Lands Board takes up Uncle Bob Rd access case

| 17/02/2021 | 41 Comments
Cayman News Service
Beach access blocked on Uncle Bob Road, West Bay

(CNS): The problem of beach and shoreline access is continuing unabated, but now that government has adjourned debate on its proposed legislation, a much needed legal resolution will now be kicked on to the next administration. However, as complaints about public access being blocked by developers and landowners mount, the Public Lands Commission is now investigating a blocked access to the shore on Uncle Bob Road in West Bay.

According to local residents, the unregistered access point has been used for decades and should therefore be protected under the law, but the landowner has blocked access to the sea with boulders and a gate. The developer sought planning permission last year for a residential subdivision in the area and stirred up significant controversy when he cleared the mangroves on the land without permission and before receiving approval for the project.

In light of public concern about the access to the sea being blocked, West Bay residents complained to the Lands Commission, which has taken up the case. Officials said they are seeking input from people to enable them to document the history of the easement.

To move this matter forward, the commission is asking for affidavits from those who have used this access the shoreline over the past 20 years without interruption. This will help to protect the access in future, but in the meantime the access point remains blocked, according to pictures taken on Monday by CNS readers.

CNS has attempted to contact John Burke, the owner in question, but without success. However, he recently spoke to the Cayman Compass, claiming he had blocked the access for security reasons. He said that he would be willing to allow access but people would need to ask his permission.

Beach access on Grand Cayman is becoming increasingly difficult due to shoreline development, and many people fear that without clear legal protection, waterfront and beach access will be lost altogether.

A group of women in West Bay have been fighting government for years to enforce the law that protects coastal easements, and their legal action is inching its way through the courts.

Meanwhile, another closed door legal case involving government, the Central Planning Authority, Dart and some objectors has also been winding its way secretly through the courts. Efforts to find out the details relating to this case have been thwarted with gag orders on all parties.

During his leadership of the last two administrations, Premier Alden McLaughlin and the planning ministers, first Kurt Tibbetts and now Joey Hew, have all claimed that they were committed to preserving historical rights of way to the shoreline. But the political rhetoric has not been backed by any action.

The latest proposed legislation was recently withdrawn but it it is not clear why government removed it from the business paper during what turned out to be the final meeting of Parliament. However, concerns were raised by the opposition and activists that it was likely to be even less effective at preserving access than the existing limited protections.

Meanwhile, concerned residents continue to put pressure on the Public Lands Commission to deal with the perpetual challenges to coastal access and anyone with information to support public rights of way to this current case in Uncle Bob Road, as well as any other access issue, is urged to contact the commission.

Affidavits and supporting documents can be emailed to

Or sent by mail to:
The Secretary, Public Lands Commission
P.O. Box 108
Grand Cayman KY1-9000

Or hand delivered to:
The Secretary, Public Lands Commission
Government Administration Building
133 Elgin Avenue, George Town

Call 244-2452 for more information.

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Category: Local News

Comments (41)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I for 1 would stand up for root caymanian we are losing all of our rights. If it was a caymanian that didnt have money they would have taking it down before the second post was put there. Its like the pass through near the 4 way it just being dirty by J&M’s not even emergency vehicles can get through there sick and out of order,nobody is going to take anything from driving through.

  2. Anonymous says:

    We have only been here 18 months and it feels like a ring of concrete is slowly growing around the island 😞

    • Anonymous says:

      I lived in South Sound for 10 years, it is unrecognisable now. Why the government isn’t focusing on moving their departments out to Bodden Town and beyond still baffles me. There is no reason for the amount of people living in such a small part of the island while we have space in other places. It would help bring the destruction of vegetation to a minimum at least. A bridge from Bodden Town to Camana Bay area is a must at this point.

  3. JD McDonald says:

    A long time ago my father told me that if you want to control your property DON’T SELL IT. Easiest was to control the foreigners – don’t want them, don’t sell to them…easy as that!

  4. Anonymous says:

    As an annual visitor to Cayman in normal times, public access to the beaches is part of the charm of the island. I always laugh when I read someone complaining on TripAdvisor that non-guests were encroaching on “their” section of beach. Long may it continue!

  5. Anon says:

    Even the “Street Atlas of the Cayman Islands” calls the area in question ‘Fisherman’s Landings”!

    • Anonymous says:

      No problem with that. People have done it for years but never was it commercialized for the sake of a few. In olden days people learnt how to swim there. That market was not there until after Ivan following which the pot smokers arrived. Go take a wiff.

  6. Anonymous says:

    It all is getting worse. I went to the Red Spot Beach where the fishmongers are and now another tent has gone up blockiing access to the beach. What makes these people think they can do this.
    Caymanians have the right of beach access. The Lands Commission needs investigate.

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s not JUST Caymanians that have this right of beach access.. Not sure if you did not know that.
      It is a public right of way.

      Public = all human beings.

