Premier: UK should plug EU environment fund gap

| 04/12/2018 | 34 Comments

(CNS): As current president of the Political Council of the United Kingdom Overseas Territories Association (UKOTA), Premier Alden McLaughlin stood up for all the British Overseas Territories in London on Monday, as he called on the UK to ensure that specialist technical assistance as well as funding for environmental research and protection remains available for the territories post Brexit. According to a press release from his office, the premier pointed out that over 90% of the UK’s biodiversity is in the territories, including many endangered species.

Cayman News Service

Premier Alden McLaughlin, current president of the Political Council of UKOTA, (left) and Eric Bush, Cayman Islands Representative in London and the current chairman of UKOTA

British territories hold one-third of the world’s breeding albatross, a quarter of the world’s penguins and the largest coral atoll on earth. The territories make up over 70% of the UK’s marine estate in the world, but when the it leaves the European Union, the funding for environmental protection will no longer be available for them. This was a matter of significant importance to several organisations participating in a workshop this week, chaired by McLaughlin and held ahead of the Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council.

“As overseas territories, we fall between the cracks; we are unable to access some international funds but are also unable to access UK domestic funding,” he said. “Working with NGOs, universities and charities may mean that we will be able to unblock this.”

The importance of the role of universities in helping protect the environment through research and funding education was an area of discussion at the meeting. The University of Exeter has sponsored several overseas territories students, including a Caymanian student, to obtain Masters Degrees in Environmental Studies. Also discussed were pioneering new innovations that can assist with monitoring and protecting the environment, even within smaller territories with little access to technology.

But the premier’s call on the British government to ensure that the money is still available to protect the globally important natural assets across is territories comes just days after McLaughlin confirmed that the Cayman Islands Government will be pressing ahead with a controversial cruise berthing facility in George Town Harbour that will destroy a massive amount of this territory’s marine life.

While the premier reportedly bragged about the 6.3% of Cayman’s land now under protected status, through the work of the Department of Environment and the National Conservation Council, the official release gave no indication of whether or not the premier made any mention of his government’s failure to make any progress at all on the long-awaited and critical marine parks expansion.

Nevertheless, the workshop included discussions about environment funding for ocean conservation and the inclusion of the territories in the UK Government’s 25-year environment plan, “The Green Future: 25 year plan to Improve the Environment”.

Cayman News Service

RCPB: The UK has more penguins under it s jurisdiction that any other country

Nadia Hardie, Executive Director of the Cayman Islands National Trust, also attended the workshop and, according to the release, described it as a fantastic opportunity to network with NGOs and organisations to review funding possibilities. “It has also been worthwhile meeting and discussing these issues with our own premier here in the UK,” she said.

The workshop, which was chaired by Colin Clubbe, head of Conservation Science at Kew Gardens, included presentations from eight panelists, including Ben Merrick, Director of the Overseas Territories Department of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, who spoke about the role the territories play in preserving a significant amount of rich global biodiversity.

In addition to the environment workshop, the premier chaired the main UKOTA meeting to discuss and agree on positions to be taken at the upcoming Joint Ministerial Council with the UK Government. The territories have agreed that the BOT citizenship of children born out of wedlock will be one of the main topics that will be raised at the JMC meeting, as well as safeguarding of children, constitutional matters, passports, environment and climate change, European Union engagement and OTs’ student engagement.

“It has been a pleasure to serve as president of UKOTA. We have covered a range of issues today and sought to reach some level of consensus between the Overseas Territories so we are able to speak with a unified voice when we address UK ministers during the JMC meetings,” the premier said Monday following the day’s events. He also revealed that Cayman will be hosting the political leaders of the BOTs next year for the 2019 pre-ministerial meeting.

Following the UKOTA meeting, the Cayman Islands delegation attended a meeting with the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Cayman Islands, chaired by Sir Graham Bradey MP. McLaughlin updated the APPG on the Cayman economy, concerns about the EU blacklisting process, and the upcoming constitutional talks with the UK Government.

See RSPB report: The UK’s Wildlife Overseas: a stocktake of nature in our Overseas Territories

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

Comments (34)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Why, when Cayman can afford it?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Or to sum the whole speech up, ‘Gimme, gimme, gimme!’ Why not just be up front and say that so far he and his colleagues have screwed up the environment here so badly that’s it’s going to take huge handouts to even put a small dent in the damage that’s been done.

    I’ve visited impoverished third world countries that do more recycling and produce more carbon free power than we do!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Pair of simpletons representing us.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Today’s Compass’ editorial is mind boggling! Are they being paid to write it or they truly believe in what they write? Such editorial could be written only at gunpoint.
    And of course they will not know the readers response with their “comments policy”.

    • Anonymous says:

      Today’s Compass editorial is simply dumb. Of course, it is developers in Cayman who feed the cash cow Compass with all of their advertising. Are 97% of the world’s climate scientists “elite” because they say climate change is happening at a rapid rate due to fossil fuels being burned. It is the 3% of scientists who say that climate change is not occurring who are the “elite”.

