Minister denies conflict over dock

| 06/05/2019 | 62 Comments
Cayman News Service

Vista del Mar

(CNS): An application for a judicial review of a Cabinet decision to grant a coastal works licence for a dock at Vista Del Mar has accused the environment minister of having a conflict when he voted with his colleagues to approve the project. The pier had raised concerns from both the planning department and Dwayne Seymour’s own team at the Department of Environment but was approved anyway. The court documents filed in March state that Seymour had a business relationship with the applicant, Marcus Cumber, which the minister has now denied. Seymour owns an airport security company and Cumber owns the private air service, Island Air.

The legal action seeking a judicial review of the decision was filed by the strata members of Vista Del Mar, a luxury residential canal community in the Salt Creek area of West Bay. Spearhead by Don Seymour, the owner of DMS and one of the residents in the community, the application states that the decision to grant the licence was irrational and without justification.

The action stated that despite numerous objections, the proposed dock and cabana, which will extend 128 feet into the Salt Creek, was granted, but that the decision departs without reason from the government’s own policy that docks constructed along a canal may not extend more than six feet into the canal.

The JR application also claims that the decision appears to be biased, stating, “The Minister who presented the Cabinet Paper recommending that a permit be granted is a business associate of Mr Cumber.”

It goes on to say that Seymour did not disclose his connections to Cumber, so “an informed and fair-minded observer would conclude that there was a real possibility that the decision was tainted by bias”, the court document states.

But in short statement Monday, Seymour said that permission was granted after “considerable dialogue between Mr Cumber and public sector officials”. He said that changes were made to the project and claimed that the length of the dock was never in breach of restrictions. He also said Cumber had confirmed that the two men have never had a business relationship.

“I would also like to note that the only business that I own is registered at the Legislative Assembly, where it is available by appointment for public review,” said Seymour, who owns the airport security business, APS Security. “In the end the matter was only unanimously approved by the requisite quorum of members of Cabinet after the applicant repeatedly demonstrated that he was willing to take on board input from Government and the community.”

The legal action raises a number of other concerns about the proposed dock. Applicants believe Cumber could have accessed the marina in Vista Del Mar, where at least two berths were available that could accommodate Cumber’s boat.

The DoE had also recommended that Cumber use the marina because the proposed coastal works would directly and indirectly impact a substantial area of dense, healthy seagrass beds during construction and thereafter during operation, and in general the project would have a negative impact on the marine environment.

The residents at Vista Del Mar had also objected for various reasons, including the navigational impact on other boat users, the visual impact, light and noise pollution and the marine environment. The planning department expressed concerns over the length of the dock, which would extend 128 feet into the canal, longer than any other dock in the area.

The application for a judicial review points out that the Cabinet has given no positive reasons for recommending the licence be granted or why the concerns expressed by the DoE and planning as well as other objectors were overlooked, or why Cumber should not moor his boat in one of the berths available.

“The Cabinet Paper discloses no reasonable basis for its recommendation and the Decision, which accepted the recommendation ‘as per the reasons outlined’ in the Cabinet paper is accordingly irrational and liable to quashed on that ground,” the document stated.

The revelation that Cabinet granted this long dock over seagrass beds comes as objectors in West Bay are still waiting to learn if Cabinet has granted an application by Handel Whittaker to build a dock and dredge turtle grass in Barkers. Whittaker, who owns Calico Jack’s bar on Seven Mile Beach, is being turfed out of the property next year by his landlord, Dart Enterprises.

As a result he has been offered the use of land owned by Dart at Barkers to relocate the bar. But Whittaker has said that he wants to recreate the Seven Mile Beach experience his customers have become accustomed to, which requires dredging a substantial area of protected turtle grass. However, that area is in a marine replenishment zone.

See documents in the CNS Library

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

Comments (62)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    No it doesn’t! He is Caymanian. He was born here and has the passport, Caymanian. Y’all need to get over that. Once you realise there is no such thing as an indigenous Caymanian then you can start to move on.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    . “In the end the matter was only unanimously approved by the requisite quorum of members of Cabinet after the applicant repeatedly demonstrated that he was willing to take on board input from Government and the community.”

    Holy government doublespeak Batman. What is a unanimous quorum? That could be one person. Give us details, which Cabinet members voted yes on the CWL, give us the names.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Cayman. When in doubt, just go back to the pirate code. It still works here! Unpermitted wall by Frank sound landing? Let a year go by and now they have started to finish it up. End of story move on. It”s not corruption if its common and cultural.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    You people need to leave our unity team alone. Our premier will get it sorted out.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Poor old Dwayne. Thought he would cut a rich Caymanian a favour and ran into an even richer Caymanian who not only doesn’t like it, but has the money and push to get the gaggle of very rich and well connected neighbours at Vista del Mar to collectively fund a JR and complain. Irrespective of outcome he’s PO’ed some serious hitters – not going to do his fundraising for re -election any favours.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Maybe his getting the airport security contract should also be looked into.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Mac is a free man despite his conflicts with the Ritz and gambling on our money. You seriously think anything will come out of this?

