Legal aid refused in ‘secret’ Dart beach access fight

| 17/02/2020 | 98 Comments
Cayman News Service
One of the beach access points that the Dart Group wants to move

(CNS): The battle to retain the natural beauty of Smith Cove and keep the place accessible to locals is one of several ongoing beach access fights the public is now engaged in. As access to the famous Seven Mile Beach for ordinary people has virtually disappeared, a group of women from West Bay, who believe they have the law on their side, are locked in two legal battles, one with government and, as can now be revealed, another with Dart. But with legal aid denied for that fight, the case is in trouble.

The Cayman Islands’ largest developer was able to secure permission from the Central Planning Authority last year to move four public beach access points at its Kimpton hotel site on the northern end of 7MB and the two access points surrounding the tunnel on West Bay Road. Although the public was kept in the dark after the Dart group managed to secure closed door hearings for the application to remove them from the register, the West Bay Concerned Citizens group managed to mount an eleventh hour challenge.

The gag order appears to finally have been lifted on the case and the women have revealed that they were able to secure an adjournment during the intervention and delay what they say was the illegal removal of these access points in order to seek legal aid in what is very obviously a public interest battle.

But the legal aid director has now declined the women’s application, putting the case in jeopardy.

Already involved in a costly legal battle over the much wider problem of the land registrar refusing to follow the law and register the hundreds of historic rights of way and access points, this critical decision comes as another major blow.

In a press release this weekend the women explained that the four access points refer to West Bay North, Block 11B, Parcel 61; West Bay North, Block 11B Parcel 87REM 1; and West Bay South, Block 12E, Parcels 84 and 107. “These accesses were given by the previous owners for use by the public,” the women explained, adding that Cayman Shores Development and Seafire Resorts Ltd, both Dart subsidiaries, now want to relocate all of them.

But continuing the fight without legal aid will be almost impossible. The women said that the legal aid director stated the application was denied in part because the CPA had already given the move the green light and also because the applications did not justify public funding.

The women said they were told by the director that they had “the capabilities to make the necessary arrangements if they wish to  pursue the matter”, which appeared to be based solely on the fact that in the closed door hearings the women had managed to get a lawyer to appear for them on that occasion.

Given the situation, the group said it has filed an application to have the legal aid director’s decision reviewed. They said they had also pointed out that the decision by the CPA, which they contend, had “no legal authority to give permission to the applicants to move the accesses” without offering pertinent reasons.

“It is obvious that the director has not understood why it is necessary to intervene for many legal reasons,” Ezmie Smith, one of the leaders of the group, said. “The director has quoted that the modification will have no effect on the public and has quoted exactly from the applicants’ originating summons. The director has not understood that interference of public lawful rights of access to the beaches of the Cayman Islands cannot be dictated by the developers,” she added.

Speaking at the Smith Cove event Saturday, Billy Adam, who is supporting the women’s group, appealed to the people to stand up against what is happening. He pointed out that in Jamaica there is no longer a single accessible beach that does not charge people to use them. He raged about the secrecy and the betrayal by government and urged people to get involved before the fate of Jamaica’s beaches befall Cayman’s.

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Category: development, Local News

Comments (98)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I am so fed up with this government. I use to think that when McKeeva was in charge it was bad but Alden and this gang makes him look like a rose.. The blatant disregard for the people of this country that put them where they are just makes me so angry..

    I don’t know how to set up a Go Fund Me Account but if anybody can do this for these ladies and for our country, please do so. I make a promise that I will be one of the first to donate. We cannot sit idly by and let them get away with this. Remember once precedent is set it cannot be changed..

    God help us..

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  2. Anonymous says:

    at least a grand court judge didnt give his/her opinion on it…refuse it and put it on their file…as was mine….needless to say i lost…..but woulda have liked it not be on my case file….

