Ex-minister raises alarm on environment

| 20/11/2017 | 88 Comments
Cayman News Service

DoE Director Gina Ebanks-Petrie, then Environment Minister Wayne Panton and NCC Chair Christine-Rose Smyth

(CNS): Wayne Panton said he was “disappointed” that Cayman now has an environment minister who appears to be “against the environment rather than for it”, as he raised the alarm about watering down the National Conservation Law. The former Cabinet member, who lost his seat in the May election by just a handful of votes, told CNS he had never seen such an “about-face in politics”. Just a few years ago the historic law had the unanimous backing of members, but now the example of truly “pro-Caymanian legislation” was facing an unwarranted backlash based on “fake facts”.

The former environment minister, one of the first politicians appointed to the post who was knowledgeable about conservation issues and became a true champion for the environment, said he was enormously disappointed with the recent turn of events. He said there has been a complete distortion by politicians of the legislation, which had been through significant consultation and enjoyed wide public support.

Panton said that the Legislative Assembly had voted unanimously for the law, which for the first time put the environment on a par with other considerations, such as social and economic, when it came to development but, he stressed, did not elevate it over them. He said it paved the way for conservation to be given equal weight to other factors and was designed to help balance competing interests and to ensure that the natural resources, which are fundamental to “what makes us Caymanian”, are not ignored in future planning decisions.

“But suddenly, people who voted in favour seem completely intent on repealing it or substantially watering it down,” he said, noting that the arguments to justify this rejection of the law were illogical and based on misinterpretation of the powers of the National Conservation Council and a misunderstanding of the law.

“It never had a significant amount of teeth when compared to legislation in other jurisdictions but it was a huge step in the right direction, as for the first time it put a structure in place to give the environment due consideration,” Panton said, adding that governments had failed miserably in planning for development and this legislation went some way to address those failings.

Panton said he believed there was significant pressure coming from a small group of people who historically had carte blanche over development and they are not prepared to accept even small limitations on their ability to do as they please, despite the impact on the country as a whole.

Worried that the people are being mislead, he said that the government’s own figures demonstrate that the NCC is not impacting development at all. He noted that in his budget address the premier had bragged about the number of planning approvals issued over the last 12 months and the substantial monetary value they represented.

Panton estimated that 95% of all the development applications considered by the NCC since it was established were recommended for approval, and the council required environmental impact assessments for less than 2%.

He pointed out that ever since the Environmental Charter was signed in 2002 by McKeeva Bush, as Leader of Government Business at the time, the Cayman Islands has been obligated to do EIAs on projects that might significantly impact the environment. The National Conservation Law created the framework for those EIAs, which gave rise to the transparent and clear process that exists today under the NCC.

“There is significant misunderstanding about elements of the law and the NCC, with people suggesting it has exceptional powers,” he said. “It does not. The reality is there is no evidence that the law is having a detrimental impact on development. I am at a loss to understand the rationale.”

Except in relation to protected areas (which are designated as such by Cabinet), the NCC does not have power to decide the outcome of applications which may impact the environment. They can only make recommendations, which the Central Planning Authority can take on board or ignore. The NCC does have the power to say that an EIA is necessary in order to properly consider a particular application and make a properly informed decision.

Requiring an EIA to be done is not a decision on the application itself. It merely provides the necessary information so that the right decision can be made. Panton said that given that EIAs have only been required in less than 2% of applications and the high planning approval numbers, it is nonsense to suggest that the power is being abused.

He said claims that all roads will require an EIA were incorrect; only those proposed in virgin forest or the central mangrove wetlands would likely require an assessment.

Since the premier declared the legislation “ridiculous” a few months ago, the environment was the obvious loser during the budget. Dwayne Seymour, the new minister with responsibility for the environment, showed no interest or knowledge about it and took aim at the NCC, perpetuating the myth of an overly powerful body overriding parliamentary decisions.

Seymour also took aim at the NCC over the speargun licensing challenge and implied that it was defying the wishes of parliament.

