September 17, 2021

Cayman Islands Leader of the Opposition defends public access to Cayman Kai area

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The Leader of the Opposition the Hon. Ezzard Miller (Wednesday, January 9) appeared before the Central Planning Authority (CPA) to defend the public’s right of access to the Cayman Kai area in the face of objections by area owners to a policy decision by the Ministry of Tourism to build public restrooms on a public beach.

Hon. Ezzard Miller

The CPA was conducting a hearing into an application by the Ministry of Tourism to construct public restrooms at the Star Fish Point Public Beach to facilitate the use of the beaches by the general public.

Raising the concern about the appropriateness of representations about policy matters of this nature coming before the CPA, Mr. Miller said he would otherwise be happy to consider objections: “Mr. Chairman, if these owners were objecting to non-policy matters, such as the architectural features of the facility, this would become the purview of the CPA and I would be happy to entertain their suggestions for improvements.”

Mr. Miller, who appeared before the CPA both in his capacity as MLA for the district and as Leader of the Opposition representing the wider community, said he was particularly concerned that the move by the owners concerned had propelled “the construction of a much-needed public facility into a them-against-us situation.”

That perception was reinforced, he said, by a related proposal by owners to erect an electronically controlled gate to the area: “As the elected representative of all the residents of North Side, I am most reluctant to be drawn into portraying that ‘them-against-us’ polarization as an attempt to keep the local population out of the Cayman Kai area,” the MLA said, “although the related proposal by owners to erect an electronically controlled gate to the area does raise that spectre.”

That exclusionary stance, Mr. Miller told the CPA, “would be particularly unfortunate and hurtful, as the people of North Side have welcomed the development of Cayman Kai,” in the context of a mutually beneficial relationship of “love and respect”: “The developers provide many employment opportunities for North Siders and North Siders have given of their best to the developers.”

Mr. Miller told the CPA that despite that long-standing reciprocal relationship in which the Cayman Kai developers “had always made sure there was proper and adequate access to the beaches by North Siders [and the general public] to maintain their traditional fishing, picnicking, and sea bathing….a new crop of owners over the past decade, in particular, have been moving to erode and eliminate use and access by North Siders and the wider community….”

The latest proposal to erect an electronically operated gate at the entrance to Cayman Kai, Mr. Miller said, was a “strategy … to restrict access by subjecting persons not resident in the area to the indignity of searches.”

Mr. Miller said that this was the third time the owners had advanced this proposal and told the CPA: “I assure you that this will not happen on my watch.”

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