  3. Alejandro says:

    That is why Education is so important. Instead of spending the money at Smith Barcadere they shall use it in Public education with the hope that when this generation of Caymanians grow up they became better leaders than the ones we have, a bunch of power grabbing useless pupets.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Good! It is a stupid fight anyways.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Whenever this gov’t talks majestically about their concerted efforts to trim mechanisms of tax evasion, proceeds of crime, terror financing, corruption, and money laundering, we are talking specifically about their efforts to discourage transparency – the obscuration of source of funds and beneficial ownership. Yet, as our government lectures us on these moral hazards, they simultaneously deal with every single asset of DRCL owned vis its own shellco established for this exact purpose, and both DART and Cabinet treat each of these companies as if they are one company, while also concurrently pretending they are all independent of one another, and they actually think they are clever for doing so. The shellco that owns derelict Hyatt, in breech of their duty to maintain property, is somehow unrelated to the hundreds of other incubated shellcos that are allowed to proceed with approval of blind plans as if they were separate UBOs. Pretending they are the same for expedience, and different for legal purposes, is the very definition of corruption. “Time longer than rope” as they say…

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Just another day in Dartistan.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Good. These ladies have wasted enough of the people’s money on futile challenges.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Money is the only thing that matters in the Cayman Islands. If you have enough money you can get anything you want because the system is rooted in corruption.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Here’s a news flash: Your government, your CAYMANIAN government, sold you all out long ago. This is Caymanians doing this to themselves. You continued to re-elect the same set of corrupt politicians over and over again. Even if you start a protest, or a go-fund me, even if you are temporarily successful, the government will do what they want. Always. And just as you always blame the expats, and Dart, you will continue to blame everyone and anyone except yourselves. Good luck to you all, you will be needing it.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Truth. Dart cannot do what he does and has done, without the incompetence, corruption, and greediness of those Caymanians in power.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Correct, they did sell us out, we’re now taking back control, which means you will be following them on the way out too. Hope you didn’t pack away your puffer jacket and your scarf, you’ll be needing those pretty soon.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    Caymanians. It is time to revolt. We need to run these a*ses out of here once and for all!! We’ve been quiet and passive far too long! What example are we setting for our children, aka the FUTURE OF OUR ISLANDS!

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  11. Anonymous says:

    Can we start a go fund me for these ladies? I’m willing to donate.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Then why don’t YOU start it.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Coz the person is not the one spending it? Jeezus man, they trying to fight for what little truly remains. If someone wants to help it is welcome. I applaud the original poster. Ms. Ezme might not have thought about that it’s a good idea.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Dart is currently fighting to take away beach access and other rights from the people who own Britannia properties. For all you Dart lovers, you have yet to experience the Dartvader’s dilution in quality of life and enjoyment of one’s legal rights. Hang in, your turn is coming.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Haters gonna hate. Britannia properties has a beach? Your legal rights to someone else’s property have been taken away? Hang in there. Maybe someday your dreams will come true.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Uninformed as you are likely to be, perhaps even weaker in reading comprehension of what was above written? but assuredly motivated as a defender of Dartvader. Why would one write about something he obviously knows little?

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      • Anonymous says:

        You can’t pay off the privy council. There you will lose. They will not distinguish this case from others. This is not just a tried and tested area of law, but a matter of English history. Enjoy wasting Mr Ds money on lost causes. Look forward to you losing.

    • Anonymous says:

      Mr Dart & his group are the reason why this place is prospering so much. If you don’t like it leave and it will mean all the more for the rest of us!

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      • Anonymous says:

        I like cake and candy. If I eat too much, I get Diabetes and DIE! A little bit of Dart sweetens this country, but if it gets too much will be the downfall of what we cherish so much here.

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      • Anonymous says:

        You mean the reason nobody can afford property or rentals any more. Tnx. We are sooooo grateful.

    • Anonymous says:

      Dart’s people make arrangements behind closed doors , they are far too important to follow due process , so Kellyanne just makes a phone call.

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  13. Anonymous says:

    There is a reason why kenneth dart did not get residency in belize and other countries.
    Now you know. Your christian fundamentalist leaders are to blame. And you for voting them in power.

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    • Anonymous says:

      There is nothing genuinely “christian” about our leaders. Carry on.
      Jesus was not religious, He is Truth personified and loves us enough to have laid His life down for us. Who else did that?
      I do not want a portal to riches, power and arrogance, I just want to go home with a good report card.
      Why are we so blind?

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  14. Anonymous says:

    So Dart wants to combine existing rights into wider more accessible rights. Presumably nicely landscaped to their usual high standard. Why is this being challenged?

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    • Anonymous says:

      bless your wilful ignorance

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      • Anonymous says:

        Why not explain why he is wrong instead of being patronizing. Or maybe, just maybe, he is right? Serious question.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Because Dart is a cancer on the Cayman Islands!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Dart wants to remove your access to large swathes of the beach and restrict you to a narrow section. While the resulting beach access path may be wider, and nicely landscaped, the actual amount of beach you can practically access from it will be much reduced.

