Dart sticking by Cayman through crisis

| 22/04/2020 | 92 Comments
Cayman News Service
Mark VanDevelde

(CNS): CEO of Dart Enterprises and head of its network of companies, Mark VanDevelde, said the Cayman Islands’ largest developer, its main investor and major employer is sticking by Cayman through this current health crisis and will be at the forefront of the recovery. In statement posted on the Dart website Monday, VanDevelde was optimistic that the jurisdiction will pull through, saying that Dart will help Cayman achieve “economic renewal”.

“Despite the uncertainty, Dart remains committed to the Cayman Islands, our home for almost 30 years,” he said. “As the country’s largest investor and one of the largest private-sector employers, we remain committed to our people, projects, business partners and the wider community, and to helping Cayman transition through the current crisis to economic renewal.

However, VanDevelde revealed that over the coming weeks expatriate staff at Dart’s hotels will be helped to leave the island. The corporation committed to pay them for up to ten weeks but, he said, it is now clear the tourism sector will not be re-opening for the remainder of this year.

“Following Government advice, we are now working with our hotel partners to assist employees from overseas to return to their home countries if possible,” he said. “While we have to be practical about the financial realities facing this sector until tourism returns, we can also look for innovative ways to redeploy some staff members where feasible.”

He said the company was, however, ready to get back to its construction projects as soon as government was ready to reopen that sector. This includes finishing the expansion of the Cayman International School and the new commercial and residential buildings in Camana Bay, which would provide work for several hundred people.

“In addition, we have several projects in the feasibility phase and are actively exploring new opportunities that can further drive future economic activity,” VanDevelde added.

He said that Dart was in discussions with its tenants but it is not clear what rental freezes or assistance has been offered to those who can no longer work from their premises.

“We are also working closely with our tenants and business partners to understand their business needs during these challenging times,” VanDevelde said.

However, the CEO pointed out that the company’s billionaire owner had pledged CI$1 million to a private sector-led fund and offered to match any other donations up to an additional CI$4 million to provide support through the recovery.

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Category: Business

Comments (92)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    this is the king of distressed investors. Ask Argentina. Don’t for one minute forget that you don’t become a billionaire by being a nice guy. Don’t also forget that he’s responsible for ripping the soul out of Seven Mile Beach by closing down Palms and Calicos – make no mistake about that. What he builds is a future mausoleum. There are plenty of other investors out there – it’s time we stopped sucking of the teet and sent this guy and the Joke of minions underneath him packing. They do not have Cayman’s best interest at heart. They have their own interest at heart – don’t ever forget that.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Why would Dart ever leave? He can afford to ride it out. Dart owns Cayman and us more likely to absorb more of it than he is to leave it. If not for Dart, where would this place be? Another dirty St Lucia where locals work for $1.50/hr, another crime ridden Jamaica with beggars and stoners on every corner? Come on… Kiss his ring. He may be rich, but he is also your greatest benefactor, bringing this little place into the modern world.

  3. Zari says:

    Thanks Dart , you know he really doesn’t have to .. but he still did

  4. Anonymous says:

    Dart is current looking on licking his lips at at the Cayman business he can choose from and buy for pennies on the dollar.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Say what you want, but I for one, am proud to work for Dart – a company that is taking such a proactive and long term stance in the face of such a negative situation. Dart helps these islands significantly. There will always be haters, that’s the way the world is, but I would not like to see this island without the Dart investments and the contributions being made at this time

    • Anonymous says:

      Well the largest employer on the island and thus susceptible to the largest severence payouts if he DIDNT continue paying/employing his staff just got a huge break from the new labour law. So let us know how you feel about this is a week or two OK.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Actually… I want to thank ALL of the businesses that are trying to stay afloat and looking after their staff. I am grateful for my job and WFH (work from home). So you zombies bestowing all the praise on the Dart Enterprises need to thank ALL businesses. Especially the food delivery!
    And as others have been saying, with the amount Dart has invested, it would be foolish to screw anything up and pull out. His vulturistic reputation isn’t all that great in the first place. He has been trying to distance himself from that role for the past 20 years. But also, we may be slow on the uptake but we Caymanians is elephants with holding a grudge, eh!

    • Anonymous says:

      Great comment. Thank you. Lackeys are in a habit of licking master’s shoes for an extra bone.

    • Anonymous says:

      SMH – the article is about DART! Why would people start talking about others in the comments??

    • Anonymous says:

      He also is HUGELY invested here so he really can’t walk away now can he?

