Minister hints at Barkers bar ‘success’

| 26/02/2019 | 129 Comments
Cayman News Service

Barkers Beach, Grand Cayman

(CNS): The tourism minister has given the first indication from a Cabinet member that the application by the owner of Calico Jack’s to clear turtle grass and build a dock in Barkers, paving the way for a new bar and tourist facility, could get the green light. Moses Kirkconnell alluded to possible “success” for Handel Whittaker’s controversial application Monday, despite concerns from the public. The hint that the coastal works application, which is decided by Cabinet, may be granted in some way follows another direct public appeal for the project from Dart.

Speaking on Radio Cayman’s For the Record, Kirkconnell made a brief reference to the project, indicating that there was support for Whittaker’s plan, for which he has applied to remove more than four acres of sea grass in a replenishment zone at Barkers on land owned by the Dart Group.

The minister said that the project was a “good example of the strength of our Department of Environment and people who want to do development in the right way”, as he indicated that Whittaker was talking to the department about how it could happen.

The DoE has not yet revealed the technical advice it has given to Cabinet but in the past the experts there have warned against removing turtle grass for a catalog of reasons, including its critical importance to marine eco-systems and the role it plays in protecting beaches.

But, hinting that he expected a positive result sometime in the near future, Kirkconnell said that Whittaker was an “extremely successful restaurateur and tourism ambassador, who understands the product and understands the community”.

“He, now, is meeting with the Department of Environment and looking at options that will allow him to be successful and allow a balance for the environment,” he said, adding that Whittaker had spent “real time” recently “moving the project forward”.

The minister’s comments come on the heels of the clear indication, made by Dart Real Estate president Jackie Doak at the Chamber of Commerce Legislative Lunch last week, that the islands’ biggest developer is keen to see Barkers start to be developed to alleviate the pressure on Seven Mile Beach from tourists.

Her comments also echoed sentiments expressed recently by her colleague Mark VanDevelde, CEO of Dart Enterprises, who said that the group wanted to see “thoughtful development in the Barkers area”.

However, the West Bay community has very real concerns that developing the last stretch of unspoiled local beach on the western side of the island would be the beginning of the end of any kind of beach access for residents.

A campaign to save and preserve Barkers in its natural state has garnered considerable support and it is understood that the environment ministry received an unprecedented number of objections to the coastal works application.

For more on the threat to Barkers listen to the CNS Podcast Listen Up!

See the minister’s Barkers comments on For the Record starting at 2:07:32

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Category: Business, development, Local News, Politics, Tourism

Comments (129)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Why not put it Cayman Brac? They could do with it eh Deputy Premier?

    • Boris says:

      Government does not really care about the future of these Islands, which is unfortunate and we don’t have to look very far to see that. There is an interesting Headline in the Jamaica Observer today. ” Cayman Sends Warning to Britain ”
      The Premier says he will go for independence if UK insists on new rules, including same sex marriage. McLaughlin says he will lead the move towards independence..
      Perhaps Alden might consider addressing the people about his plan for independence before opting for a photo shoot in the Observer.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    But if the bar/restaurant is part of a phased/future hotel development, then the CPA would consider it. HINT HINT.

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    • Anonymous says:

      BINGO! The point of the sea grass removal is not for the bar (which is only temporary and isnt even being leased to Handel its being licensed which means all they have to do is cancel the license. The Bora Bora style huts are what they really want to build out there.

      The reasoning makes no sense. Jackie is talking about the pressure on SMB, DART created the pressure as part of their sea to sound development plan!

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      • Anonymous says:

        Wait till the hotel hits Public beach….theres 1yr and change left with Caicos……and moving the vendors from PB now would publisize the plan.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Didnt suit the plan for the same that ws rejected out East due to the residential buildings already there.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Handel Whittaker needs to put his bar in North Side and leave Barkers Beach alone!!!!!!!!

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  4. John smith says:

    The mosquitos will have a good time with them

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  5. Anonymous says:

    dart has not broken any laws..people are free to object but their objections must have merit. he is developing private land.
    not sure what the big story is here?