      Two years ago, the Compass Editorial Board fully endorsed Donald Trump’s policy prescriptions and like Trump, they too are in bed with large real estate developers working their damnest to destroy the environment while making good profits.


  5. Anonymous says:

    the word environment has many meanings. Businesses environment, family environment, toxic environment, natural environment, etc.
    Caymanians need protection from the Dump environment.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Premier could never be talking about protecting endangered and biodiverse species when he himself is the spearhead to the destruction of the Grand Cayman Islands “endangered” coral. Politricks 101

  7. land crab says:

    The DOE had nothing to do with the 6% of land in Cayman with protected status, most of this was acquired by the National Trust. It is gratifying however that he is concerned about our albatrosses, most of which reside in West Bay.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Need to plug the incompetency gap first or the money will just disappear from on-purpose bad documentation.

  9. South Sounder says:

    Did the Premier also mention his government’s commitment to the proposed destruction of 15 acres of live coral habitat that forms part of @UKOTA despite a citizen’s petition for a referendum on the proposed Cayman cruise berthing facility?




  10. Anonymous says:

    This man does realize it isn’t the 1700s anymore right
    The UK knows exactly what he has planned here at home
    But he has the audacity to fly over to the UK
    and talk about allocating further resources to protect the environment
    as he and his successive governments have sold every scrap of lands they could
    While he allows the pillaging of our natural environment
    As he and his government throw caution and the people’s interests to the wind

  11. Anonymous says:

    Astonishing! “It has also been worthwhile meeting and discussing these issues with our own premier here in the UK,” she said.

  12. Kettle Black says:

    Should UK be so fool as to grant us money for conserving our environment, it will be squandered on everything but.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Why should the UK give anything to tax havens like the Caymans who do not have income tax or other taxes so they can allow the rich of the world to steal from the poor?

  14. Anonymous says:

    Showboating while he approves of the digging up of acres of coral reef!?

  15. Brexit says:

    Dear Mr Premier 3 month shy of Brexit what is the effect on Cayman? Do you not think that topic is more important?

    • Anonymous says:

      After the Commons vote today I’d say that’s more like three months shy of a Labour government in the UK and if that happens be very, very afraid because they will screw these islands.

  16. Anonymous says:

    The hypocrisy of the Premier on Cayman environmental issues is beyond words. Hope our Governor sends a full report back to London on what exactly the Premier is doing on these islands to destroy our environment.

    The time has come for a Green Party on these islands before we take paradise and put up South Miami here. Except for Wayne Panton, no current or past governing politicians on these islands has given a damn about the environment. Sad but true.

    • Anonymous says:

      Talking about establishing a green party

      I’d give an arm and a leg to just about any political sphere other than conservative

      Conservatives have run amok on Cayman for far too long
      and look at the shit we are in luckily enough there has never been any organized liberal movement here so those in power and their supports have no one to blame but themselves

      • Anonymous says:

        The majority of major political issues in Cayman fit beautifully into the hands of the Green Party.

        The old boys and old girls that run the old political machine here and are totally in bed with developers will do nothing. C’mon Caymanian millennials. It is your generation that can save Cayman. You will have lots of support. Start organizing for the next election.

        • Anonymous says:

          I would really like this and fund this. Old time Caymanians would probably get on board too given what some of them say has become of Cayman.

    • Anonymous says:

      I am all in favour of the environment but I put passing good legislation to allow our Caymanian lawyers to be given a fair deal when it comes to a job instead of protecting a lizard and selling out the practice of our Cayman law all over the offshore jurisdictions.

  17. Anonymous says:

    OMG I needed this laugh… He spouts this now? When he is leading the march to dredge a large part of George Town Harbour.

  18. Anonymous says:

    LOL, the Premier of the trash heap of the Caribbean preaching environmentalism. If it wasn’t so sad I’d be laughing.

    After the 2005 election Alden and his colleagues were in the ideal position to get to grips with issues like Mt Trashmore and, despite all the posturing and rhetoric, they not only did nothing but wasted a small fortune doing it.

  19. New Caymanian says:

    Politically correct ramblings from the Premier to suit his UK audience.
    What he says and does domestically is very different from the image he portrays aboard. The irony of his comments are shocking considering how he shows no regard for environmental concerns here in Cayman. Recent examples include the cruise dock project commitments at all costs and the consequential damage to the marine environment. Also the Barker’s costal works application which will be approved by the PPM led coalition and Alden McLaughlin as Premier who is seemingly comfortable to root up acres of turtle grass which sets a dangerous precedent. He has mastered the art of saying one thing and doing the opposite. Politicians like that cannot be trusted.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Why not be truthful? The premier doesn’t give a hoot about the environment!


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