The Premier’s announcement that government had struck a deal in principle to acquire the property adjacent to Smith Barcadere was met with cautious optimism from those leading the charge to save the beloved beach from development.
“This is a moment of amazing history,” said Taura Ebanks. “I’ve never in my life as a Caymanian, lived in this country, where I knew by result that my voice meant something.”
In the newspapers, on radio, and here on Cayman 27, Taura Ebanks spoke out against a developer’s plan to build condos next to one of Cayman’s best-loved beaches, Smith Barcadere.
“I am very pleased, I think we are heading in the right direction. I’m glad that government is on board. I’m very grateful that they are making efforts to purchase the property,” she said.
She told Cayman 27 she’s delaying celebration until the so-called ‘deal in principle’ becomes a ‘done deal’.
“I’m still waiting fir the ink to dry. When that happens, and I know that the land is protected, that’s when I’m going to be jumping off this rock,” said Ms. Ebanks.
“I’m a developer myself, but 1% of me is a developer, 99% of me is a father and a family man,” said Morne Botes, Save the Cove Facebook page creator.
He told Cayman 27 he’s blown away by the groundswell of support that has materialised throughout the week. His Change.org petition to save the cove has amassed more than 3200 signatures in just three days.
“I’ve never been an activist, I’ve never been someone to start a petition, I’m not even sure I’ve eve signed a petition, but this was just one snowball effect and we couldn’t have asked for anything more than this,” said Mr. Botes.
He praised the Bronte group and government for taking swift action to preserve Smith Barcadere as we know it for future generations.
“Hats off to them for coming to the table and hats off to the government for putting this in motion so quickly,” he said.
“It’s a very emotive topic obviously, and people have extremely strong feelings about their memories and this beautiful beach,” said Ms. Ebanks.
Ms. Ebanks said when the sale is finalised, it will be a triumph for the community at large, and a lesson that public outcry can affect positive change.
“This is democracy at its best and now we get to enjoy this. I love it,” said Ms. Ebanks.
Save the Cove said while they appear to have accomplished their objective, they aren’t finished just yet. The group plans to shift its focus to helping preserving public access at other beaches on the islands.
The Premier told Cayman 27 preserving beach accesses for the public is an issue his government also plans to prioritise in coming months.