Developers get seats on NCL review board

| 29/04/2019 | 99 Comments
Cayman News Service

Mastic Trail, Grand Cayman (Photo courtesy National Trust)

(CNS): A board has been established to review the National Conservation Law, which government has signalled it wants to water down because some people think the legislation designed to protect the Cayman Islands’ threatened and dwindling natural resources is standing in the way of development. Premier Alden McLaughlin will be the chair of the committee and Environment Minister Dwayne Seymour will be the deputy. Members include Mark VanDevelde, the CEO of Dart Enterprises, the Cayman Islands’ largest developer, and local businessman and developer Gene Thompson, CNS has learned.

Former environment minister Wayne Panton, the architect of the original law, has been included in the appointments, as has his predecessor and road developer Mark Scotland.

Representing the tourism sector, local tour operator Ronnie Ebanks and CITA President Theresa Leacock are also said to have been nominated to serve.

Planning Director Haroon Pandohie and Planning Ministry Chief Officer Alan Jones are understood to be among the government officials appointed.

Other members include as well as local lawyer David Ritch, National Conservation Council Chair McFarlane Connolly, Department of Environment Director Gina Ebanks-Petrie, Environment Ministry Chief Officer Jennifer Ahearn and Ministry Councillor Capt Eugene Ebanks, who has been critical of the law and the marine parks enhancement project.

The first meeting is scheduled to take place next month and the government appears to be set on a complete overhaul of the legislation, which was passed with unanimous support in the Legislative Assembly in December 2013.

Despite claims by some that the legislation is hindering development, since it passed the pace of development has not been impacted and government still collects millions of dollars in stamp duty.

Government is believed to be targeting parts of the law that require developers to undertake environmental impact assessments in certain circumstances. And while this is fundamentally important to the issue of conservation and the essence of the law, only a small percentage of developments undertaken since it came into effect have required an EIA; figures from the DoE suggest that around 95% have not.

Since establishing the Government of National Unity, the premier has taken aim at the NCL and has indicated on several occasions his desire to overturn the law. Speaking in the Legislative Assembly in August 2017, McLaughlin said the law was ridiculous.

The current minister has also shown very little support for or understanding of environmental issues. He has also criticised the legislation and taken aim at the conservation council, suggesting it was usurping the power of the parliament.

Panton, who steered the legislation through the LA when he was minister, was quick to express his concerns after he lost his seat at the last election and saw a minister with little interest in the issues appointed to take over the environment portfolio and his former colleagues begin to turn on the law that they had supported.

Speaking to CNS in late 2017, Panton said he was “disappointed” that Cayman had an environment minister who appeared to be “against the environment rather than for it”. He said he was alarmed over the “about-face in politics” and the unwarranted backlash against the conservation law based on “fake facts”, as the NCL had been through significant consultation and enjoyed wide public support.

Nevertheless, in his Strategic Policy Statement last month the premier once again took aim at the law, targeting EIAs and suggesting the law was not in balance with development. He said that government would not cherry-pick, so there would be a comprehensive review of the law.

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Category: Local News

Comments (99)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The vocal minority are irate

  2. Joanna Boxall says:

    My big beef is why developers think knocking down every shade tree on a piece of land and then planting it back with a few Christmas palms at the periphery is the way to go. How unbelievably barren of life and character that makes a property, not to mention terrible for honey bees, birds, butterflies and other wildlife. Then you have Vigoro and Cayman Growers who all sell the same 10 trees which leads to a lack of diversity, plus they actively push palm trees as they are low maintenance. So sad. It feels like we are trying very hard to make Cayman hotter than it is and less pretty. 40 years ago, when electricity felt vastly more expensive and people used a/c sparingly, they valued shade trees. Where has all that wisdom gone?

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    • Ron Ebanks says:

      Hi Joanna they are putting all the wisdom in the pocket or
      Bank account..

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    • Anonymous says:

      LOL

      YOU are worried about lack of trees?

      YOU?

      Bahahahahahahahahahahhahah

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    • Elizabeth M Ross says:

      Unfortunately the law requires the entire piece of land be filled to 4 ft above sea level in order to develop / subdivide…. the only way to do this is to clear it and fill it. You are required to provide a survey proving it has been done. So the law needs changing.

  3. Anonymous says:

    This government is effectively handing the country to Dart on a silver plate. Selling out the Caymanian people. So sad and to do it so publicly and blatantly just shows their respect for the ordinary folks.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    FIX THE DUMP – it stinks.

