Cabinet decision on dock not ‘rational or logical’

| 24/06/2021 | 113 Comments
Vista del Mar

(CNS): The court has ruled that a coastal works licence granted for a dock at Vista Del Mar by Cabinet in December 2018 was neither logical nor rational and has quashed the decision following a successful judicial review by the residents in the luxury community. The permit was granted to Marcus Cumber to build a 128-foot dock out into Salt Creek for his boat, even though the relevant government agencies, such as planning and the Department of Environment had advised against it and in the face of numerous objections from his neighbours.

On Tuesday, more than two years later, Justice Margaret Ramsay-Hale remitted the decision back to Cabinet, after she found no rational basis for the decision.

In addition to the broad general objections from Cumber’s neighbours, led by the owner of DMS, Don Seymour, who filed the JR as Strata Plan 405, the dock would have required substantial dredging. The DoE had objected to the granting of permission for the project largely because of the impact on marine life and the removal of a significant amount of seagrass beds.

Planning also had concerns about the length of the dock, the precedent it might set and the danger to other boats and small craft using the waterways. There was also space available for Cumber’s boat in the community’s existing marina at the time, which provided a viable alternative to building a dock that was likely to cause environmental harm and a potential hazard to the the boating public.

In her ruling, Justice Ramsay-Hale pointed out that Cabinet made the decision to approve the permit without any rational reasons, given that the document it had relied upon presented by the health ministry had, in fact, advised against approving the licence. She wrote, “The recommendation that the permit be granted, despite the objections raised against it, robbed the Cabinet paper and the decision of Cabinet made on the basis of it of all logic.”

The paper had been taken to Cabinet by then minister Dwayne Seymour, who recommended approval, but the entire document that he presented to his colleagues had effectively advised against approval. The judge agreed with the attorney representing the residents of Vista Del Mar who had said the Cabinet paper “set out no rational basis for the minister’s recommendation of the Cabinet’s decision to grant the permit”.

At the time the minister had also faced accusations that he could be conflicted, given that he was the owner of an airport security company and had connections to Cumber through his former commercial air-service. However, both men denied ever having a business relationship.

See the full judgment in the CNS Library.

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Category: development, Local News, Marine Environment, Science & Nature

Comments (113)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    So, not rational or logical, and even the report tabled in Cabinet to support it actually said the opposite. So that leaves us with incompetence or corruption as alternatives, I guess.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Is Wayne Paton still on the C3 board of directors?

  3. Anonymous says:

    I wonder how many of these hideously rich people in Vista Del Mar and Yacht Club had any significant assets in their bank accounts when they came here as young bankers, accountants, architects, quantity surveyors etc from England and Ireland 30 or so years ago. Because in Cayman the line of work they were in was a license to print money, they prospered mightily, sent their kids to Catholic and Prep and got Status in 2003. Now their kids, having gone to good universities in the UK ( mostly) have come back and are eagerly snatched up by the major accounting and law firms. They are the “new Caymanians”. Most of the children of the “old Caymanians”, for a variety of reasons that would require a different post, make do with teaching, nursing, and other government jobs that will NEVER allow residence in places like Vista Del Mar.

    • Anonymous says:

      How would you describe Carlyle McLaughlin, a Caymanian, former EY Partner and owner of the Mac Store? How did he slip through the Vista Del Mar screening process? You should be bitter that your government has squandered the education of an entire generation of Caymanians making them ill prepared to succeed in any of those professions.

      • Anonymous says:

        Can’t imagine why anyone would be ‘bitter’ about that???
        I would have used a better vocabulary word than that to describe what has happened on this island with the education of kids.
        If you couldn’t afford to send your kid away for uni, you were stuck with whatever you could get here. Even the scholarships go to those who can afford to pay to send their kid away.

      • Anonymous says:

        One guy? Terrific! What a triumph.

        • Anonymous says:

          Did you hear about the $17 million house in Crystal Harbour selling recently? Yep – born Caymanians. Look at some of the other partners of EY, Deloitte, appear to be “hideously rich” as well. But that’s ok, right? Just as long as there are no paper Caymanians or expats doing so well here, right?