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    • Anonymous says:

      I would love to meet you at some point to educate myself of the character fixated with written law but void of ethics, principle & morality, – you’re the chap/chapess in the doctors waiting room seeing smoke billowing from under the door and when questioning the receptionist about it, told to ‘sit down it’s fine’ taking your place once more suffocating in adherence to your fostered authority; – billiards hall tonight @ 8:30 ok with you ?, ‘keep your eye on the eight ball Ken’…

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    • Anonymous says:

      @10:48am, you’re “not sure what the big story is here”?? Really? Oh, I don’t know, maybe we think ripping up 4 ACRES of turtle grass in a marine replenishment zone is a BIG STORY! Environmentally, it would be a tragedy for wildlife and for those of us that just like to have one piece of the island that isn’t developed! One piece!

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    • Anonymous says:

      10:48; as a new employee sticking up for your boss on CNS, can we suggest that you search DART and Belize on Google, thats a start, once you do that you might get the picture or not.

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    • Anonymous says:

      DARTBOT we see you!

      Nice try though to try to cover up your comment by making it look like it was written by an uneducated person with poor English writing skills.

      Ya nah fool we doh!

      Unna corruption is seen and known, de only way ya know how to do business.

      Every dog has his day and every puss has him 4 o’clock, including DART and his minions like you.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    And come next election we a put them right back in. Boy we fool.

    Wanda

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Hey, didnt the Central Planning Authority just refuse an application for a bar and restaurant in a hotel zone on an East End beach? What is the difference here besides this proposal by Handel being in a West Bay hotel zone?

    According to the article, the CPA accepted the lawyers argument that commercial activity should be in a commercial zone, not a hotel tourism zone.

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    • SSM345 says:

      Is Barkers a commercial zone, thought it was earmarked as a nature reserve / replenishment zone or is that another Barkers?

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      • Anonymous says:

        Bullet

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      • Anonymous says:

        The eastern ‘half’ of Barkers is ‘earmarked’ for a nature reserve. The western ‘half’ of Barkers is not so earmarked; I don’t know its Planning designation (but the OP is right the CPA EE decision may come into play). The water on the north coast of Barkers is currently a Replenishment Zone.

        • SSM345 says:

          Ahhhhh. So DART hoodwinked our Govt when they bought it like most deals knowing full well what they were doing and going to do with the non earmarked/nature reserve/ replenishment zone back then…..Jackpot. Its like taking a bet with a person of special needs knowing full well you win.

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      • Anonymous says:

        From the land maps and DoP zoning lists, it looks like all the land in that area is either low density residential, beach resort/residential and mangrove buffer. The east end bar/restaurant was turned down because it pretended to be cottages with a bar/restaurant in a beach residential zone which would have been okay except the fake ‘cottages’ were too thin a disguise for what was really just a bar/restaurant. In the same capacity, a bar/restaurant at Barkers in same zoning (beach resort/residential) would also not fly unless the bar/restaurant is part of a (yet to be disclosed to public) larger plan for cottages (a tourist development and certainly not intended for residents). I think theres a larger plan!

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      • Anonymous says:

        Barking up the wrong tree is it?

  8. Anonymous says:

    At 114pm: A Disco bar maybe possible. The DG allows outside people to do almost anything in the Govt Admin building, sell KAABOO concert tickets, sell storybooks, sell pastries, sell shirts, sell raffle tickets, but they do not allow you to sign a petition at the GAB.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like Minister Kirkconnell’s ego is writing checks his body cant cash

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  10. SSM345 says:

    Beach will disappear once the grass is removed. Maybe next if we add sand around all the inner island ponds and turn the water blue we can create blue holes for masses. Lets build one of those glass bridges they have all over China from East to West across the North Sound at about 7ft above water level the entire distance. We could also make Sand Cay an exclusive tanning bed! Lets put a white line in the sand or those orange bollards just inbetweem the high water mark on SMB from the Wharf to WB Public Dock (we could even add lights on said bollards that charge by solar during the day so they flash all night for people wanting a romantic stroll). We can just add robotic stingrays to the sandbar, guided tours of our Mt and carry on. These people re going to destroy everything in their path and they do not give a flying F. Our Govt are nothing but money grabbing bastards with no thought process past their own noses. Cannot wait till Cayman cannot go camping at Easter because they is absolutely nowehere to go;you think it joke.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Another fine example of why the DOE is ignored. Spouting opinions way beyond their remit. If they could stick within the boundaries, they may be taken more seriously.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    “he has applied to remove more than four acres of sea grass in a replenishment zone at Barkers on land owned by the Dart Group.”
    Good God CNS, since when has DART owned the sea bed at Barkers or anywhere else? Your piece infers that the replenishment zone is ON land that DART owns, it is not, the replenishment zone is crown property. Either this is a badly written piece or your facts are way out of line.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    Make it deep enough so we can bring the canoe closer, to offload .