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    • Anonymous says:

      DARTBOT your PR campaign on the dump subject stinks of the usual Ken Dart worldwide corruption that is stinker .than the dump.

  5. Anonymous says:

    You are not going to like what I’m going to say…
    All you good folk talkin ’bout “RISE UP” STAND UP” blah blah blah.
    This is SO much more important than same sex unions but NO WAY will you get a 100th of the numbers of all you angry folk talkin and walkin ’bout that.
    Laughable actually.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The only thing giving anyone pause is what the alternative would be, given the restrictions on the type of Caymanians that are eligible, and the conventions and perks that have traditionally served as inducements. All the MLAs are walkin’ and talkin’ along varying degrees of the same corrupt avenue, as though that were the only way to behave in life, or to matter in politics. It’s very discouraging that voters don’t demand more, and start disqualifying and arresting those at the levers right now. The voters are the ones that control who serve them, when, and how.

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    • Ron Ebanks says:

      8:45am I think you don’t know the people very well , they will stand up for what is right , and so should you .

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      • Anonymous says:

        Ron. then please do tell me how most of the voting populace is fine with being screwed over by CIG time and time again? Stand up for whats right? Please….

        • Ron Ebanks says:

          2:06pm , I haven’t said that any voting populace was fine/happy with how government screwing them over , did i? I am telling them to wake up so that they aren’t screwed over .

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Caymans biggest private land owner gets a seat at a government table to decide what bits of Cayman should be left or developed? What the hell? That is the most stupid thing I’ve ever heard.

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  7. Anon. says:

    Politics is the art of compromise and consensus. The secret to a happy life is similar – what man hasn’t heard the expression “Happy wife, happy life”?
    It is therefore only right that a committee set up for the express purpose of reviewing an exiting law and, presumably, making recommendations for amendments to that law should consist of a cross-section of the affected community.
    Expressions of outrage should be withheld until the committee sets forth its’ proposed changes to the law, if any.

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    • Ron Ebanks says:

      I wonder if the little people are seeing that big Developers are making their millions of dollars today ,, but the little people will not make theirs , and their future is hinged on the future . So if everything gone and destroyed , how would the little people survive in the future. But remember that those big Developers and who is involved with them , has no worries because they all made their future long time ago .

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    • Anonymous says:

      You are missing the point chappie, no Christine Rose-Smyths nor Janet Walkers were appointed just a handful of individuals with pecuniary interests in over developing the island. Cross-section of the affected community – seriously?!

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    • Ron Ebanks says:

      Anonymous 8:15am , the newly NCL Board should be dismantled and have the Board members made up of different people from each district that doesn’t have interest in development that wouldn’t conflict with the board . That board should made up of fair and balanced individuals.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Anon. – Great point. As someone affected by the Law how do I get on the board to represent myself?

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  8. Cayman Voter says:

    Nothing but stooges who unfortunately will finish the destruction on these little islands! What a disgraceful and disrespectful set appointments. Our children’s future has now been destroyed also, as there will be absolutely nothing left for them . This govt is full of $#!€!

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Foxes in the hen house?!

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    • David S,, says:

      Foxes is right! This is Alden and his laziness at work. Tell me what in the heck will the largest most ambitious developers on island preserve for Cayman, much less look out for the interest of the people? Destroy the mangroves and go under like a sunken peninsula yes sink Cayman as a result of this dummy selling out the chicken coop to 2 foxes watching the hen house. That premier is either too lazy ir too dumb to do the right thing by the people. God help the people of Cayman.

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      • Anonymous says:

        I’ve always thought the the current premier is dumb. Then you start to look at the people that voted for him and it no wonder…

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  10. Anonymous says:

    One thing I have to say about PPM, they are getting themselves financially ready for the next election..Follow the money, folks…It’s always the money…

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    • Ron Ebanks says:

      Anonymous 7:19 am , I hope you and everyone else see what they are doing to yours and everyone else future .
      And remember all that money doesn’t win you elections , when people use heads and brains before casting your vote .

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      • Anonymous says:

        Mark Twain wrote, “Politician and diapers need to be changed frequently, for the same reasons”.

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        • Anonymous says:

          people need to push for term limits. Our political landscape has become so stagnant and incestuous that it resembles an Alabama swamp.

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  11. Mary says:

    One big sex orgy doesn’t make it right – shameful biased use of political influence

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  12. Anonymous says:

    Why is it so difficult for people to understand the importance of conservation? Caymanian society rests on a foundation called nature. We cannot destroy the natural environment without severe consequences. How can people not comprehend this? Does Alden really not understand this? With climate change problems coming at us fast on the horizon, one would think the Cayman government would be moving full speed in the direction of more sensible, sustainable, safer environmental regulations. To move in the opposite direction is the height of insanity, or just plain stupidity.

