ReGen talks roll into yet another year

| 20/12/2023 | 136 Comments
Landfill on Grand Cayman, Cayman News Service
Landfill on Grand Cayman

(CNS): Government officials and the Dart Group have missed yet another date to complete talks on the national waste management project. The PACT Government had targetted the beginning of December as the most recent deadline for a deal to be made, but the ReGen project has been pushed back yet again until early in the New Year. It is now 2,260 days since the Dart-led consortium was awarded the bid and the talks on the project to build a waste-to-energy facility began.

Dart was permitted to cap most of the old Mount Trashmore after a preliminary agreement was signed with the PPM-led government just weeks before the 2021 election, but discussions on the whole project have continued ever since, and there are concerns that the current landfill space may not be sufficient to manage Cayman’s growing waste production. The clock is now ticking on how long the Department of Environmental Health will be able to keep dumping trash at the landfill.

CNS has contacted the DEH about the expected life of the remaining landfill in George Town, given the increasing population and the extensive time the talks with the ReGen parties have taken, and we are awaiting a response.

Although some waste is being recycled, it is still just a small percentage of the rubbish Cayman generates. This has been exacerbated by the lack of any glass recycling after Dart decided not to replace its ageing glass crusher. During Finance Committee, DEH Director Richard Simms said the department was working on another option and hoped to re-start glass recycling in the New Year.

However, none of the MPs asked Simms about the current situation and the risk that the dump might run out of space before the long-awaited waste-to-energy facility will be operational.

During the recent budget debate, Katherine Ebanks-Wilks, the new sustainability and climate resiliency minister, confirmed that she had taken over the talks in relation to Regen. During Finance Committee, members had also voted to take out over CI$1.4 million from the Environmental Protection Fund, which is earmarked for conservation, to continue funding the final part of phase one of the capping of the old dump by Dart.

The minister told members that she would make this project a priority but said it had to be done right and represent value for money for the people of the Cayman Islands. She did not give a new deadline for when this deal will be finalised so that work can begin on the WTE facility, the proposed expanded recycling, the reuse programme and composting.

Ebanks-Wilks told parliament that only a “handful” of matters remain unresolved, and the most recent stop date was not missed because of the change in government but because of “condition precedents”.

She said the project needed to be “affordable now and in the long term” and that she had identified a “dire need for improved communication” over the talks between the project team, the minister and Cabinet. “This project is the largest in terms of expenditure that the government has ever undertaken. It has to be done right, and it has to benefit the people of the Cayman Islands,” she added.

Meanwhile, the dump caught fire again at around 8pm on Tuesday night, but a crew from the Cayman Islands Fire Service was able to extinguish it the same night despite the current windy conditions. Officials said firefighters remained at the scene throughout the night to monitor the situation. An assessment this morning confirmed that there was no sign of smoke or fire, and the crew were stood down.


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Comments (136)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Burning trash isn’t green, or without other problems, like toxic fly ash.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    What is the definition of affordable? When you have under invested in waste management for 40+ years there is a lot of past debt to pay off before you get to today’s affordable number.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Caymanians can’t make wise decisions that’s been proven.

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  4. Anon says:

    Please give us a glass crusher.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Rebid the rigged last minute contract Dart’s Progressive waterboys Alden and Joey rushed through in their waning hours of power.

    Love to see a flashlight shined on this boondoggle of a deal.

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  6. Sh. A. Kemehed says:

    anyone noticed how green it looks facing the DART side….and still dumpy facing every other way. no one cares about the future. it’s al bout me, right now. who cares about the school kids….not toomany Cayman kids can afford the high fees. ‘dats for the white collar companies that pay the fees anyways as a benefit for mom and dad jobs.dart don’t even give a discount to its own staff,unless you count it 15percent a really discount. rise up seas, rise up. he on the top floors always survive

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    • Anonymous says:

      And the award for best victim goes to Sh. A. Kemehed!! Yes, cause it would be a great idea to green up the area that DEH are still dumping on.. the area facing Caman Bay and ETH. Go and get some facts – the entire area facing the water treatment plant and sparky drive is ‘green’.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    As someone that is involved in global infrastructure investment including WTE plants in the UK, I have spent many hours on site at both WTE and methane recovery to energy facilities. The proposed WTE facility will be obsolete by the time it is built and it will struggle with sufficient feed stock to make it viable given the proposed recycling program. The real need in Cayman is to close and cap Mt Trashmore and build a proper engineered lined landfill with waste water and methane recovery to energy. This is tried and tested technology.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Our MPs love to take time to hire international consultants and subject matter experts, to demonstrate due process, but they can’t read these reports, understand the executive summary, or are unwilling to accept this outside advice, no matter how logical and/or time-tested. It’s a recurring management failure.