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  13. Anonymous says:

    With all of the global warming (especially in the north east) and rising of the seas going around, this whole issue is moot.

  14. Anonymous says:

    If Dart is given the contractual rights to build on this prized piece of land, what can we then define as a line he cannot cross? Is there one on these islands?

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  15. Anonymous says:

    Bring it on. It’s a 15 minute paddle from my house. No DUI here.sunday funday

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  16. Elvis says:

    Caymanian complaining of ex pats this ex pats that yet it’s their own people selling them out over and over and bleeding the country dry

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    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, but they then go on to service some expatriates to do the same. And even sometimes the roles shift. Complicated I know, try being born and raised here…..

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  17. Green Man says:

    MORE TREES CUT DOWN
    =
    MORE HEAT

    When they die, we die. When will the powers that be, learn to build with nature and not against it?

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  18. Pocahontas says:

    How the Europeans came and forced American Indians off their land. http://indians.org/articles/american-indians.html

    Pretty soon the same could be written about Caymanians.

    What a disgrace.

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  19. Anonymous says:

    Good for you Handel. Don’t let your own people oppress you any further!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Ummmm dart owned the land he was kicked off first….. And nobody has supported Handel in all his business ventures over the years than caymaninans, when the shippers left who was at his bars and restaurants? the same people you claim to be holding him back. If that intention was there how come this man and his businesses have seen nothing but organic growth since the eighties ?

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      • Anonymous says:

        You been Calicos or Rackhams since they opened? Staffed and run by Canadians. Only Caymanians who worked were Handell and a Caymanian XXXXX.

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        • Anonymous says:

          That’s just not true. I know caymanians that worked at both. But you keep choosing to ignore the facts only to your detriment. Get that chip off your shoulder and stop deflecting from the real issue – the environment needs protected not your fake unemployment.

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  20. Anonymous says:

    Previously I posted an attempt at ridicule at the government’s willingness to give in to connected business interests.
    But this Barkers development plan is much more serious and deserving of a wholehearted reply with the seriousness that it deserves. Barkers represents virgin Caymanian land and wildlife; for this government force planning and the DoE to agree to such a disrespectful land use as a bar clearing out turtle grass so cruise ship visitors can get drunk in the national park is outrageous.
    It shows how little respect this government has for the people or the country. It is fitting this is the same government to force through the cruise ship dock while ignoring the dump.
    Vote them all out.

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  21. Anonymous says:

    The “owner’s” argument that his clients will want pristine waters is moot. To most visitors, Barkers waters are “pristine” in comparison to may other places. Perhaps they’ve been “spoiled” by Calico’s SMB location but so what?!

    WHEN this application is approved it will be shameful! In fact it’s shameful even for Govt to accept the application! Anyway, God’s seagrass will return and someone will have to pay to scoop it out every time. Anything for $$$! Disgusting!!

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  22. Dolf Kaputnik says:

    All You big ole dummies and @$$#0!@$ who voted for the ppm and Baba babuska Tek Hood inna unnah ras! They continue their onslaught on this environment whilst their foreign minions destroy everything else. Cayman is Kaput!

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  23. Anonymous says:

    Run them out with Ganja smoke

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  24. Anonymous says:

    So disgusted! You group of trash government ministers of cabinet that disregarded the caymanian people once again! To think that the DoT spend so much to do cruise conversion to stay-over and we would trade the gorgeous 7-mile beach for barkers beach (it’s not 7-mile beach – simple) as part of our “winning package” is just beyond any scope of sustainability or sense. This show that there is a bigger agenda with this. Notwithstanding the bigger issue: destroying the only tranquil untouched part of Grand Cayman that is left for the people to enjoy.