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    • Ron Ebanks says:

      Anonymous 8:45pm , I think why Alden don’t understand that the Cayman Islands Environment is very important and necessary to take off , is because he is thinking about
      HIS future not yours or Cayman’s , or he would be doing the right thing PROTECTING IT .

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  13. Anonymous says:

    Allnof you praising Wayne try so wake up, he is going to be part of the process that destroys this law! He is part of the problem now

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    • Anonymous says:

      How do you conclude that he is a part of the problem? He is probably one of the few that we can put our hopes in.

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  14. Ron Ebanks says:

    I have noticed from everyone’s comment that we are all against who is on the board and see that it is going to be the end of every SQ inch of the Cayman Islands Environment.
    Are we all going to sit down and let this happen ?

    RISE UP AND WAKE UP PEOPLE DON’T LET THIS
    BOAR EXIST ONE MORE DAY .

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  15. Anonymous says:

    This is no different from the stacked Planning Board…

    These guys have no shame!

    Everyone knows that now DART will get his carte-blanche to do what he wants, no matter how many people complain..

    Don’t get me wrong DART has done alot to help Cayman but it doesn’t mean he owns the island and can do with it as he pleases..

    Something stinks here!!

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    • Ron Ebanks says:

      Anonymous 6:33pm , yes there’s allot of stink in the Board I can smell it from thousands of mile away .
      RISE UP AND WAKE BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE ….

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    • Anonymous says:

      Well actually, I think he does own the island.

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      • Ron Ebanks says:

        7:50am in my books he doesn’t , and I’m seeing that everyone else is waking up and seeing now what he is all about .

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    • Anonymous says:

      You cry babies need to put a cork in it – we are very lucky to have such forward thinking people sitting on this board and the CPA. They know how to get things done just like our great Premier!

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  16. Anonymous says:

    How was this board selected? Who did the selecting? So wrong on so many levels.

    It is time to stand UP Cayman!

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  17. Anonymous says:

    Well lets just say the dredging next to the Kimpton and the removal of the turtle grass in Barkers will begin in short order…

    Alden, WTF!!

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  18. Anonymous says:

    The priorities are clear. Money.

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  19. Anonymous says:

    Wayne has equity in companies (telecommunications and natural gas) that are totally dependent upon a massive expansion of Cayman’s infrastructure. A massive expansion made necessary by Dart’s and a few other unscrupulous developers’ “vision” for Cayman. At a critical point in this island’s history it is clear to see (for all who want to) how Cayman’s soul was sold, the natural environment here never stood a chance with this group of elected officials and their enablers.

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  20. Anonymous says:

    The beginning of the end. Its the whats-in-it-for-me team. No consideration of what is right, only consideration of vested interests, and who can get into who’s pocket. Do they have no shame ? No, of course not. An election can’t come soon enough.

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  21. Anonymous says:

    Wait … Wayne agreed to participate in this sham of an exercise ? When the law is watered down will he own up to his share of the responsibility in this ? Wow Wayne do you really want political power that bad ?

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    • Anonymous says:

      At least he’ll make himself heard even though the end result is pre-written.

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      • Anonymous says:

        The point is he should not have to sit on a review board and protest. The ppm is his party! He simply should tell Alden no! This is just a sham, and a feeble attempt to allow him to pretend he cares about the environment over his own business interests. Isn’t one of his companies in a business deal with DART?

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      • Anonymous says:

        as Maya Angelou once said ” when someone shows you who they are believe them”

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  22. Anonymous says:

    All McKeeva appointments!!!

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  23. Anonymous says:

    Alden has no shame

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  24. Anonymous says:

    I suppose Alden would also warn the UK (and HM Duke of Cornwall) that the continuous, highly-conflicted appointments, while delaying enactment of SIPL Law, are also “devolved” issues, and not clear indications of maladministration. Any time now governor/FCO…

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  25. Anonymous says:

    Really?

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  26. Anonymous says:

    More proof of how conflicted our political leadership is.
    Now we have the foxes recommending where to build the hen houses and what type of wire to use. Alden should truly be ashamed of himself. This makes me want to puke.!!

