Smith Cove committee kept no records

| 25/06/2020 | 95 Comments
Cayman News Service
Smith Cove revamp, artist’s rendition

(CNS): A freedom of information request made by a CNS reader has revealed that the committee created to inform what would have been a very costly public project at Smith Barcadere (aka Smith Cove) kept no records. The applicant asked to see documents relating to the creation and membership of the committee, the agendas and minutes from meetings, the terms of reference, action points and general correspondence.

But in a short response this week from the Ministry of Education, which handled the request, officials claimed that no documents were kept by any government entity as it was an “ad hoc committee” and not a statutory board or authority.

The controversial Smith Barcadere Enhancement Project, which was shelved by government earlier this year in the face of massive public opposition to changing or developing the much loved spot in any way, was never formally priced by government but the estimated cost was as much as $2 million.

The project appeared to be spearheaded by the Progressives MLA for the area, Barbara Conolly (GTS), but also involved Planning Minister Joey Hew. A committee was established by the planning department that included the chairman of the Central Planning Authority, Al Thompson, who owns land nearby and whose well known home is opposite the public beach.

But the proposal to develop a car park on the sea-side, several cabanas, walkways and other upgrades was emphatically rejected by residents, not just in the South Sound community but all across Grand Cayman.

A demonstration at the spot in February after government had opened a tender for developers to undertake the work attracted hundreds of people and was enough to persuade government that the public was not behind its plans. Less than a month later the planning ministry announced it had decided not to go ahead with the project after the committee had agreed it should not proceed.

However, it appears that although this ad hoc committee played a key role in deciding what would be developed there and then agreed to shelve the project, there is no documentation reflecting the committee’s role or deliberations.

Government spent some $5 million in 2016 to buy the adjacent land to the cove when the original owner had sought planning permission for a development that would have threatened its future. But it is still not clear why government made the decision well over three years later to issue a tender for the ‘enhancement’.

Shortly after the land had been acquired and taken into public ownership, residents at a very well attended public meeting made it very clear that no one wanted the area developed beyond an upgrade to the toilet facilities.

Nevertheless, government created the committee without any public consultation, appointed the CPA chairman to it, secured a planning permission waiver without following procedure and then issued a tender based on the controversial plans. But with the exception of the tender documents, none of this, it appears, was ever documented.


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Category: Local News

Comments (95)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    This government has taken millions from the public’s Environmental Protection Fund with little applicability to the EPF mission statement, and even less accountability. Don’t just let this go. We need to change how future Cayman Islands governments function. If it has to come down to public-driven inquests, then that’s what’s going to have to happen.

  2. Anonymous says:

    When are we going to demand accountability from our politicians. The public purse is taken from every Tom, Dick and Mary in our present government to do the most wasteful, unless and reckless ‘want to be’ projects. Yet nothing is done to remedy this wrong.

    Yet the courts continue to hand down sentences for the little man/woman which completely derails his/life altogether yet White Collar crimes go uninvestigated and the culprit(s) just keep getting praises and social mobility as if…..

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Lol of course they have records.

    Cayman needs BlockChain and digital public ledgers(Smart Contracts).

    This unaccountability will never end unless we have done the above.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Minister Hew said recently “the work of the Ministry of Commerce continues despite lockdown”, by which we must infer he means: the shredding of documents, invoices, deletion of emails, files, and other methods to suppress transparency.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Also remember to keep a keen eye on the turtle farm in the Brac…Blondie is very quiet with his project. A waste of the country’s money. (Talking about Blondie and the project).

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    • Anonymous says:

      The farm on Grand Cayman is an unbelievable drain of money and nobody seems to give a damn! Now they want the same game played on the Brac! Crazy!!!

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      • Say it like it is says:

        11.17am “the farm is an unbelievable drain of money”, – pray tell me how you would describe CAL?.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Quelle surprise………NOT!