      I believe this is called leading people down the garden path.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Forgive me, is it the case that Dart did get permission to alter/remove/change the public beach access? And if so, is that decision open to challenge? It’s not clear to me reading this.
    As to the fact they tried to do it behind closed doors, there’s very few reasons why they’d try that if they didn’t think seeking to change the public’s access wouldn’t be well received by the public.

    If it the decision can be challenged, it must be. For too long, the public access to the beach has been eroded. the beach is not private, and nor is the access to it.

    If Dart is seeking to change access routes in any fashion based on anything, its going to be based on their gaining increased land value. I’m not sure why beach access should be altered to facilitate private gain at the public expense. There’s not really anything more to it.

    As to Caymanians being at fault for selling the lands, well, so too the foreigners for buying it without pure intentions. We’re all to blame. However, it needs to end. And all public beach access should be policed/maintained and enforced. Along with public use of the beach – these condo owners on SMB that think they legally own the beach because they plant a few palm trees and ropes? That’s not the law.

    And as to public beaches? Its time the Government stopped housing the Governor on our beach, let him have a nice house in Bodden Town (the original capital), and lets demolish the house and combine that site with the tiny little beach we have left. Enshrine it in perpetuity as owned by the people, put it in the constitution that you cannot have any commercial activity on it, make it illegal for taxi’s and cruise tours to stop at it whenever a cruise ship is in port. basically, give us a beach, a traditional beach, and not some man made over-architectually grouped-thought gibberish that Dart has managed to convince CIG is a fair trade for all the plans at the Kimpton location

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  16. Anonymous says:

    Why was the legal aid denied- who is charge of Legal aide- we Caymanians need to dig very very deep when these things happen.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Watch as nothing happens. Except talk. Lots of that.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Bigger message is what faith do we have in our legal system? I lost faith in it a long time ago. It’s reputable in the financial sector but in other matters that require fair administration of law, its questionable.

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  17. Anon says:

    I strongly concur with the suggestions that these wonderful ladies who have not only spent a lot of their money, but donated a lot of their time to this worthy cause, receive financial support from the public who will receive the benefits of their efforts.Rather than set up a Go Fund Me page and pay them a large slice of contributions could one of them set up an account at a local bank in one of their names to receive funds?.

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  18. Anonymous says:

    Sometimes it makes me wonder how all of these big hard ass men and women that we fools elected to office can allow this to continue without as much as stating an opinion for or against? Why the hell did we put them there for, to line their pockets??

    We are losing everything we have and people like DART and in cases like the Port our own fricken government is using the courts and oppressing us because they know we don’t have the money to fight them…

    I believe it was Mr Eldemire or Mr. Billy that said at the Protest that this is the way it started in Jamaica and now the poor Jamaicans have no free beaches and have to pay and entry fee to even get on the beaches..

    Alden, McKeeva, Moses and all of you government members, be men and stand up for your country..Right now what you are showing the people is that you have no backbone or guts to stand for us the people of this country..

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    • Greg Johnson says:

      Your officials are laughing all the way to the bank…

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    • Anonymous says:

      It is past time for these elected members to take care of their country and not their bank accounts. I welcome any and all revolts against the things in Cayman that are not ethical and democratic.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Relocate the access points to where? Are they to be amalgamated as well? Can we have all the information please.

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    • Anonymous says:

      They said moved. You asked amalgamated. Why?

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      • Anonymous says:

        Simply another question. This was in the original discussions as I recall, so just wanted to know if it was still in the “Dart plan”. Once we have all the details then we can make appropriate comments and raise appropriate fuss, if necessary. At least that is how my mind works.

  20. Anonymous says:

    This despicable strong arming of lands law needs escalating all the way to the privy council. It’s high time the people put a wrench in Dart’s plan for a change. Everyone has their breaking point and Cayman is about to have a revolution if this continues.

    These ladies should receive National Hero awards!

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    • Anonymous says:

      It’s not just DART, you have to put the CIG, and the CPA to the privy council. You have real Caymanians doing this to you.

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  21. J .A. Roy Bodden says:

    As I read this account all I can say is ” Wow … this is what I wrote about in 1978 in a now infamous article that led to my being branded a communist because I dared suggest that Caymanians refrain from selling absolute titles to their land to those whom Andrew Morris Gerrard termed “aliens”.

