Dump deal won’t close this year as talks roll on

| 01/12/2022 | 64 Comments
DEH staff work on a hot spot at the dump (file photo)

(CNS): The government’s controversial deal with the Dart Group for the conglomerate to take over the Cayman Islands’ waste management and develop a waste-to-energy facility is now not expected to close this year. Speaking in parliament in October, Premier Wayne Panton suggested that an agreement could be reached by the end of November. But a press release issued today, 1 December, said that “significant progress continues to be made” but the deal, known as ReGen, is not expected to close until early in 2023.

Panton, who, as the minister for sustainability, took direct responsibility for the project, said the negotiations were lengthy and complex. But he said that “discussions are proceeding at pace” and the government was working to keep down costs.

“Given the scale of this project, its national significance, the level of capital investment required and the proposed lifespan of the new system, both parties are committed to ensuring all details of the negotiations are considered as thoroughly as possible,” the premier said. “While this increases the length of discussions, I believe it is for the ultimate benefit of the country. Please know that my administration is working wherever possible to keep costs down in spite of global supply chain issues and procurement challenges.”

He continued, “Our goal is to ensure ReGen represents a financially viable, long-term solution for sustainable solid waste management for all three of our wonderful islands. I am confident in the long-term success of this project, and my administration is committed to seeing these negotiations through to their timely conclusion.”

Panton acknowledged community concern about Dart’s recent decision to end its glass recycling programme because the crusher is at the end of its useful life cycle. But he pointed out that the developer will be responsible for recycling when the project eventually gets underway

“Over the more than ten years since Dart procured its glass crushing machine, the rate of recycling in the Cayman Islands and the level of recycling infrastructure available to the public has increased,” he said. “We are grateful to Dart for providing this important service for more than a decade but we understand the public is disappointed in what they perceive to be a step backwards on the pathway to sustainable solid waste management. While we investigate potential interim solutions, we know ReGen represents the ultimate long-term plan for expanded and improved recycling infrastructure in the Cayman Islands.”

While the talks continue, Dart has achieved its main aim, which is to cap the existing landfill. The environmental impact assessment for the project restarted in September, which will offer a holistic understanding of how the ReGen facilities might affect the local environment and inform the final design and operational details, officials said. The Terms of Reference were agreed upon in 2021, so baseline environmental assessment studies have begun on air quality, emissions, hydrology, noise and vibration, and marine and terrestrial ecology.

When it is finished, the studies conducted as part of the EIA will form the basis of an environmental statement setting the parameters for the project’s environmental performance, its final design and construction to mitigate the negative impacts and the operational requirements of the facilities once commissioned. The environmental statement will also be subject to a public consultation period before it is finalised.

Dart President of Infrastructure Cameron Graham said the Dart Consortium and government share the commitment to complete negotiations and “deliver the new solid waste management facilities in a timely and responsible manner, as there is limited capacity on the current site for landfilling operations”. But even if everything goes to plan, this facility will not be operational until at least late 2026 or early 2027.

Graham said the company was waiting for the completion of the EIA, expected at the end of next year, before they begin the three-year construction of the new waste-to-energy facility, which he said will divert up to 95% of the waste from the landfill. The ReGen waste-to-energy facility is expected to have the capacity to produce 8MW of renewable energy, supporting the National Energy Policy target of 70% renewables by 2037.

The two-decade-long goal of successive governments to develop a WTE facility has been dogged by controversy. The first attempt at procurement for the project was won by American firm Wheelabrator in December 2010, but just a month later, then-premier McKeeva Bush arbitrarily cancelled the process and said that the project would go to Dart.

But Dart had taken part in that procurement, and according to the Central Tenders Committee, the body that oversaw large government procurements at the time, said it had scored the lowest points among all bidders. Given that Dart wanted to move the dump to Bodden Town, the idea met with fierce resistance from the community there.

As a result, the project stalled until 2013, when a PPM-led administration was returned to office on a commitment not to move the dump. Osbourne Bodden, who became the minister with responsibility for environmental health, restarted the process for a new bid based in George Town, firstly by contracting consultants to help shape the outline business case and then the project itself.

Eventually, after four more years, Dart, working in a consortium, became the preferred bidder for the full project.

But talks have taken more than five years. Just before the 2021 elections, the PPM administration signed a preliminary deal, which has been criticised by Panton for leaving so many issues unaddressed and by the auditor general for making significant commitments on the eve of a general election.