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  7. Anonymous says:

    One thing i can say about OfReg…at least they keep minutes of their meetings….right down to the left jab and counter punches.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    another glorious day for the world class civil service

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  9. Roger Davies says:

    When I first swam there in 1969 it was a magical place, just sun, sand,seagrapes and a crystal clear sea,, very much as it would have looked a century earlier.Thanks to the efforts of the public from around the island not much has changed to this day, long may it remain so.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    Don’t know why Joey Hew is getting most of the flack for this in the comments section when this was Barbara Conolly’s baby – her brain child.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Hew is the minister. He got the exemption from Cabinet and pushed the project.
      Barbara was used by her friends and ppm colleagues. She is the scape goat because she is loyal and foolish.
      Al Thompson as CPA chair and ad hoc committee chairman showed us all he is no better. I wonder what special deals or meetings are kept at CPA without any notes or minutes?
      Kurt Tibbetts was involved from day one and controls Barbara.

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      • Anonymous says:

        You act like Barbara isn’t a 60 of year old woman with responsibility for her own actions.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Barbara is a grown *ss woman Who is responsible for her own actions.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Ask KT if she really knows what she is doing. Barbara is his proxy.
          The ppm did not anticipate resistance from the public. KT and Joey had the best fall guy in Barbara if things went off the rails.
          She is the current speaker of the la and looks to the Premier to bail her out and guide decisions during those la meetings.

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    • Anonymous says:

      7.17pm Joey is getting the flack because someone wants to score political points by trying to make him look bad. Right now Joey is seen as having a good chance of getting re-elected and someone wants to change that.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    No records, really? Who paid for all the artist/architectural renderings?

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  12. Anonymous says:

    This island needs five years of British political rule and at the end let the people decide how they want the islands run 🙂

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    • Anonymous says:

      Because you all do such a marvelous job of governing yourselves don’t you, you’d be even better at governing us…oh wait, that’s what’s impoverished and broke the spirits of dozens of countries around the world. Never mind, we’ll carry on with our trial by error thanks.

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    • Anonymous says:

      To 6.42pm The Cayman Is. have been under British rule since 1670; that’s 350 years . Just thought to bring you up to date. We are not allowing all Brits living or working here to vote as was suggested by the Foreign Affairs committee in early 2019. And you can’t run for election either so it looks like we have already decided how we want the islands run. Thank you.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Please……British politics is currently full of incompetence, cronyism, lack of transparency and corrupt practices. Don’t let them anywhere near Cayman.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Shut up with your rubbish. British rule is loud and clear in Britain and things are much worse over there. British rules hasnt fixed anything yet! Heck the British are sick of British rule.

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    • john says:

      You want to throw the rascals out. And replace them with whom?
      The ideal people to stand for election would be Caymanians who are decent and incorruptible. There ARE such people.
      I count many among my friends. But persuading them to stand is a different matter.
      And how would they get elected when the current lot have a loyal following thanks to free refrigerators, washing machines etc.?

    • Anonymous says:

      47 thumbs up. If you like British political rule, go back to England and go enjoy free COVID, Incompetence, Racism and Anti-semitism. That’s what you will have waiting on you!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Man oh man the 2021 election campaign has started early. All this anti-Government propoganda. Oh boy.

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  14. Time to drain the swamp says:

    The Auditor General must now investigate every major decision and all planning approvals and concessions granted by Minister Joey Hew who does not understand accountability, transparency and good governance. Every one associated with this project should be subject to an investigation. Both Minister Hew GTN and MLA Connolly GTS have proven themselves to be unfit for office and is are liabilities to the Cayman Islands.

    Minister Hew’s actions and attitude remind me of how McKeeva operates. This is not his first embarrassing episode as a minister. He cannot be trusted to lead the PPM or the Cayman Islands. We do not need another uneducated clown that is connected to every secret back room deal embarrassing the country.

    Time to vote Joey Hew out of office and all others who support such actions. Cayman deserves better than leadership like this. In 2021 it’s Time to drain the Cayman swamp.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Swampmonster..someone trying to score political points.

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    • Anonymous says:

      How many hours in the day are there.
      You need a 24 hour shift to sort out all this mess

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    • Anonymous says:

      Unfortunately – with CIG and the CICS there is no such thing as “responsibility” and certainly no such thing as “accountability” and no one EVER gets brought to brook. Ever.

