Bulk of conservation law starts on Earth Day

| 16/04/2015 | 5 Comments

(CNS): Government will be naming the first endemic species and land areas that will be protected under the National Conservation Law when more of the main elements of the law come into force next week. Environment Minister Wayne Patton told his legislative colleagues Wednesday that significant parts of the law will commence on Earth Day.

Cayman News Service

A ghost orchid in the Ironwood Forest in George Town

This means the Department of Environment can move on the designation of crown land as protected areas and identify flora and fauna that needs to be placed on the protected species list, as well as the measures to conserve and protect these species locally and internationally.

Critically, Part 6 of the law, which provides for its enforcement, will also commence on Earth Day.

Picking the symbolic date, Panton said, “It is so appropriate, so perfect, for the Cayman Islands to celebrate Earth Day by providing even greater legislative protection to our precious environment, for the betterment and enjoyment of our residents and visitors.”

The minister made history in December 2013 when, after ten years of talk and in the face of significant resistance from his own party colleagues as well as those on the opposition benches, he was able to steer the law through the parliament with full support of all members, despite a few compromises.

Panton then continued the fight to get other relevant legislation amended in tandem and began the slow process of drawing up regulations and implementing the law piecemeal. In September last year the first parts of the law created the National Conservation Council and mechanisms for a genuinely protective regime for the incredible diverse but often endangered indigenous species.

In a statement to the Legislative Assembly yesterday, Panton said he was proud of the work that had been done to develop and implement the law.

“Cayman can now point to a legislative framework that speaks to our love, protection and appreciation of our environment,” Panton said. “Cayman is joining the world in celebrating April as Earth Month. We are doing so not to ‘follow fashion’ but because we know that what we have here on land and in the sea, is beautiful, tremendously valuable and yet fragile.”

The minister urged everyone in the Cayman Islands to participate and to continue being environmentally responsible year-round. “Doing so will speak volumes about our love, protection and appreciation of our environment and the respect that is due to our dear homeland,” he added.

During his statement he explained that Parts 3, 4 and 6; Section 50; and Schedules 1, 3 and 4 of the NCL will commence on Wednesday 22 April.

Cayman News Service

Wayne Panton, Minister of Financial Services, Commerce and Environment

Part 3 addresses conservation of land. It sets out the processes by which Cabinet may designate areas of crown land as protected areas, and the processes by which Cabinet may enter into agreements with willing landowners for private land to be designated as conservation areas.

Part 4 addresses conservation of wildlife. It deals with the process of adding or removing species from the lists of protected species, as well as the measures to conserve and protect these species locally and internationally. And Part 6 of the law provides for the enforcement of the law, including the setting of penalties for offences as well as the compensations or other protections afforded to the public under the law.

Section 50 empowers Cabinet to make regulations under the law for various purposes. Schedule 1 lists those species of wildlife protected in the Cayman Islands. The wildlife are categorised as either Part 1 species, or Part 2 species.

Part 1 species are protected at all times, except for those exemptions provided for in Part 5 of the Law (Permits and Licenses) or under Marine Conservation Law Regulations, such as turtle licensing. Part 2 species are only protected if a conservation plan or regulations have been enacted, for example conchs.

Schedule 3 outlines the content required in a management plan for a protected area. Lastly, Schedule 4 delineates and adopts the current animal sanctuaries, as found in the revised Animals Law.

The remaining parts of the law are Part 5, which deals with licences and permits, and Part 7, which addresses general matters. The National Conservation Council is presently working on a commencement plan for these parts, with a view to recommend their implementation by the last quarter of 2015, leading to full implementation.

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Category: Land Habitat, Laws, Politics, Science & Nature

Comments (5)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Wrong Ministry. Dump is Environmental Health (was Ozzie, now Alden). Ironwood/Powell Site is Cabinet Office.

  2. Savannah Manpower says:

    Minister Panton better try clean up the Dump the Ironwood & Powell site before goes around blowing his own horn with preserving this environment Spiel.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I am happy to see this piece of legislation bloom into fruition. But I must ask now, if we are going to protect the ecological biodiversity of the island shouldn’t we be taking a serious look at removing the green iguanas?

    This invasive species is causing great stress on the ecology of the island. A few months ago we had a expert of this field warning us of the consequences if we don’t remove them from the local environment. While it may be too late to totally eradicate these iguanas, we should be limiting their destruction.

  4. Anonymous says:

    its just symbolic it means nothing typical lip service

  5. Skilpot says:

    AMEN!!! Thank you Minister Panton for having the foresight & fortitude to press on with the Conservation Law. Of course there are those who oppose it – but I believe they are in the minority and will in the end, come to see the wisdom of this Law. Thank you Sir!

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