Conservation law under threat

| 06/06/2017 | 77 Comments

(CNS): The premier has said the National Conservation Law is one of a number of “controversial” pieces of legislation that will face reform in the new administration. Speaking at a press briefing to announce the new Cabinet Tuesday, Alden McLaughlin indicated that law would likely be amended as a result of agreements that underpin the new coalition government. Dwayne Seymour has been given the Department of Environment portfolio, though the premier was unable to outline the new minister’s credentials in the field. However, he said Seymour was interested in the subject and “was willing to take it”.

But as the United States turns its back on the Paris Climate Agreement, despite a recent warning from scientists about the very specific vulnerability of our region to rising sea levels, the new Cayman government could also be backing away from its commitment to protect the islands’ natural resources, which was steered through the House by the previous environment minister, Wayne Panton.

Before any legislative changes are brought to the Legislative Assembly over the coming year, however, Seymour, who has been handed a large ministry that includes health, environmental health, culture and housing as well as the environment, faces a number of major environmental issues.

Seymour will need to make a decision on the much-needed expansion of the marine parks and to consider the recommendations of the National Conservation Council regarding the Dart Group’s very controversial application to dig up Seven Mile Beach. He will also need to ensure that the environment remains at the centre of government’s plans to push the cruise berthing project forward.  

The NCL has come under fire over the last few years from several members of the Legislative Assembly, many of whom were re-elected last month while Panton, the real champion of the law, lost his seat. Members of the LA have exaggerated the power of the National Conservation Council on numerous occasions and stirred up unfounded fears that government would seize private owners’ lands for conservation, constantly undermining the purpose of the legislation. With Panton out of the parliament, it is likely that those opposing the law on the government benches as well as the opposition will seize the opportunity to press for a watered down version of the law.

With McLaughlin admitting that reform of the law was part of his deal with CDP leader McKeeva Bush, who is now speaker of the Legislative Assembly,  it is not clear if Seymour will prove to be the same champion of the environment that Panton was. In his maiden speech last week, in the parliament, Seymour listed a multitude of issues he wanted the government to address but never mentioned the environment once.

Given the significant and mounting threats the marine environment in particular faces, it is now hard to say what the future holds for Cayman, as the work done over the last four years could be unraveled. 

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Category: Land Habitat, Marine Environment, Politics, Science & Nature

Comments (77)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Way to go Cayman Govt. Just a bunch of lip service at the Renewable Energy Conference a couple of weeks ago while the true leadership for the Caribbean was shown by Dr Pickering, Dep. Premier of the BVI.




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  2. Bonnie Anglin says:

    A Ministry with the responsibility of Heath ( hospital and Insurance), environmental health ( mount trashmore), culture ( nothing much happening there), environment and housing is setting one up for failure. What are the responsibilities of the other Ministers? Why is Environment and Culture not linked to The Tourism Minister? That’s what Tourism is – the Environment and our People!




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    • Anonymous says:

      Because Tourism ALWAYS beats out Environment. These subject don’t belong together.




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      • Anonymous says:

        Not necessarily. For tourism to be sustainable the Minister(y) has to have regard to the environment.




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        • Anonymous says:

          I agree that is how it should be but experience in Cayman teaches us otherwise.




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        • Anonymous says:

          Unfortunately our recent past and current tourism ministers sucker up to developers. All are willing to sacrifice and destroy our natural environment for a few dollars today being made by their friends, a few greedy people. Watch the destruction continue destroying our children’s future. Mac, Dart and Legge are destroying our Cayman Islands as they hold Alden hostage.




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    • Sharkey says:

      Good point Ms Anglin. Now I see who and what the Premier really cares about, to really put that much responsibility on one man it must be something up his sleves .

      The only thing I can think is that the dump gets moved to Bodden town and Dart get the contract, and rest he makes a failure at so Ossie can get elected next Election.




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      • Anonymous says:

        Except Wayne generally succeeded at all parts of his Ministry but they voted him out anyway. So success does not necessarily engender success. (See the MLAs who did get back in for the proof of the corollary.)




