Terms for conservation law review under wraps

| 14/05/2019 | 36 Comments
Cayman News Service

Area behind the Ritz-Carlton where mangroves were ripped out to make way for the Dragon Bay development that never happened

(CNS): The new committee formed to review the National Conservation Law, after government expressed ‘concerns’ that the legislation is hampering development, met for the first time last week behind closed doors. Government officials said that the committee, comprising around two dozen people and chaired by the premier, will be engaging with the public, though CNS queries about how members of the public can express their views to the committee have gone unanswered. There are fears that the aim is to gut the law, exposing Cayman at a time when the negative impact of climate change is being felt around the world.

The legislation has been extensively criticised by Premier Alden McLaughlin, who has expressed concern that the law is hampering government plans, especially the requirement for environmental impact assessments on major projects, even describing the much-needed law as “ridiculous” in parliament a few years ago.

There is no evidence to show that the legislation has slowed development at all and Cayman’s dwindling natural resources continue to be threatened by construction around the coast. The law has, however, forced developers to think about sustainability when beginning a project and to mitigate the damage they are doing to the natural environment.

A press release about the formation of the committee and its first meeting stated that members discussed the need for a review of the law and the terms of reference for the review that will allow for “wide ranging discussion”. Those terms of reference will be settled at the next meeting, the release stated.

CNS understands that members were given a draft ToR ahead of the meeting, which we requested from the environment ministry. However, Chief Officer Jennifer Ahearn said the document could not be released until the final terms of reference were settled by the committee.

Premier McLaughlin noted that while government has its own concerns with certain aspects of the law, the expectation is that the committee will discuss these alongside any public concerns.

“As part of the review process the committee will invite feedback from the public on any concerns or suggestions that they have on improving the law or the processes guided by it,” the release stated, but no information was given about how people can do that.

The NCL is a comprehensive document dealing with a wide range of issues, from protecting endemic species to the need for conserving mangrove buffers, when considering a planning application.

It also deals with the international conventions to which the Cayman Islands is a party. While the committee may be seeking ways to change the legislation to enable unbridled development, the new law will still require Cayman to meet these treaty obligations.

The committee is scheduled to meet every two weeks and is required to submit a report of its findings to Cabinet within a month of the review process ending. There was no indication, however, whether or not that report will become a public document.

The committee is made up of individuals from the tourism and development sectors, as well as planning and the environment, There are a significant number of government officials and three government MLAs on the committee, but there are no representatives from the opposition benches.

See the full membership in the CNS Library

Related article: Developers get seats on NCL review board

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Category: Land Habitat, Science & Nature

Comments (36)

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  1. Ron Ebanks says:

    2:41 pm , I the person is both , an idiot and work for a developer .

  2. Ron Ebanks says:

    The first meeting of the newly appointed Board , let’s get busy removing the Marine /Environmental Laws so we can build and build .
    GOOD NIGHT HANNAH CAYMAN ISLANDS. Those people don’t see the the need for the Environment, all they see is $$$$$ and more $$$$ . I think this is what Aden wanted when he appointed who is on the Board .

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  3. Of course the "Transparent" Government of National Unity is obfuscating the laws says:

    Nothing to see here just the government gutting the conservation law right before finalizing a major project because they know the law in its current form will force them to admit is going to destroy the environment and will offer little to no benefits to the Caymanian people

    This isn’t about the development industry or making sure development is not overly regulated this is about the cruise port full stop

    Developers will also benefit but that is why they fund the PPM every 4 years

    (Where else do you think the PPM gets $500,000 to field the failed uncharismatic clown candidates they put up every 4 years)

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Just looked at the list of members, what could Gary Bodden (Restauranteur) possibly add to the discussion?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Now all of you remember this move by Caymanian born and bred politicians who voted and passed the conservation law and now intends to trash it. Blame Dark and expats all day long but at the end of the here those politicians in the LA were voted in by you.
    Would you call them phonies or hypocrites?

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    • Anonymous says:

      You trouble makers are at it again but Mr. Dart’s representative and Mr. Thompson are going to only do what is needed and make sure that development keeps going because that is what we need to survive. Our Unity team leaders know that and will keep our economy booming.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Whose economy? Other than those you have named who is benefitting? I think you will find, mostly expats.

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        • Anonymous says:

          So what, look at all the high quality jobs that are being created. Develop everything so we can keep the boom going!

      • Anonymous says:

        You do realize that development eventually comes to an end at some point. This island isn’t that large and there isn’t a whole lot of space to develop. Of course there is always up which is why the 50 storey building is supposed to be. However when a hurricane comes and blows that down and destroys/kills everything the debris lands on, is that still ok for for the sake of development and a select few that will benefit?

        Once nature is gone, there’s no reason to visit the Cayman Islands. Why would I leave my skyscrapers to go visit your more expensive skyscrapers but without all the extra amenities available from my country?

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  6. Anonymous says:

    And yet once again another coven of w(B)itches get together to prepare the platter on which the natural beauty and resources of our island are to be served up on after the carving is done. The fools in CIG, the ones who really have the power and the ones who could actually do something about anything have already made their fortunes so they do not give a shit about the island or the people.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    You know this is so sad you have to laugh to keep from crying. Someone please tell me how the Premier can speak with such animosity against a law that HE VOTED FOR AND HIS GOVERNMENT PASSED! They didn’t read the law when it went to caucus? They didn’t read the law when it went to Cabinet? They didn’t read the law when it went to the LA? They didn’t read the law when they asked the Governor to ascent to it? Seriously?! The one good thing Wayne Panton actually did during his time in office! Wow!