Panton said that during the passage of the NCC the opposition proposed one amendment regarding a change of policy on spearguns, which was unfortunately supported by some of the government’s backbench MLAs. This poorly drafted amendment was the cause of this problem now facing the council. He said the NCC was simultaneously now tasked with creating a licensing regime for speargun fishing in the face of also being obligated to protect the reefs and their inhabitants.

The former minister said he had spoken about the problem many times in the LA and there was a clear conflict with spearfishing and conservation. He said it was “a massively retrograde step” to want to expand this method of fishing when most similar jurisdictions had banned it altogether and Cayman had been on the road to phasing it out.

Panton also took aim at claims that this was a heritage issue, which he said was nonsense as spearguns were not even in use until the 1970’s.

“There is nothing cultural about spearfishing,” Panton said, as he pointed to the many threats to marine conservation, especially from those who are not well skilled or very responsible. “It poses a serious threat to the species on our very narrow reef shelf and is completely unsustainable and counterproductive,” he said, adding that other countries with much greater shallow reef areas than our own understood this and had acted on it, in some cases decades ago.

He said that if legislators are intent on pursuing an expansion of spearfishing, the NCC’s position on the need for the marine park enhancement is correct because it will be almost impossible to police the misuse of spear fishing without clear no-go areas.

Panton said he was really concerned that instead of taking a considered and reflective approach to conservation, legislators now seem intent on returning to a free-for-all.

Deeply worried about what the prevailing attitudes from the politicians now means for the local environment, especially given the wide consultation on the NCL and the strong public support for it, Panton also questioned why no additional cash from the Environmental Protection Fund had been allocated to the Department of Environment to continue the land preservation project, which would be to the benefit of all Caymanians.

And he called out the government for voting such a large amount from that fund to deal with the landfill, which was not about conservation and not what the fund was created for.

“I am equally disappointed with this approach,” he added.

Tags: , , ,

Category: Land Habitat, Marine Environment, Science & Nature

Comments (88)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Help me out here Mr Panton, but did you not willing stand on the same platform as the Premier and bankrolled his campaign?

    If yes, why are you “disappointed” that the minute you are no longer of use to him, he ridicules that the policies you strongly championed to appease his unified cabinet of Mac Mugabe?

    If you are really that clueless as to the nature of people (in particular the Premier), may I suggest that you read children’s story “The Gingerbread Man.”

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Taking that a bit personally, huh?

  3. Anonymous says:

    This is rich, coming from the former head of the Ministry of Financial Services, Commerce, and Environment. I always thought it was a huge conflict of interest with having a Minister be the head of both financial services and the environment, especially when serious discussions of the building of the cruise ship port began coming out in the last few years (along with the argument for more money from tourism vs destruction of the environemnt). Money talks, but we can’t build back our environment once it’s destroyed. I’d prefer that my children be able to see and swim in a beautiful marine environment rather than an eyesore of a cruise port congesting downtown.

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    • Anonymous says:

      You started to say something but your point quickly dissipated into the cyber ether 1:47 – come again on this supposed conflicts issue?

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    • Fred the Piemaker says:

      What does the financial services industry have to do with the environment? The examples you cite are all conflicts between tourism – a completely different ministry, minster and industry – and the environment.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I can appreciate your comments and your concern, but this was not a conflict of interest for Wayne. The Cruise Berthing facility was, and currently is, under MLA Moses Kirkconnell as head of Tourism. Issues like building and planning etc. fell under other ministries which were not under Wayne. The Ministry of Financial Services is just that, Services (for lots of money of course) but really has nothing to do with destruction of the environment, and if it does, it is very indirectly. Wayne is a smart guy, no way would he take on two conflicting interests like that.

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    • 1:47, You are truly confused about conflict of interest in a Trumpian way.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I’ve just expressed my own heartfelt sentiments about Wayne in a separate post, and how much he’s needed back in government. I also have a few things I want to recommend for future administrations, having also read other people’s comments about the present or past governments.