  7. Anonymous says:

    WTF else unna think they wa going do? Ken was just going to pack up Camana Bay in a suitcase and dip out to another country?

    DART group has no other choice !! but to stick it out with us or bite a billion dollar+ bullet and make building all the roads and tunnels benefit some other corporation.

    • Anonymous says:

      You are mistaken. The Dart group does have a choice – it could just pack up and leave. Mr Dart is choosing to stay in Cayman because this is his home and he believes in Cayman – therefore he is choosing to continue investing in our country.

      • Anonymous says:

        Actually this isnt his home. He lives most of the time in a large mansion in the hills in Jamaica. This is just one of the countries he does a lot of business in.

    • Anonymous says:

      Duh! Exactly!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Mr Dart just one request.Please make some of those residential units available to locals .I am talking about the average Caymanian for whom a $250,000 is a luxury. That way you will achieve integration of Caymanians and expats in your projects which can only be a good thing.

    • Anonymous says:

      So you want Dart to invade the 250K market and thereby compete with small Caymanian construction companies that are currently working in that space. Careful what you wish for.

  9. Betty says:

    So, Mr. Dart forces over 500 homeowners to pay for legal representation to fight for what they have spent decades purchasing: the Britannia development which accommodated a golf course, tennis courts, beach access. The Britannia Hotel was once a beautiful addition and the crown of the island. Unfortunately for Hurricane Ivan the Island was decimated but Dart did not help no instead he maximized his land mass ,in the cover of dark bought the beach hotel, paved a road and let’s the building and golf course to this day rot. He stole the owners hardware, golf carts and water works. Trust him? These residents staying together and paying together during this horrific pandemic to continue the fight for their homes and what is rightfully their land and beach-rights. I wonder how much money he is willing to pay to make them lose a decade or more of their hard earnings? I’m certain it is further than a million or more than his philanthropic offer the people of the island an”investment” fund. He’s a bully and a menace, he is ruining the island. He really needs to find a team of qualified people to guide him through to be a well thought of landlord and citizen of the island. This Britannia mistake will cost Dart big in reputation and dollars. If he wins the development he is certain to lose the heart of the people, people who in good faith bought into Cayman and enjoyed a life on a wonderful island, Shame. He has taken away what the hurricane could not destroy and hurled massive financial insult at the original owners, not to speak of allowing the grounds to fester and rot, whilst using the good bits of the beach and restaurant. He truly is Just a vulture. I pray the owners will win! He is not lacking in all neighborly grace and decency.

    • Anonymous says:

      Wrong. They chose of their own free will to seek legal representation.

    • Anonymous says:

      You are aware the previous owner did nothing for 10 years right? Dart is really just bringing to light the many problems with Cayman’s archaic strata law and the use of rights of way. The court case win or lose will provide some clarity.

    • Anonymous says:

      The previous owners of the Hyatt buildlings sat on them for years first. Your short memories are convenient but not accurate.

    • Anonymous says:

      Aww suck it up buttercup. Complaining about na being able to play golf on your course and yet young Caymanians could barely afford rent prior to this crisis!

    • Anonymous says:

      Britannia is getting long in the tooth anyways.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Not met the gentleman, but I would gladly shake his hand. Well done to him. He has done more in 10yrs than our Government has done in decades. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you. Just say Thank You!

  11. Anonymous says:

    So what’s the alternative “dart-sticking-by-cayman-through-crisis” pack up and go? They just spent over $700 million you think they going anywhere. Hell no! So get off the high horse and do something worthy of being allowed to buy out a Caribbean island.

  12. Anonymous says:

    There can never be pleasing some people. The Dart organization is not a nonprofit business. They are in business to make a profit just like any other company.

    I thank the Dart organization for sticking with us and letting us know that they will stand by with their continued investment in our economy. God knows we will need it.

    • Anonymous says:

      They are sticking by Cayman because it makes business sense. No need to thank them. They own much of the island anyway.

    • Anonymous says:

      As far as public philanthropy goes, this is another window-dressing PR exercise. Donate $1mln and pledge up to $4mln more in unmatched phantom funds, while laying off workers and terminating many more millions in payroll from all the hotels, restaurants, and other idle holdings. Thanks Dart.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Dart needs to open a pool supply store. They’d be allowed to sell no doubt.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I’ll be the first to praise Dart, thank you for doing what have during this crisis, and will be the first to condemn them never to be forgiven for the inurbane pursuance of decimating the character of SMB with their ‘sea to shore’ tunnel. – true generosity will always be at its best when non-conditional, – a very big shout out to Ms Olde as well, thank you.

