Activists urge Cayman to speak-up on marine parks

| 22/07/2016 | 4 Comments
Cayman News Service

Cayman Islands coral reef (Photo courtesy Department of Environment)

(CNS): A group of community activists are urging the people to speak out about critical issues and have launched their democracy campaign with the current public consultation on the much needed enhancement of the national marine parks. The group of young volunteers are using a website that they hope will become a democratic platform for people to express their concerns to decision makers. The website, Speak Up Cayman, is a user-friendly tool to provide an avenue for constituents to actively communicate with their elected officials rather than just a forum for discussion and debate.

Starting with the marine parks consultation, the founders of the group, Morgan Ebanks, Laura Butz, Gabriella Hernandez, Rory McDonough and Melissa Jackson, are encouraging and making it simple for people to back the proposals and make legislators know that they do.

“This is a topic that has environmental, social, and economic components,” said Hernandez (24). “We know that there are many who would like to learn more and possibly see improvements to the plan.”

Butz, a local environmental blogger, said that Cayman has been known for a long time as leaders in marine conservation with existing legislation over the past 30 years helping to preserve the environment.

“However, they are sorely outdated and unsustainable. If we want to ensure that our fishermen can continue to make a living and ensure we protect our environment for the enjoyment of Caymanians and tourists alike, we hope the proposals will be passed with haste,” she added.

Keen to see the enhancement happen as soon as possible and backing greater enforcement when it comes to marine protections, the activists hope that the website will help the public take part in the consultation and make sure legislators listen to the views of the people that surveys have shown are overwhelmingly in favour of the principle of further marine protection.

“Cayman is currently in a very delicate situation environmentally. We must preserve our unique environment and way of life for Caymanians, now,” Ebanks (21) stated. “Our relationship with the sea will only last as long as we continue to nurture and conserve its blessings; when the sea dies, we die too … We wish to ensure that our people of today and tomorrow will be able to benefit from its resources and continue to express our heritage.”

Members of the group will be visiting public spaces to reach out to the public for feedback and to discuss other topics of concerns for the public the site may be used for in the future.

Visit to learn more and use their email template to communicate with your MLAs.

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Category: Marine Environment, Politics, Science & Nature

Comments (4)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    It’s no use of extending marine conservation zones and things of sort, when the laws are not being enforced in the Cayman Islands.

    For the amount of crimes against the marine environment annually, I bet there is probably not even “one case per month” that is prosecuted before our courts.

    And if you are a millionaire or billionaire and you damage our coral with anchors/chains from your mega yachts, you just clean up the area with foreign labor and then move on.

    Not a CI DOLLAR is collected for these crimes.

    DOE needs to do their job in the North Sound, East End, South Sound etc.. catching all the poachers who take conchs and lobsters out of season and spear fish in abundance. That includes night hours as well.

    Stop harassing watersports operators at Starfish Beach in the presence of tourists and calling that a hard day’s work.

    Shame on you DOE !!

    • Anonymous says:

      When the water sports operators take responsibility for the actions of their often drunk clientele, such as raising starfish out of the water for photos, leaving glass bottles and plastic cups on the beach and in the water etc….Then I would have more sympathy for an industry that does more harm to the environment than almost anything else, with the exception of development.
      The point about poachers is well made though.
      How is it that a well known criminal on NS is once again free to steal conch and lobster in industrial quantities and keep walking out of jail, who are his customers and why isn’t he stopped?
      DoE enforcement is woefully inadequate for these islands, they are led by those whose policies are constantly dictated to by loud mouth MLA’s who have vested interests in allowing illegal take by their constituents, (and in some cases, themselves). Someone at the DoE needs to grow a pair and actually enforce the existing laws without fear or favor. It’s all well and good issuing the few officers they have with shiny new kit, if they are impotent to enforce the laws due to inefficient management and staff shortages.

      Sitting at Rum Point the other day, one was left wondering that it must have been a quiet day for law enforcement on Cayman. There were Marine Unit, Community, Immigration and DoE officers in attendance, oh yes, and the Marine Unit boat and eventually the helicopter.
      What the hell is going on and what on earth were so many officers of differing agencies or departments doing there? And why the hell were the DoE in attendance, surely their job is marine life protection and conservation, not immigration infractions?

      No, the water sports industry isn’t without blame for environmental damage and those who allow paying guests to break our laws should be harassed and punished by the DoE. But that’s the point isn’t it, unless the enforcement of marine laws is effective, then none of this is worth the paper it’s written on.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Long story short, the politicians here should know all of the coral in the world is becoming endangered. It is either through complete ignorance or corruption (maybe both) that enables them to fall through with development that would kill what little coral we have left in the world.
    Instead of trying to fix more dangerous envionmental hazards they’re in the process of creating more hazards.

  3. anonymous says:

    About time. Section 18(1) of the Bill of Rights, Freedoms and Responsibilities declares that the “Government shall, in ALL its decisions, have due regard to the need to foster and protect an environment that is not harmful to the health or well-being of present and FUTURE generations, [albeit] while promoting justifiable economic and social development”

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