    Many commenters mentioned words like “greed,” “back in again,” and “lining pockets.” While I wouldn’t go so far as to say that people start out in politics for this reason – in fact, I think they genuinely care for their people when they start out – I will agree that somewhere along the way, when a politician has been in government too long, these words seem to become very relevant to their motives for making certain decisions. Like most who have observed the political process in Cayman for a long time, it is very common to see a novice politician go from a well-meaning, good-intentioned leadership figure to … fast forward a few terms … a hard-hearted, money-groveling authoritarian chief, who has grown immune to the voice of his constituents, usually because it is human nature, or because his primary source of company has become the big-wigs, shot-callers, big-ballers of the economy. Needless to say, when this happens democracy begins to fail (as we have seen before), and soon it is primarily those with money, power and influence that always have input and a final say about decisions that ultimately affect all constituents.

    To reconnect to what the article said: “Panton said he believed there was significant pressure coming from a small group of people who historically had carte blanche over development and they are not prepared to accept even small limitations on their ability to do as they please, despite the impact on the country as a whole.”

    Given this, I believe it is incumbent on the people of the Cayman Islands to ‘take control’ of the government, if you will, and demand that certain measures are implemented so as to avoid a replication of this kind of tyranny in the future. I believe one of the suggestions made in the Elections Observers reports may have been the implementation of term limits for our MLAs – I would recommend a maximum of three terms to avoid “human nature” from kicking in. While Cayman’s history has been such that it is commonplace to have an MLA in the House for 30 or 40 years as that was the system that worked for that time, in this modern day and age where we have seen good examples of democratic governments in the world around us with systems in place to ensure that tyranny does not reign for too long, I believe Caymanians should strongly consider demanding term limits for our government representatives, preferably within the time-frame of the next election. The same way constituents were trimmed neat and clean with the One-Person-One-Vote (which I agree with 100%), is the same way it’s time to have a One-MLA-Three-Terms limit, Cabinet Ministers especially! (The Premier post is already at a two-term limit). A stipulation such as this will ensure Caymanians continue to have a fresh flow of innovative and pro-Cayman ideas in the House through newly elected representatives. Meanwhile, this staggered system will still enable new MLAs to learn from their second and third-term counterparts and experienced Premier. Most importantly, term limits will further ensure accountable and transparent governance, and most vitally, protect and honour the government’s guarantee of democracy for the people of the Cayman Islands.

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    • Diogenes says:

      The term limit isn’t the worst idea but I think as long as the people are willing to put their trust in a candidate they should be allowed to vote for them.
      The problem is that people are willing to elect a candidate who has a record of not representing their constituents, many of the PPM members and the UDP members are elected simply by virtue of being in a party, For example look at BTW in the 2017 election Cycle PPM member Mrs Maxine Bodden-Robinson received almost 30% of the vote. All the while she lives and is a registered voter in NS who only ran in BTW likely because the PPM wanted someone there to challenge the clear frontrunner Mr Saunders. They couldn’t even run someone who lived in the constituency or district ( Considering I have known Mr Kurt Tibbetts for all of my life and for all of my life he has lived in Northward and for every election he ran in he was Elected in GT I guess that isn’t surprising from the PPM).

      We need to end the family traditional voting, we need to end the party voting, we need to ensure that when the elections roll around that the voting record of incumbents is scrutinized and brought to the public light. Instead of interviewing incumbents and asking them what makes them a good candidate they should be asked why should the people of the Cayman Islands elect you again? How have you stayed true to your word and what are your plans for the future if reelected?

      The problem isn’t that persons are allowed to run again after being elected look at Gilbert Mclean, former Minister and MLA came dead last in the BTW race. Some areas look farther than party lines and LA experience we need to ensure that all of Cayman votes similarly and this is the perfect opportunity.