          • Anonymous says:

            A grotesque minority of Caymanians have done well. No one denies that. It’s the hoards of foreigners who came here with nothing but a foreign qualification that make it hideously rich by virtue of the line of work they are in I object to.

    • Anonymous says:

      “hideously rich”… you’ll get a bad back carrying around that chip on your shoulder and for what it’s worth, of ten thousand plus “new Caymanians” since 2003, you’re describing at most a couple of people. What a cowardly way to have a go.

    • Anonymous says:

      Heaven forbid that they work hard, educate their kids, invest properly and buy a piece of Cayman and call it home. Maybe if Caymanians had done that then you wouldn’t whine as much as some of you do. And locals also make up the vast majority of top government jobs where expats don’t get a look in. And they also normally get fired or ‘leave’ on health grounds with quite ridiculous financial packages. Think about that for a minute.

      • Anonymous says:

        Sounds like envy and jealousy to me.

      • Susan says:

        Hard work is an accountant who clocks 60hrs a week…but hard work is also a janitor who clocks 60hrs a week.

        Wealth usually has much less to do with hard work and everything to do with privilege. Hard work doesn’t ever result in wealth unless you start off from a place of privilege, and privilege usually has nothing to do with anything you did yourself!

        I don’t mind if someone has come to Cayman, works hard and makes money…but I hate when they accredit themselves fully, as if they did it all from scratch.

        Worse yet is when the arrogance that comes with privilege allows them to attribute the poor person’s poverty to a lack of hard work. Enjoy your money…but be honest with yourself when you look in the mirror.

    • Anonymous says:

      Nothing wrong with honest work for success..
      There is however one in that list who did not come by it honestly.

    • Hancock says:

      What a bitter person you are. Many of the people you refer to started coming here in the mid soxties and worked their butts off in the various industries. But above all they put back much in the community. Many joined service clubs whilst others were the pioneers of sports clubs or started professional associations such as the accounting society of the law society.

      In those days with a population of 8000 there was not much to do. Expats were the driving force of most associations. It was those people that encouraged Caymanians to get involved but it was the expats that had the experience. Check history and see who started the dive club in 1971. Check who started the tennis club, the squash club, the rugby club and various football and cricket clubs and leagues. Remember also it was a Canadian, Larry Chomyn working down here who founded Meels on Wheels , a project initially run totally by the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman. All of this has of course worked out well for The Cayman Islands over the years.
      Not sure where 2003 fits in as many of us were granted status long before that. Remember also many expats work behind closed doors and contribute to the community as a whole. You will never know their names. They do not seek publicity,praise nor reward. Some u will see at community projects with hammer or saw in hand. They are lawyers, accountants, bankers etc. for them it is not an obligation it is a joy of life.

    • Anonymous says:

      Nothing wrong with working for your success and setting an example for your children.
      However, There’s one listed in your rant that has perfected white collar theft disguised as success , at the expense of many business partners that he has screwed.

    • Jotnar says:

      for a variety of reasons that would require a different post, – which are what, exactly?

    • Cayman Lady says:

      The rich will get what is coming to them some day. The Bible says, “the wealth of the wicked is laid up for the just”. There is a transference of wealth coming some day soon. So, I am not worried. Let them continue to lay up wealth for themselves, they think. Some day it will all be transferred to the Godly. Especially if it was ill-gotten gain to begin with. In the mean time, God sees to it that I have enough for my needs and some to spare besides. This is my inheritance as a tither. I lack for nothing.

      • Anonymous says:

        God isn’t real.

      • Jotnar says:

        Proverbs 13:22 also says – in the very same sentence! -that a good man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children. It does not say anything about the rich being inherently wicked, as you seem to think. In fact, it extols the accumulation of wealth by the God fearing and good. Selected quoting from the Bible to suit ones own prejudices is a sin. If we are going to go down that route, perhaps I should refer you 1 Tim 2:11-15?

      • Anonymous says:

        But it is also written that there shall come a great Profit..

