Sailors told island base to be leased to anti-gang group

Sailors who use White’s Island have been told their lease is to be superseded by anti-gang group Cartel which plans to use the land for youth rehabilitation.

Bermuda Sailing Association president Tim Patton, who met with Youth Minister Glenn Blakeney to discuss the issue more than a month ago, said: “It would seem that our lease has been superseded by the Cartel lease.”

He said the group was under the impression that it had a lease with Works and Engineering with two more years to run, adding: “But we have been told from the top that the lease no longer exists, so we’re not going to argue with that.

“We’ve never formally been notified, but when we had our meeting with the Minister we were told that Cartel would be going ahead with their programme on White’s Island.”

Mr Patton said the group had initially been given “marching orders” by Cartel, about three months ago, when a caretaker for the Association, Kenyan national Alfred Okah, was told to leave his accommodation on White’s Island.

However, after discussions with Cartel, the group agreed to let Mr Okah stay until it was time for him to return to Kenya at the year’s end, and the Sailing Association hopes now to work in tandem with Cartel’s plans.

Mr Patton said: “It’s fair to say that we were surprised to hear that Cartel had a lease on the island, but our position is that we’ve taken a potential problem and turned it into an opportunity.

“We exist to bring the sport of sailing to the people of Bermuda, and Cartel may have candidates who can benefit through our work.”

Bermuda Rowing Association president Michael Swain said he’d also had met with Cartel’s Pastor Bean shortly before Christmas.

“They have been informal talks but we have agreed that we have common goals. We’re trying to come up with a way to use the island together.”

Mr Swain said his group holds no lease on property on the island but is keen to share its water sport activities with Cartel.

Pastor Bean did not reply to efforts to contact him, and Minister Blakeney said that the future use of White’s Island was still being reviewed by the Ministry.

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Published Jan 17, 2011 at 8:45 am (Updated Jan 17, 2011 at 8:43 am)

Sailors told island base to be leased to anti-gang group

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