to public beach . No suits and ties. Go incognito and try and get a spot on the beach and see how your treated. Those wanna be vendors are a disgrace to the island and should be sent packing. No chairs are needed at public beach.

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    • Anonymous says:

      If dart gets a hold of it you all will have to pay just to see the beach,locals and all.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Explain how you have to pay for a beach from dart? Most the shit he does also adds free stuff for the public presented beautifully. My kid loves public beach park. Didn’t dart do that? He loves dart park too. That’s free you nut sack.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Let’s not forget the drug dealing and selling of alcohol out of the trunk of cars.

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  15. "Anonymousir" says:

    we can fight this all we want.. truth is, DART has way to much money to buy out you fools. so we will never be ever to stop him with anything he does. you tell him no, he raises his price and he’ll keep going up till you say yes MASTER DART! I really wish you fools didnt want money the way you do. this country would never have ended up here… Thank You All! For destroying what was once an Island Paradise and place to call home. Now its just a big corporate center … 🙁 😐

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  16. Anonymous says:

    There is an old saying that you can’t have your cake and eat it too. In other words, you can’t encourage millions of tourists to come to Cayman and tell them about world famous 7 mile beach, on the one hand, and then provide only one place to access that world famous beach (Royal Palms will soon be gone). The solution is for the CIG to purchase another piece of beach, for example, the Cayman Reef Condos, and provide another place to access 7 mile beach.

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  17. Anonymous says:

    Screw it. Pave it. It’s going to happen anyway.

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  18. Anonymous says:

    Looking at the public beach situation and people why the 7 mile condos are against public access? The public beach is an out of control mess.

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  19. Anonymous says:

    the situation at public beach is a perfect reflection of the failures and incompetence of cig.

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    • Anonymous says:

      As a self-employed Caymanian owning & running my own business, I am required to have TBL, prove pension and health insurance annually to renew my TBL to allow me to operate as a ‘sole trader ‘ under the law. Why are these beach vendors allowed to operate without complying with any of these requirements? What does the government see as the difference that separates these individuals from myself and all of the other law abiding business owners, whether they be solely Caymanian owned and operated ,or not? It is expensive to operate a small business , but we continue to do so and comply with the trade & business licensing laws . I’d like to see government illustrate why there are two sets of rules here. If they cannot, the only outcome the general public can view is that there are two systems in operation , one system lives under the heading titled law abiding business owners and the other lives under the title of exempt from operating under the law.

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      • West bay Premier says:

        These PUBLIC BEACHES / PUBLIC ACCESS need to be registered and recorded as PUBLIC BEACHES /ACCESS for a 100 years . So that no Government in the future can them away from the PUBLIC .

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    • West bay Premier says:

      A trial test to see who is really interested in controlling of the PUBLIC BEACH .
      Why doesn’t someone organize a small group of people with beach chairs and umbrellas with plans to be there for the day , to see who would say anything to you and who would defend you .
      Remember that no one can do anything to you , because that beach is deemed and said to be PUBLIC BEACH . But hasn’t been recorded as PUBLIC BEACH .

      People you have to make government do something about these PUBLIC ACCESS and PUBLIC BEACHES because they’re not registering those as PUBLIC BEACHES / ACCESS .

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  20. Anonymous says:

    We are looking more like all the other Caribbean destinations with beach vendors. It’s not a good thing.

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    • SSM345 says:

      Just wait till they build these mega piers that adds another 20k people to the mix. Thats when you really going see us go 3rd world. Nothing will be public because what limited resources we have cannot accommodate that kind of traffic without catering to those who pay. Kool Aid to the world.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Sorry to burst your stupid bubble but Cayman is a Caribbean destination.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Mate. Sorry to burst your really stupid bubble but the person clearly never said Cayman was not in the Caribbean. The person’s point is that at this rate, with all the beach vendors hustling, we are going to look as bad as certain other Caribbean countries that tourists avoid due to the aggressive hustling on their beaches. In other words, the person was comparing this Caribbean country to other countries in the Caribbean.