    I am further reminded of Commissioner Cardinal’s sage advice to the late Mr. Willy Farrington upon his (Cardinal’s ) departure from these islands .” Willy my boy , now that you are on the map , don’t let them take it away from you.”
    In both cases we , the Caymanian people failed to heed the advice given and now it has come to this . As a public intellectual historian and author on Caymanian development I encourage the Caymanian people to fight for their birthright and commend those spearheading the campaign . In several respects however the struggle must be an eternal one ,not least because” we are often appealing against Caesar to Caesar”.

    Finally , I find these observations appropriate in instances of this nature : ” There are none so blind as those who will not see ” and most profoundly :This is the message that must be spread through the streets , through the districts and the by-ways of these islands to a people from whom everything is being taken , including most crucially , their sense of their own self -worth . People cannot live without this sense ; and they will do anything whatever to regain it . That is why the most dangerous creation in any society are those persons who realize they have nothing to lose.

    Change will come to these islands as it has come to those jurisdictions throughout history where the elite through greed ,avariciousness , arrogance and contempt incurred the wrath of the masses . As Dr. Martin Luther King remarked , ” The arc of the moral universe is long but it always bends toward justice .”

    The land (including rights of way ) belongs to no one , if not to Caymanians.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Hope Dartvader reads your comments, well said sir.

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    • Anonymous says:

      How’s that Carribeanisation plan working out for you?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Pot.Kettle. Black. You were part of the government with McKeeva and Dr. Frank that gave status to thousands.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Well said Sir. The good book says “Where there is no vision the people shall perish”. Our people I am convinced do not believe in their own, so when one of our intellectuals speak, they are like an enemy in their homeland. The decision makers try and keep intellectuals down and have done so from time immemorial due to their own envy and hinsecurities. They fear local people with more knowledge and skills than they have but will readily accept persons from elsewhere to advise them.

      I can only say that the chickens have now come home to roost, and people need to wake up and embrace their own, especially persons like yourself who have so much to contribute.

      May God bless these islands!

    • Anonymous says:

      Of course, thanks to the Cayman Islands government, Dart is now a Caymanian, so ….

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  22. Anonymous says:

    Don’t blame Dart blame our greedy corrupt politicians who sold and gave away our island to Dart and Jamaicans. Island will never be the same again. Sorry but I am sick and tired of foreigners coming here and destroying what was once paradise. Now I can’t tell if I am in Miami or Kingston. When all the shit is destroyed Jamaicans will run home and the rest will go back to where they came from because lets call a spade a spade they are only here for the money. I will wait for the thumbs down because the truth hurts!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Wake the F up! Do you know how expensive it is to live in Cayman!?

      You all haven’t even seen fit to forge a law in regards to minimum wage. You hire slaves in Cayman.

      If people don’t want to stay in your Banana Republic it is because they were sold a Cayman that does not exist, so theymake the most of their overseas move (usually VERY expensive) and then move back home when they recoup the costs of getting to your scrubby, corrupt, ragingly xenophobic and homophobic, backwards little island.

      The Cayman Islands need to come with a warning for expats considering the move: NOT AS ADVERTISED

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    • Anonymous says:

      Dart are the ones that pushed for back channels and Cabinet have installed corrupt fast tracking with all the Boards that are supposed to be the gatekeepers for the public interest, and we already know the questionable credibility and composition of those!

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    • Anonymous says:

      I came here because I’d heard its beautiful.

      And it’s Caymanians in government selling out Caymanians.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Jamaicans??? lol … How Jamaicans got into this? Oh boy, don’t tell me another island racist here 🤣

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  23. Anonymous says:

    Caymanians … Just kiss Cayman GOODBYE and thank your government for giving it to DART …. Imagine we have to fight for the rights to use a beach .. ON AN ISLAND

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    • Anonymous says:

      On our island.

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    • Anonymous says:

      No one gave Dart anything. They sold it to him. Just go to the beach already. No one is stopping anyone. And stop whining. Its pathetic.

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    • Anonymous says:

      First law in the pirate code: thou shalt covet! He payed for it. Its his. You want it.. No one is taking your rights to use the beach away. Stop whining and go to the beach like everyone else.

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  24. JTB says:

    I am struggling to think of any possible justification for having held the planning hearings in secret. The decision should be quashed on that basis alone (and the chair of the CPA fired as having demonstrated his manifest unfitness for the role)

    CNS Note: The CPA hearing was not in secret it was the legal proceedings to apply for the de registering of the access points which the West Bay group managed to get wind of and mounted their challenge which was then behind closed doors.