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    • Anonymous says:

      “lined landfill”? “methane recovery”? Oh, you are good. Except when logical thought puts those two together and recognises that this is a rerun of Dart’s original plan to move the dump to Boddentown and make it their hardship/problem.

      In spite of your well-researched words, I don’t believe you that you have worked with WTE plants in the UK. I think you are pushing for a nonsolution that benefits Mr. Dart.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Bodden Town should take it as they have plenty of $H&T out that way any how.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Yes, way too many “I did this; I worked here, I know that …” But posting Anonymously to avoid scrutiny (admittedly as am I – BUT I am not professing ‘my experience. I’m a lonely educated observer’).

        So, the CIG has stalled the negotiation hoping DART will accept to do the bulk of the financial matters as their property is too close to the dump. So they hope to push the finances onto DART and not the CIG. This is not rocket science – it is third world lawyers/MP’s against world class lawyers. DART wants the dump fixed, but CIG has no clue how to close the deal, so they circle around and shoot at each other in elections. Good luck Cayman.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Unfortunately few will pay attention to your comment

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    • Anonymous says:

      and ain’t one other district going to take it as its all an ego run country.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    time for class action lawsuit against the incompetence of the civil service and cig.

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  9. Get outta here says:

    That big “10-15% under market value” sale that Bovell is pushing should go over well. Lol under value because it smells like shit regularly. You would have to be the biggest FOOL on the planet to believe any of these agents pushing what amazing value this is. Though some of these landlords won’t care because they’re just buying it for the investment, they would never put themselves in a position to actually live there… Who cares if their tenant has to wake up 2 o’clock in the morning to be evacuated from the premises because of another dump fire.

    What a joke.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The two dislikes must be 2 of the fools buying into Bovell’s scheme

    • Anonymous says:

      Facts. Considering these were a “Christmas special” come see how much they are going to jack up the prices of the remaining units.

      If I owned in Lakeside I would be pissed about the gross under-selling of these properties. Bringing down the value of your investment.

    • Anonymous says:

      Weren’t they selling for less than 100k originally?

  10. Anonymous says:

    Need to congratulate Ms Ebanks Wilks. She has got around the emba problem of the government repeatedly failing to meet “deadlines” for completing this deal – by simply not setting any more. And lining up the project team to take the responsibility! Improved communication between the project team and the minister and cabinet my left foot. If that was the issue there would be a simple solution- the minister could either replace the project team leadership or get involved directly. Of course that’s not the problem and the Minister has absolutely no intention of getting any closer to this issue or a solution.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Dart and their lawyers like to set arbitrary performance time limits on things that don’t exist, gotcha clauses on things they don’t have, or shouldn’t have been given per procurement and bidding rules. This regime would be wise to wake up to how backwards things have run in the past and kindly adopt an achievable standard when dealing on our behalf.

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      • Junk says:

        why flowers have glass machines after all they put in thebrick

        • Anonymous says:

          They bought the machine from Dart after he refused to replace it. Thankfully the Flowers family is trying to do something good for these islands. They are doing well with the glass crusher too

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  11. Anonymous says:

    No glass crusher since November 2022. All glass bottles & jars just chucked on the dump intact. That is surely thousands every day.
    On such a tiny island, it is impossible to get my head around MPs complete disinterest in this. Its not like a glass crusher costs much. Crazy place this.

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  12. _||) says:

    What a pile of shite

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    • Anonymous says:

      Taking about the MOs I assume.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Got his cake? Have you looked at the dump from Camana Bay? Sure half of it is capped and greeening over, but the rest remains an eyesore and a stinking pile of garbage which can’t be capped until the WTE plant kicks in. Until then the current efforts are lipstick on a pig which doesn’t really solve the impact on his property value. If Dart wanted to walk away at this point he easily could given the 6 year delay in completing. I know it’s always popular to blame Dart, but your assumption he is slow walking this doesn’t make sense. Government incompetence and a reluctance amongst politicians with a short term electoral cycle mentality to take responsibility does.

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      • Stop buying the bs says:

        Bro, Dart decided not to replace his aging glass crusher, which is the reason we can’t even have that taken care of anymore. You keep beating down doors for him and keep your head in the sand. He ain’t no saint either. He nor our government have been any saving graces.