    • Anonymous says:

      Who cares. If I was a generational caymanian I would be wealthy as hell right now. I am not sure why you continue to think your monetary issues are anyones but yours.

    • Anonymous says:

      26/06 @ 7:43 pm – I’m not quite sure how to respond to you. I am multi-generational Caymanian and am old enough to witness many of those expats you criticize come here (perhaps with little more than a good education and the will to work hard) and “invest” in Cayman, especially raise their kids here. Yes, many of these kids are the “new Caymanians” you describe, who were educated at Cayman Prep or Catholic..(hope they can soon qualify to run in our elections), and that is encouraging to me.

      And what’s wrong with any of that? Would you prefer the expats who come here, reap the benefits, have no respect of us and all we’re about, invest nothing here then pack up and move all their acquired riches? Personally, I abhor that type.

      Some Caymanians are just anti-expat, no matter what. But that sentiment also exists all over the world. I applaud the expats who have come here and settled – this is their home too so it’s in their interests to do what they can to improve the quality of life here – and MANY do.

      Blame our successive Governments for NOT providing an education system which gives similar opportunities to a broader section of Caymanians!! Stop blaming people who make the best of opportunities which are created by our own leaders, while leaving our own people out!

      Not ONE of those expats (now Caymanians) you criticize has EVER been an elected representative in Cayman!!

    • Anonymous says:

      I pity you. I really do.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Nothing to see here folks, please keep walking. No corruption here folks.

    Only in a Banana Republic do these things go unchallenged by the police or the Ombudsman. When’s the last time you saw a significant investigation report come out of the Ombudsman office…when Dan Dugay was in charge? Ever notice the media no longer calls this office a “Watchdog”? That dog has gone lame!

    • Anonymous says:

      The Ombudsman’s office has become an enabler of bad governance. It is sickening. #worldclass.

  5. Anonymous says:

    More rich people’s problems.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Cumber. Interesting, interesting guy.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I’ll never get tired of this;

    So many reasons…. Lol

    • Anonymous says:

      And so misleading. Not everyone lives on Waitrose processed foods… Ugh. No mention of any other food items (meat/dairy/fruit & veg etc.) besides frozen fish sticks..
      He should have spoken to a Brit that has learned to live here within their means. Surely there are a few about.

      I love the ‘posh’ folk he chose to speak with including the real estate magnate bellend.
      But check out Starfish Point from 2016!! Dramatically different to the size now. Same with Rum Point. Both have shrunk drastically. Remember the size of the ‘sandbar’ at Rum Point when it was big enough for a volleyball net?? And all the boats weren’t squished up next to the beach… Those were the days that I lived for! That is the Cayman I remember. It’s nothing like that now and never will be again. Hard to admit that things DO change and not always for the better.

      • Anonymous says:

        The guy is a Guardian journalist so it was only ever going to be a hatchet job. I love the bit with him waving the bank account opening forms at the camera as if to prove how easy it was to open a bank account… now fill ’em out and see how far you get you low life! Dishonest and disgraceful “journalism”; totally expected though sadly.

      • Anonymous says:

        What the hell are you talking about 4.39 ?

      • Anonymous says:

        High end realtors ( a high impression of themselves) would also have you believe a Fiat 500 is a good car to own AND try to sell it to you , so runs the illusion of grandeur and self importance within their own minds.

    • Anonymous says:

      LMAO Mario! what a joke

  8. Anonymous says:

    I just need to hear the name Jon Jon and I start laughing.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Generic headline

  10. Anonymous says:

    Vista Del Mar. Home to the island’s most ardent environmentalists. 😂😂

    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah all those who are fighting against this dock already have their own which don’t have mangroves any longer because of that. Sounds to me like a few people really just don’t want to see a part of someone else’s boat when they look out their mansions window.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Must have confused dock with donkey…

  12. Anonymous says:

    Expecting Jon Jon to be logical and rational is funny!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Poor thing must be crying in to his Dom Perignon.