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      • Anonymous says:

        No serving policiation should be allowed to get them kind of contracts

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        • Anonymous says:

          Problem with that is that their business was pre-existing before they became a politician. The solution isn’t poor politicians, its proper bidding processes. (Which we have.) Then it doesn’t matter who the Beneficial Owner of company X is.

  6. Anonymous says:

    And the difference between this guys dock and what the other guy wants to do with barkers is: calico goers leave trash on the ground that is never picked up. Have you seen all the trash in the sand around that bar? The dudes dock is pissing off his neighbors cause it’s bigger than theirs.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Is that a typo? 128ft? When the neighbours and the rules max out at 6ft? Regardless of conflicts and brown bags and whatever, where is the mindset of anyone wanting to do something like this? The annual strata meeting should be a youtube event!!

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  8. Ambassador of Absurdistan says:

    Just Another Day in Absurdistan

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  9. Anonymous says:

    What a ghastly eyesore that whole property is. None of it should have been permitted.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Jealous?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Ghastly eyesore?? It’s actually not bad at all. Look at all of the green spaces!! Yes you sound a bit jelly.
      The EYESORE is the Turkish palace/CASINO built across from Wendy’s!!! How the H did that get past planning???? Revolting and does NOT belong on a Grand Cayman.
      Defo not jelly of that eyesore. I would hate to be associated in any way of that ridiculous looking ‘home’. But I’d love to be a fly on the wall when those parties start! I can see the guest list now….

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  10. Anonymous says:

    Who is it that keeps posting that phrase that is so true? Another day in Absurdistan

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  11. Anonymous says:

    It’s the way things are done on these islands and always has been – get used to it!

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  12. Anonymous says:

    Who cares. This is a waste of time as usual. What is the difference if they build a dock. It’s not as bad as what they are proposing to do in town building the cruise terminal.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I know this may sound impossible to you, but most people can focus on more than one thing at a time…

      Its possible to be concerned about the port project and this.

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  13. Anonymous says:

    Marcus does everything above board. Give the man a break!

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  14. Not a clue- Boo! says:

    Glad the residents of the community filed this judicial review and it will be interested to see what the court decides! Like they say, kisses come by favors!

    CNS: With the JD filed, does Mr. Cumber have to wait until the outcome before the dock can be constructed?

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    • Anonymous says:

      No. That requires a ‘stay’. They may get that in the first part of the Judicial Review hearing. If the judge finds there is grounds for the Judicial Review to proceed, and if requested, the Judge may order a stay of the decision, i.e., that the Permission is on hold so the dock cannot be built. A part of that decision could be how far along the construction work for the dock is, e.g., if the dock is half-built and there’s a signed contract, etc., the judge may rule that it would be unfair to stop the economic activity before there’s a decision on the JR. – This is why its important to file JRs ASAP after a decision.

      PS> I am not a lawyer so the above is simplified so if a real lawyer can weigh in with more details and correct terms please do.

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  15. Anonymous says:

    Couple of free lobster burgers on a Friday lunchtime and woolah, Bob’s your uncle.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Food in that place is bang average. It’s the most overrated over priced joint on the island. If it weren’t for the view they would have nothing to offer.

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  16. Anonymous says:

    Wow…

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    • Anonymous says:

      The time has come for the establishment of a Green Party in the Cayman Islands. The old boys and girls who run the show consistently show that they really don’t give a damn about the environment. Young people of Cayman, wake up, get involved, and take on the old boys politically. We cannot turn everything over to the developers and their political friends.

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  17. Anonymous says:

    We need to scrap this entire corrupt govt, enact SIPL and review two decades of organized enrichment and misconduct.

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  18. Anonymous says:

    “The pier had raised concerns from both the planning department and Dwayne Seymour’s own team at the Department of Environment but was approved anyway.”
    Nothing like some favoritism to get the public to forget the Barkers development mess.

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  19. Abys says:

    “hey bro lemme get this dock built na”
    “aight man hol on soon come”

    “guys approve this dock please yada mmhm”
    “lol ok everyone agrees do it”

    judicial review has entered the chat

    “am bo’oh wa ya say unna doing roun the back ya?!”

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  20. Anonymous says:

    Money talks, bull squirt walks.

    Nothing is ever as it seems in the Cayman Islands.

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  21. Anonymous says:

    Thank God the courts exist to watch over these characters. Good to see them being held to some accountability – whether they are right or wrong – they had better get used to having to explain their conduct, espescially when it appears strange.

    As for the register of interests, why was the compass reporter sent away? Why is the register not simply posted online for all to view?

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  22. Anonymous says:

    lol and so it ensues, love it!

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  23. Anonymous says:

    And we are so lucky to have this minister in charge of the environment? Sure hope there is some environment left once his term is over. We know that he won’t be getting anything done at the dump though!

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    • Anonymous says:

      The Minister has no time for The Dump. Too busy looking after his commercial interests.

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      • Anonymous says:

        I wonder, does the Minister’s company employ Caymanians? Are his security guards paid any more than minimum wage? Do they come from different countries, or are they mainly from the same place? Do they have to have special clearances to work in he vicinity of aircraft?

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  24. Anonymous says:

    Pretentiousness at its very finest.

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  25. Anonymous says:

    You not see nuttin!

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  26. Anonymous says:

    another bad day at the office for dwayne…..

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