      Likely Savannah, Red Bay and WBW will be up for grabs in the next election, and we need to ensure that the parties don’t hand pick the candidates that will run and win in Red Bay and WBW just because of what color they stand in front of. Assuming the CDP survives Mac’s retirement (if he even plans to retire it looks like he might try to be the Mugabe of Cayman) we need to ensure the the PPM doesn’t just step into WB. This election has shown us just how important those 3 votes are to anyone trying to form a government and if the PPM wants to keep their hold on the government they will need them.We also need to ensure that Savannah just doesn’t fall into the hands of Anthony Eden’s handpicked or endorsed successor simply based on religious beliefs the last thing Cayman needs is another 30 years of fundamentalism.

      The problem in Cayman isn’t the the constitution (not in this case at least) it is the people who continue to vote for the same persons and allow this stagnation to occur.

      Diogenes

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Wayne, so good to hear your voice of reason again. Not to be dramatic, but I just about cried when I saw this article and what you had to say. Cayman misses you.

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    • Chris Johnson says:

      I was devastated when he was not reelected . I live in West Bay where my vote is a total waste. Wayne is devoted to the wellbeing of our islands and is a great politician.
      In conclusion unlike many I am proud to put my name on my response to the article and share my views whether they are liked or not!

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  6. West bay Premier says:

    I have to aplaud Mr Panton for being a well informed private Citizen and a concerned about the Environment . We need more like him to speak up about these issues.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Yiiieahhh! The “Environment!” The environment!… Don’t have more emotional non-issue posturing you can do? Because “The environment” is really what’s at risk here right, NOT the financial ankle grabbing policies you set up up with, that will end up screwing us over, and *actually* damage PEOPLE LIVING and our entire financial sector?

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    • Anonymous says:

      If you think the environment is unimportant then try holding your breath forever.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Well lets see yes I think it is pretty much indisputable that he not only did more for the environment than any other Minister in our history but the same is true for Financial Services.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly anonymous at 9.33 remember the practitioners bill. All of a sudden he is acting so goody- two-shoes. His ego got hurt when he didn’t win the election and now all is woe.. All of you can go ahead and feel sorry for him but some of us will never forget what he was trying to do to local lawyers. Go ahead and draw your own conclusions. Some of us were just looking for fairness in the work place and not handouts

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      • Anonymous says:

        3:09 you obviously know absolutely nothing about Wayne. If you did you would realise what a bunch of BS you have allowed yourself to buy into.

  8. Anonymous says:

    So glad you raised your voice at this nonsense Wayne. Someone needs to fact check what these Ministers say in the LA. I hope the public will hear more from you over the next four years as there is no one else trying to keep them honest.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    boy them grouper head good with ocra y yam steamed down in coconut oil!?

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  10. Anonymous says:

    give um hell wayne…?

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  11. Observer says:

    Wayne you are surprised at what your party is doing? They used you because of your money, they never wanted to support the environment they supported you all for money. Poor people mistake. And as for McKeeva assisting to give them power his should be ashamed of him self

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    • Anonymous says:

      I can think of a lot of things that McKeeva should be ashamed of himself for but it seems to me that joining with the Progressives and agreeing to be speaker is the least worst of the options presented by the elections results.

      And so that is certainly one of the better decisions he has made in his political life.

      Having said that it is also clear that while there is blame on the PPM side too, he is significantly leveraging the current attitude towards the environment.

      They are all exhibiting their ignorance unfortunately and history will judge them harshly if they continue on this path!

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  12. Anonymous says:

    I agree with Mr Panton, it is ironic that one of the most productive members of the LA in decades was not returned to continue their good work where as the “do nothings” are returned to the LA again and again.
    A huge factor to the environment is the islands population and if it is not managed will have a huge environmental impact.

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  13. Unison says:

    I appeal to our MLA’s to please reconsider the importance of EIA assessments before ongoing massive projects.

    Our environment is never worth protecting if we continue to ignore indisputable truths and laws to guide our lives. The idea of a freedom to do what you want, to build your sand castles, and ignore earth science, is morally dangerous. If we destroy Mother Nature, we lose our tourism product, a part of ourselves, and we hurt most of all, our future generations.

