NCC and DoE urge move to green economy

| 16/06/2020 | 60 Comments
Cayman News Service
Monday morning traffic jam (file photo)

(CNS): As Cayman emerges from the social and economic shutdown in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, local environmental experts are urging government to make it a “truly sustainable economic recovery” and use this opportunity to reset. Cayman needs to turn away from traffic-gridlock, over development and mass tourism towards climate-sensitive and resilient systems, according to a new paper by the National Conservation Council and the Department of Environment.

From rethinking cruise tourism to installing solar panels island-wide, it is time to seize the moment the DoE and the NCC say in the joint report. The document sets out several strategies and ideas government should now pursue as it begins to manage the reopening of the local economy.

“Traffic gridlock, biodiversity loss, and habitat fragmentation were all among the consequences of unbridled growth before COVID-19,” the environmental officials write in the document, Seizing the Moment to Transition to a Greener Economy.

Outlining the massive loss of wetlands and mangroves and the clearance of biodiverse primary forests and shrublands that placed several species of endemic plants and animals under threat, the document highlights the need to expand the marine parks and create a comprehensive development plan for the three Cayman Islands, as the unique biodiversity, cultural heritage and identity of Cayman remains threatened.

“Sustained rapid growth is therefore already having an appreciable impact on the quality of life that we all desire,” the paper states.

Pointing out the need for Cayman to address its own contribution to climate change, especially given the threat that rising sea levels pose to the country’s very existence, the review outlines eight major areas, from energy use to tourism, where Cayman can do things differently and create new opportunities.

“In order to assist with the islands’ economic recovery in the short-term and transition to a greener, more sustainable economy, we believe that changes must be made in eight key sectors,” the DoE and NCC say in the report.

“The intention underpinning these recommendations is to highlight opportunities for potential stimulation of employment leading to large ‘learning curve’ effects, which will generate longer term benefits.”

The document urges independence and diversification when it comes to the energy we use as Cayman is still almost entirely dependent on imported oil. Calling for a massive solar panel installation initiative and for government to negotiate an expansion of CUC’s CORE programme, the authors say that established green jobs are under threat from the limits now imposed on CORE.

The experts urge government to re-invent a high quality, truly sustainable tourism product that moves away from cruise tourism.

“We have a window of opportunity to make changes which did not seem possible when our tourism industry experienced very little down-time, changes which help us to emerge stronger than ever, with a larger and more diverse set of employment opportunities for Caymanians,” the report states.

“To facilitate the diversification of Cayman’s tourism offering away from mass cruise tourism, Cayman can direct its energy to upmarket tourism with patrons offered safe and enjoyable islands shielded from COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.

“Our new tourism product can focus on our natural advantages of safety, clean seas and coastlines with expanded biodiversity activities showcased by trained and certified guides on the three islands,” the DoE and NCC recommend.

The report also talks about the need for building subsidies to encourage measures to improve energy efficiency and loans to install alternative energy measures. Transport is another key area of much needed reform that is outlined in the document.

“No one is looking forward to sitting in stand-still traffic again,” the authors of the paper state. “The changes we have experienced under the Shelter-in-Place restrictions can be leveraged into long lasting change… Our roads can be repurposed, retrofitted and redesigned to make our journeys quicker and more pleasant as well as reduce greenhouse gases and air pollution emissions.”

Other recommendations include accelerating the complete streets initiative, adopting measures to reduce road demand via staggered working hours and home-working policies, as well as cutting more duty and licence fees on electric tour and public buses, scooters, bicycles and other low-emission vehicles.

The NCC and DoE also urge government to reduce environmental degradation with a plan for nature that invests in the protection, restoration and sustainable management of biodiversity, and repositions nature at the heart of sustainable development.

They also recommend more work on tackling invasive species and pests, such as the feral cats and the threat of imported flora.

The comprehensive report points to the need for Cayman to realise its true agricultural potential and increase domestic output, as well as to reconnect people to their communities and launch a circular economy to reduce waste and reuse and repair much of what we throw away. This will create new jobs and business opportunities and significantly reduce imports.

