Gov’t seeks planning approval for Brac school

| 25/08/2023 | 56 Comments

(CNS): An application from the Ministry of Education and architects Chambers Gibb has been submitted to the planning department for a new high school on Cayman Brac. However, the government has revealed very few details about this latest public school project. During her address at the Annual Education Professional Welcome event last week, Education Minister Juliana O’Connor-Connolly made no mention of the application, which she first announced at the 2022 event.

The planning application comprises a new high school building and a gymnasium on a 59-acre plot of crown land on Sunshine Drive on the Bluff. The minister has previously indicated that it would be located next to the Cayman Brac Sports Complex, which already has a playing field and a pool, though the exact location has not been revealed. It will be financed by the public purse, though the estimated cost remains under wraps.

In August 2022, O’Connor-Connolly said that Cabinet had approved plans for an outline business case for the project. That assessment was supposed to have begun in September last year, but it is not clear if that has been completed as no documents relating to this proposed school have been released, and there has been little mention of the project since.

During her welcome address to teachers and other education staff in August 2022, O’Connor-Connolly said that while the Layman E. Scott Sr High School had produced many outstanding students, it had done so “not in the best of circumstances” and that the ageing school building needed to be replaced.

The facility was built in 1966 and the school was officially opened in January 1967. Layman Scott was the first principal, and the Cayman Brac High School was renamed in his honour in 2011.

CNS contacted the ministry on 16 August asking for information relating to the OBC, the costs and the timeline. However, despite the PACT Government’s policy agenda of transparency, the media questions we asked are now being treated as a formal freedom of information request, which means we could be waiting more than a month for a response.

During a meeting of parliament in April, the government accepted a private member’s motion from McKeeva Bush MP to revive plans for a high school in West Bay, and O’Connor-Connolly said she would try to get off this ground before she retires from politics at the end of this administration.

However, the government is facing a number of other costly capital projects in the coming years, including the development of waste-management facilities, the tourism attraction facility in George Town, further expansions at the airports, and even the possibility of a new cargo port. It also has plans to invest in a new all-electric public transport system and will be required to fund the implementation of both the National Energy Policy and the Climate Change Policy.

All of this comes in the wake of a direction by Premier Wayne Panton for civil servants to cut public spending over the next four months by 8.5%. The premier, who is also the finance minister, told CNS that funding for capital projects would not be impacted, not least because in most years the funds set aside for projects are rarely spent in full, often because of the process that must be taken to spend large sums of public money on capital projects.

But the Cayman Islands Government must also be careful to ensure it maintains sufficient cash reserves to meet the mandatory requirements of the Public Management and Finance Act to prevent the UK from taking control of CIG finances.


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Category: development, Education, Local News

Comments (56)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    What ever happened to the Hurricane Hilton?

  2. Anonymous says:

    “CNS contacted the ministry on 16 August asking for information relating to the OBC, the costs and the timeline. However, despite the PACT Government’s policy agenda of transparency, the media questions we asked are now being treated as a formal freedom of information request, which means we could be waiting more than a month for a response.”

    Didn’t take long for Wayne’s lies to show up – transparency my ARSE

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  3. Sunrise says:

    Sad situation when you see so many dislikes for education!! Well, when the crime wave hits, because of uneducated people, then maybe then we will understand how essential education is!! We don’t seem to learn from the neighboring Islands!! Goodbye Cayman, goodbye.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Love the Brac. But the infrastructure is over the top.

    In this case, there is clearly a case for upgrading or replacing an old facility. However, I am sure a new state of the art school for a very small number of students could be built for less than half of the projected CIG outlay.

    But that’s just not how our Govt uses public money. This is the land of the $30,000 non-functional wishing well.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    The cost of this will be astronomical. And it is completely not needed. Put that money into more special needs educators, and more teachers and teachers aids in order to reduce class sizes and increase one on one student interaction in all public schools. Please. We need more help for students who need it and less monuments to politicians’ egos.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    I see from the image that the pool is tagged as “Cayman Brac Public Pool”. Please advise as to when the public is allowed access.

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    • Mumbichi says:

      Survey says, “Never”, Bob.

      I’ve been told there are special classes that can be attended in the pool, and special days in which the public can swim there, however I’ve not been told who actually knows.

  7. Anonymous says:

    The school was built 67 years ago. What is the monthly maintenance on a building that old? Hopefully it has been brought up to today’s standards..

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  8. Mumbichi says:

    Lot of talk about Julie and politics. Some say politricks. I don’t care. What is done is done. Should we penalise the youth for the sins of their elders?