    It is beautifully stated in the first chapter of the Jewish Torah, man’s noble calling of conserving and turning the world into a watery garden – “be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28). I can know of no other love, but a love that is selfless and is fruitful. This commandment is the FIRST on record given to mankind ? Think about that!

    It is of grave importance for our MLAs who call themselves Christians to consider this FIRST commandment.

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  14. Anonymous says:

    Will Mr. Panton continue to be a member of the Progressives after his scathing comments and disappointment with how they have handled these matters?

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  15. Political Bipolarism says:

    It is sickening to see what Premier Alden McLaughlin and the ppm led coalition are doing to the NCL and their indifference towards the environment. They have sold out the Environment, National Conservation Law and Wayne Panton.

    Alden used Wayne. He took his money to fund the party, the election campaign and then set out to destroy his greatest political achievement. The only thing worse than sounding and acting like McKeeva Bush is forming a coalition government with him and as consequence being beholden to him to keep the position of Premier.

    The 180 degree change of direction regarding the NCL by the Premier and his cabinet is another example of Political Bipolarism

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  16. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Panton, hold your head high, you did what was best for the Cayman Islands.
    The PPM Premier McLaughlin has shamefullly betrayed us just to stay in power and reward his handliers.
    History will show you did good and Alden did us bad.

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  17. Anonymous says:

    The UNITY GOVERNMENT IS ALL ABOUT WHAT IS GOOD FOR THE THREE BANDITO PREMIERS – WHAT IS GOOD FOR THEM SEEMS TO BE BAD FOR US CAYMANIANS. Alden, McKeeva and Julie on the same disasterous team, supported by Moses leading them arway from the PROMISED LAND, OUR CAYMAN ISLANDS.

    Yes, we know politics makes strsnge bedfellows, bit never thought it vould pget this bad in out Cayman Islands.

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  18. Anonymous says:

    LOL……. I thought Cayman wanted a change and a NEW GOVERNMENT. So the two best Ministers lost there seat and to make a government they gave jackfruits positions that they knew nothing about. Yup Cayman this is what you all wanted. A CHANGE ……. look at the other Caribbean Islands they look like Islands in the sun, you can see their culture, flora and fauna. In Cayman we see big buildings and Dart.

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  19. Anonymous says:

    Can you please be our next Premier? Please?!

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  20. Anonymous says:

    Why does the East-west highway need a EIA? We never did it for any other highway. If the environmentalists want to preserve Central Mangrove get your checkbook out and buy it. Its that simple.

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    • Anonymous says:

      First of all, as reported in the Cayman Compass on 4 March 2014 describing the press conference held to announce an agreement with Ironwood, even Premier Alden McLaughlin realises an EIA is necessary to ensure the road is not an environmental disaster. The Compass reported that he insisted the $40 million, highway extension would go through a rigorous environmental impact assessment.

      Second, here are extracts from the minutes of the National Conservation Council meeting held on 26 October 2016* to consider the need for an EIA demonstrating issues the Council considered in arriving at its decision that an EIA was necessary in order that complete and adequate advice be given to the decision making body.

      1. Given the lack of a pre-project strategic EIA for the East-West Arterial DoE was proposing that a project level EIA now be carried out on the current proposal to minimise impacts of the Gazetted roadway.
      2. DoE had previously (2014) informed the Ministry of Planning of the need for an EIA for this project; the vital national ecosystem services provided by the Central Mangrove Wetland (CMW) which the road will skirt, impact, and effectively delimit.
      3. The construction and therefore the EIA included off-site impacts, including, climate change impacts if peat was to be excavated to create the roadway, aggregate source sites and stockpiling areas.
      4. A key function of the EIA would be to assess potential impacts from the road on the hydrology and drainage of the area, not only on the CMW but, importantly, also on the properties, residential and otherwise, south of the road; the CMW is very flat and at a certain water level an immense sheet flow occurs from the higher surrounding land through the CMW and in to Little Sound, if the road acts as a dam, interrupting this sheet flow and backing the water up could adversely alter the drainage and hydrology of a very large area of wetlands and dry, developed, land.
      5. Areas [potentially affected] other than the Mastic Trail and Botanic Park have national biological and other values and supported the need for an EIA. The North Sound Marine Park Replenishment Zone was a Protected Area and could be adversely affected.