    • Anonymous says:

      Whoa never knew Wayne was part owner of Clean Gas. That might explain his “passion” for the environment lol he needs customers

  14. Jtb says:

    What are things coming to when a court says that government decisions must be logical? Or when you can’t just ask your friend in cabinet to get your projects nodded through.

    This is the thin end of the wedge, the start of a slippery slope etc.

    If we’re not careful we may find ourselves being responsibly governed!

  15. Anonymous says:

    Let’s see what Mr. Environment/business partner of Cumber does now.

  16. Anonymous says:

    All we need now is for Justice Margaret Ramsey-Hale to get on a few more of these badly decided cases that haven’t started yet like The Port and squash them out. And look in to all of planning decisions for last 4 years.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why won’t anyone look at the Cabinet status grants? I know the attorney general got one and was wholly deserving, but hundreds of others are at best questionable.

      • Anonymous says:

        Wholly deserving? Don’t make me laugh.

      • Anonymous says:

        Oh come on now. Give it up already! That was almost 20 years ago!! Jeez

        I got mine the same year by rights and I’m even annoyed about all of the cabinet giveaways (even to dead people and people long gone from here) but it ain’t NEVER gonna be revisited. EVER.

        • Anonymous says:

          The whole thing appears mired in corruption. It has directly caused unfathomable harm to Cayman and to the Caymanian people. I will NEVER give it up.

          • Anonymous says:

            NAU is now feeding and housing the grandchildren of Mac’s status grants.

            • Anonymous says:

              The NAU impact ain’t of half of it. What do you think caused the destruction of our education system? What you you think caused Caymanian culture to be extinguished across vast areas of Cayman? What do you think caused connected people to become millionaires overnight? What do you think caused the so called Caymanian unemployment problem to skyrocket? What do you think is the basis for the unfettered mass importation of poverty?

              And much of it appears (quite literally) to have been a crime. And the police refuse to even investigate.

              • Anonymous says:

                Stay ignorant and angry and see where it gets you in life. Or go talk to Roy Bodden about the status grants and try to understand why it happened. Sure, there were some who got it that didn’t deserve it, but most did. Cayman had painted itself into a corner where there were no good legal options, thanks in part to bad decisions made way back starting with Truman’s Unity Government. The probable court-mandated alternative to the 2,850 Cabinet Status grants of 2003 would have been much, much worse for Cayman in the long run.

        • Anonymous says:

          You tolerate corruption? How much is OK?

      • Anonymous says:

        11.54am AG’s was not deserving. He also should have been removed for his conflict of interest in this matter.

      • Anonymous says:

        I can’t believe people are still talking about the 3000 cabinet status grants 15-18 years ago even though since that time there are between 1500-2000 people getting status per year. These are people on work permits that get permanent residence then get naturlaised and become Caymanians 5 years after and compete directly with Caymanians for jobs, business and homes. I know we have had discussions about a 100,000 population. But this is 10,000-20,000 in 10 years and people still talk about the 3,000 status grants.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Carried to cabinet by former minister Seymour – well that should sum it up right there. The whole thing is stink with cronyism and political favors. Please bring into the light all the other buddy boy deals that were pushed through PPM.

    • Anonymous says:

      This conduct probably cost them the election too

      • Anonymous says:

        Oddly enough, they all won.

        • Anonymous says:

          But do they honestly feel like winners? First losers maybe, relegated to backbench, while this regime spends next 4 years leisurely probing deeper into decades of misconduct they have actively tried to conceal from the public.

  18. Anonymous says:

    The judge in this case sent the dock application back to Cabinet for a re-think. This ought to be a ‘no brainer’ but then again special interests have a ‘green’ way of getting the results they want. This will be an interesting test of the new Cabinet.

  19. I said what I said says:

    Sensible ruling!

    Pretty obvious that the attempt to construct such a dock was to appreciate of the value of Mr. Cumber’s property.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Had the misfortune to see Elagabalus’ imitation palace recently….can’t say it’s a loss to global architecture that the pier (sorry, ‘dock’) isn’t getting approved

    • Pier Pressure says:

      Classical dis!

