Environment fund lost $$$ on Beach Bay coastal works

| 18/05/2021 | 44 Comments
Cayman News Service
Work on the Beach Bay hotel site in 2018

(CNS): The Environmental Protection Fund is missing tens of thousands of dollars because the relevant coastal works fees for a proposed hotel were waived due to a concession deal between the developers and the Cayman Islands Government. The controversial Beach Bay project in the Lower Valley area, which has advanced very little over the six years since it was first proposed, was granted a $25 million concessions deal with government in 2015.

Although few, if any, jobs have been created by this project and it does not appear to have produced any other benefits to the country, it has already received over $582,000 in fee waivers relating to work on the beach, a portion of which should have gone to the EPF, as well as planning and other fees and customs duties.

The developers, Beach Bay Land Ltd, were refunded CI$129,600 in 2017 for stamp duty fees and another $452,000 in 2018 for coastal works fees, including the undisclosed sum that should have been paid to the EPF. Then in 2019, planning and other fees associated with the application were also waived. But according to residents in the area, the project has not advanced beyond the land clearance and some beach work, including a mountain of sand that has been sitting on the site for more than a year.

The project itself was granted planning permission by the CPA in November 2019 despite vehement objections from a significant number of residents. For many years the developers have said they plan to build a nine or ten-storey, 100+room, $167 million resort that will be managed under the Mandarin Oriental brand on the relatively small area of beach front.

However, there have long been concerns that the project is merely speculative, and getting the various planning and coastal works approvals, enabling them to clear and prepare the site, was to help boost its re-sale value. Local objectors have said that the substantial concessions given to the project will never result in any real benefit to the local community because it is about increasing land value for sale rather than any serious proposal to build a hotel.

According to partially redacted documents released to CNS as part of a long-running freedom of information request we made last year, the government has given up a significant amount of money for this hotel proposal, not just from the public purse in general but money earmarked specifically to help with much needed conservation measures.

Over the last administration the developers saved well over CI$562,000 in a variety of fees and duties owed to government, but because of the redactions it is not possible to tell how much the EPF was deprived of. Nevertheless, CNS is continuing to press ahead with the FOI made in September last year for the full details of the concessions on this and all of the development deals which remain under wraps that were negotiated and implemented over the last administration and the money waived on these major projects.

Although the Government of National Unity had claimed that these deals were done to boost the economic recovery coming out of the recession, most of them resulted in wealthy developers receiving millions of dollars in concessions that should have been paid into the public purse during a time when the economy was booming. The waivers were also given at a time when the wider community was raising concerns about the pace of runaway unsustainable development in which few Caymanians benefit.

See the redacted documents relating to the deal in the CNS Library.


Share your vote!


How do you feel after reading this?
  • Fascinated
  • Happy
  • Sad
  • Angry
  • Bored
  • Afraid
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Tags: , , ,

Category: Local News

Comments (44)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    This is no different than anywhere else. Money is pouring into every place that is reasonably safe and has reasonable property taxes.

  2. Anonymous says:

    You can’t lose something if you never had it in the first place. The concessions are incentives to get something out from nothing.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah…but what is the point as Caymanians don’t benefit, infrastructure isn’t coping and it detrimentally affects the environment. WTF are we pandering to them….

  3. Anonymous says:

    The reduction in fees is usually percentage of fees paid, which is standard practice all over the world to attract investment.

    It would be a more helpful and balanced article if CNS was able to state how much the development DID pay in fees?

    CNS: Pay attention to how long it took to get this information. You might prefer that we hold the story for another six months while we get answers to more questions but we believe that people should know what we have found out so far. There is a sad level of ignorance about the persistence it takes to produce a story like this among those who don’t understand the level of secrecy embedded into the system of government here.

  4. Truth Seeker says:

    I wonder how much camanians lost in total to Dart through all its concessions to date ?????

    • Anonymous says:

      Too much.

    • Anonymous says:

      If you wanted to seek the truth you’d take the time to read all of the public documentation available in relation. Hint: The answer is not what want it to be.

    • Anonymous says:

      What has this got to do with Dart?

    • Anonymous says:

      More than we will ever know. Dart family are vulture capitalists: reverse Robinhoods.

      I don’t ever forget what Dart and George Soros did to Greece and Argentina! They are only in it for the money.

      Interestingly, Dart is now so heavily invested in the Cayman Islands that this jurisdiction (more than any other that I am aware) has Dart by the balls.

      At this point, if things come to it, the Cayman Islands can break Dart (not the other way around). You just need to learn how to play the game.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Isn’t there a new developer there now? The repeated (and very redundant) mentions about getting concessions for resale value would be very old news if that was the case.

  6. Anonymous says:

    https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200610-how-china-can-cut-co2-emissions-with-sustainable-buildings

    “… almost half of the world’s construction will take place in China in the coming decade.”

    We are all fighting with one arm behind our backs.

  7. Anonymous says:

    This project will be started the same time as Ironwood….LOL

  8. Anonymous says:

    Just withdraw from the deal. You would
    Hope government had a deadline agreed to which has now surely passed. Then when they want to build enter into a new proper deal. Simple.

    • Anonymous says:

      God point. Mention it to Chris. That project falls within his constituency. And, unlike PPM, Chris has not been part of the problem, he’s been part of the solution.