    This conjures up so much feelings of anger and revolutionary thoughts, that there is not space enough here to express how disgusted this makes us all. Talk about growing feelings of antagonism among Caymanians. The DART company and those pushing this has got this one project wrong. All else was palatable…but this right here: No amount of “careful sustainable” jargon and BS will suffice and appease just what you are doing to the Caymanian people’s hearts with this destruction. This is not development! It is cold-heart elitism and greed. It is like a part of our soul will be ripped from us as a people and the people elected to serve us has once again turned a blind eye and deaf ear.

    Ministers of Cabinet, including Tara Rivers – a West Bayer and McKeeva Bush we really are disgusted by your inability to see the hearts of the Caymanian people with this one crucial thing.

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    • Anonymous says:

      @3:16pm – Bravo!!!! Well said! It really is a shame- and would be nice to hear from our WB cabinet members- Rivers especially, since we all know too well that whatever comes out of McKeeva’s mouth is utter nonsense anyways!

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    • Anonymous says:

      3:16 pm you had me until you said “palatable”
      Don’t count me in with that part of your opinion.
      -1 vote here

  25. Anonymous says:

    When voters grow tired of being disregarded, there are democratic mechanisms to bring this regime to heel.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Too much apathy…

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    • Anonymous says:

      Please tell us about them, 2:49. The Cayman people have been ignored by their “elected officials” forever. Once in office they run things like THEY want, not how the people want. Dart is their God, their Savior, their Big Cahuna!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Aside from democratic mechanisms lets just have island wide town hall meetigs simultaneously and listen to “Poor People FedUp” by Bounty or “any Capelton tune”, then aĺl walk around and about Cayman afterwards as 1 and see what happens?

  26. Anonymous says:

    This pathetic excuse for a government will not be happy until every inch of the island is covered in concrete.

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  27. Anonymous says:

    Moses, is really throwing is power around and it is obvious whose pocket he is in..

    It makes me wonder out loud why DART would buy a failed 9 room hotel on an island that is literally dying? Could this be the favor to Moses for his “yes vote” for The decimation of Barkers?

    Blind Bartimeus can see that something isn’t right here..

    Things that make you go hmmm…

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    • Anonymous says:

      You people are sick. The Dart company and our great leaders are trying there best to make our island the greatest the world. Let them alone as they know what is the best way to do things. Barkers is a mess and Mr Dart will make it beautiful. Look at all the high paying jobs Mr. Dart has filled and many still available. Good job Unity Team!

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      • Anonymous says:

        @3:23pm… that’s a joke, right?

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      • Anonymous says:

        Make it greatest? For whom? What is the definition of “the greatest” for a Caribbean island?

        The financial services industry is the primary driver of your economy. It is a primary contributor to GDP. The industry is an indispensable source of revenue with nearly half of all government funding coming from financial services contributions.

        Yet, public believes that tourism generates more economic activity for the country than financial services. A disproportionate focus on tourism sends an inaccurate signal to the community to its importance in relative terms.
        But for every dollar they spend on financial services, they roughly receive around $18 from financial services. Comparably with tourism, they receive less than $2 in revenue,

        You can live happily ever after without building a single hotel or a condo just on revenues generated the financial service industry.

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        • Anonymous says:

          To recoup some of the billions Mr Dart has invested smart person. Thank goodness our leaders know how to treat a major investor.

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          • Anonymous says:

            Remind us how our Govt have honoured the part of the contract 20 yrs ago when DART bought all the land around the dump….did it go like “we will sell u all the land between Town and Camana Bay if you deal with the dump..”? I bet thats the part that confuses John-John nah true? Or did that sentence justify 20yrs worth of Consultant Reports at 1m a pop that have sat on shelf since print? Maybe that was a shot we feeing now and being held hostage for it.

      • Anonymous says:

        I absolutely agree, Mr Dart has improved this island more than anyone before him. We better give prayers to God for bringing Mr. Dart here to Cayman as well as our strong leaders who support him. The trouble makers need to made to leave our island, they are not needed.

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  28. Anonymous says:

    Great news for the tourism industry!!