      Another Auditor General’s Report will add absolutely nothing except weight to the bookshelves and a place for dust to gather…….

      It’s the way of these islands.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I support Mr. Time to Drain the Swamp!

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  15. Anonymous says:

    Everyday I thank the Good Lord that this government did not get its hands on a new port, just imagine the fiasco and missing money.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Thank CPR that exposed the dirty tricks and lies of Premier Alden, Deputy Moses, Minister Joey the joker and Speaker McKeeva plus their minions that are overpaid yes men.

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  16. Anonymous says:

    Every project the PPM has touched in the last 3 years should be under intense scrutiny, especially the airport.

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  17. Anonymous says:

    Plausible deniability? No names, no records, no come back?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Ministers and Others in authority not responding to emails from their staff, not holding meetings. Waiting outside in the corridors to try to discuss stuff off the records. No fingerprints, no footprints, absolutely not a trace, or so they think! If you are being paid in the position you are still responsible whether you sign or not. Anyone who are scared of leaving their signatures behind should not be in the job and really cannot trust themselves. A bunch of nimbies.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Not sure you are using the word Nimbie in the right sense there. I can think of much less flattering words to describe most of our politicians, and select civil servants, board appointees and merchants.

  18. Anonymous says:

    More underhand, dodgy deals. No surprises.

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  19. Anonymous says:

    Ad-Hoc government.

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  20. common sense says:

    Maybe the Ministries responsible should be re-named the “Ad HOC” Ministries as that accurately reflects thier approach to spending public monies!

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  21. Anonymous says:

    This is grounds for impeachment of everyone connected with this fiasco!

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  22. Anonymous says:

    1) Where’s the ‘slap forehead’ emoji?
    2) I assume this was sent immediately to the Ombudsperson? Or resubmitted as an ‘any records’ request (not just limited to the ad hoc committee of non Civil Servants who never sent a single email to anyone in Government)? Because we know that at least in the Ministry of Works someone decided to draw and cost some plans. There had to be at least one email there, even if it just says ‘Hi boss, I took some initiative, trust me the public will love this when they see it in the news’.
    3) This is why its very important to do all of your work by telephone (or Zoom). So there is no paper trail. Not – a – single – email.

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  23. Anonymous says:

    Corruption thrives in the dark….this is classic ppm

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  24. Anonymous says:

    Sorry Barbara you are finished. KT cannot save you in 2021

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  25. Anonymous says:

    #JOEYWHO again? That man is dangerous and dumb

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    • Anonymous says:

      He’s our next Premier!

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      • Anonymous says:

        His actions and inability to be honest demonstrates he is unfit for leadership.

        Becoming the next Premier is the wish of his owners e.g the lodge in prospect, super rich developers, the camana bay mafia and the Jamaican Labour Party

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        • Anonymous says:

          Why would the Jamaicans want Hew to be the next premier? Just have to find something to blame Jamaicans for as usual.

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          • Anonymous says:

            Ask Joey, his main sponsors and political advisors in Jamaica

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            • Anonymous says:

              Cant be, if so why cant he come up with a plan for tourism like Jamaica? His main political advisor is the premier who is grooming him as successor. Stop trying to blame Jamaica for Joey being Joey

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  26. Anonymous says:

    This is a disgrace and they should all be investigated and face charges.

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  27. Anonymous says:

    All the lies told are now unraveling before our eyes. In 2021 they all need to go

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  28. Anonymous says:

    How could Joey Hew and Barbara Connolly not know about a tender for this project but helped form the as hoc committee, the minister secured the waiver of CPA approval and were pushing the project full steam ahead until they ran into people power that derailed their plans?

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  29. Res Ipsa Loquitur says:

    How much more evidence do the voters need as to understand that Minister Joey Hew, MLA Barbara Connolly, Premier McLaughlin and the entire UNITY government cannot be trusted?