  9. Anonymous says:

    …and who was covering the cost of BP40 Road, traffic circle, and cart bridge? Oh yeah…

  10. Anonymous says:

    So a Caymanian buying a property for the 1st time has to wait 5 years before selling or have to repay stamp duty and isnt realized until you have a contract in hand and most likely a CO. but a foreign developer can buy up beach front land, do nothing but clear the natural shrubbery and consider the land value boosted and reap the benefits? I really hope the current government can slap a higher stamp duty on this if it does sell.

    • Anonymous says:

      They only care about getting stamp duty from struggling Caymanians! You ain’t getting no stamp duty waiver’s under Alden and Roy’s government unless you have a foreign accent and big money to develop. They need those status holder votes to have any chance of election, because the only people getting jobs from all this development is status holders and the rest that they import on permit. It’s not any permit worker or status holder fault, they want to live too I place the blame at the Cayman people’s feet and the elected officials who the voted for continuously for decades.

    • Anonymous says:

      So true. Either develop and get it right, or get the hell out of Cayman.

  11. Don't Smile Too Much says:

    Thank you for the links- these are most useful. So I go to the source of this apparent evil, the already published Developer’s Agreement of September 2015 and in it I note that CIG commits to the development of high-end tourism and promotes development of sustainable tourism in all districts of the Cayman Islands, as the economic future of the country- correctly so imho. CIG also notes that the Beach Bay project, a Mandarin Oriental resort by all accounts, will be the ‘largest of its kind off the SMB corridor’ and which according to CIG, should ‘create employment, skills-training and entrepreneurial opportunities for Caymanians in and around the Bodden Town area as part of its Go East initiative’.
    These are all worthy causes, and so in support of his intention to make his inward investment in the Islands’ economy, the developer has been granted in the Agreement a single maximum concession ‘credit’ of CI$25m to be applied at his discretion against any duty or fee otherwise payable in carrying out a development of this size- stamp duty, planning or environmental fees, whatever.
    Googling Mandarin Oriental’s media releases reveals a substantial investment in this resort for which CIG has given a not overly generous 10% discount to the developer, especially when post-Covid future hospitality revenue streams will provide much-needed funds to CIG in the long term.
    I would think that we would be better served if the cost overrun at ORIA- much more significant at 40% of budgetted project cost- which has sunk without trace and without sanction, was brought to account.

    • Say it like it is. says:

      I’m not smiling – when is Albert Anderson going to reveal the final cost overrrun for the ORIA terminal?, and when is CAL going to produce it’s audited accounts. It seems these entities are flying blind.

    • Anonymous says:

      Nice justification, but no cigar. And, yes, Albert has to justify the cost overrun, but let’s not lose sight of this discussion.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Boy, PPM really don’t gaf about this beautiful island as long as they get paid.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sadly, this is true for many people that live there as well.

    • Plain Talk says:

      No standard in Public Life is going to effectively control anyone who is greedy for money .

      What is really needed is a change in the submission and approval of major projects like the subject of this article and others; a fee paid upfront that will cover at least 10-15% of the projected total project cost. This will in part cover Environmental and Costs of necesary infrastructure creation and/ or additional maintenance that will be incurred by government. In addition and dependent on the numbers of local employees that the project will employ a one time duty reduction of 3-4% duty reduction on an itemized list of materials needed for the start up operations quality of which are not obtainable on island; which will be carefully reviewed and scrutinized before approval.

      Alll of that to say to new developers well we are open for business but under our conditions which in effect means: show me the color of your money. Enough of using us for speculative ventures.

  13. Ambassador of Absurdistan says:

    Just Another Day in Absurdistan

  14. Anonymous says:

    Nothing surprises me anymore with ppm. It is a ship of pirates and yes men along for the ride

  15. Banana Republican says:

    The legacy of the PPM including Alden McLaughlin, Kurt Tibbetts, Joey Hew, Marco Archer, Roy McTaggart, Moses Kirkconnell lives on and costs us residents and locals everyday.
    The concessions were based on empty promises and lies as usual.
    Why does the government fall every time for the same scams?
    What did Cayman get in return?
    How or why have they chosen to give away fees and government funds for fantasy projects?
    Where is the auditor general’s report and investigations into all the sweet deals that cost us?
    What else is the PPM and former ministers hiding and do not want to be made public?
    All of this is more evidence that the Caymans is either a banana republic or deliberately making the same mistakes over and over or a pretty corrupt country.

    • Anonymous says:

      You forgot Wayne, let’s be transparent now! He was in Cabinet when the deal was approved

      • Anonymous says:

        He transparent for sure, can see right through him.

      • Hubert says:

        Yes, but in the Cabinet at that time, nobody would have given serious consideration to the environment and Wayne would have easily been outvoted no matter what he said.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Did Joey Hew as Minister have any part in these deals

    • Anonymous says:

      No but Wayne and Ossie approved the project check the dates

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes Joey has played a role he has been elected from 2013 as counselor, 2017 minister of planning and now 2021 deputy leader of opposition

        • Anonymous says:

          Opposition has no say in development projects and neither did a Councillor they don’t sit in Cabinet. This deal was approved by the 2013-2017 Cabinet of which Joey was not a part.

    • Really ???? says:

      Lol

    • Anonymous says:

      If it means selling out Cayman for every penny, it is no question that Joey is lead architect in these deals.

  17. Anonymous says:

    To quote from Pink Floyd’s classic lyrics –

    And did we tell you the name of the game, boy,
    We call it Riding the Gravy Train.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.