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  29. Anonymous says:

    Yeah, this government is communist – they don’t listen to the concerns of the people who voted them in.

    They are only concerned about themselves.

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    • Anonymous says:

      you don’t know anything about communism. You live under dictatorship and too frightened to stand up for yourself.

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  30. WhaYaSay! says:

    Hopefully it increases the property value of the area!

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  31. Anonymous says:

    You get the right politically connected “partners” and you could put a disco bar in the government administration building.

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  32. Anonymous says:

    Is it just me, or is there something seriously wrong with this statement the minister said…” that the project was a “good example of the strength of our Department of Environment and people who want to do development in the right way”, as he indicated that Whittaker was talking to the department about how it could happen.”
    ?????
    How on Earth is developing on Barkers, and ruining 4 acres of sea grass in a marine replenishment zone, “a good example of the strength of our DOE”???????

    It’s pathetic and sad that this is what our island is becoming! Instead of invading on the quaint and tranquil Barkers, Dart, why not just let Handel KEEP CALICOS WHERE IT IS???!! There will literally be NO simply stated establishment for us locals to enjoy once it closes.

    What, are we expected to go spend $40 on 2 drinks at Dart’s Tillie’s (old Hemingways)? Please stop blowing smoke up our asses about your “concern for the overpopulated SMB”, Jackie Doak! If you’re so concerned, stop turning everything we enjoy into a 5 star hotel where none of us are welcomed. Stop ruining our natural environment just to line Dart’s already deep pockets!

    I’d really love for my children to be able to enjoy Barkers the way it is now, instead of it becoming an overpopulated SMB full of jack asses who throw their plastic cups in the ocean and leave their cigarette butts in the sand and have absolutely zero concern for OUR natural environment!!

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    • Izabayer says:

      But of course as there is already a dock at Spanish Bay…why don’t they just put it there? The place has been a derelict eyesore for many, many years.

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    • Tell It Like It Is says:

      People oh my people what else do you expect. The Restauranteer is now with ski in the game as the Premier is wont to state, therefore it is a “ Caymanian projrct “ which has to have the CiG’s full support or otherwise who are they working for Right!

      Now let’s see the West Bayers show their true mettle and lobby their Unity Zgovernment representatives to stop this project. As the old saying goes “ a reckon dat gone happen”.

      Once again at least for now it seems that this land is not your land and it’s now made for them and not for you.

      Oh my people can’t you see how Dey taking advamtage of we, better better hurry up and come.

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    • Anonymous says:

      This is just the start. Test the water with this and before you know it, Barkers will be turned into an overpriced, Dart Rum Point.

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      • Anonymous says:

        You cant put a bar/restaurant in Hotel/Tourism zone on its own – has to be ancillary to – go figure – a HOTEL. There is already a phased plan here folks…much more than just a bar/restaurant. Barkers is gone, sorry to say.

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    • Jotnar says:

      It is a good example of the “strength of Department of the Environment..” – in that they are completely powerless when faced with Cabinet. Whether they object to the piers or Barkers, if the government doesn’t like their position, they simply ignore it.

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    • Anonymous says:

      haha…its called the law of the land and dart has followed that 100%.
      you can object if you want but it better have some merit not just some nonsensical anti-dart rhetoric

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    • Anonymous says:

      do you live in a tree?

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    • No says:

      Have you been to Tillie’s? A beer costs $6….

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      • Anonymous says:

        don’t let facts get in the way…

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      • Anonymous says:

        @1:18pm- yes, I’ve been to Tillie’s. We had 2 cocktails and the bill was $34 ci. I’m sorry, but that’s really not what we have in mind to “replace” a simple place like Calico’s on SMB! Fine for a special occasion but that’s about it.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Except that Tillies replaced Hemingway’s, not Calicos and those prices are standard all along the Seven Mile Beach corridor, but you knew that..to hell with facts!

        • Anonymous says:

          I went there for their happy hour and cocktails were $7CI and food was $4CI…. that works for me

    • Beach Cleaner says:

      Um .. plastic cups in the ocean and cigarette butts in the sand? … I guess that’s far worse than the dirty diapers, condoms, used toilet paper, beer and liquor bottles and fast food containers in the bushes? I don’t think so. The only valid point you made is the removal of turtle grass.