  15. Anonymous says:

    All wear masks.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Good news for a change.

  17. Anonymous says:

    In swoops the vulture capitalist!

    • Anonymous says:

      And in swoops idiot with comment. What exactly have you done for the country.

      • Anonymous says:


      • Anonymous says:

        I have significantly reduced my carbon imprint. I generate nearly no trash. I collect bottles tops and lids waiting for schools (or save our future kids) starting an art project that would utilize it..It has been a long time since they announce it. 2 trash bags full of “material” for the announced project.
        I participate in money raising events for the Hospice.
        I participate in cleaning beaches even though I never dropped a thing on any beach or elsewhere.
        Enough? Because I have more

  18. Anonymous says:

    The little that Dart offers-up under the heading of giving back, is usually to grab a sound byte and offset by commercial self-incentive. Even then, he makes the other Billionaire family offices, internet tycoons, and local development/shipping/service barons look like the scrooges they are – evidenced by disproportionately tight charitable donations, if at all. Susan Oldie obviously exempted from that critique/statement. It’s disappointing that the senior partners of our legal and accounting firms haven’t already collectively matched DART’s commitment to the $4mln max…

    • Anonymous says:

      Sad that our international local law firms have done nothing. Time for the senior partners to match Dart’s efforts.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Dart is pretty f*cked actually. His grand plan of hotels and high end tourism is vaporized by a virus, we are not getting any tourism here for 2 years. To continue with construction now is a folly and they know it, most companies are already realizing how succesful work from home is so why rent large offices? And as for downtown and the cruise developments, regenerations? GT is gone.

    But on the positive side, Dart can bring back KaaBoo if we all stand 6 ft away from eachother

    good times…

    • Anonymous says:


    • Anonymous says:

      Ken Dart’s net wealth is estimated at nearly 7 billion dollars. He is one of the few here that can actually afford to ride this out regardless of how long it takes. In fact they probably view this as another oppurtunity to buy up even more of the island and get more sweetheart deals from the government. They will be the only one left standing with money to invest if Alden gets his way

      • Anonymous says:

        I hate Dart and all he stands for. But would he like to buy my house?

        • Anonymous says:

          Or my business. And while he’s at it, support local charities?

          • Anonymous says:

            Obviously you don’t read or listen to the news, otherwise you could not have made such a ridiculous comment asking him to support local charities!!!! Smdh

    • Anonymous says:

      Quite the opposite. More people will be looking to move from cities, and with WFH now more clearly-evidenced in practice than ever before, you will find high-tech workers that want the beach and 0 tax. New PR by Independent Means will surge. That is Dart’s target audience. With no cruise port happening, low-end tourism dies in favorite of private jets, and digital nomads. All to Dart’s favor and playbook. And if they need office space, he’s got that too. Right beside the school their children will be attending.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Of course Dart will look after his investments here in Cayman – it makes business sense to do so – and the island and community will benefit as a result – Win – Win!

    • Anonymous says:

      Please do tell us how the average person in Cayman has benefited from Dart’s investments & metropolitan developments on this small Caribbean island as it used to feel like one before he came.

  21. Anonymous says:

    I never thought that I would have anything in common with Dart, but I’m staying here as well. Maybe is because neither of us have anywhere else to go.

    • Anonymous says:

      If you can’t write something sensible please leave the comments section alone. A comment like this really says alot about you and it’s not anything good.

      • Anonymous says:

        almost gave you a pass on this but it’s just awful. For your own well being (not being condescending) re-read your post and do some introspection; – refreshed, then read 1:06 again immersing yourself in the articulate humour entwined with possible desperation, it can be fun,

  22. Anonymous says:

    Oh yeah, they’re standing by all right. And when there is nothing left of the economy and they are the only ones left they’ll graciously buy up real estate and businesses for pennies on the dollar. I’m sure Ken and Mark are on the phone with Alden everyday telling him “You’re doing a great job buddy, keep up the good work”.

  23. Anonymous says:

    good upbeat update from dart. but these guys are not stupid…they will halt many projects if the world depressions hits as bad as it might.

  24. Anonymous says:

    in dart..i have always trusted.

    • Anonymous says:

      What will dart demand in return?

      • Anonymous says:

        Just curious … Is there ANYTHING Dart would do that would please you, other than of course leaving, which he’s not. If Dart didn’t give anything in response to this crisis, wouldn’t you be the first to point out how greedy he is in not giving anything. Try being thankful for once!

  25. Anonymous says:

    CNS can you please provide details of the recovery fund, in particular what will the funds be used for and where can donations be made.
    Thank you.

