NCC gets short-term chairman and new members

| 08/08/2018 | 5 Comments
Cayman News Service

Mastic Trail, Grand Cayman (Photo courtesy National Trust)

(CNS): McFarlane Conolly, the representative for East End on the National Conservation Council, has been appointed as the NCC chairman, stepping into the role vacated by Christine Rose-Smyth, who resigned in January. Three new members have also been appointed to the council created under the National Conservation Law, which remains a target of political criticism as it tries to balance rampant development with the desperate need to conserve the country’s dwindling natural resources.

According to the Government Gazette published at the end of last month, Conolly, who has been on the board since its inception, has been appointed chairman only until the end of September and it is not clear if he will be re-appointed.

Meanwhile, Cabinet has appointed three new voting members to serve on the board until June 2020: Edward Chisholm to represent North Side, Dominic Oliver Williams for Bodden Town and Franklin Thompson for West Bay. Nadie Hardie is the new NCC member representing the National Trust.

The council was created under the National Conservation Law, which was steered through the Legislative Assembly in a historical vote by the former environment minister, Wayne Panton, in 2013. Despite receiving unanimous support from both sides of the LA at the time, following after a number of compromise amendments made to accommodate concerns of all MLAs, the legislation has come under increasing criticisms. Politicians continue to bow to a vocal minority which sees the legislation as an impediment to development.

Premier Alden McLaughlin, who had previously supported greater environmental protection, even ensuring it a reference, albeit vague, in the 2009 Cayman Constitution, also seems to have reversed his position. In the wake of last year’s election, he stated his intention to revisit the legislation, describing parts of it as “ridiculous”.

As the political will to protect the environment faded, the situation was compounded by the appointment of Dwayne Seymour as the environment minister, in what appeared to be an add-on to his already significant ministerial responsibilities, since no other politicians seemed to want the increasingly controversial portfolio.

Seymour has shown little interest in, and is understood to have very limited knowledge of, the significant conservation challenges facing Cayman. He appears to have handed this part of his remit to the ministry’s councillor, Capt Eugene Ebanks, who has been critical of the NCC, the DoE and any attempt to expand marine protections.

So far there has been no indication when the review and the watering down of the law will begin but government officials have said the NCC will be consulted over potential amendments.

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Category: Politics, Science & Nature

Comments (5)

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  1. Insider says:

    This article seems rather unfair to Mr Seymour who may not make a big public show of his interest and participation in conservation matters, but just because CNS or the Compass doesn’t know doesn’t mean nothing is happening. Given the sometimes wild speculation and mis-reporting in the media it is not surprising that some things are better kept under wraps.

    CNS: We would be absolutely delighted to be wrong on this one. Sadly, there is not sign of it, and the idea that minister is doing great things for the environment but keeping it secret sounds like BS. But very happy to report otherwise if there were any actual facts to back this up.

  2. ppm Distress Signal says:

    PPM do a great job of securing jobs with government and board appointments for loyal party officials and failed political candidates.

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  3. Diogenes says:

    Reminder, it is currently August

    So it took the CIG almost 8 months to fill this position

    Yet we are meant to believe they care about the environment and conservation

    They might have put it in the Constitution and they might have put it in their manifestors but neither the CDP or the PPM care about the environment, conservation or maintaining sustainable development

    They care about ensuring that businesses and monied interests have an easy time going through planning and getting approval for their projects and development

    Simply look at the government’s own plan for the cruise berthing facility (the little that we the public are privy to at least) The original Environmental Impact Assesment was done 3 years ago and according to rumors and reports the plans have significantly been altered yet it would seem that whenever construction begins the original will be presented again to the public

    Words are wind, our “leaders” say one thing, and do the very opposite

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  4. Anonymous says:

    AlDart and his crew, including Mac have increasingly the most dangerous factor to our natural environment.

    Daily it becomes more evident developers now “Own Government”.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    As I have said many times before, all they have to do is buy the land at the same price as swampland in West Bay along the North sound and protect all of it. I hope every land owner in the Central Mangrove realizes that the land north of the new intended road can no longer be sold or USE for any kind of Development. You can’t build a house or grow anything because it can only be use for the environment.

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