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  3. Anonymous says:

    It is simple. Everyone who does not own land in this country wants to see blanketed protection. BUT truth be told, if the shoe was on the other foot…..it would be a different song being howled by the comments on this site.

    The fact is, the law has to be amended, and it will. Who here wants development to stop??




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    • Anonymous says:

      Speak for yourself, I am a property owner and I fully support the conservation law. Why do people feel they have the right to speak on behalf of others?




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    • Anonymous says:

      Idiot.

      Anyone who wants their property value to rise cares for what is done in the environment on or around what they own. If they don’t they are not going to realize long term appreciation in value.




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    • Anonymous says:

      BUT truth be told….yes lets tell the truth here.

      Tell us exactly how the NCL or the NCC or the DOE has STOPPED development in this country.

      If you cant spell it out clearly then you are clearly full of it and a total liar.

      I am waiting to see your response….




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  4. Anonymous says:

    Most of the local opponents of conservation can be excused as addle headed illiterates who don’t know any better. Ezzard however does not have these excuses yet for years he has preached to the faithful that there land will be taken from them which is of course not true. He also seems to forget that many of these landowners acquired vast tracts of mainly swamp for nothing under the original Cadastral Survey after claiming their forebears lived on the margins of this land.




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    • Anonymous says:

      You sound jealous to me. Is it because you came lately, or never had any vision to get in on it while it was good?!!




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  5. Anonymous says:

    there goes cayman….




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  6. Anonymous says:

    Yup. Because addressing the deficiencies in the National Development Plan couldn’t possible be put on the agenda.




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  7. Just another warning to our newly elected Government.If you mess up our fragile environment you can kiss our kids future goodbye and the ONLY thing that brings our visitors here.Protecting it is enshrined in our very CONSTITUTION so get on with protecting it




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  8. Anonymous says:

    The conservation law gives way to much power at the sole discretion of the doe boss. That needs to change asap




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    • Sharkey says:

      The power that DOE has, is better than having it in the hands of them Politicians.

      If the Environment stands a chance of being pasted on next-generation, DOE would help more than the Politician/Minister.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Ok lets play your game. What power are you referring to? The DOE boss has none. It is the NCL that more than 95% of the time can simply make RECOMMENDATIONS! All too often those recommendations are ignored. SO lets hear specifically what powers you claim to object to? And don’t forget for a tiny second that the DOE boss is a very experienced, educated and fair CAYMANIAN WOMAN. The reality is that all you tough guys out there are simply afraid of dealing with a strong woman who only cares about her country. Truth be told you think your bible and your prejudice thinks says she should be barefoot and in the kitchen rather than talking perfect sense across the table from you that you do not want to hear because you know better and you are smarter.




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  9. Burnard Tibbetts says:

    I consider this business of global warming/high water level just a scam. The sea level is virtually the same as it was nearly 80 years ago when I was a boy. It is easy to observe along the iron shore on Cayman Brac No noticeable change at all. Has anyone determined how much Al Gore and other perpetrators are making off such a scam?




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    • southsounder says:

      XXXXXX…wake up, open your eyes and stop pretending that just because you say its not noticeable, that it isn’t happening!
      This is just the sort of uneducated opinion that has caused the problem in the first place…sticking your head up your backside will also not make it go away and future generations of Caymanians will not thank you for your ignorance




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      • Anonymous says:

        We know Mr. Burnard and he is an educated, successful man. We value his statements because he reads and is informed. You are not dealing with a Johnny come lately or the bubble gum set when you deal with the Brackers called the Tibbetts.
        His family is the wealthiest in the Cyman Islands and they donted an entire wing on the nursing home.
        Global warming is a hoax and it is just another tax like Brexit. Keep reading buddy and bet you would hate it if you were even asked to pay property tax. You sound like a jealous Grand Caymanian that think because CNN says it it is suddenly Gospel.

        CNS: No, we don’t believe it because CNN says it, we believe it because NASA says it. See Global Climate Change and because almost every other scientist on the planet agrees.




