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The Editor Speaks: When the wheels of government actually do turn fast

colin-wilsonweb2I have always been a firm believer that a snail crawls faster than the wheels of government turn.

I am mistaken.

When the Cayman Compass published their editorial last week under the title “Smith Cove: Alden Pond” it spurred our Premier into action with a rebuttal sent to all of our local media houses.

I have to confess I had not read the Editorial until then so the Compass website must have been really buzzing.

Of course I was very unhappy about the proposed development of Smith Cove – the property near Smith Barcadere – and I added my signature to the online petition protesting about it.

I also have to admit I was somewhat perplexed how government had not stepped in and bought the property from Dart considering the importance of preserving the site for the benefits of the Cayman tourists and residents alike. A benefit that had been given and used for years and years.

I did not write about it because I did not have the all the facts and before I could even do my investigative journalism (I hope you are impressed) Premier McLaughlin’s “Response to Cayman Compass editorial of 5 October, 2016” appeared in my Inbox.

I had been curious why two of his former colleagues, who had to know the inside story behind the Dart negotiations, were voicing their disgust and making political capital of it. Stupid me. Let me rewrite that. I was stupid to be at first curious why the two members were joining the protesters. There is an election and we can switch sides whenever we want to if we believe it helps our cause to be re-elected.

The premier set the record straight saying, “Madam Speaker, whilst I am disappointed with the editorial I am even more disappointed with two members opposite who sat with us in Caucus and who received regular updates on the progress of the negotiations with Dart regarding the 3rd Amendment to the NRA Agreement. They would have known that at no point was Government given the opportunity to buy the property next to Smith Barcadere and they would also have known how we worked hard in the early years to manage finances so as to accomplish all the things that we needed to do to restore our finances. So it may be disappointing but more and more it is becoming expected that the 4th elected member from Bodden Town and the 5th elected member from George Town feel compelled to jump onboard any convenient bandwagon to criticize the Government for, in my opinion, purely self-serving political reasons.”

He is absolutely right but he shouldn’t have been disappointed. Politics is a dirty game and on a scale of 1 to 10 what number do you rate political truth?

I believe this government has a higher number than the previous one but there are still a number of things I am disappointed with but then life is full of disappointments.

Getting back to the wheels of government – the premier drove the express train down the track at even greater speed than I just mentioned.

Streaking through the West Bay Station there came the “Announcement of purchase of property near Smith Barcadere”!!

“And so I announced yesterday that Government was determined to discuss with its owners the possible acquisition of the property next to Smith Barcadere. Indeed, I advised this House that the Minister for Planning, Lands, Agriculture, and Infrastructure had been speaking with the owners and that his efforts were bearing fruit.

“I am therefore pleased today to confirm that Government has indeed reached agreement in principle with Bronte Development Limited to purchase the property adjoining Smith Barcadere for a price that will not exceed the cost that the developer has incurred in the purchase of the property and the costs incurred in the planned development. It should be noted that Lands and Survey will vet the proposed costs to ensure accuracy and value for money.”

To read in full:

Jeepers creepers! I am breathless at all of this happening before my very eyes.

Never again will I say “a snail crawls faster than the wheels of government turn”. I will add now the words “nearly always”.

Who was it who said “There are exceptions to the rule”? Yes I know, it was Cicero!!


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