      * Full text and the Screening Opinion on which the Council’s decision was made are available from the DoE website or on request.

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      • Anonymous says:

        In the simplest of terms for the benefit of the current minister, #4 of 7:49s comments means that issues of flooding in parts of BT that he represents could get a lot worse fast. In that case he would soon find himself drowning in discontent!

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    • West bay Premier says:

      8:30pm , what a mentality , so what is the use of having the Government and National Conservation Board ? I am glay to see that 36 people are smarter than the 10 that thumbed the comment up .

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      • Anonymous says:

        Mangrove swamp is all over Grand Cayman, we needed a road parallel to the west bay road. Did we do a EIA before it was built? No. Why? It has more floods then anywhere East of 7 mile beach. 7mile beach road gets almost double amount of rain as in the Eastern Districts. The only time it floods is in rain or Hurricane, so why the EIA? Everyone who owns swampland in Cayman knows rainy season from May through November it floods. The rest of the time is dry season. So place drain pipes across the road so water can pass to ponds like MRCU did in the swamp years ago in the 60’s. So having a EIA is just to stall the inevitable. If you want to protect it ? Buy it.

    • Anonymous says:

      OP – Because now we know better?
      We have seen what mixing new roads with old developments did in Randyke Gardens. Lets take some time to make sure this new road is done properly. You wouldn’t build a house without checking the ground where the foundation is going first, right? Why wouldn’t you do the same thing with a road?

  21. Anonymous says:

    You are sadly missed Wayne!

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  22. Anonymous says:

    I have got to give kudos to Mr Panton and commend him for standing up and saying what I am pretty sure most of us agree with.

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  23. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Mr. Panton for speaking up and against the backward thinking and decisions of the PPM lead coalition government. Its sad to see the government put the environment on the back burner when it is so important to this country today and for the future. But then again, we got stuck with Alden as leader again and Dwayne; who has no knowledge or interest in environmental issues. So we are damned not matter which way we turn. Sad!!! Hopefully we can survive these next 3.5 years, retire the greedy and drunk, and get some good people like you Mr. Panton re-elected.

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  24. Anon says:

    Well said Wayne. Unfortunately intelligent people with ethics appear to be out numbered.

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  25. Anonymous says:

    if you want to know what caymanians think of the environment…just look at mount trashmore

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  26. It’s times like these that remind us of how crucial it was for Wayne to win those 16 votes. If we don’t protect the environment today there will be no environment left to protect. Slow down and think about the quality of life of future generations. I’m not talking about money either.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Seems Mr Suckoo feels the same way about the environment, he referred to the upcoming changes to the law as “weakening it” and the current Miniater has words with him about it during Finance Committee. I think we are just fine with Mr Suckoo in Newlands

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      • Anonymous says:

        Sorry but, Alva couldn’t dream of holding a candle to Wayne – and I like Alva.

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        • Anonymous says:

          I don’t think he is wasting his Dream on holding a candle. Don’t forget the legal practitioners law. That is the kind of subjects that Mr. Suckoo is concerned with. He won the election. Move on!,

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          • Anonymous says:

            Yes you mean the legal practitioners law which would have reduced the fees that Caymanian lawyers pay, helped Caymanian court room lawyers get more work and for the first time controlled and limited the number of foreign lawyers practicing Cayman law overseas? Those and many other benefits to the country and Caymanians do not exist today because of Suckoo and crow.

      • Anonymous says:

        Ahhh no. We pay attention to their records. He voted to create the current spear gun problem and he voted against the $6 million to buy land to preserve Cayman for Caymanians. Nice try but clearly no.