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  27. Anonymous says:

    Useless bunch of idiots. I suggest Alden goes and watches Our Planet on Netflix. It will explain to you why it is so important that we maintain balance to protect our future generations as well as the plants and animals who inhabit our planet.
    The next election will force most of them to wake up. Notice to all MLA’s in house:
    Make sure your pockets are well lined and that you will have some way to sustain your family and friends beyond our next election year. Your chances of returning are non existent.
    I’m so glad most of them have no social media presence and will not e able to follow the uprising of so many young and middle aged voters. I cannot wait. Glad that most of the old foggies are rounding their last bend and only for the sake of our future. We3 can’t be so stuck in the past that we destroy all we hold dear. It’s getting to a point where we will not be able to go back and the things that we will have to do to get some semblance of order to our little island will be our detriment. I’m not surprised though, if we can’t protect our children and the elderly, this little piece of rock has no chance.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Not so fast 3:04pm – Kurt Tibbetts is planning on making a return to politics in 2021 to over throw Kennith Bryan out of Central GT, his original home turf. Since Alden can’t carry on the title of Premiership (can’t run back to back as Premier, only hold for 8 years and step down until another 4 yrs – sort of like a Idi Amin strongarm plan), this is place Kurt T to be the choosing Idi Amin guy to hold the title as Premier until 2025, where Alden will ask (he wish) to take over the helm for another 4 yr term til 2029 and try to do the double again 2033 where is golden globe for 100,000 plus population growthwwill probably kick in (or possibly before). But the so call PPM ship is no longer a vessel of the early 2k. There’s a new generation of new people, young no bullshiters Caymanians that not going to be like the older generations that’s passed on that you seen at their PPM’s Christmas parties and so on – may they too RIP, but the future is not going to be Alden, Kurt and their small group of followers that was once strong party, especially with the single members constituency districts.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Hopefully all younger voters are registered and able to think for themselves. Last election i spoke to peers and they were happy to vote for the same people their parents voted for, because mommy said so. Those kind of voters are more dangerous to our democracy than anyone is willing to admit.

  28. Anonymous says:

    All sell-outs except Wayne. Destroying what was here long before any of us were even born for the sake of a dollar. Dwayne knows as much about the environment as he knows about healthcare. Zero!!!!!!!!!!!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Wayne is in on the plan duh !

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      • Anonymous says:

        I cannot believe that Wayne fell for this charade! He and the Premier disdain each other so that they can barely stand living on the same Island together! The same Premier who scuttled his conservation plan has obviously appointed him to the board. I can hardly imagine how conflicted they both are. Imagine the first board meeting,, sitting side by side, smacking their lips, with the occasional wink at each other is Gene Thompson and Mark Vandevelde. Across from then is Mark Scotland and David Ritch. RItch in the past had the interest of Cayman at heart but now that he is also a developer I am not sure where he stands on this issue. With the Premier sitting at the head of the table his deputy, John-John is at the other end with his gap- toothed grin and looking around. Capt. Eugene as usual is dozing off or fumbling with his phone. Mark Scotland mumbled something about moving the dump to Bodden Town, and John-John jumped up and made him know that won’t happen on his watch. ” what you talking about Mark? ” We have to remember that developers never really move on until they get what they are after- they just pretend to until an opportunity arise. We also should remember that Mark Scotland was the architect of that hot mess. Ms. GIna, in her calm demeanor tries to bring some civility to the meeting but she is out talked. No one is listening to her, the entire board is so conflicted and contorted that they need to bring a chiropractor to these meetings to get them straightened out after. There is a plot here, somewhere.

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  29. Anonymous says:

    What a splendid demonstration of sycophantic duplicity by our so called premier and minister recently. First they take the governor on a tour of the doe, a place neither man had ever stepped foot in prior to the announcement of a royal visit. Then the embarrassingly sycophantic head nodding along to the speech given on the environment by HRH.
    These fools know nothing of environmental protection, they have the retarded mentality that god will provide, as do their equally retarded supporters whose only interest is take take take.
    Well bobo, it will all be gone soon so good luck when Cayman is held up as the failure snatched from the jaws of victory. Good luck explaining that one to HRH after taking the plaudits. Thank god Mr Panton and Miss Gena are on the board, perhaps the Neanderthals can be kept at bay until we can vote these clowns out.

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  30. Anonymous says:

    When they finally get around to having a NC Law it will be like SWISS CHEESE, Full of holes just like the Pension and Health Insurance Laws. The legal minds will have a field day keeping their clients happy. Remember a recent Law to approve buildings up to 10 stories high. What a joke Aaaaaaaaaaa ya lot of grey areas.

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    • David S,, says:

      Pension? They are standing in yhe way of pensioners getting their pension.Why is Alden th premier holding pension port folio, it seems he’s using it to seek retribution against all who speak out against him. Any pensioner speaking against Alden never gets their pension payments.What does that tell you?