  21. SMH says:

    The commission have no power and there are no regulations to enforce. Who will enforce the law is it RCIPS, DCI, Planning Dept, Park services dept?

    This is yet another sham and collection of political appointed lackey’s on yet another board. The charade of governance and accountability continues in 2018. SMH

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  22. Anonymous says:

    Why a 5ft wall???

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  23. Anonymous says:

    Why on earth do people need beach chairs from public beach? They can bring their own chairs, towels, blankets that they take home end of night. Do these people pay to rent the space their chairs occupy day and night? No. Either go to one of the beach restaurants if you want a lounger or use a towel. Insanethey let these “vendors” get away with robbery of free land.

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  24. Anonymous says:

    oh my…the lobster pot building already being rented by catboat club to a private company??

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  25. #CAYMANKIND says:

    The situation at the seven mile Public Beach is now best described as a market bazaar or circus. It is an indictment on our elected government and ministers in Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Planning & Commerce and Ministry of Lands over the past 12 years.

    The facts that cannot be disputed is Ministers Kirkonnell, Hew, Connor-Connolly and their predecessors former ministers Kurt Tibbetts and McKeeva Bush are all collectively responsible (including the Cabinets they sat in) to allow what has now become a national disgrace.

    For the sake of a few votes this government have been prepared to allow or facilitate lawlessness and breach of laws like the Trade and business laws of this country. The vendors are currently unregulated and operate without all of the usual requirements that the law says must be in place for a valid business to be operated in Cayman. Vendors do not have or required to insurance, pension or anything else imagine if everybody was allowed to operate like that…The current ministers are culpable and deliberately ignore this situation because they are spineless but can attack people in the LA using parliamentary privilege.

    It appears that Grand Cayman now has two special economic zones the Cayman Enterprise City and the public beach.

    Why is there no enforcement of one set of rules and laws for all businessess? Is there a special exemption in laws for the Public Beach and its vendors? Will it take an accident or serious crime or death to occur at the Public Beach before this government and ministers Kirkconnell, O’Connor-Connolly and Hew to act and show leadership?

    We do not need more talk from politicians we need action and enforcement of laws. Is the Public Beach fiasco what the government envisioned when they introduced marketing campaign of #CAYMANKIND

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  26. Anonymous says:

    Can the Land Commission deal with the riff raft that camp on the beach at Easter too? Their encampments are an eyesore and I did not spend a fortune for a beach view to look at that.

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    • Anonymous says:

      You poor, sad little thing. You should watch TV. There are many pretty things on TV.

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    • Local says:

      It’s a Cayman cultural tradition at Easter accept them or leave the country you bigot!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Rift raft? You need try go back where you came from. Camping has always and will be a tradition around Easter.

      I don’t have a problem with foreigners, but I do have a problem when they come to another mans country and feel that they’re entitled to do things and say things just because of the money they have. Even the foreigners that don’t even have money wanna be dictating to us about what should be changed like Caymanians don’t have a say in their own country.

      But again, Caymanians and this so called Government have no one but theirselves to blame. Their greed and crab in the bucket mentality is the same reason why Caymanians will never reach no where and foreigners will continue to take over, unless we wake up and smell the coffee, the roses and everything that has a scent to it. Start educating ourselves and apply ourselves so that it isn’t necessary for foreigners to come here and take opportunities and jobs destined for Caymanians.

      This government, have no direction just like this generation of children that have no discipline and no guidance.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Top trolling. Can’t believe you got so many bites lol

  27. Anonymous says:

    Slow news day CNS? Both top articles are about beaches. And it is a real shame we can’t all be on them today as it’s lovely out.

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  28. Anonymous says:

    Public Beach needs a park warden.

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  29. Anonymous says:

    its like a cig game of pass the buck….