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        • Anonymous says:

          He and Joey Hew voted to support licensing spear guns, that is not a cardinal sin, and when he voted against the $6M it was because Wayne could not tell the country what lands they were going to purchase to “protect”. Two weeks ago it was revealed that very little of the $6M was spent and hardly any land purchased. Talk about a waste of the Environmental Protection Funds

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          • Anonymous says:

            They had control of deciding where to spend the money but chose not to purchase any land. Go figure.

          • Anonymous says:

            Idiot! First of all, if the money wasnt spent it cant have been wasted. It was simply allocated for environmental land purchase, the purpose it was collected in the first place.

            Wayne could not reveal the exact land targeted for purchase because that would depend on recommendations from the Conservation Council, an independant body, based on DOE and public nominations. And how do you negotiate a fair purchase price when you have already declared your intentions publically, genius?

            Reccomendations were made to Cabinet. Why the money has not yet been spent is surely in the hands of the present Cabinet and the civil service agencies responsible for administering the purchase process.

      • Anonymous says:

        Exactly! Mr. Suckoo won the election fair and square. The people of Newlands voted him in because they wanted to. I have no problems with Mr. Panton, I believe that he has some good ideas but I think he was listening to a select few and not open to others ideas. Conservation is wonderful but it has to be balanced. We all want to live on this rock in harmony but that also means not stripping away all of our norms and culture.. I read where Mr. Panton said that spear fishing is not part of our culture but I beg to differ. People were spearfishing on these islands long before Mr. Panton was born. They were spearfishing when a long pole with a spike attached to one end was used. I believe it was called a tarpoon. That was real selective fishing and I don’t think anyone would foolishly waste their strike on a four inch fish. I also do not think that anyone would go down under the water, hold their breath for whatever number of minutes they do to spear a six inch fish. Come on let us use some common sense here. Also isn’t it better to allow orchid collectors to get a little piece of the Cayman orchid for their backyards than to allow the bulldozers to mow down all the trees with the orchids attached and burn them out of existence? Mr. Suckoo believes in conservation too but a little less lop- sided and so do many of us who Identify with him- that is why we voted him in. Election is over, there is much to do . Let us all roll up our collective sleeves and get with the programme to benefit everybody and not appease the selective few who tries to put the needs of our people below the needs of lizzards, and crabs. There has to be a balance. Also please whenever you all mention mount thrashmore, whenever you drive past mount thrashmore, if you live on Grand Cayman, if you live abroad and ever visited Grand Cayman, whether you are generational Caymanian, whether new Caymanian, whether permanent resident, whether just a humble permit holder, each and every one of us has contributed to the height of the mountain. What have you done about it to make a difference? Do you reuse, recycle?. Also please remember that those among us who are more affluent contribute more to the mountain!!

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        • Anonymous says:

          Spear guns are ‘traditional’? Not according to the Compass. “Around the 1950s/’60s, the Hawaiian sling became popular in Cayman.” (https://www.caymancompass.com/2017/09/20/tip-of-the-spear-end-of-an-era/) So spear guns are no more traditional than driving a car or colour photography is.

          Lets call a spade a spade. Spear fishing isn’t about ‘culture’ or ‘tradition’, its about a few people wanting to spear fish.

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          • Anonymous says:

            Compass is the authority on things local? HAHAAA

            • Not the OP says:

              You have a counter-argument other than “I don’t want to hear it Ha-Ha-Ha”?

              PS> The quote was from Olsen Levy, proud proponent of spear gunning, IIRC.

        • Anonymous says:

          Why if I’m more affluent do I contribute more?
          I recycle
          I do not buy fast food with polystyrene containers & plastic utensils
          I do not buy bottles/cans of soda but use a soda steam to make my water sparkle
          I have a sewing machine so I repair my clothes
          I have a newer car with less emissions
          I have solar power

          What is it that you do that creates less waste than me?