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  25. Anonymous says:

    More of Aldart’s slippery machinations….I tell you folks, he’s securing his future at the expense of every other Caymanian (that are not in politrics). Most dangerous and selfserving leader you have ever had.

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  26. Anonymous says:

    Come on let us help them, they are all trustworthy persons. They are doing this for our us, our children and grand children.

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  27. Anonymous says:

    Will somebody set up the page for them? We have to do this. They are all trustworthy persons. I am retired and don’t have much but I am willing to c hip in a few dollars. I believe it will be well supported. Come on, they are

    Come on they are all doing this for us, our children and grand children.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Do not cry shame on them- some did the best they could. I saw my father sell off a little piece of beach land we had to feed us and put clothes on our back and pay school fees. He got sick and could not continue working on the ships so he had to let it go. It is still sitting there, weeds have taken it over for decades now, the owner didn’t ever do anything with it. I tried to buy it back when I started working but he wouldn’t sell it back. I offered five times what he paid but could get him to sell it back.

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  28. Anonymous says:

    Thankfully, my family and I can now use the consolidated access at Royal Palms to access the beach. In our previous attempt to use the old more northerly one a few years ago, we walked smack in to a kitchen wall, presumably built by the previous owners of the property. Thank you Dart for resolving this issue.

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  29. Anonymous says:

    Our country and its politicians are bought and paid for…they need to worry more about this than whether we are on any blacklist…We are damn lucky that no major press has gotten hold of this corruption yet…

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  30. Right ya so says:

    Jack don’t want me to bathe on my beach……. Jack

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  31. Kman says:

    Oh but we’re made to believe that he loves & cares for our island and people yet now the truth is clear it’s a farce and the man is like a two headed poisonous snake. His intent is clear to get as much land as possible in order to have complete control, his pockets are so deep that he’ll soon make an offer to the UK to buy us.

    We have to support the West Bay Women and even do a Go Fund Me page if that’s what it takes to win this battle. We can’t rely on Alden as he’s a stool pigeon for Dart & Mac.

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  32. Concerned Diver says:

    Wow…. this is so absolutely shocking. I am disgraced!

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  33. Anonymous says:

    This shit is getting out of hand..Who is charge of legal aid? This has got to stop. Caymanians this is oppression..We need to stand up, protest, start a go fund me account or find some other means of fighting these battles as the current government isn’t worth their salt and giving away everything we have for the love of money.

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    • Anonymous says:

      So, have you spoken with your MLA about what you want the rules changed to? (And the legal aid budget increased to?) Or just ranting anonymously on CNS about other people needing to do something that won’t solve the underlying problem.

  34. Born Caymanian says:

    All for the LOVE OF MONEY and increasing the population here. We have an insurmountable volumn of traffic, a cluster of more and more building blocking people from the sea, and a big rise of cost of living soon come. Meanwhile it appears the lawmakers in power are sleeping. Many Caymanians have to leave their homes for the UK, but they are not happy.

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  35. Anonymous says:

    RIP Cayman, I’m glad I was born and raised at the time I was, future Caymanians unfortunately will never experience the peace and beauty we did..

    This is a sad time for our Island.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The fight is still ongoing. If we all say “oh well” and give up then that will ensure the worst outcome will come to pass. Let’s at least try to help these ladies in their case, it affects all of us

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    • Anonymous says:

      We keep talking about ‘Mother’ country. Where the hell is she when we need her? No mother would allow this corruption to go on in her family. So much for love of country.

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      • Lomart says:

        Didn’t you get the memo? “Love of Country” was changed to “Love of Money” quite some time ago!😔

      • Anonymous says:

        Look to the governor. But like all the rest (bar one) doubtful he will do anything. So go over his head to the new woman at the foreign office in the UK.

  36. Blacklisted says:

    Guess this is the kind of shady stuff that made other countries run them out.

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  37. Anonymous says:

    This has got to stop. We will have nothing left shortly……already the views from the WB Road are gone and now CIG and the C.I. civil service are complicit in facilitating our banishment from the beach(es).

    Shame on all of those who have sold out! They are selling out their people, their island and future generations. Shame, Shame, Shame.

    Perhaps the ladies should launch a cloud funding drive to pay for their legal actions (with all the appropriate governance and oversight of the disbursements, built in)?.

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    • Anonymous says:

      No one is banishing anyone from anywhere. And “They” sold their land. The people still have everything they always have had. OK maybe not their dignity. Did you used to have that?

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