October 22, 2020

The Editor Speaks: Leave Smith Cove alone!


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“Leave (also known as ) ALONE!”

That is the strong view from our Publisher Caymanian Joan (Watler) Wilson.

“The beach on South Church Street has the most natural beauty unsurpassed anywhere on Grand Cayman that MUST NOT be spoilt .”

Joan was referring to the government’s proposed enhancement project that included commercial ventures, off road car parking on the site, cabanas, restrooms and a building for a security guard.

She is not alone and at a meeting held last week where plans were unveiled by government there was overwhelming support for her views.

Government plans to spend approx. $250,000 on, in their words, “basic improvements”. Another $250,000 is to be raised from the private sector.

Government bought the land for around $4M after a huge wave of protests when the previous private owner put forward plans to develop the site with condos.

PPM back-bench MLA for , Barbara Conolly, hosted the meeting and caused a storm when she suggested the disabled could use the facility at the public area on Seven Mile Beach after Kent McTaggart, who is the father of a child with special needs, asked whether there were plans for a beach access mat. Conolly said it was too expensive to install one at Smith Cove.

So much for her claims the beach was for “everyone”.

This prompted a statement to be issued by The Cayman Islands National Council of Persons with Disabilities concerning this issue.

Instead of blasting Conolly for her inappropriate comment, they instead agreed with her they also had concerns “in relation to overall safety issues, particularly regarding the current lack of a pedestrian crossing and overall accessibility to the Smith Barcadere beach. Due to those concerns, we appreciate the rationale for encouraging persons with disabilities and mobility issues to use the existing facilities at the Seven Mile Public Beach.”

Well. Well.

Next came the “however”.

“However, now that it is being proposed to renovate Smith Barcadere, the Council would expect proponents of those plans will adopt a proactive approach towards full inclusion for persons with disabilities and mobility issues and consider all accessibility options within those future plans. Any statements to the contrary, while perhaps unintended, are not consistent with the goals and objectives of the .”

Humph. I wonder how many hours it took to come up with that?

Then we had the normal government agencies ‘gobble de gook’ to finish off with.

You can view their complete “Comment” in today’s iNews Cayman titled “Cayman Islands’ Disability Council comments on Smith Cove proposals”.

Most of the people at the meeting wanted no organised shuttling of cruise ship passengers nor fishing or snorkelling. This included private parties of 100 or more persons.

I wonder if government will get the message to leave Smith Cove alone?

I doubt it.

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  1. John Evans says

    Smith Cove has many very fond memories for me. Some are amusing, like the time I went for a dive there then emerged an hour later to find the bit of beach I had to cross to get to my car (this is pre-Ivan so long before the car park was created) all laid out for a wedding. Nature had the last laugh that day – I’d just got the car out before the wedding party arrived and blocked everything in when the heavens opened. It then chucked it down for well over an hour, completely spoiling things for the happy couple.

    But most are a reflection of just how special Smith Cove is and why it should not be turned into just another cheap tourist attraction.

    When working on Grand Cayman I would drop my partner off around 7:30am on Sunday mornings for Mass at St Ignatius then drive to Smith Cove to spend an hour swimming and freediving. Most days I’d got into the deeper water about 250 yards out and if conditions were good I’d go all the way out to the wall. She always joked Smith Cove was ‘my church’ and in a way that was spot on. Critics might argue it was crazy for me to swim there that early in the morning on my own but the freedom of being alone in such a truly unspoilt area was always worth it. Anyone familiar with where I was working at the time will realise that times like this were, in a similar way to my partner receiving Communion, a very important part of the week.

    Unfortunately, even back in those days a decade ago you could see the rot setting in. I remember going out there to report on a work party from HMP Northward clearing the ‘camp’ there. Then there were the hoards of cruise shippers blasting round in little inflatables or jetskis. Now it sounds like the plan is to turn Smith Cove into a clone of Rum Point and if, like me, you are in position to compare that ‘attraction’ as it is now to how it was 25 years ago you know this is not a good road to go down unless of course you’re more interested in making money than preserving what is quite correctly described above as ‘the most natural beauty unsurpassed anywhere on Grand Cayman’.

    It’s very unlikely I’ll ever get to return to the Cayman Islands but it still holds a lot of good memories for me and Smith Cove is definitely right up at the top of them.


  1. […] Source: Cayman Eye News “Leave Smith Cove (also known as Smith Barcadere) ALONE!” That is the strong view from our Publisher Caymanian Joan (Watler) Wilson. “The beach on South Church Street has the most natural beauty unsurpassed anywhere on Grand Cayman that MUST NOT be spoilt .” Joan was referring to the government’s proposed… Link: The Editor Speaks: Leave Smith Cove alone! […]

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