    • Anonymous says:

      So you were welcome into ones home only to be an absolute asshat about it anonymously? You must be a great person. I can say that whenever my family was in need he has always been there to help us pick ourselves up. And I know countless people whom have also benefited from his charity. You people love to bash someone out of envy.

      • Anonymous says:

        Not sure the poster said they were in the emperors home, but on you go, you sound fun

      • Anonymous says:

        Sound like you are talking about Mac

      • Anonymous says:

        He rented it out to a rapper recently for a music video. Maybe they were part of that…

        Then last week it was used for the National Trust event to raise money for land purchases. And I do believe he did that gratis. Soooo… He ain’t a bad guy IMO. But he will never be able to get everyone to like him.

        He still doesn’t need a dock that big! (I had to double check my spelling of dock…)

    • Anonymous says:

      loving the ancient roman reference! I’m not clever enough to know if y’all are talking about Marcus Cumber, but he’s actually one of life’s good guys.

  21. More proof many decisions by PPM didnt make any sense but made dollars!

  22. Anonymous says:

    So D….Diddywayne Seymour recommended approval as a Minister… With documents advising against…

    And his constituents voted him in again????????????

    How stupid are Cayman electorate???

  23. Anonymous says:

    This would be laughable if it wasn’t so serious..Can you imagine John John brought this to Cabinet even after Al”t and gang had turned Marcus down?

    *CNS Note: Coastal works application go to Cabinet, not to the CPA.

    This is what we had with a PPM government, nothing more than doing favors despite the fact that they knew better. Why would Alden and the rest of the PPM accept and approve a dock presented to them by the Health Minister? Why did John John take it on himself as Health Minister to try to get a dock approved that had absolutely nothing to do with him and something of which he had no expertise? Where was Joey as the Minister for Planning? Shouldn’t he had been the one bringing it to Cabinet? it’s too bad we can’t get the minutes of this meeting, I would have loved to hear Joey’s response..

    *CNS Note: Seymour’s portfolio included the environment. This is just to explain why he was involved; it doesn’t explain why he was pushing it.

    We are going to see more of this unravelling from the past PPM Government. They had no shame (still don’t) and these things were par for the course and you can believe more of this is yet to come.

    • Anonymous says:

      To 8 46 Dwayne was also the minister for the Environment . I’m sure this would have been presented in his capacity as the Environment minister. (Would have helped if CNS had referred to him in that capacity)

      • Anonymous says:

        it would be good to know how many planning applications he hand delivered to cabinet, and why it did not through normal channels.

        CNS: It’s not a planning application. All coastal works applications, including docks, go to Cabinet and not through the CPA or DCB. Cabinet is the proper channel.

  24. Anonymous says:

    No way! A decision made by Cabinet based on no or irrational grounds. Unheard of. Note that Minister Seymour rubber stamped this and presented it to Cabinet as a done deal. Why?
    These types of things go on everyday and impact people’s lives and livelihoods. The only difference is that the residents of Salt Creek and Vista Del Mar had the resources to challenge the decision.

  25. Anonymous says:


  26. Anonymous says:

    Rich people jealous of other rich people. That’s all this is.

    • Anonymous says:

      LMAO!! So you think all of this is rich people being jelly of other rich people??
      That is just ignorant. You are ignorant. (Go look up the definition of that word to be clear. You would be surprised)

  27. Anonymous says:

    Marcus should demand all of his favors and support back now

  28. ppm Distress Signal says:

    Jon Jon will get the blame but Alden’s Pom crew have made many of these piss poor decisions that have yet to to come light. Buckle up Cayman there are many of these types of poor decisions that will be exposed.

    • Anonymous says:

      Didn’t vote PACT. That’s who needed them. They were so desperate to get to do exactly nothing.

      • Anonymous says:

        PACT has been in office barely 7 weeks. It is going to take more than 7 weeks to fix what the PPM has done over 8 years..Give them a break! They have already said they will be bringing their plan to Parliament in a couple of weeks. Let’s just all be happy that we were able to to some degree rid ourselves of the PPM.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Well done Unity pirates. LOL

  30. Right ya so says:

    Good. Big up Judgy!

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