  13. Anonymous says:

    This is something I’ve always thought about. Since Dart uses that barg to get fill from Cuba, why didn’t anyone consider paying Cuba to take trash that could be hauled there before dirt is loaded for return? These waste to energy schemes are always over budget and more complex than advertised so it seems that would just make more sense.

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  14. Anonymous says:

    Have no fear Cayman, our wonderful Premier and her trusty sidekick Seymour will ride to our rescue on their strong donkey in the light of a full moon. Awoooooooooo!

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  15. Anonymous says:

    Too stupid to realize that Dart long ago got what they wanted/needed out of this deal. You really think they give a shit if WTE goes ahead?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Yup he got his cake and ate it too. He doesn’t care otherwise.

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      • Anonymous says:

        nonsense dart does not want this stinking caymanian creation next to his property

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        • Anonymous says:

          They knew it was there. That’s how they got it cheap. Built a mall/business park, Olea and a school right beside it knowing it was there, along with the huge unwind waste treatment plant going nowhere.

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        • Anon says:

          So expats don’t eat, pollute, shit, and throw away crap? Damn jackass. The dump is what it is from all inhabitants here. Though I’m sure it’s easy for you to solely blame the people you are trying so hard to become.

        • Anonymous says:

          It was literally there from wayyyy before Dart bought the land. He bought it knowingly and has done nothing about it since.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Another day, another dump fire. Smh, can’t make this up.

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  17. Anonymous says:

    Wonder how those who were swarming to buy into Lakeside with the new sale are feeling. Not such a smart investment, you’d be a fool to buy in there.

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    • Concerned says:

      I have been wondering the same thing. I heard a few people talking about it, and it seems like a lot of the people who are interested are overseas investors who have no idea about the current situation. Which is really sad that they are being duped into thinking this is an awesome investment. Also, a lot of people who are new to the island and feel like the convenience of it being close to George Town and West Bay is ideal. If the dump wasn’t there maybe, but the fact that it is such a significant issue…not a wise choice.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Or these should have been sold at a discount to the MPs so that we can give them the financial incentive they clearly require to fix a problem for this island that should not need an personal financial incentive to address.

      • Anonymous says:

        A lot of agents themselves are buying in there to rent to people and make a buck off of people being exposed to toxins.

  18. Anonymous says:

    The fact that they are building a health city literally right next to this cesspool… unbelievable.

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  19. Anonymous says:

    Something needs to be done about the dump. It is awful and so toxic. I would like to know why Dart is dragging his feet with taking over… he has a vested interest considering his whole whole development and town center is right by the dump.

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    • Anonymous says:

      You have got to be joking right?! Dart are not dragging their feet, the Government is! They continue to miss deadlines and are just kicking the can down the road.

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      • Come on now says:

        He and his team have missed all necessary deadlines? How is that Government’s fault? I mean it’s popular to blame them, I know they can be daft sometimes, but this isn’t solely on them.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Wow, you really have not been following the progress of CIG in crucial matters. It’s not a turtle pace – it’s a dead horse pace.

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          • Anonymous says:

            If you get off the hate CIG train for a moment, and pick your head up out your ass, you will see they are not solely to blame. Dart is too, both are not doing what they promised.

      • Anonymous says:

        Exactly.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Dart imposed deadlines on their PPM/Unity award to agree to agree. They were not a winning bidder. There was no bid document. The absence of any template is both a Dart and PPM issue. Both sides of that should be under audit and ACC review.

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    • Anonymous says:

      You think it’s Dart dragging his feet? As you say, he benefits massively from the deal going ahead. So what’s the obvious conclusion? I know it’s always popular to blame Dart, but when it’s in his interests and it still doesn’t get solved, you are left with incompetence or deliberate blocking or delaying on the government side.

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      • Sir darts a lot says:

        You don’t realize that he already got what he wanted from this? Keep making papa dart fool you.

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      • Anonymous says:

        I mean…he did get rid of his whole recycling plant at Camana bay. What does that say about him and his dedication to the cause?

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        • Anonymous says:

          You think there was a recycling plant at C’Bay

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          • Anon says:

            I worked at Camana and they used to recycle a lot but that was all stopped. So the person above is right

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            • Anonymous says:

              Such lies! Go ask CIG what there recycling policy is. Ask them for their national plan for recycling and waste management. THEY DON’T HAVE ONE. There has NEVER been any Recyling plant anywhere in Cayman, never mind at Camana Bay. This whole project is about creating one. There is none so blind….

