Rivers says Barkers proposal ‘not acceptable’

| 28/02/2019 | 45 Comments
Cayman News Service

Barkers National Park coastline

(CNS): The representative for West Bay South, Tara Rivers, has said that an application by Handel Whittaker for a coastal works licence in relation to a controversial proposed development in the Barkers area is “not acceptable”. In contrast to comments made on Monday by her Cabinet colleague, Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell, who predicted a successful outcome for the project, Minister Rivers said government had recommended that the parties involved meet with the Department of Environment to discuss concerns about the project.

Whittaker, the owner of Calico Jack’s on Seven Mile Beach, has made an application to remove 180,000 sq.ft of turtle grass from an area of unspoiled beach in Barkers to build a dock where he wants to relocate the bar and create a day-resort catering to cruise visitors.

The land in Barkers where Whittaker plans to move the bar is owned by the Dart Group, which also owns the land where the bar is currently located. However, Dart is evicting him next year.

Dart has confirmed on numerous occasions that it fully supports the project proposal. Representatives have also begun hinting in public forums that they want to see more development in Barkers, where the developer now has considerable land holdings.

Although the proposal has stirred a considerable backlash in the West Bay community, Rivers had made no public comment on the issue until now, despite the impact this will have on her constituents.

However, in a Facebook posting on Wednesday, the minister finally addressed the issue. Writing to her constituents she said she wanted to share “the facts about the status of the application made by H. Whittaker for a Coastal Works Licence at Barkers”.

“Contrary to claims made by reckless reporting, which have been compounded by spurious statements made recently on the radio airwaves, the Cabinet has not considered nor approved the application,” Rivers said.

She did not indicate what reckless reporting she was referring to, nor did she say if the “spurious statements” on the radio referred to Kirkconnell’s comments on Radio Cayman on Monday or those raised in the discussions on Rooster’s Crosstalk on Tuesday.

But Rivers went on to say that when the proposal was presented to caucus alongside a presentation from the Department of Environment (DoE) on its findings, the government had recommended that the landowner, which is Dart, and the applicant, Whittaker, should meet with the DoE “to discuss the concerns and considerations as the proposal was not acceptable”.

Rivers added that, as the representative of WBS, she would “continue to serve you with passion, integrity and commitment to do what is best for you — my constituents — and the country as a whole”.

Whittaker, who is going to be turfed out of his current prime location next year from the site he has leased for more than 15 years, claims that he approached his landlord, and not the other way round, to relocate the bar to land that Dart owns in Barkers.

But speaking at a public meeting in the district at the end of last year, Whittaker said he wanted to recreate as similar an experience as possible to that of Seven Mile Beach for his new site.

He said the application to remove more than four acres of seagrass and build a dock was critical to the project. Whittaker told the people of West Bay that if he could not secure this application to take out the seagrass, the project would not happen and implied he would then be out of business.

However, in its review of the application, which was released this week, the DoE highlighted a catalog of issues and recommended that the government reject the project. But before the report was released and ahead of the meeting with the DoE, Dart and Whittaker held later that day, the tourism minister, during an appearance on Radio Cayman, suggested that a way was already being paved for a successful outcome for the project.

Kirkconnell indicated that the matter was a good example of the strength of the DoE and people who want to “do development in the right way”. The minister said Whittaker was looking at options that would “allow him to be successful and allow a balance for the environment”, and that he had spent time “moving the project forward” recently.

The DoE has since confirmed that no alternative proposals have been discussed and at the meeting DoE technical experts reiterated the findings of their report. Nevertheless, the DoE has stated that if the parties present an alternative to the current proposal, they are happy to give feedback.

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Category: development, Local News, Marine Environment, Science & Nature

Comments (45)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Lissen guys. I am a born Caymanian. One of the very few remaining ones owning beach property that Mr. Dart hasn’t bought out. I was jes wondering if maybe i could clear some turtle grass the size of my kitchen table so my grand children can swim or do i have to take them to Mr. Darts place?