    CNS: I believe the governor said they would be giving out this information when everything is worked out.

  26. Hurricane Ivan Survivors says:

    Thank you Mr VanDevedle and Dart Group of companies for being their for Cayman Just like in the last disaster. As for those UK propaganda mouth pieces on here spreading lies and posting false statements about fictional assistance we got the in the last crisis.HMS Richmond who did little or nothing but flew your crying governor offshore and the Dannon water photo op. If it were not for the stellar efforts of Superintendent Derek Haines and Dart group holding our law enforcement remnants together honestly don”t know where would be today The FCO apology after Hurricane Ivan was just sad . Some people need to stop telling deceptive lies promoting themselves and marginalizing decent folk.

    • Anonymous says:

      Amen!!!! I wish I could shake your hand, but can’t because of social distancing. Lol

  27. Anonymous says:

    It is great to hear this, and I truly appreciate all he is doing and has done for Cayman. With that being said, I’m not sure he had much choice. Not like he could just suddenly sell a couple hotels and a massive real-estate venture (Camana Bay) during this time. Hopefully his construction teams will be allowed back to work on May 1st. Get it done Alden.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is good news, however, hope the proposed 50 storey building is dead forever.

      • Anonymous says:

        The 9 thumbs down must work for Dart or own construction companies. Who in their right mind would want a 50 storey building especially with more 200 mph hurricane force winds in our future.

  28. Anonymous says:

    This is indeed very fortunate for Dart employees and Dart should commended.

    What about those that don’t have this kind of protection and have been unemployed and unable to pay their bills and in the process of losing everything they have? No other employers have the means to pay employee salaries this this long while being forcibly shutdown indefinitely.

    Why is no one reporting on the many hundreds in that terrible situation? Why is no one interested in government about those people? No one is even referencing those individuals at press briefings. No time for them. Que cera cera!

    I suppose it’s not very convenient to talk about that while taking a big fat beautiful untouchable government salary.

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s on Alden

      • Anonymous says:

        It really is not. It’s on this ghastly sickness.

        However much you dislike the premier personally (and lots of you seem to), I don’t think that you can deny that, wrong or right, he has taken a strong leadership stand and been prepared to stand by and take responsibility for it.

        Nobody in the world knows the best way to solve this (except apparently some of you keyboard warrior know-alls on CNS), but at least the premier has a clear, understandable strategy. You may all anonymously spit your bile at him, but he’s obviously working damned hard at this and, frankly, everyone I’ve spoken to supports him in his efforts even if they don’t necessarily agree with every little thing he decides.

        I’m pretty much apolitical, but I have no doubt that the premier is painfully aware of the ghastly economic effects of his policies; but aren’t his just the same problems that every leader around the world is facing, namely balancing public health against economic risks on the basis of advice received? It’s an almost impossible task and nobody will get it right because its success can and will be determined only with the 20:20 vision of hindsight.

        But he’s doing his best, and he’s not helped by people screaming and shouting points at him with which I’m sure he’s already painfully familiar.

        So back off and give the man some credit.

        • Anonymous says:

          I think the Cayman Islands Government and The Governor His Excellency Martin Roper are doing a GREAT JOB. They also offered assistance through NAU and getting flights back to their Home Country. If those Countries closed their Borders, then we are not to be blamed. For once tell my CaymanIan Government “A BIG THANK YOU”.

        • Anonymous says:

          Anonymous 1.46pm Thank you for stating so clearly, what needed to be said.The man is trying hard ; let’s give him a chance.

    • Anonymous says:

      10.43am Stop the rabble rousing. Alden and this Governor will get us through this.

  29. Anonymous says:

    who talks like this? the pr speak is nauseating

  30. Anonymous says:

    We are very lucky to have Dart here to help the economy get through the long economic downturn. We’ll still feel a lot of pain, but we will do much better than other Caribbean countries because of Dart’s commitment to Cayman.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Despite what ppl say the Dart Group has for many years contributed and developed our Cayman Islands, as well as invested in the Caymanian people. Yes, like any other developer(s), he has also benefited from his investments, but that is what progress and development is all about. Thank you Mr Dart and the Dart Group of Companies for your unwavering support and investment in our Islands during these times. May God bless you and your family.

    • Anonymous says:


    • Anonymous says:

      9:48am, I thoroughly support and agree with your post.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yep, pretty soon tourists can visit two places on one island, they won’t need to travel to Miami, we have one here in West Bay. One big difference though, you will have to sell your house to the creator of Cayman Miami to be able to shop there.

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