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  31. Anonymous says:

    Certainly happy Wayne Panton is on the Board.

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    • Riggin the Friggin says:

      He might as well be under the boardroom table with the 300lb gorilla developers in the room. The ACC should have a field day with this one, only if the Ombudsman’s office had teeth enough to disband this Kangaroo Board. Sad days, very sad…

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      • Anonymous says:

        And he knows this so why is he going along with it ? He should be telling the public how bad this is for the country not sitting in the room with the developers.

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        • David S,, says:

          Thos is Aldens trademark.Why don’t you guys check his record when he was Chairman of the labor board.
          Every local person seeking justice Alden made sure they lost and always ruled on behalf of big business and the elite wealthy, that’s who Alden this moron works for.You voters in G town should be beaten with Ozzie’s cow cod for giving this idiot 2 terms!

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  32. Anonymous says:

    What the eff???!

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  33. Anonymous says:

    Government is once again making sure that the developers have more influence. It is always a good idea to put more foxes on the board that is set up to protect the hen house. This is so typical of this government.

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  34. Anonymous says:

    Conflict of interest or what!!!!????!?!?!
    This is why Caymanians do not understand the word ‘corruption’. They just absolutely do NOT get it.

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  35. Anonymous says:

    All is good the foxes are guarding the hen house nothing to see here. All will be good, go back to sleep.

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  36. Anonymous says:

    What a F***ing joke of a board. You basically fill it with non voting members so their say has no basis. Then filled with voting members who are anti environment. Then 1 lone wolf in Panton who was just a sugarcoating.

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  37. Anonymous says:

    Okay, so by my estimation we have 7 members who have no appreciation for the environment, and 7 who do, if we generously assume Mr. Pandohie and Mr Jones are committed to protecting our environment. What side is David Ritch on? He is the only one I can’t assign a side, and looks like he will be the tie breaker.

    It is a joke that we are loosening environmental regulations in today’s society where every other developed country is strengthening them.

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  38. Anonymous says:

    As they should

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  39. Anonymous says:

    just another day in wonderland….

  40. Anonymous says:

    With this board we will have to change the national tree from the silver thatch to the light pole.

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  41. Dumbfounded says:

    Is this a late April Fool joke?

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  42. SKEPTICAL says:

    So Dart has finally got control of CIG – goodbye whatever little is left of the old Cayman.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Skeptical – remember that PPM & there so call put National Unity team needs political backing in 2 yrs time for the 2021 election. Who better than Dart & Thompson Development (CEO’s like Mark Vandevade and Gene Thompson) to fund, oil, grease the PPM political machine? Yep, Dart and Thompson Delvp + other hidden heads

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  43. Anonymous says:

    They need to cancel this stupid conservation law and let development continue as we need to jobs and revenue.

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  44. Ron Ebanks says:

    I think that Aden McLaughlin should be ashamed of himself for allowing this to be taking place as the Leader of the Government and the Cayman Islands Environment .

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  45. Anonymous says:

    Alden continues to sell out Cayman to his developer masters

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  46. Ambassador of Absurdistan says:

    Just Another Day in Absurdistan 😮

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  47. ppm Distress Signal says:

    Gene Thompson and Mr. Dart on the committee officially makes the process a complete joke. Politicians have sold out to Thompson and Dart for pennies on the dollar for years now. This is typical Alden McLaughlin at his worst.

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  48. Ron Ebanks says:

    Now can Cayman get anymore corrupted , “Developers on the NCL Board ” No conflicts there along with the yes people on the Board , GOODBYE Cayman Islands Environment .

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  49. Anonymous says:

    Thanks be to ge good lord Jesus Christ that they finally have some people with brains looking at this.

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    • Anonymous says:

      “some people with brains”
      You mean Alden and Wayne the two people who put the law into place in the first place

      The only thing that is going to change is that developers will have free reign over the environment and the government will sit back and watch

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    • Anonymous says:

      because what jesus created should always be redeveloped with concrete towers or waht

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    • Anonymous says:

      I assume you’re not including the Minister in that comment.

    • Anonymous says:

      Your lord jesus christ is money and vanity.

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    • Watcher says:

      Who with brains? The Premier, Minister Seymour & the 50 stories specialist of Gene Thompson and Mark Vandevade? You/them selected bunch can’t get enough royalties from preserving this lil island eh. What will it take? 2021 can’t come too soon to get elect Mr Panton (and his underground network) & get rid of unna bunch of greedy rass.

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