September 18, 2020

Dart deal…What Dart deal?

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Governor Duncan Taylor has neither seen nor signed any applications to allow elected officials to trade any crown land to Dart Realty for a multi-million-dollar series of infrastructure projects.

While Premier McKeeva Bush has said government and Dart Realty have signed a “heads of terms” agreement for a multi-million-dollar series of infrastructure projects, Governor Taylor has told iNews that he has seen no documents and signed nothing to allow disposal of crown land to the private company.

“There are several laws that could be applicable in so far as disposal of crown land is concerned,” the governor said through his office.

“All require either the governor or the governor-in-cabinet (Cabinet) to give formal approval. No such application or request in respect of the proposed deal with the Dart Group has to date been brought to the governor’s attention either directly or via cabinet,” he said.

In a deal announced in mid-June, elected officials promised Dart Realty upwards of 300 acres of crown land in exchange for a $1.2 billion, 30-year programme of infrastructure projects, including rejuvenation of the Marriott Courtyard and construction of one, possibly two, new hotels. Creation of parks, highways, schools and housing, and remediation of the George Town landfill also form part of the scheme.

No start date has been agreed, however, and while Dart declined to comment, officials have said privately that they expect Mr Taylor will be asked for his signature when the full ForCaymanAlliance deal is finally completed.

“There has been no agreement signed yet,” said one executive. “Negotiations are ongoing. There are a lot meetings and I think they are dotting their “i”s and crossing their “t”s.

Mr Bush has said only that “the civil service is working on the details of the main agreement. We are not rushing into it. We are taking the time to implement it properly.”

While neither Dart nor the premier would predict when a detailed accord might be finished, the Office of the Governor suggested Mr Taylor’s assent was likely to be pro forma.

“The land disposal issue will in all reality be brought to cabinet and it will be discussed and considered,” said spokesman Steve Moore.

“I wouldn’t want to prejudge that discussion or any concerns that might arise relating to it. I’m sure Dart will be aware of the laws and the process which will need to be followed.” he said.

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