    I think we should build the high school there and make the facilities accessible to the kids. Imagine Olympic swimmers coming out of the Brac. Imagine Olympic runners and football teams and…. and…

    It matters less how we got here than what we are going to do with it. THAT is the bottom line. Use it or lose it.

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    • Corruption is endemic says:

      Those facilities are basically unused at this point. Go walk around the track and look at the weeds pushing up through. That sound you hear, that would be silence as no one is in the pool or using anything.

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      • Anonymous says:

        The facilities are at least there, and locating the new school to use those facilities is the right thing to do..
        The Brac deserves educational facilities on a par with Grand Cayman.
        It will at least be of benefit to Caymanians and not Jamaicans.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Pact are becoming the PPM lite and allowing Juju to do all the foolishness she is accustomed to doing that is expensive and makes no sense. An expensive school her legacy does not mean value given the other prioritizes.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Many years ago when we were budgeting for the Brac, we referred to a principle called “the Brac Factor”. Elderly retired civil servants will remember it. This involved throwing masses of money at the Brac, far far more (proportionally) than we did for Grand Cayman, so that they could buy stuff they didn’t need and build facilities they would never ever use. All this was done simply to keep Brackers quiet….they were always moaning about how hard they were working, how stressed they were and how they were“being left behind”…..and to ensure the support of whichever two MLAs were in at the time ( Julie, elected for life, was always one) foe whichever government was in power at the time. As Churchill might have said, “never in the course of human history was so much given to so few to do so little with”.

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      • Mumbichi says:

        Ummmmm, nobody I know has any idea about the so-called historical occasions to which you refer.

        Something Churchill actually said: “The facilities for advanced education must be evened out and multiplied. No one who can take advantage of a higher education should be denied this chance. You cannot conduct a modern community except with an adequate supply of persons upon whose education, whether humane, technical, or scientific, much time and money have been spent.”

        You parrot the problem of many here, and that is the nonsupport of the politicians that got us here. I don’t disagree, however I’m more pragmatic; this is the facility we now have in all its modern glory. Do we let it and all the money invested go to waste, or do we utilise what we’ve already built?

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        • Anonymous says:

          So, Mumbichi, you don’t agree lots of money has been spent over the last several decades on the Brac in a way that that poster at 3:36, (to whom you very quickly replied pointing out that nobody you know knew what he/she was talking about) said? Seriously? It took you less than an hour to reply that nobody you knew had any knowledge of the massive outflow of money ( now called transfer payments) to the Sister Islands. Your Churchill quote is ok but it doesn’t really cover the waste of money on facilities for which there is not a population to actually use them!! And my bet is you know that.

          • Mumbichi says:

            I know what happened. You don’t. I don’t have to spend hours googling the way of things. Yes, there were transfers that benefitted local politicians. It is done.

            I don’t like how we got there, but we ARE there, and so do we waste the money spent, or do we make it work for the future of the kids and theirs?

            Do You want to waste the facilities built just to prove a politician wrong? Is that your position? If the Bluff complex withers down without use and crumbles and dies, will that give you pleasure? It won’t me. I see a huge capital investment that needs completion. I see a complex which might someday foster future competitive athletes; those athletes might actually travel from Grand to the Brac — did you ever consider that?

            We will send our kids — and our future competitive athletes– wherever the best training resources are.

            I hope you hold our youth and their enrichment as your highest standard, rather than the punishment of past politician crimes.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    What about Kenny’s “Disney World” in Town?

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  11. Anonymous says:

    The numbers at LSHS are not increasing to warrant such expense

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  12. Anonymous says:

    The Cayman Brac High School is the best one we have. Why screw it up?

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    • Anonymous says:

      So we can spend more money, kinda like the Kenny & Rosa Rich Peoples Air Terminal. What do you think those tax dollars are for chum?

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      • Anonymous says:

        Same place the Hundred Million will come for the new prison ffs.
        That one is a serious waste of money we don’t have.
        Got to stop it Wayne.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ju Ju wants a legacy. Bet you it’s going to be the Juliana OCC high school

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      • Mumbichi says:

        I don’t doubt it, but …….. does it really matter? Is the self-aggrandising really important, or does the value to the youth have a greater worth?

  13. Anonymous says:

    2:27pm –

    You are spot on.

    Election politricks and a chance to have her name attached to something concrete that finally benefits the entire island and not just her ‘network’ of people.

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  14. Sunrise says:

    Education is the key success for any country, we should never discourage schools being built. We should have the highest education in the region, and even in the world, seeing that we are the fifth financial center in the world. Better education is a plus for us, let’s become a leading example for the best education in the Caribbean!!

