Beach activists accuse gov’t of ‘bad faith’

| 21/05/2019 | 38 Comments

Cayman News Service, Beach access on the Cayman Islands(CNS): After a long battle to raise the necessary funds and win legal aid to support their case, three ladies from West Bay have filed for judicial review of the registrar of lands’ refusal to register dozens of beach access points in accordance with the law. Alice Mae Coe, Annie Multon and Ezmie Smith are accusing government of neglecting its responsibility to register the long-standing rights of way, despite some 500 affidavits in support of their historic use. The women claim government is “acting in bad faith” and does not want to deal with the issue because of the potential impact on developers.

The case was filed earlier this month after dragging on for many years, as the women have tried to deal with the issue outside of the courts. But the government’s continued failure to act in accordance with the law has driven them to the courthouse and request a judicial review.

The registrar has refused to register these various historic access points and rights of way, claiming she does not have the power to do so. But the women say the law is clear and that the registrar of lands not only has the power clearly defined in law but based on the evidence submitted, these important access points should have been registered many years ago.

With beach access points all over Cayman disappearing fast, especially on Seven Mile Beach, the case is bound too attract public attention, as the women claim the registrar’s basis for refusing the request is full of “glaring errors” and a poor interpretation of the law.

They say that the continued refusal when the law is so clear is “unreasonable” and amounts to a “dereliction of duty” by government, which, the women believe, is trying hard to dodge the registration of the access and rights of way because developers want a “free hand” and not be fettered by public access points over potential developments.

The women, who have been champions in the fight for beach access, were also leading campaigners during the battle to stop the closure of the West Bay Road, as they predicted that government’s deal with the Dart Group would spell the end for beach access along the Seven Mile Beach from public beach north to West Bay.

While government has now established a Public Lands Commission and is promising to set aside beachfront land in every district for public use, the issue of general access has become a serious area of concern for Caymanians and residents not fortunate enough to live on the beach.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Bad faith or kickbacks? Get used to it that’s how things are done here, always have and always will be.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The Governor cannot ignore a petition signed by 25% of the electorate. But as you correctly identify, the voters typically find it easier to surrender to status quo rather than standing for anything (these three ladies being a notable exception). The Unity team and developers are banking on it.

  3. Anonymous says:

    This government has made it very apparent that they are for sale.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Whilst I can support their activism it is this generation of Caymanians who sold and gave away the beach access generations once enjoyed. Now in their golden years they are trying to force the Courts to “give” it back. Guilt is a powerful motivator but it should be placed in reality. Most of them ignored their grandparents and parents welfare who had no choice but to sell up anything they had to look after themselves. The shame is on those 60/70 something Caymanians who just watched as any and everything was sold for the almighty dollar so that could drive a new car and go shopping in Miami … and pretend they were foreigners

  5. Anonymous says:

    A BIG thank you to Alice Mae Coe, Annie Multon and Ezmie Smith.
    I stood behind you and with you on WB Road a few years ago when we tried to stop the road being closed.

    I admire you all and what you are trying to do. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    Paper Caymanian – This is My Home

    • Anonymous says:

      We will never truly be a people until we have 2 things. 1. You my friend are a Caymanian, not a paper Caymanian. Refer to yourself as the former not the latter. Hold the status, respect the history and heritage, join in the fold to protect and preserve the land and the way of Life God intended for us to live. 2. We who came here by navel string, with sand hair and seawater blood, accept those that joined us from other lands and treat them as our brothers and sisters. Then we will once again be a people to be reckoned with, then we will once again be able to direct the destiny of a country that God so loved that He founded is upon the seas and established it upon the waters to be a city of refuge and a beacon of light to the whole world. Then our leaders will remember who they are and then we won’t have to beg them to do what is best for their people.

      • Anonymous says:

        I wasn’t going to respond to this but have come back to do so.

        I want to thank you 10:56am for saying this.
        I have been here for 28 years. Received my status for length of stay (the ‘right’ way) in ’03 with the wave of cabinet grants. Those cabinet grants took away a bit of the pride I felt at my achievement. To this day when someone finds out that I have status they ask me how!
        Then when it was time, I was naturalized and got my passport.
        This IS my home and reading your comment is the first time I have felt this positive about my commitment, investment, dedication and fierce loyalty to this island.
        And I will continue to stand with these women who are trying to keep what is OURS! I will continue to defend those that are trying to preserve what we have left of our natural resources and that includes NOT wanting that Berth to be built.
        Call me Old-Timey but I do not agree that bigger/newer is better.

        Thanks again

  6. Anonymous says:

    “Bad faith” is the credo of this regime and it’s developer lobby. Yet, not a single voter has started a petition to any governor to set a deadline to enact the Standards in Public Life Law, that might otherwise bring good governance into play. The public should want to reverse the tide of corruption through arrests and prosecutions of the presumed-exempt political class. Nothing happens until SIPL is enacted, and nobody knows this better than the Unity regime and their cronies. Wake up voters!