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  30. Anonymous says:

    Absolutely breaks my heart to see loud pushy vendors setting up shop at sports beech. They appeared out of nowhere and are really ruining the serenity of the place. Taking over the public BBQ, stacking their rental chairs under the big shady tree where children used to be able to play out of the sun. Blasting music. Even flogging “bat cave tours”. Are these guys even remotely licensed to do this? Really makes me sad.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The situation at Spotts is so bad that I refuse to take my family there now because of the creepy vendors taking over the public facilities right at the entrance. It is really bad and it’s a real shame. This has to stop.

      • Anonymous says:

        It’ll soon look like the West Bay Public Beach if this is allowed to continue. CIG should put a stop to this immediately!!!

  31. Anonymous says:

    Wait…now Dart is developing the SMB Public Beach too? oh fine…nothing to see here…moving on

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  32. Anonymous says:

    The bigger public discussion that the PLC/politicians needs to instigate is private/corporate use of public space. I happened by the Public Beach this week (by boat, so it was a striking vantage point) and it was end-to-end beach chairs. It did not look possible for anyone, tourist or local, to get a space to sit on the beach if you didn’t pay a chair vendor for the spot their chair was on.

    My preference is that all other and any future ‘public open spaces’ (public beaches, public parks, etc.) be ‘no-commerce’ zones. The current public beach we’ve already lost the plot on. Best to move on. But save the Governor’s Beach, etc., before this happens again. – For the WB Launching Ramp & Beach the Coe Wood design is what is needed. A ‘commerce’ section (the beach adjoining the ramp) for the current / a few vendors of conch shells and beach chairs and whatever, while the rest is left non-commercial for the public (be they tourist or resident, born here or not, etc.). Alternately they’ll have to manage the public beach, etc., like the Sand Bar, where open access is essentially sacrificed at certain times for commercial use, but other times (weekends? 4pm – 9am?) its reserved for non-commercial, i.e., public, use.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The silence from Premier McLaughlin, Joey Hew, Juliana O’Connor-Connolly on this matter is deafening. The indifference shown is typical of their abilities as leaders.

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    • Anonymous says:

      It’s still not too late. Just need some leadership from our elected politicians. Are they going to continue to prefer the interests of a handful of vendors over the country’s national treasure. Wake up Ministers responsible. Show some leadership. Save our beach.

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  33. Anonymous says:

    while you at it, what about the lobster pot building? why dont the govt make it a depot for these jet ski vendors?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Should never have been put there, should be taken out to restore the parking for the boaters that use that ramp.

  34. Anonymous says:

    Where are the promised pedestrian and bike paths?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Ask your government. Dart wanted to develop (and donate) the beach enhancement (volleyball, soccer/football beach pitch, picnic area, bike paths etc), but your government has stalled this, saying they need a ‘public forum and further study’.

      Not making this up…….a CNS story from 4 years ago….(too many egos and red tape)

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  35. Anonymous says:

    Why have the police not deal with the illegality?
    Why have the Planning Department not dealt with the illegality?
    Why have the Trade and Business Authorities not dealt with the illegality?
    Why have the Immigration Authorities not dealt with the illegality?

    Why does anyone have to follow any law in Cayman?

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    • Anonymous says:

      LOL – you must be new

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    • Ambassador of Absurdistan says:

      Great questions.

      Sadly it’s Just Another Day in Absurdistan

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    • Anonymous says:

      Ask Alden. He is in charge. He shouldn’t be, but he is.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Remember he is in charge because of McDaddy and his fries Bernie and Whogene.

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        • Anonymous says:

          No. He is in charge because the people who legally should be (enforcement divisions of various agencies) refuse or fail to do their duty.

        • Anonymous says:

          You forgetting Austin Harris the sellout who campaigned daily for 8 years on radio but once elected and got the big money then became Alden’s independent whip sharing and office? How can he disagree with anything they do given that he sold his soul for 1 term? They are all parasites and political whores.

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  36. A says:

    Public beach is cesspool. Broken beer bottles, cigarette butts, weed smoking, and used condoms all strewn everywhere. Derelict beach chairs, rude taxi drivers and pushy vendors. Need a elaborate more on situation. It really is a shame.

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