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    • Anonymous says:

      new buildings dont educate nor correct the broken family units

      see clifton hunter & john gray for examples

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    • Mumbichi says:

      Exactly. We already have the “sports complex” and Olympic pool at the site. It is appropriate that the Brac’s high school youth enjoy those facilities; on top of the bluff and hurricane safe, with the Hurricane Hilton nearby. What’s not to love?

      If not for them, then for whom? Do we just wait until there are events to use the facilities? This is the future for the Sister Islands youth, and I think we owe it to them to make it work. With great resources, there is a greater chance of building greater Olympic and other competitors. We’re only limited by our imaginations.

      We have already built 1/2 of the future High School. Let us finish the rest. This is more important to me than most of the government gimme packages that we read about. This is real benefit, and we shouldn’t oppose it solely because of the MP who is introducing it. Everyone shines eventually.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Agree about Education, but what our third world teachers are barely capable of is passing on …..schooling.
      If you want Education, bring in first world Educated teachers.

  15. John 11:35 says:

    WHY is this a consideration there are a maximum 150 High school students on the Brac?
    Also this project will likely cost the public purse 75-100 million because the Minister of Education and her team do not manage public funds properly and never will.
    Everything is a giveaway with this minister who needs to go sit down, retire from politics and start a church. If Wayne Panton and team approve funding for this project their priorities are all screwed.

    For the love of God the madness must stop now. Read John 11:35

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    • Mumbichi says:

      1 Corinthians 9:24–27
      “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”

      Philippians 4:13
      “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”

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  16. Anonymous says:

    After paying $2.7M for the raw bluff land itself, they best try build something on it.

    Wait until you figure out who they bought it from…

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    • Mumbichi says:

      We know all that. We know who profited. That is done and done. I don’t like it any more than you, but what we have are great resources nearly going to waste. Should we let it wither out of spite, or should we capitalise on it and make it work for our youth?

      It is already one of the best venues for Caribbean football competitions.

      Gee, piss it away, or finish it……… what a conundrum…

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    • Anonymous says:

      Who they bought it from?

  17. Anonymous says:

    she’s planning on running for reelection after all!

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    • Anonymous says:

      in reality who do you got to replace her? A few transplants from Cayman who haven’t lived here for decades.

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  18. Anonymous says:

    So how do you cut $47 million from the budget, simple, build a new high school on the Brac.

    I think if this is done it should be named after Juliana – waiting for the naysayers comments now – lol.

    While we are at it, why not a new 7 storey District Administration Building.

    Anybody look at the Brac Public Works office lately? Let replace that building too.

    Can we finally get one of the 3 marinas that were being talked about – and have government pay for it and keep it maintained.

    How about a nice modern building for Little Cayman Airport.

    What about a more modern house for the Little Cayman District Officer along with newer housing for the firemen in Little Cayman.

    Piped water and finish paving road in Little Cayman

    And lastly can we get at least 10 more toilet blocks on Brac.

    Okay unna get the point. Once the $47 million is cut – we can spend some money on Brac and Little.

    The MP’s never fail to amaze me – one day announcing cutting back and next day spending millions on a totally unnecessary high school.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Is there even one sane person in the PACK ? Wayne announced a huge surplus recently, then he announced the urgent need to cut spending by 47 + million,then the Minister of Ed announced a new school building for the Brac and promised Big Mac a high school for WB. ( which BTW has been planned about 20 years ago) I haven’t been to the Brac for a long time, have no idea how many students are in dire need of this school but I am wondering if these people have a clue about what is going on in there own cabinet. It appear so as if each one of them has their own agenda, their own Cayman Islands Treasury Bank account with single signing authority. Ms. Julie, we appreciate your many years of barely doing anything to benefit the entire Cayman Islands, so if your time has come to retire please go ahead and do so. If you feel the need to have your name engraved on anything on the Brac please feel free to get PWD to engrave it into the road next time they have a paving job scheduled. Enjoy your retirement and do not stay awake at nights reminiscing on the things you deliberately didn’t do and the people you deliberately spitefully hurt.

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    • Bracka watching says:

      The Bluff needs all the new infrastructure put up there. It will be better in case of hurricanes.
      Can we just get the desal piped water piped east to Spot Bay and Booby Point?
      When will Grand Cayman put any priorities on Cayman Brac? The Brac is treated very badly by the powers that make all rules and laws over on GC.

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  19. Anonymous says:

    It’s coming up to election season obviously.

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