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Calico Jack’s owner defends coastal works plan at Save Barker’s Beach meeting

Calico Jack’s owner Handel Whittaker faces the fire at a public meeting hosted by Save Barker’s Beach.

Vocal West Bayers sounded off Tuesday night (11 December) on plans to create what the applicant calls a Rum Point-style attraction in the Barker’s area. The controversial coastal works application includes a dock and the removal of four acres of turtle grass.

“I am not coming to Barker’s to destroy it, and I don’t have a master plan, I just have 500 feet that I want to develop,” said Mr. Whittaker.

Tuesday night, in front of more than five dozen attendees at the John Gray Church hall, the Calico Jack’s owner defended his plans to relocate the popular Seven Mile Beach watering hole to the Barker’s area.

A coastal works application soon headed to cabinet includes plans for a 300-foot dock and the removal of more than 180,000 square feet of turtle grass.

“We were looking at for this to be a Rum Point style operation, Rum Point is in a replenishment zone, I mean, we hear everybody talking about it’s in the replenishment zone, Rum Point is in the largest replenishment zone on the island,” said Mr. Whittaker.

Mr. Whittaker shot down the notion held by some critics that he is somehow being used by his landlord, the Dart group.

“I am not being used, this is a business relationship, I am not being used so I want you to put the brakes on that right now, please,” said Mr. Whittaker. “I’m not being used, this is a business opportunity.”

“You have put in an application to remove 180,000 square feet of turtle grass, to me that’s just preposterous,” said attendee Tommy Ebanks, one of many to voice objections during the meeting.

“I just would like to ask you to withdraw your application, that would be my simplest request, save us all this fight that is going on, this negative feeling,” said Mr. Ebanks.

Mr. Whittaker made it clear that a withdrawal of the plan wasn’t going to happen. He said the fate of the application is now outside his control.

“This whole situation ties in the hands of the Department of Environment and government,” said Mr. Whittaker. “If those two entities say no, then the project is dead.”

Mr. Whittaker told Cayman 27 he felt the meeting was very productive.

He said the DOE will review the plan and present its advice to cabinet, which will then have the final say. He expects that could be in January or February of 2019.

The deadline to submit written feedback on the coastal works application is Friday, 14 December.

About the author

Joe Avary

Joe Avary

Joe Avary has been with Cayman 27 since 2014. He brings 20 years in television experience to the job, working hard every day to bring the people of Cayman stories that inform the public and make a difference in the community. Joe hopes his love for the Cayman Islands shines through in his informative and entertaining weather reports. If you have a story idea for Joe or just want to say hello, call him at 324-2141 or send an email to

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