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              • Anonymous says:

                You need to chill before you have an aneurysm 11:03am.

                The person said they used to recycle a lot but that’s stopped. In many ways they are right. The glass crusher was shut down and never replaced. The recycling options are not enforced and if you watch when the garbage trucks come, they fly everything into the back one time. No directives are given about keeping things separated.

                I think we can all agree that agreement needs to be made and enforced to help these islands.

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              • Anonymous says:

                Someone is an angry hippo. Relax ya self and come up with a plan to submit then na?

        • Anonymous says:

          I wouldn’t refer to it as a recycling plant. That was not up and running as such. Dart offers recycling options but it really makes no sense because when the garbage is collected, it is all put in together. It was his glass crusher that he refused to replace.

    • Anonymous says:

      I say this all the time. Dart has proven, more than once, that he does not care about this project as he has consistently missed the deadlines. It makes you wonder why because as you said, his whole world class Camana bay center is built right by the dump…

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      • Anonymous says:

        Lol at you thinking that this is Dart’s fault when the reality is that the incompetent and dawdling government is squarely to blame for failing to meet any of their self imposed deadlines.

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    • Fix the dump! says:

      Facts!! I used to work in Camana Bay and anytime the dump caught fire, the stench was horrific. We were still forced to show up for work, even though you could literally seen the haze in the air from the toxins and had to drive through the toxic smoke plumes. Regardless of whether you went on Esterly Tibbetts Highway or you tried to cut through waterfront, it did not matter the route that you took, you would have to drive through the smoke. It was horrid and even after the last really bad dump fire, it would seem like next to nothing has been done.

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  20. Anonymous says:

    I have spent multiple hours every month devoted to recycling my trash. Driving to locations and assuring that my trash was separated to perfection for recycling. My wife purchased 4 individual bins for Paper, Glass, Metal & Plastic. A few months back the Island discontinued glass recycling so I put the glass bin on the curb full of bottles with the rest of my garbage,,,The garbage truck stole the entire glass recycling bin and threw it into the garbage truck and drove away (a loss to me of over $100 for the bin). I went to the recycling depot last week and dumped each remaining individual bin into the appropriate Dumpster, a garbage truck pulled in behind me and proceeded to lift each dumpster and dump them into the back of their truck mixing all the separated items, obviously heading directly to the landfill to dump the lot. I have it on video! I have never made a New Year’s Resolution in my life…until now…In 2024 I will no longer RECYCLE ANYTHING!!!! IT IS A SCAM! DON”T WASTE YOUR TIME! THIS ISLAND OPERATES UNDER A THIRD WORLD SYSTEM WITH NO OVERSIGHT OR DESIRE TO DO ANYTHING BETTER! WAKE UP CAYMAN!

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    • anonymous says:

      I have seen the same with the garbage truck picking up the recycling from the separate bins at Kirks. Whole thing mixed into the back of the truck along with all the other garbage – complete waste of everyone’s time.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Not unique to Cayman. This happens throughout North America as well.
      The market for recycled materials ebbs and flows like most commodities. When there is over supply (lack of demand), the cost to store the recyclacables until prices return makes it a non-starter solution beyond a few months.
      In these cases, municipalities take it straight to the dump when no alternatives can be identified and forecasted storage is predicted to be more than 3 months.

    • Anonymous says:

      Stick the video on a burner youtube channel and post the URL here if you have the video. This is important footage that people should see.

  21. Anonymous says:

    No further discussions are necessary. Construct a new landfill in one of the outer districts, repurpose the existing one into a waste energy facility, create a company and offer shares to the public to manage the dump as an investment. This ensures that the landfill will be owned by the people of this island, and is not handed over to a private entity for control and excessive profits from our citizens.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Why the outer districts?? Why not West Bay for instance. Invest in recycling for the whole island. The Maldives do and they are smaller than Cayman. Educate people to care about their environment. If Cayman becomes a rubbish dump then people will holiday elsewhere

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      • Anonymous says:

        West bay is already a dump so it would make the most sense. Put it right in the middle of gang land and make um fight in trash.

    • Anonymous says:

      That would never happen lol then you would see war in Cayman. The “outer districts” as you call them have plenty of mad out people who would fix all of una.

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  22. Guido Marsupio says:

    There was a request for public comments regarding the ISMWS (ReGen) draft Environmental Statement, the period for which ended in September. Comments were received by the DOE.