    How can they commit to a $2m parking lot enhancement project but there are zero notes or information from the meetings kept? This is all deliberate and demonstrates the lengths this government will go to achieve its plans. This cannot be tolerated any longer.

    Everything they do and are attempting to do is shady and lacks transparency. They are working for anybody that will sponsor them or pay them what they need. They consistently lie and misled the people look at the cruise port project. They have no interests in doing things properly. Every project is riddled with serious questions and propaganda which points to the facts that they work for special interests group to the detriment of the public.

    They do not believe in openness. They do not believe in public consultation their version of consultation is an embarrassment. I hope that enough voters are waking up and seeing them all for what they are. They do not represent the majority they serve a small group of developers and wealthy business owners that has bought their support in order to direct their every action and decision as policy makers. This is not just a simple a return on investment…that is how corruption works in politics.

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  30. Anonymous says:

    This means the private sector was involved. They are not used to keeping records.

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    • Anonymous says:

      You are kidding me?! I work for an entity that holds meetings monthly & minutes are carefully recorded. Shown to regulators and external auditors.

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      • Anonymous says:

        No that kind of private sector; the kind of private, private sector run by Caymanians through the Lodge.

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  31. Anonymous says:

    Sweet! There’s no place like The Cayman Islands.

    Can’t wait for the next scheme revealed.

    Actually Cuban refugees support figures are astronomical. Can’t wait for the AG taking a look into it to see if they were fed caviar and beer and slept on satin sheets.

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  32. Anonymous says:

    It also involved former LoGB and DoP boss Kurt Tibbetts. No surprise it shares the aroma of all of the disputed backroom deals he presided over, like the DART-NRA Agreement.

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  33. Take out the trash in 2021 says:

    Planning minister Joey Hew. Say no more

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    • Marva Bodden-Reid says:

      This is who Alden is pushing for to be the next Premier. A total reflection in the mirror just a shorter version. I trust that everyone now see how “RUTHLESS and RECKLESS” this Government is and will vote wisely in 2021.

      Who is going to hold them responsible for their actions on this project that I am sure millions were wasted away, or slipped into pockets (bank accounts). Take for example the mess in the LA with Speaker of the House. What an absolute shame.

      Thanks to the persistence of the CPR group and those that supported them to stop the dock and Smith Cove projects.

      I can’t wait for campaign meetings. I hope they BEST don’t think that with using COVID-19 and the crowds broken up will they have a landslide back into the house.

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  34. Anonymous says:

    CNS, did you ask how much the design and tender cost? Civil service time was wasted, was there money wasted too?

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  35. Anonymous says:

    Nothing ever happened with Smith Cove so I don’t see what the big deal is! Can we also stop calling it “Smith Barcardere.”??

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    • Anonymous says:

      There is an opportunity cost in choosing to waste public governmental time and resources on this fiasco, rather than doing something productive and necessary. This was dreamed-up out of thin air as another $2mln baksheesh deal, without any record-keeping, budget, or voter consent. It is classic PPM/UDP. As far as they are concerned, the more big cap infrastructure projects they can green light the better – the contractor fees get passed from one glove to the next without any records, and they consequently don’t care if the project is successful or even gets finished after their term/payday. Even the slugs that aren’t in office were somehow pulling the strings and rubbing their hands together in anticipation on this one.

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    • Anonymous says:

      How do you know that nothing happened with Smiths Barcardere! Did not see the invisible notes? Surely the architect must have gotten paid.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Really? SMH, it is someone like you that Alden and Co rely on to be able to continue to act the way they do, with impunity. And I voted for them last time.

      They will be held to account next year though.

      I agree on your Cove/Barcadere point however. Always been Smith Cove to me, just like South Sound Dock, not Barcadere.

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  36. Anonymous says:

    I don’t know whether it is more difficult to believe that no one kept notes or more difficult to believe that they have the audacity to say it. So who would be responsible for ” we the people” 2 million dollars?

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  37. Anonymous says:

    Dwl…..another entitity that has no records of its operations to provide the public with. If it isnt 5 years late its nonexistent. Ridiculous.

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