DoE defends conservation law

| 23/07/2019 | 22 Comments
Cayman News Service
Protect Our Future protest to save the mangroves

(CNS): The public is being urged to learn about and understand the National Conservation Law so that they can properly contribute to the current review and make the most of the law itself, which also provides for considerable public input in various areas. Taking to the radio waves last week, officials from the Department of Environment talked about the importance of this legislation, which is designed to protect native species and habitat and to ensure that consideration is given to the natural world before it is built on.

“The National Conservation Law does provide a lot of entry points for the public in the conservation process and we are very pleased to see it is being taken up,” said DoE Director Gina Ebanks-Petrie. She explained that it was public pressure that led to the National Conservation Council considering placing some of Cayman’s land crab species on the species protection list in the law.

John Bothwell, DoE Legislation and Coordination Manager, also stressed the importance of public input on environmental issues. He said that when people take part in the consultation on conservation questions, their comments and opinions go before the decision makers in Cabinet.

However, the NCL is not a full environmental law as it does not deal with issues of clean energy or air pollution. The director explained that Cayman still needs legislative protection in these areas and that the planning law is in desperate need of an overhaul.

The battle to pass the NCL was hard fought and the final legislation was a compromise following years of consultation, drafting and redrafting to satisfy all stakeholders. But although it is relatively benign in its imposition on development, Premier Alden McLaughlin has nevertheless taken against the law, which was passed unanimously in the Legislative Assembly after the hard work by his former ministerial colleague, Wayne Panton.

The premier was once a champion for the environment, even ensuring that it was given a mention in the Cayman Islands 2009 Constitution, obligating government to “adopt reasonable legislative and other measures to protect the heritage and wildlife and the land and sea biodiversity of the Cayman Islands”.

However, the premier is now leading the charge to re-write the law and is chairing the review committee, having described parts of the NCL as “ridiculous” because government had been required to undertake environmental impact assessments for roads.

Ebanks-Petrie explained that the idea behind EIAs is to ensure that the impact on the environment of any development is considered, particularly whether negative impacts can be avoided or mitigated before the work starts rather than finding out after the fact that a critical eco-system or habitat was unnecessarily and irreversibly damaged.

During their rounds on the talk shows, Ebanks-Petrie and Bothwell explained that the conservation law is not about stopping Caymanians from building on their land or fishing for sprats but to ensure that many of the cultural practices and local heritage are preserved into the future.

The population has doubled since the original marine park laws and there has been a massive increase in tourism. While the much-needed restrictions have a knock-on effect on Caymanians and those traditions, in order to ensure that the next generation can still fish or catch crabs, the pressures are such that there must be rules to manage sustainability.

“We understand people feeling pressured …and that their cultural practices are being targeted…but we can’t just be blind to the fact that we, ourselves, are impacting our resources and we need to put measures in place to ensure our children and grandchildren will also have access to traditions and cultural practices,” Ebanks-Petrie added.

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Category: Land Habitat, Science & Nature

Comments (22)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The Cayman Islands needs new management!

  2. Anonymous says:

    we need to take preservation of our marine life very serious. Anyone that dives or fish, is a testament to the reduction of marine life. The government need to implement actions of preservation as soon as possible and stop talking about it. Measures that could assist with the preservation could range from: placing IQ ( individual quotas), size limits, banning of fish pots and spear guns and have seasons for different species of fish. The Lagoon/Mangrove snappers is now congregating for spawning around the island and if not preserved, will surely be wiped out entirely…. the same for the Mutton snappers. The government should support Mr. Panton’s initiative and implement actions as soon as possible. Well done Mr. Panton. (2020)

  3. South Sounder says:

    Well done DoE for finding your voice.

    SHAME on Alden for spearheading this farce of an NCL review to push through god knows what ~ iconic buildings, destructive capital projects, paving paradise, country sold?

    WHO will be the real hero and spearhead a movement to solve the National waste problem in Cayman and enact the Standards in Public Life Law ~ seriously, anyone got the balls?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Frankly, you deserve what is coming to you.

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t know who you are but if you think that you can threaten anybody at the DOE for doing their job in the interests of this country and its people then I suggest you think again. The public WILL rally to their defense and it wont be quiet so put that in your political calculations!

  5. Ron Ebanks says:

    About time DoE did their Job and they should tell them politians to stay out of the work of the DoE .

  6. Johnny Rotten says:

    Our cabinet needs responsible and accountable people that value preservation of Cayman’s natural habitat over its unsustainable development and financial values.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Turn everything to concrete so the CIREBA cartel can sell it.

    • Anonymous says:

      So those that dislike are either against the concrete or pro Cartel. I hope it’s the former as the latter are parasitic.

  8. Anonymous says:

    CNS…Do you have a copy of the National Conservation Law?

    CNS: Yes, it’s in the CNS Library and also on the DoE website here.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Great work, we need more plastic signs in the mangroves.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Keeps them in a job if nothing else.

    • Anonymous says:

      can tell by your comment you are intellectual Bankrupt and think only about today. People like you are a big part of the problem!

      • Anonymous says:

        Suck it up snowflake. I got a good 40 years left in me yet.

        • Anonymous says:

          It’s people like you who won’t be happy until all you see is concrete. There are many places in the world that is covered in concrete, why don’t you go there and leave what’s left of the natural Cayman alone.

          • Anonymous says:

            Get off our boards Donald

          • Al Catraz says:

            Covered in concrete? Have you ever thought about what these islands are made of?

            These limestone formations were made of concrete before people started making concrete.

            It’s concrete all the way down.

            • Anonymous says:

              Well there’s some basalt way doen there.

            • Anonymous says:

              You’ve got a verrrrrrry strange mind process and that’s not a compliment.

            • BeaumontZodecloun says:

              Chemically, parts of the island are somewhat similar to concrete. You know the difference, right? Limestone karst/granodiorite base w/basalt is porous and allows the grown of plants, as evidenced by the woodland bush we see all around us — or those of us that manage to get away from the………

              …….. wait for it…….

              concrete! Which doesn’t grow a damn thing.

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