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        • Anonymous says:

          CNN….global warming is a major hoax and another tax. Nothing is being asked of China nor Mexico nor India. It is just the globalists like Al Gore that wants to ruin the USA and have that Country pay out billions at the expense of their middle class tax payers. Liberals believe in it. It is a hoax and there is proof that it is. You are wrong!!!!

          CNS: So, in your head “NASA scientists” = “Liberals”? Here’s the link again.

          And here is what those “liberals” at ExxonMobil have to say: “The risk of climate change is clear and the risk warrants action. Increasing carbon emissions in the atmosphere are having a warming effect. There is a broad scientific and policy consensus that action must be taken to further quantify and assess the risks.” Here’s the link for that.




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        • Anonymous says:

          Thumbs up is for CNS response.




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        • Anonymous says:

          People who are impressed by wealth should not be believed. The wealthy got wealthy by generally screwing people who were impressed by them…




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        • Anonymous says:

          Science is not a democracy, CNS. Doesn’t matter how many scientists line up for a particular issue. Scientific consensus has been wrong about many things, but it’s comforting to be part of the group.




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      • Chucko says:

        Conserving the environment isn’t the same as climate change. Just like spending money isn’t the same as someone burning down your house.

        Environment = money (well long term sustainable assets)
        Climate change = house burning down.

        And I used to think it was a crock of shite until I took my head out of my butt.




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    • Anonymous says:

      A walk around the base of the Bluff provides irrefutable proof that the seas were much higher in previous times.




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    • Anonymous says:

      This from the same man who believes that all you need to do to stop people being gay is stage a ‘Christian’ intervention. With all due respect Mr Tibbetts, you’re a shopkeeper, not a climate change expert, psychotherapist or anything else. Try sticking to what you know. Have a blessed day Sir.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Go back to sleep.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Thank god someone has spoken the truth. It is only those that profit from it that lie about it.

      CNS: Good idea! Follow the money. The real money. See here: The funders of climate disinformation or just google “Koch brothers climate change”.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Take a flight to West Bay, walk down to the fish fry shop by the 4-way stop, ask about the church and meat market and school and etc., that USED to be on the sea side of that part of boggy sand road. The world is not made of bluff. Sea level rise / global climate change is happening. Saying it isn’t so, and being proud for being contrarians, doesn’t make you wise. It proves you otherwise.




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  10. Banana Republic says:

    It wasn’t the people who voted caused this problem, it’s the greedy, numb nut, childish independents who could not agree on a government and here we are again for another 4 years of madness.




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    • Anonymous says:

      So you wanted a bunch GREEDY, NUMB NUT, CHILDISH people in charge of government?




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    • Anonymous says:

      Your name really fits your comment.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Oh whatever madness we are in store for would have been manifestly greater with a Government led by the “indeoendents”!




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    • Anonymous says:

      Because the people didn’t vote for the “greedy, numb nut, childish independents”? Or because Mr. Independent, Ezzard, didn’t have as one of his campaign planks to repeal conservation? I’m confused either way as to your logic. Perhaps you could explain more.




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  11. ConservationAgainstFakeNews says:

    Mr. Bush. Gentle reminder. It’s your signature on the (legally binding, BTW) Environmental Charter that undertakes to perform Environmental Impact Assessment.




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  12. ConservationAgainstFakeNews says:

    Nothing in the Compass editorial is correct.

    Dwyane – don’t let them make you the patsy. The truth of the matter is that Cabinet can over-rule the Conservation Council any time it wants to. They are too chicken to actually do that so they want you to guide the gutting of the only chance we have to preserve the unique Cayman biosphere. Unless, of course, you want to add your name to Francis Drake’s “So they set the woodes on fire and soe departed”.




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  13. Anonymous says:

    Last I checked we are not a US state, rather a UK Territory answering to a Foreign Commonwealth Office that backstops our maxed-out loan portfolio with the full faith and credit of the UK Government. We may not like it, but we have many obligations as part of those perks, not least of which, a duty of stewardship to our wildlife and natural habitats. Doing the responsible thing is a small price to pay really. Unfortunately, the NCL was an optical exercise designed to feign compliance with FCO directives, which is why regulations/enforcement never followed. We should be very careful playing this game.