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Category: Environmental Health, Health

Comments (64)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Put Jon Jon in charge of negotiations! What will Dart’s people say? Well, we can sign anything and start working, or we can look forward to more meetings with Jon Jon.

  2. Truth says:

    Just one of the many things that are above and beyond the current ability of CIG to handle competently. Like the traffic. Expect both to just get worse.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Wayne is finished, that’s one deal that is finalized. Cayman politicians now seem to come in trying to turn this island upside down, think they have been watching too much CNN and there is no individual or independent thoughts!

    Chris take my advice, stay far from Panton when you make your next run, you clearly have some good ideas although not all i agree with, i think you have our best interest at heart!

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    • Anonymous says:

      If you only knew the undermining happening within the PACT government you would fall out of your chair. CS will never wait until the next election to see if he can become Premier and his GTC compadre is ensuring everything crumbles for WP in the mean time. WP’s problem is he isnt as good at playing the game as those who want to be in his role.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Won’t snow this year either. Want to save that headline for next year – bit of practical recycling.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Waste Management was your best bet. But they are a publicly traded company that can’t get involved in the backroom deals required to do business with Cayman government, even though they are the industry leader in doing exactly what you need (their name is a clue.) Wayne should restart talks with them and watch Dart come back to the table fast.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    At least collect the bottles and keep in one spot until you buy a crusher.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Or just run them over with a steam roller every couple of months. Job done. No unnecessary expense.

    • Anonymous says:

      So we can spend a lot of money and energy to crush them and put them in the ground….. brilliant idea. Planet saving!

      • Anonymous says:

        No – adding them to fill. As opposed to putting them in the ground uncrushed where they take up significant volume of the limited dump space

  7. Yea I said it... says:

    What else is new from this Govt? They are doing absolutely nothing!

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Ahead of whatever deal would it be possible for DEH to manage the landfill properly? It’s only a matter time before there is another fire. Saw their main guy speak at a conference earlier this year and he was proud how they operate the dump???

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  9. Anonymous says:

    In the mean time can we please restart glass recycling. It’s one of the easiest materials to recycle and it breaks my heart to thrown my glass straight into the trash. It’s all very well for our politicians to fly to COP and make all these environmental promises. Yet we seem to be moving backwards. Actions speak louder than words. Allow we, the consumers, to do our part.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Will Wayne be buying a glass crusher?

      • Anonymous says:

        It was my understanding that the crusher was fully depreciated on Dart’s books and as such had reach the end of its economic life. The person stated that the crushers had one possibly two more years that it could be used while CIG purchased their own. They offered to give it to CIG but CIG refused. If true, another BIG CIG mistake.😂😂😂

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      • Anonymous says:

        Would be a better use for public money. Buy the crusher!

  10. Anonymous says:

    How can we blame Wayne and PACT for this? Did they sign this agreement with DART or did the PPM? We should be grateful they are not just going along for the ride at our expense..

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  11. Anonymous says:

    More Civil Service incompetence. Nothing to see here, Franzies for all!

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  12. Anonymous says:

    Good. Let’s put it out for a proper bid where transparency takes place.

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  13. Anonymous says:

    Dart scored the lowest number of points during competitive tender process, yet nevertheless signed a deal to make a deal with PPM. PACT must either continue to negotiate or overrule the premature award commitment since it was not awarded on merit. ACC should investigate on what grounds DART could have been awarded a blank cheque deal.

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    • Anonymous says:

      It is called being the preferred bidder or in street talk – Dart is the boss and what bossy wants; bossy gets! So all you stupid little people need to just shut up and do as you are told.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Is this info public? How do I find it?

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      • Anonymous says:

        You don’t, as it’s fake news.

        CNS: Dart dump bid ranked lowest

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        • Anonymous says:

          CNS: That’s the bid from over 10 years ago, under the UDP government. It’s not the bid process for a completely different solution started by the PPM.

          CNS: Yes. Imagine if Wheelabrator, which won a tender process in 2010 with a comprehensive solution, had been allowed to actually do the job. Sadly, McKeeva was somehow persuaded to dump Wheelabrator and give the contract to Dart. And then…. nothing. Dart won the most current bid and yet they are still working out the details. We’ve lost 12 years, and counting.