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          • Anonymous says:

            You know you are fibbing. If you are wealthy you buy more, you, throw away more furnishing, food, beer bottles, milk cartons etc.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Mr Suckoo won Newlands by 15 votes, if you think that is a solid endorsement by the people then I don’t know what to say to you, one family group could have been the difference between Alva and Wayne and I suspect that his relationship as Anthony Eden’s apprentice helped him secure the victory.

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          • Anonymous says:

            He won tho! Quite complaining, he is a good representative and will serve his constituency well. He won by 16 votes and Wayne lost by 16 – are you trying to say Wayne has a solid endorsement ? Wayne had way more resources and the party behind him and Alva still won the seat, that should tell you something !

      • Anonymous says:

        Bodden Town as a whole decided it needed change. Well…see what happens? Tony sits growing dust while Alva tries to copy from his bigoted handbook. Chris tilts at windmills and adds daily to the hot air blowing out of Newlands. And Dwayne? Well, the poor guy is already out of his element 6 months in.

        How does that change feel now?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Absolutely and how many of those votes he lost were due to his views on equality for people in same sex relationships.

      Bizarre to think that people would prioritise something that didn’t affect them one iota over something with the potential to do irreparable damage to the island and everyone who lives here.

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      • Anonymous says:

        I think it was his disrespect for our traditional Christian values that did him in! Has anyone asked him if he believes in God lately ? I live in Newlands and actually voted for Raul but I am happy we have Suckoo at least he respects the people he represents.

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        • Anonymous says:

          12:08 – disrespect meaning Wayne prefers to embrace everyone but you want to reserve at least a little bit of hate for some right? It seems to me he has more acceptance and appreciation for all things created by God than many of you do!

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      • Anonymous says:

        That is where you are mistaken, it does effect us and definitely not good for the environment. It really does irreparable damage to the island and everyone who lives here.

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  27. Anonymous says:

    Moses’s cruise ship dock with no new EIA for new design, Ezzard’s so called ‘farm roads”, Premiers new road through the central Mangrove wetland, Darts Desire to remove beach rock, etc etc. —- good luck.!!
    Oh what a tangled web they weave.!!

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  28. Angry says:

    Greed, Avarice, Lies and Deceit are at the heart of this issue……and all that oppose the law, profess to be good Caymanian Christians…..more like a bunch of thieving pirates!
    Don’t tell us you are doing this for future generations, we all know you are doing it to fill your bank balances and you are not even making a very good job of covering that up.
    I am utterly ashamed at the narrow sighted, money grabbing, ignorant thieves that you have all become, our children’s futures are more important than this moronic deceit that you are attempting to perpetrate.
    Future generations will describe you as environmental rapists, get a grip, open your eyes and stop behaving like the Mafia

    Shame on you all

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    • Anonymous says:

      I agree with everything you said apart from calling them a bunch of thieving pirates… This bunch are more like parasites.

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  29. Anonymous says:

    Well said Wayne! A leader with integrity even while no longer a Minister. You are missed. I hope you will return. We will need a lot of help to clean up after this gang get through.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Well we wanted change and a new government shaking our fist in the air and screaming it over the airwaves and change and a new government is what we got….what did we expect??!!

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      • Anonymous says:

        At least Wayne deserves the forever honorable moniker, though he would never use it. When he was Minister I would stand when he came into the room. I will continue to do so.

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  30. Anonymous says:

    Agree wholeheartedly with Mr Panton,but fear that like others who agree with him, he is a voice crying in what is rapidly becoming the development wilderness of Cayman. We are only a “ Caribbean “ island because of our geographical position. In almost all other contexts, Cayman is merely an extension of South Florida. Government has become so reliant on the financial crutch provided by the development fantasies of one group, that it will do anything to avoid upsetting them.

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  31. Anonymous says:

    Got to miss an intelligent and eloquent Minister!

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    • Anonymous says:

      The honorable Wayne Panton is a proactive advocate of the environment. This bunch is not even fiending any intrest whatsoever in preserving the god given gift of our beloved islands.

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