  2. Rodney Barnett says:

    So one quick question: What happens in 15 years when Whittacer is once again evicted by Dart? Does Dart take over that area for a new highrise buildings? After all all you have to do is look at history to see the future.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Wow this thread reads like, “Valley of the Trolls”.
    You really don’t like each other much under the glad handing.
    It doesn’t seem like there is anything that Tara can do or say that you won’t trash.
    Tara went against the party leadership here.

  4. Anonymous says:

    But a 50 floor ‘Towering Inferno’ is?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Wow, the coordinated effort of “Tara haters” are out in force (once again)! Hmmm…I just wonder which party is behind it….

    The comments about “finally finding her voice” and “not present for the vote” is clearly not reflective of reality (just search the LA records to see for yourself). Nice try, but Minister Rivers has already proven herself a leader in her own right. Ya’ll can’t diminsh her shine!

    She clearly knows and represents her role as a Cabinet member, and doesn’t flap her gums at every issue. She has stated the Government’s position to her Constituents.

    She is intelligent, articulate and not afraid to stand her ground when need be. Stop hating already! Nuttin but crabs in a barrel…

    • Anonymous says:

      Proven herself a leader?Excuse me..the lady was a complete failure at the Ministry of Education they are working around the clock to clean up the mess she left behind.She blows nothing but hot air when she travels and represents us.Yes I am Caymanian and I would happily vote for a foriegner any day over some of the members we have presently.She is just another wanna be career politian.

  6. Anonymous says:

    So where are Big Mac and the Chuckster? The silence is searing. The one time Mac should open his mouth he’s Allentown. The Chuckster is just wIting for Mac to call to tell him what to think.

  7. Cess Pita says:

    I would like to see our West Bay MLA’s make an effort to convince their constituents that Barkers is not a place to dump their garbage.

  8. SSM345 says:

    In Politics the term “not acceptable” is often followed by an invisible “yet” that all us are blind too.

  9. smh says:

    Reading the CNS comments here, no wonder why we can’t progress:



    • Anonymous says:

      You do realize they were elected and it is their job to offer up the solutions right?

      The people critique what has been passed or proposed
      If we wanted to run the country ourselves we would live in a direct democracy
      the entire purpose of a representative democracy is that the people don’t have to worry themselves with the day to day administering of the country

      We expect our representatives to represent us
      When they do not we will voice our displeasure

      If you don’t like it

      You can do your next best

      • Voter says:

        You do realize, Tara is sitting in a house of 18 others that don’t have the same mind. She needs more than half the house to support her policies. And will that ever happen, seeing PPM has the most seats in the house? No simpleton!

        Stop the foolish rhetoric against one of our own! Spew your hate or jealousy eslewhere! It seems you don’t know how politricks work here. And I wouldn’t be surprised youre not Caymanian!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Please give me a break.The lady is working on being re-elected nothing she says can be taken seriously.She has been in over her head since she was first elected.Sorry if you think she can stop anything on her own.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Nice to see you finally chime in Ms. Rivers. Sleepy head is finally awake?

    Where have you been?

    Why are you so silent on so many issues?

    It is one thing to see you finally come out of hiding and speak to this issue, but what about the others facing Grand Cayman? i.e. the cruise port, the new DART tower, the fence that was erected on SMB for Kaaboo.

    What have you been doing to earn a vote in the next election, other than just collecting a pay cheque?

  12. Michel Lemay says:

    I too finds this unacceptable. Barkers should have have been declared a National park and rreserved for the Caymanian people. I support DOE in it’s findings. Let’s protect the laws that are in place. Too much greed and lack of consideration. Kudos Ms. Tara, better late then never. I encourage the other West Bay MLA’s to also follow suit.

  13. Anonymous says:

    “The representative for West Bay South, Tara Rivers, has said that an application by Handel Whittaker for a coastal works license in relation to a controversial proposed development in the Barkers area is “not acceptable”.”