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          • Anonymous says:

            somehow persuaded… lol – that’s one way to put it.
            Yes, it’s taken way too long since Ozzie started the process all over again after the 2013 election. I’m not sure the Wheelabrator solution was the best solution for Grand Cayman, but, yes, it would have been done by now. To be fair, though, some of the delay since the PACT government took over has been caused by the sudden death of Project Manager Peter Ranger the month after the 2021elections. Peter was the only guy on the government side who really understood what was going on with the new Dart deal.

      • Anonymous says:

        Hell no it isn’t public, you think they want the sweetheart deal out in the open so everyone can see? What is wrong with you to ask such a question?

      • Anonymous says:

        No, because it didn’t happen that way.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Reading is easy, comprehension not so much.

    • Anonymous says:

      Another headline that screams luxury high end destination.

    • Anonymous says:

      But in reality dart scored the highest number, that’s why they are the preferred bidder. Why do you talk lies?

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    • Anonymous says:

      fake news? Scoring is confidential?

      • Anonymous says:

        Dart got the lowest score on an earlier, then cancelled, bid. Not the current bid.

        CNS: Worth noting that it was cancelled by McKeeva for no apparent reason.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Dump deal would never close
    Puting a lipstick on the Dump won’t stop poisoning people and environment
    There won’t be Waste Management(WM) in Cayman ever. CIG has no idea what WM is
    Sorry to be so blunt, but Cayman has the dumbest government in the world, always had always will.
    Not s SINGLE achievement in the history of the the territory. Whatever they touch turns into 💩. If not for the expats and an oversight from the UK, this place would be the land that time forgot.

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  15. Anonymous says:

    Wayne Panton is useless as a leader and so is his ministry team leading the negotiations. Manderson’s version of a world class civil service is an expense train wreck who is running this project.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Every leader’s government for many years has failed in this regard. Blame them all not just the current one. Dart is the problem He wants total control over all our infrastructure and until this government like the others folds to his desires nothing will be done. He should not be allowed to control any of the infrastructure including electric on the Brac. We have allowed our politicians to given Dart to much control.

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    • Anonymous says:

      And you’re suggesting there are better leaders to be had amongst the gang of mostly clown and dunce like elected MPs? I think if you realized what the previous government left hanging to chance and to the whim of Dart you’d be dumbstruck, or maybe you just are anyway?

      The reason why we have and have had an overwhelming majority of lackluster MP’s over the decades is they were elected by politically ignorant constituents. And most of the constituents elected these politically inept and environmentally ignorant MPs in exchange for a “gift”. You get what you pay for. Did you cast a vote?

      I don’t ever recall an election where finding a first world solution to the dump being a campaign promise for any past elected member do you? Maybe your own district MP could do better but I think not. It is what it is and we are lucky to have come this far.

      • Anonymous says:

        Better leaders can be had by choosing Caymanians over age 30, no criminal record, college degree and passing a minimum competency test via a lottery system..

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        • Anonymous says:

          Canover Watson fit your criteria when he was voted YC of the Year. Your criteria does not indicate or ensure a person has integrity and is honest.

  16. Anonymous says:

    PPM rushed to sign a bad deal with Dart that will costs us millions with no value for money. The cannot be trusted.

    PACT are a wild bunch but we will thank them for slowing down and investigating the entire project and financial commitments PPM made with partners on this deal once the Auditor General releases the report on ReGen project.

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  17. Anonymous says:

    u watch y see….dart soon put solar panel’s on it….lol

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    • Dart Vader says:

      Yes, and after I buy CUC like I bought Brac Power and Light, my mission to control all electricity in the Cayman Islands will be complete. Then I will shut you all down outside of Camana Bay in the middle of summer until you pay me $1 billion and bring me a shark with laser beam on its head. Never underestimate the power of the Dart Side.

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  18. Anonymous says:

    and to think ppm turned down a free solution to this issue 10 years ago…all for the sake of some votes from backward bodden towners…

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  19. Anonymous says:

    cig’s failure on this issue (for 30-40 years) is a perfect illustration of why cayman needs direct rule asap

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  20. Anonymous says:

    the sound of wayne kicking the can down the road….soon it will be an issue for the next government.

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  21. Anonymous says:

    we can’t move forward…unless we first accept the fact there is no one within cig or the civil service with the experience or expertise to deal with an issue of this scope.

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  22. Anonymous says:

    another bad day at the office for wayne and pact….
    what have they done or achieved since taking power?

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    • Anonymous says:

      How can we blame Wayne and PACT for this? Did they sign this agreement with DART or did the PPM? We should be grateful they are not just going along for the ride at our expense..

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