In the final meeting of the 2014 – 2017 term for local government on June 10, the Hope Town District Council conducted their regular monthly business while bidding a fond farewell to their longest serving member.
After paying their respects for several recently passed members from their communities, the Council members all took a moment to say a few words in honor of the Great Guana Cay member of Council, Glenn Laing.
Chief Councillor Jeremy Sweeting thanked Mr. Laing for his eighteen years of service, noting that he has opted not to nominate in the upcoming local government election for the first time since 1999.
Members commended him for his heart and passion in service to his community, and his willingness to stand for his principles. Mr. Sweeting noted that they have formed a friendship beyond their working relationship on the Council, and wished him all the best.
Mr. Laing thanked the community for their support over the years, especially Donna Sands who he said helped him a great deal. He also thanked the Council Members, Administrators, Secretaries and others he worked alongside over the years. He wished them all the best, and noted he was open to possibly serving again in the future.
Golf cart rental operators attended the meeting to discuss the recent acquisition and distribution of self-drive plates for the District.
Sherman Kemp expressed disappointment in the way the group of plates made available to the Council were disbursed. Mr. Kemp said that nine years ago he applied for 20 plates but only received 15. He said he applied for an additional five later but was deferred, and again at another time and was denied again.
He said he understood there was a moratorium and that there was a concern with a lack of parking in Hope Town. He noted that he has seen more growth in the time since he first received his plates, but has not been able to grow his business.
Mr. Kemp, who received an allotment of five plates, said he felt that the distribution was not fair as the customer base has grown significantly since he first applied.
Mr. Sweeting said that after years of trying they were able to get a few self-drive plates and they felt it would be most fair, given the limited number, to distribute the plates as evenly as possible given that multiple franchises have applied over the years and did so again when the plates were made available.
Senior Island Administrator Charles Moss also weighed in, noting that there was a new franchise that applied many years before Mr. Kemp did in 2008 and had never received any plates. Mr. Moss said, while no one wants to hinder Mr. Kemp’s cart rental business’ growth, it would be discriminatory of the board to not give a new franchise an opportunity to start, especially one who has waited so long.
After discussion the Council awarded ten self-drive plates to Donnie Elden and ten plates to Gray Richardson for new franchises. The recent awarding of self-drive plates brought the total plates on Elbow Cay to 202.
The Council also passed a moratorium on new golf cart rental franchises for the island of Elbow Cay. No time period was given for how long the moratorium would be in force.
During their final budget review the council approved works for the restoration of the sea wall in Guana Cay for $29,000, $5000 to the Elbow Cay Community Association towards upgrades to Jarret Park, as well as $16,000 toward repairs to the adjacent seawall, and $13,000 for repairs to the outer 30 feet of the Man-O-War Cay public dock.