    • Anonymous says:

      Are you kidding me – this governor would never in a million years say anything to the Unity Team and their leaders as he does not want to wind up sent back to jolly old England like his predecessor. He knows to just look nice and say nothing so he can stay here for the full term.
      As for getting beach access; that’s a dead issue as well because the money people have already paid for this.

  7. Ron Ebanks says:

    CNS I believe that Anonymous 11:42pm is right that it was every 250 ft that there should be a 6 ft access/right away to the beach . If I am not mistaken it was done in the late 60s .

  8. Anonymous says:

    There’s nothing stopping anyone creating a website that maps Cayman and shows where every beach access is located

  9. Ron Ebanks says:

    You people wake up and get behind and support these good West Bay Ladies who are fighting for YOUR RIGHTS to use what our Founding Fathers gave US but this Government doesn’t want US to keep it .

  10. Anonymous says:

    Aren’t these the same activists that were challenging the building of the bypass to West Bay? Which by the way seems to have worked out quite well.

    Maybe they should focus their efforts on the real problems, not the perceived ones. You know. Education. Crime. Domestic violence. Just a thought.

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s not how this works 8:58 am
      Do you think these are bored people looking for something to do??
      Stop being disrespectful. Try to understand what is happening here and why they feel strongly about what is going on.

      And what are YOU doing about education, crime and domestic violence since you seem to have so much free time on your hands by degrading what some feel is an important issue.

    • Ron Ebanks says:

      8:58 am why that didn’t work out was because you and all other people get behind and supported them , but this issue is just as important as any other one . Ithe has been going on too long unfixed .

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes. They say that the devil makes work for idle hands.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I truly feel that beach access is the number one problem in Cayman because it symbolises our government’s willingness to shut out and shut down the average person in favour of big money foreigners. It symbolises the growing divide between the rich and the poor, and seeks to exclude anyone not rich from even being in the same area. The average person is not allowed to even exist in the same space as the rich, and this practice is being encouraged by government.

    If our government took a stand and told these big money people NO, that would send a strong message to them about equality in society.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Government and other politicians, stop pushing Caymanians to the back of the bus to curry favour with your developer friends by giving away our rights.

    Dart, Mac and Alden stole my road, they will not steal my rights to get to the beach – open all beach accesses.

    • Anonymous says:

      The Darts now control governments actions. A phone call from Kellyanne is how decisions are made by certain beholden MLA’s.

    • Anonymous says:

      A lot of the big developers are Caymanian and they have the ear of the politicians

  13. Anonymous says:

    So the government only cares about the wealthy people who are here to invest while they turn a blind eye to the middle class. What’s new?

    • Anonymous says:

      There is nothing middle about caymanians. Our goverment have caymanians at the bottom of the shift hole.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Do the landowners get a chance to dispute these claims? Some of these affidavits look pretty flimsy. u

    • Ron Ebanks says:

      4:13am NO because this is like you buying the Brooklyn Bridge from me . You have to remember the Laws that were change to help you and people are fighting for their rights of those Laws which are being tried to be taken away from them .

  15. Anonymous says:

    CNS, I number of years ago I was refused access to the beach by a commercially owned resort.
    I searched our “laws”, and to the best of my recollection, I think it states that for every 250 feet of beach front (or maybe slightly more?) a 6 foot corridor/path is a legal requirement that has to be provided by the owner to the public.
    This not only applies to commercial entities but also to personal privately owned lands on the oceanfront.
    Unfortunately, at present, I’m unable to locate these documents but if you do the (re)search I’m more than confident you’ll find it sooner than me!
    Please make an effort for the benefit of us all.
    Thank you.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well yes, but that law only applied to land being developed after it was enacted and not to already existing developments. If the resort that refused you access over its land existed before that law came into effect, it might well have been entitled to.

      (PS why should CNS do your work for you?!)

      • Anonymous says:

        Why be so rude and derogatory in your PS?
        I simply asked for help from a younger and more knowledgeable generation than myself.
        8:13, you try navigating CIG websites…they’re a horror!
        The CNS crew is far better equipped at this endeavour than either you or me.

  16. Anonymous says:

    This government is beholden to big business and has always found it difficult to exercise their responsibility to represent the interests of the majority of their constituents when those interests might conflict with the interests of their masters within the local business community.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Out of time.

  18. Anonymous says:

    500 affidavits? Who is the registrar, and if she does not have the authority to register these accesses, who does?

  19. Anonymous says:

    Does this actually surprise you? Money talks and the foreign money speaks loudest. CIG isn’t going to piss off the developers and have us locals romping on the beach that is rightfully ours to romp on.

    • Anonymous says:

      Statute blocked is the new buzz phrase. I heard a story that happened several years ago. A man who stole so much land from so many people over the years, started confessing on his hospital death bed about what he had done. Apparently it go to bad thst his relatives had to post a ” no visitors” sign on the door. I wonder what the stories that will be left behind by some of these people in high places will reveal. They certainly won’t take it with them, because I haven’t yet seen a hearse pulling a house, a hotel or any “stuff”. Beware of your actions.

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