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    • Anonymous says:

      You are clearly trying to be helpful but your last paragraph really is nonsense. The reason anyone would want to make changes to the law is to reduce or remove its effectiveness!




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  14. Anonymous says:

    If our government wants to appear as ignorant as our leader to the north, they will take this step backwards. The rest of the world will champion a planet for our future while we once again put greed and self interest above the future generations. I implore government NOT to “water down” the legislation but to stand up to protect today, tomorrow and beyond for our kids, grandkids and generations to come.




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  15. Anonymous says:

    For all the clowns that elected Alden back to power




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  16. Anonymous says:

    Quite the sensational headline, CNS. How can you just assume the new minister will be hell bent on destroying the environment?




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    • Anonymous says:

      Too bad the new Minister has never said anything positive about the environment in his political life. Regret to say he has zero interest in the environment. By doing nothing as Minister one might as well be hell bent on destroying the environment.

      The previous Minister had a long history of supporting the environment long before he entered politics.




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  17. Anonymous says:

    Come on CNS, changes don’t necessarily translate to threat.




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  18. Anonymous says:

    There should be nothing controversial about a Conservation Law as long as it champions the environment.

    It should not be used to further personal agendas such as devaluing choice pieces of land to save the proverbial lesser-spotted, club-footed booby.

    Watch this carefully. Government are hardly the most honest of people.




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  19. Anonymous says:

    Dart’s mouthpiece aka compass is at full throttle with disinformation today.




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  20. Anonymous says:

    John John planning on doing anything about the dump?




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    • Anonymous says:

      Nope




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    • Anonymous says:

      2:32, What a stupid question to ask John John. Of course he has no plans. One should also ask the same question to Joey Hew as the dump is right in the middle of his riding.
      Same ole, same ole with the dump until the day it catches on fire or destroys all the marine life in North Sound due to leeching.

      What a banana republic we live in.




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  21. Anonymous says:

    Listen here, Minister Seymour, please take Wayne Panton on as council. Do NOT reverse or let anyone push you to reverse the long awaited progress on the environment front. We deserve to have our natural resources protected for future generations.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Wow does Wayne need a job that bad ? Give Min Seymour a week to wrap his head around his ministry for God sakes. Wayne didn’t invent the damn environment




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      • Anonymous says:

        No but Wayne is the ONLY Minister that I recall in my lifetime who has looked out for environmental interests.




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        • Anonymous says:

          So before Wayne Panton arrived we didnt have Marine Parks, or laws against littering, or Conch and Lobster seasons? or a planning and DOE department ?

          Face Facts, he neglected the plight of his people and he is gone gone gone




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          • Anonymous says:

            I think you should have to face the facts – there is no other politician and maybe even any Caymanian who has done more than Wayne has for Caymanians. Whether it was hiring them, giving them opportunities or scholarships and mentoring them I cant think of anyone that has done more or even equalled him. And he certainly has stood up for innocent Caymanians that couldn’t count on a single other politician to help protect them from hateful people including certain disgraceful politicians. Now tell me again how he neglected the plight of his people? You have no clue.




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      • Anonymous says:

        No but he knows the law and the science and data far better than anyone else could hope to. Of course he doesnt need a job but the Gov needs to take the mans advice!




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  22. Anonymous says:

    It is time to take back the power of DOE and give it back to elected Gov’t




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    • Anonymous says:

      What power would that be? Sharing an inconvenient truth is not power – a labour of love and frustration maybe!




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  23. Anonymous says:

    Alden, you betrayed Panton’s legacy to maintain your own power? Frank Underwood would be proud. Me? Not so much.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Does anyone expect Alden to do anything other than pamper his own behind ? Now we all see what kind of leader he is. We should ask Ossie to comment on jon jon sitting in the exact seat as Ossie in the LA. Out of decency and respect they could have at least given him a seat little further down the row




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