      • Anonymous says:

        You completely missed the point. The access has been blocked by the fishmongers. Government needs do something about it in particularly planning.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Definitely Dart’s fault, thanks 2:29 for pointing that out.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I can’t be the only one…

    I used to spend a lot of time on the beaches where there was no homes around just past Calicos. However, since the road was detoured I go there less and less. So, once they can establish that the public hasn’t used those access points in 20 years, those WILL be blocked off.
    That’s called playing the long game. If any of you have been paying attention (I know the answer to that is no), you know that is Dart’s forte. Just look at his history. (If you can find any left on any search engine. Much of it has been scrubbed)

    • Anonymous says:

      DART’s vulture apparatus preys on Cayman’s many glaring faults. The Cayman population has very foggy recall beyond 3-4 weeks. There are no lasting investigative reporters, and that activity is discouraged with serial obstruction, and non-disclosure – even by committees and individuals tasked professionally with FOI and transparency. No agency is delving one layer deeper than superficial inspections of heavily-redacted and/or incomplete, or wholly absent Board conflict registers. Nobody, in the history of the CIG, has ever been charged, fined, or arrested – those reliably muddying waters are honored and promoted. It’s a conspiracy of silence.

  9. Anonymous says:

    This is not only in Tara Rivers constituency, it is practically in her back yard.

    Useless representation for her neighbors let alone her district.


    • Anonymous says:


      • Anonymous says:

        I don’t think she’s running again. Has a job waiting at Walkers.

        • RENLY TIMLURN EBANKS says:

          More than 90% of those running for office are simply looking financial security for them and their families
          They’re not interested in the community or you would have heard about their often participation in past community activities.Even many of those who ran last election and was unsuccessful is running again and from then til now still hasn’t lifted a finger to help anyone or hasn’t been involved in anything community related or of any real consequence

        • Kman says:

          She’ll get her lifetime pay of pension and insurance +30K for 8 years of doing Jack nothing. An absolute disgrace as she’s someone I’ve knowned for over 35 years.

        • Big Bobo In West Bay says:

          Amazing how politically ineffective Tara has become. Had so much hope for her a few years ago but I have totally given up on her. 😢 😢 😢

  10. Anonymous says:

    I agree that money do talk in cayman,poor people have no talk, just drive by church street west bay and slow down after passing Mr Spurgeon shop use to be, right next to Mr Stafford old home and look across the street, who getting ready to build one of the son no protection or shield have been display there everything is in the open, the dust, the noise, and planning approve them to build apartment there its really sad when you are poor and have no one to listen to you but I finish like this we ain’t going to take one dime with us all I can say is love God not man, thanks

  11. Anonymous says:

    ‘However, he recently spoke to the Cayman Compass, claiming he had blocked the access for security reasons’…Sniff..sniff..sniff…Smell that?…Yep…BS.

    Simple solution. Hire a JCB. Affix rocks and gate to a chain. Drag them away. This Burke bloke will phone cops (or a connected politician) thereby forcing someone to make a decision about what is legal or not. It’s not rocket science.

    • Anonymous says:

      Not the same access, wasn’t that one near Pedro Castle? However there are some questionable things going on all over Cayman with these beach access points.


        Yes something is going on “money is talking”
        The CPA adjourned for two weeks to make a decision on the Dart hotel project. It would be interesting to know the real purpose of this adjournment

  12. Anonymous says:

    I have lived on Uncle Bob’s Road since 1983…..local fishermen have used that beach access since then. John Burke thinks he is above the law.

    • Anonymous says:

      Please ensure you submit an affidavit confirming that. This aids the legal mechanism to help protect access.

  13. Anon says:

    You are right about developers being king! A certain developer who has been cosy with members of the LA and has skirted planning laws and rules is now dredging a area of iron shore in South Sound for his ugly developement. Wonder if he has planning permission for this destructive costal work?

    • Anonymous says:

      I won’t be diving at Sunset House for the foreseeable future. The water is horrible with the silt from the dredging. You can’t see 2 feet in front of you. Macabuca here I come!

      • Anonymous says:

        With comments like that Sunset House should sue ‘those guys’ & the permitting agency for loss of income. The CPA would then be arguing in court that what occurred was not within what they permitted.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I lived on Uncle Bob Rd for 12 years. Every day, whilst the weather was good that access was used by local Fishermen, k7ds with knacks, also their lil boats to go into the North Sound. There was heavy traffic in and out of that access. But since this developer has mo concern for the environment and we all know he destroyed lots of mangroves during the Shores development but back then the Planning Department heads simply turned away and claimed they saw nothing wrong. So, he got away with it. I think we should be charging developers that do damage before approval heavy fines starting at CI$1 million, or put leans on the property they destroyed mangroves in, or marine life etc. Time to stop these greedy developers from getting away. If they refuse to pay the fines, confiscate the land, and sell it to pay the fines.

    • Rev. Herberation says:

      1mil will just be taken as a tax

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree with most of all you say.

      However, it is Caymanians elected to public office that are not enforcing the regulations or protecting our country.

      Caymanians are ultimately to blame for allowing this. If our officials would show some backbone we could stand up to the developers.

      • Just D. Fax says:

        Mr. 6:57; We could agree with that, but the only way to get the lying, thieving, double dealing swine out of office is to vote honest representatives in. It won’t be easy.

    • Anonymous says:

      You know who they are, and you know dem fren an connection dem, so yes, nothing will be done.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Caymanians I urge you all to go and up root these problems, the government ain’t going to do shit and it’s left up to us but one person can’t do it alone, come together and literally put your foot down.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Alden and Joey Hew promised???????? We are still waiting.

  17. Wbay Cheewiz says:

    This government ain’t going to do $#@! No money in it for them Developers are KING $$$$$ is the ELIXR of all political life in Cayman now! How will they pay the Crown if they don’t sell us and our lands out Money has to come from somewhere right Alden !

    • Anonymous says:

      The only person who can sell your lands is you. If someone else sells it, it ain’t yours.

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