    Thank God there is someone with sense in this government that realizes and understands the foolishness and environmental dangers of this project.

    • Anonymous says:

      I am glad thst Tara has finally found her tongue. She is hardly ever vocal on any subject that we all find it strange to read/hear her comments. I hope she will remind her deputy premier to get the facts before making his announcements to avoid egg on face. Also Tara please remember in future to find you seat in the LA when the time comes for your Aye or Naye. No more scurrying off. It is being noticed.

  14. Anonymous says:

    We got laws in place to protect lobsters but where are the laws to protect their environment?

    We can’t allow money pigs to keep destroying the marine habitat because we will have no marine life left. We wouldn’t need a lobster season if the past generations had taken their head out of their ass and see what over development and over population is doing to this Island. This generation and the future generation are now suffering for the mistakes and inaction of the of the past generations.

    Why must my children and I suffer for the older generation mistakes and governing ignorance?

    • Anonymous says:

      Why must my children and I suffer for the older generation mistakes and governing ignorance? – perhaps because you keep electing them?

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t think it is the past generation’s fault, blame iit on too many restaurants making conch fritters and cracked conch.

    • Anonymous says:

      Perhaps also because your Government and individual Caymanian brethren sold out your children’s birth-right to people like those in the DART group.Shall we list the land acquisitions,on all 3 islands?

    • Anonymous says:

      You got laws! That’s funny! In a functional country they have what is called enforcement of the laws to make them work.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Guess what? The Cayman Islands has laws, and people can build according to those laws. Don’t like that? Buy the land yourself or shut up! Bunch of do-nothing freeloaders love to dictate to others what to do with their property, especially finances.

    • Anonymous says:

      What are you saying 8:55? No one owns the ocean. You sound like an egotistical moron.

      • Anonymous says:

        Straight up truth and seconded! No one owns the ocean the block and parcel stops somewhere that is not unda da’ sea!!!

  16. Anonymous says:

    Recall a few years ago, “rich guy” Andreas Ugland was being blasted for his desire to build a small pony stable on land he owned in Barkers. Ahhh Clearly it’s who you know

  17. Anonymous says:

    Why was Tara keeping this hidden from us??? When was she going to let us know that Barkers was under threat?

    • Anonymous says:

      I guess she assumed more people read/watched/listened to the news than read her Facebook page. She’ll be pleased to know that you hang on her every post but haven’t paid any attention to the news for the last month.

  18. Anonymous says:

    That’s our Tara, also absent on our West Bay issues until forced to take s position by the reckless media.

    How long were you going to hide this from us Tara?

  19. Anonymous says:

    Clearly option A

    Tara was silent until forced to speak.

  20. Anonymous says:

    At 936, i agree. Tara needs to speak more common language instead of like she is in front of a judge all the time

  21. save barkers says:

    my mother always told me …you can do anything you like..but not as long as you like..JUST LEAVE BARKERS BEACH ALONE…!!!!!!!! I REALLY thought Handel had owned Calico”s…wow …that’s a blow…Landlord wants diamond land back and Tenant gets dirt ..wowww..!!!!!!!

  22. Anonymous says:

    Damn Tara, good for you! It is about time a politician voted in to serve the PEOPLE stands up and does just that. Stick to your guns and you will come out in a much better light than your compatriots.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Dart does not need any alternative because what the boss says he wants then his puppets will put it thru. End of discussion.

  24. Anonymous says:

    please explain tara….(without the management speak waffle please)

  25. Anonymous says:

    Sad times…when even the turtle grass is ‘too caymanian’ for them.

  26. Johnny Be Good says:

    Breaking rank takes balls, good on ya Tara!

  27. Family Feud says:

    Anyone else confused?

    Chose one:

    A) Tara trying to cover her bonkeeee or
    B) Moses and Tara are attempting to pacify supporters with two different stories.
    C) Neither can be trusted
    D) All of the above

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