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  8. Tidal wave says:

    Government is hampering less fortunate residents that search for food on the open seas.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    ask politicians to take a pay cut? re-direct money to conservation efforts? lol

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  10. Anonymous says:

    Gina and the DOE had too much power, it would have devastated development for the next few decades if they had their way. This is a good thing for Cayman.

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    • Anonymous says:

      1:07 You’re either an idiot or work for a developer!

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    • Anonymous says:

      you’re an idiot. Development would not be stymied by this Law. The Law was written to balance development and the real need for environmental protection.

      But tell me, how do you plan to actually have a tourism product and a caribbean island way of life if you don’t protect the natural environment… oh yeah… you’re going to build a cruise dock that will immediately over-saturate downtown George Town with tourists wandering aimlessly and not buying anything, while being harassed by rude bus drivers in a mad dash to get them onto tours, only for them to be stuck in gridlock (along with the rest of us) and end up only seeing 1 site of note, then get over-charged to sit on a beach, to then decide Cayman isn’t worth it and kill us on trip advisor or some other review site, seriously damaging our tourism product in the process, removing up to let’s say 40% of the wealth from our economy, which in turn would ….. wait for it….. devastate development.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Very true. Take a look at our advertisement on cnn. A woman snorkeling with orchids in the background underwater! Is this the best we can do to show our beaches, our people, our culture and our way of life? Boy we really have lost our island. I compare our commercial to the one where sandals show off their people, beaches in the various islands and we come up with an orchid underwater? How much money did we just wasted?

    • Anonymous says:

      are you Mckeeva?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Where’s the troll button. Gtfoh writing nonsense

  11. Anonymous says:

    Concrete is king. Lets get rid of the annoying mangroves that block a few square feet of land from being developed. Lets rip down all the natural flora and fauna that might remind future generations of their heritage. After all, these developers need more money, the over-lord Dart needs more land to buy and the government need back-handers and stamp duty. Not to mention the guy on the planning board who needs to sell more hardware. Let’s stop pretending to care Alden. I mean, who wants unspoiled, tranquil Caribbean paradise when you can have skyscrapers, buildings, noise and roads.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    People. I’m sorry. The planet will soon red itself of the virus called man. Regardless of what we do here on this little spec, the rest of the world is full speed ahead with environmental degradation. Spare me the bs about us doing “the right thing” or “morally obligated”. We are screwed. We have reached the point of no return, as far as “saving the planet”. It’s over in a few decades. Might as well enjoy the ride.

    Climate change is real. It has been ignored by those in power in the large industrialized countries. So let’s not waste our time.

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    • Anonymous says:

      You need to do your research. the UK and many EU countries are leading the charge on reducing the effects of climate change via seriously going after emissions reductions etc. Yes more needs to be done, but many countries are onboard. The rest will soon get there out of sheer survival instinct. But if those that resist continue to resist with the lazy excuse that so-and-so isn’t doing it yet then yes we’ll all hold hands and drown. We have to start somewhere. and Cayman might be small, but that’s no excuse to not do our part for the benefit of the world’s next generation.

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    • Anonymous says:

      @12:22 The sooner the better.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Alden is a sock-puppet being dictated to by Dart and the other big developers. It’s absolutely tragic what they are doing to the natural environment which is being torn down by the acre to build million dollar condos. This all comes at the expense of future generations. It’s so blatant too. It is really sad and once it’s gone, it’s gone.

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    • Anonymous says:

      It’s not Dart anymore it’s China and their bid to own land close to the U.S which the port development will allow them to do. A certain legal firm close to the water front in town knows all about it

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      • Anonymous says:

        CHEC and the Chinese Government are calling the shots with the new port.

      • Anonymous says:

        I see this as the biggest threat to Cayman. This CHEC connection is hugely troublesome. And as China / US relations further deteriorate, we can only look forward to blacklisting and other such threats. CHEC has been trying to get a foothold in the Caribbean for the longest while and Cayman will be the jurisdiction that makes this happen.

  14. Johnny Rotten says:

    Developers need more time to draft the teeth out of the law till we end up with a lite meaningless version. Our terrestrial environment will be totally depleted in less than 20 years if this malarkey continues.

    Let’s hope the sensible ones prevail and the real law is re-enacted in 2021.

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  15. Anonymous says:

    ‘After government expressed ‘concerns’ that the legislation is hampering development,’ says it all doesn’t it? They’re only interested in how much money can be screwed out of these islands.

    Absolutely dumb! If this goes on what we’ll end up with is an over-priced, over-crowded, over-developed, polluted and probably crime-ridden dump that nobody wants to visit, live in or buy property in.

    The saddest thing about this is that there are plenty of alternative locations in the region who will happily step in when it happens. The only kind of special or exclusive attractions we can offer are that CIG doesn’t give a toss what is built here or where it’s built and is prepared to hand out generous duty waivers to get the business but you can only cash in on that for a finite period. Once the saturation reaches a certain point these factors cease to be incentives to build here and become absolute disincentives.

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  16. Anonymous says:

    Alden McLaughlin and his government cannot be trusted to do the right thing when he is controlled by McKeeva Bush the co-Premier of the Unity Government. They will gut the National Conservation Law passed by the PPM under Wayne Panton and there’s nothing that will be done to stop it. They will remove the sections related to the need for EIA’s.

    The make up of the NCL review committee membership does not bode well for NCL and responsible development in the Caymans.

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