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      • Beach Cleaner says:

        Oops … forgot to mention the discarded mattresses, TVs, fridges, stoves, etc dumped at Barkers and just about every other location that is unsupervised. How many complainers actually use the Barkers beach other than as a dumping ground?

    • Anonymous says:

      You won’t be allowedto enjoy anything there in the future,Dart owns the whole of Barkers peninsula from time, soon you will be able to go s far as Papagalo and then you’ll meet gates.From Town to West along all streches of sand will be privately owned either by D or the existing Condo owners. Traffic alomg the high tide markis next.

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  33. Anonymous says:

    I cautiously support the construction of the Cruise Port. Cautiously because there are real environmental consequences, that have to be weighed against potential public benefits to it’s construction. All-in-all, the intention is this will be a public good.

    But really!? A friggin bar for the destruction of so much marine life habitat. Are we @$#@ing mad!?

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  34. Anonymous says:

    It just goes to show exactly how far the voice of the people goes with this bunch. May as well just change the name of the island to CayDart Islands. It appears the island I came back home to is truly dead to me. Time to pack up my family and leave my ancestral home.

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    • Lord Styrofoam says:

      Good idea, but DartCay Islands has a better ring to it.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Consider that there aren’t yet 25% in favor of a vote on a clean procurement process for the docks. Everyone should want fair play, yet surrender seems to be preferance of majority.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Best of luck to you and your family. I hope your new home is one where you feel like you can thrive and grow and enjoy your community. As a Fellow Caymanian who has also left with my family it is heartbreaking when you realize the place you love is so far gone that you feel you can no longer live in what has become an extremely unbalanced society. Yes, I dearly miss my friends and family and defintley miss the beach but I value my children’s future, their sense of self and my own sanity too much to stay on the rock… a place I once loved with all my heart and soul.

  35. Anonymous says:

    God is great, beer is good

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  36. Anonymous says:

    I told all in a previous post. This long been approved!!!!

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  37. Anonymous says:

    Alden Moses McKeeva have sold out the country and Caymanians!

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    • Anonymous says:

      And the even sadder part is we sat by and let it happen.

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    • Anonymous says:

      To Caymanians!

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      • Anonymous says:

        To Caymanians? OH wait, do you mean the bought me loads of land so I got status Caymanians? Or the I came here and have lots of money so I greased the pockets and asses of certain politicians and became a Caymanian type of Caymanian?

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        • Anonymous says:

          In the eyes of the law, it matters not. Make wiser choices at the polls should you take issue with legislation.

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          • Anonymous says:

            We all agree with you, if the particular grant is legal.

            Some, it is believed, were not.

            As there has been no impartial investigation despite obvious indications that one would be appropriate, we may never know.

            The consequence is that some Caymanians will quite reasonably question the “Caymanian-ness” of some others.

            Dat wha you get.

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  38. Anonymous says:

    Dart owns the Unity Government more evidence in comments of the Deputy Premier

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    • Anonymous says:

      and what are YOU going to do about it? Remain anonymous in your comments?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Negotiation 101 final exam question (Spring 2019 edition).

      Selecting two of the options listed below as A thru D, complete the following sentence:

      If I were to _____________ , then could I please _____________.

      A. dance an Irish jig on television

      B. reopen a largely abandoned hotel in your district

      C. learn the words to the National Song; or

      D. have my friend remove 4 acres of pristine turtle grass from a protected area.

      Answers on a postcard to the Legislative Assembly by sunset Friday.

      Should you fail to answer, or fail to answer correctly, you will have an opportunity to reset the test (although with different questions) approximately every three months for the foreseeable future.

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  39. V says:

    I guess they want it to be as dirty and disgusting as Public Beach.

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    • SSM345 says:

      Public beach has been sold already; and when Calicos closes so will all those vendors and pb because of construction. Thats why they allowed now to make quick cash. Unnah blind. If they cared about people enjoying it as we have all our lives they would fix the issue. Much easier now for everyone to stop going on their own accord so when its announced that PB getting developed along with Calicos site they can say “Unnah stopped going there”. Public land being used for commerical gain illegally; Govt should make it legal without $5 chair rentals right?

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