    CNS, have the consultants reviewed those comments and responded in any way, or updated the EIA reflecting those comments?

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  23. Anonymous says:

    🔥”Meanwhile, the dump caught fire again at around 8pm on Tuesday night”

    Today I was re-watching 2021 Update on Landfill Fire Press briefing:
    “…if you are experiencing discomfort or breathing difficulties, please self-evacuate [‼️]and find [‼️] a place of safety…” 🙉THE MOST RIDICULOUS, EVEN MORONIC STATEMENT EVER said by the Cayman Fire official.

    1️⃣ If one is experiencing breathing difficulties, chances are he needs an assistance, for he might not be able to self-evacuate
    2️⃣ finding a place of safety while experiencing breathing difficulties❓❓ Is it a joke?

    4️⃣Should not be “places” of safety are known IN ADVANCE to each resident who is usually affected by the regular Dump fires (lives in the Dump’ vicinity)?

    5️⃣Shouldn’t ambulances and or The Cayman Islands Regiment be a high on alert during the Dump’ fires and ready to immediately assist people experiencing breathing difficulties?

    6️⃣Should not be there a registry of people with disabilities and elderly living alone who reside in the vicinity of the Dump?

    4-6 are the common sense measures that should’ve been already implemented.

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  24. Anonymous says:

    I do not see what the problem is, they have very smart and capable leaders in Minister Seymour, MP Saunders and MP Bush that can just go in and get a great deal with the Dart Group. Just turn those boys loose and we will have it all resolved over a nice lunch and cocktails.

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  25. Anonymous says:

    “2,260 days since the talks on the project began” – to be clear, this equates to over 6 years that this government has been waffling and stalling on this critical project! There can be no excuse for this situation which can only be described as gross negligence.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Negligence or deliberate delay? Classic CIG – if you find yourself bin a situation where doing the job properly will result in a clear outcome which may be unpopular with either some voters or your vested interests, kick the can. It’s why we have zero progress on enforcing immigration law, a 3 year backlog on status application’s, no enforcement on public beach despite the introduction bog laws requiring vendor licensing, no action on set backs on SMB, nothing being done about public transportation…..

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  26. Anonymous says:

    DART prove over and over that they are just not the right partner. We need to question the sensibility of Alden’s Unity government committing us to such an award in their final 10 minutes of signing authority, and without a qualifying proposal. How is this not an active ACC investigation? Speak up Cayman.

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    • Anonymous says:

      There was a qualifying proposal. It’s public record. This delay is entirely on PACT.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Absolute BS. The “qualifying proposal” was little more than an agreement to figure out the details later, signed last minute before an election as a pathetic attempt at remaining in power.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Why does Katherine Ebanks-Wilks, and another 18 or so of them, even bother to speak?

    It needs to be affordable now and in the long term. Really? Didn’t anyone tell you the contract was already signed? The only thing you can do is make it less affordable by delaying the work.

    The only helpful thing I can think the MPs could have done was to go there last night and throw themselves into the fire.

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  28. Anonymous says:

    The fact that yet another hard-stop deadline has been missed is an absolute disgrace.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Take it up with Dart and CIG. Not unexpected. Dart wants CIg to just give in to all of their demands. Demands that will not benefit the country down the road.

  29. Anonymous says:

    any comment mrs governor???
    this one issue is proof enough that cayman needs direct rule for at least 2 years.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Not her issue to comment on. Please learn what the governor can and cannot do.

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    • Anonymous says:

      They have direct rule (and hopefully recycling facilities) back home, and just look at the shit-show taking place over there.

      Enjoy!

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  30. Anonymous says:

    laughable if it was not so serious.
    a legacy failure for wayne panton….(who at least pretended to care)
    anyway this can will be kicked down the road till next administration.
    shameful stuff all around and a true monument to the incompetence of local officials.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Wayne was all talk…

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    • Anonymous says:

      Wayne didn’t award an undefined contract to an unqualified losing bidder with a hot fuse deadline. That was the calling card of PPM/Unity regime. Ask them what motivated that choice…it certainly isn’t a track record of completed projects, nor is it in-house WTE experience.

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      • Anonymous says:

        PPM was voted out after they awarded Dart the bid and discussions began. They were not there to push forward with the plan they began, so the blame them is futile when they were not involved after the fact. Wayne didn’t do anything to conclude talks either, so in essence he did nothing and was all talk, no action.

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