At odds with this detailed document that spells out fundamental changes for a much more sustainable future for Cayman, is government’s stated aim to put development and construction at the heart of the economic recovery.

When Finance Minister Roy McTaggart appeared at a COVID-19 briefing last month to outline the government’s overall economic recovery plans, there was no mention at all of a greener economy.

McTaggart said there was nothing in the government plan that will help ‘green’ the local economy or encourage environmentally friendly projects through special inducements.

See the paper in the CNS Library


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Category: development, Land Habitat, Local News, Science & Nature

Comments (60)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The Premier today showed his true colours. At the CIG press briefing it became quite clear that he doesn’t give a flying f@£k about the environment or green issues.
    Prepare for Cayman to become an even greater concrete jungle polluting island.
    So short sighted you have just kissed goodbye in tourism, maybe not now but in ten years you will have nothing

  2. Sucka Free Cayman says:

    Cutting this population down to a manageable size is and should be first order of any environmental policy to reduce consumption and destruction of the environment by these unscrupulous local and foreign developers and real estate flakes will never hear of it and will always corrupt their political and senior government mouthpieces to double speak and deceive and encourage and handout citizenship rights to those dependent of this very reckless overdevelopment policy of our little islands . Which has smothered, stifled and obstructed and defeated any type of environmental programs put forward. This covid 19 pandemic has fortunately highlighted a number very disturbing Issues which related to this very situation and their utter scorn, contempt and disregard for Cayman and it’s people who clearly want a change now. Stop listening to their very deceptive propaganda Cayman we are no longer the benefactors of this rubbish immigration and development policies.We are now however suffering the consequences of their anti environment destructive development decisions.

    • Anonymous says:

      Think Japan. An island country. Cutting population to a manageable size has never crossed Japanese minds.

      • Anonymous says:

        Typical archaic, suppressive response to anyone who suggest anything remotely beneficial to the Cayman islands that does not fit into the agenda. Compared to here, compared to there. Why the dissenters never leave and reside in these places that “has it altogether ?” You need an upgrade, your ideology is outdated bro..

      • Anonymous says:

        Think Japan, with a decreasing ‘native’ population (demographic shifts). – Your example may not be what you think it is.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Break up the CUC monopoly.
    Split generation from distribution.
    Bring in competition on both.
    NET METERING NOW – No “ifs” “ands” or “buts”.
    No more one-sided 25 year CIG/CUC deals and the like.

  4. Anonymous says:

    SOME of what DOE/NCC suggested is worth heeding. But not the part where they are pandering to the solar cell peddlers with their recommendation “Calling for a massive solar panel installation initiative and for government to negotiate an expansion of CUC’s CORE programme, the authors say that established green jobs are under threat from the limits now imposed on CORE.”

    Don’t you realize electricity consumers would then be saddled with a lasting legacy of high per-kWh charges if the CORE deal were to continue to be replicated across an even higher percentage of Cayman’s electricity generation capacity? Do you realize what is the per-kWh locked-in-for-many-years cost of the CORE program?

    DOE/NCC people look to you for trusted advice. So, please do the math before you blindly advocate for benefiting the solar vendors’ pockets at the expense of every electricity consumer in Grand Cayman, any more than has already been done. Please!

  5. Yeah Right says:

    First you would need to stop all the greedy bussiness owners, Gov’t Members included, from hiring three expats for the price of one Caymanian. That will ease the amount of vehicles on island.

    You would also need silence all the cancel culture people that say Caymanians are lazy….

    Then you would need to weed out the sham marriages for money which allows expats to bring their whole tribe here from foreign places as immediate family.

    But alas it’s too much to expect…. too many greedy idiots…..

    Just watch the replies……..and cue…….

  6. Anonymous says:

    That will never happen, never!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Governments are the greatest criminals in the world…and they do not tolerate competition.

  8. Green is definitely not available to the masses says:

    There will never be an incentive to switch to green alternatives while CIG (godfather) panders to the monopoly energy provider and fossil fuel providers via it’s fake regulator OfReg (capo).
    This cartel will never allow CUC’s market share to be diminished by competition. The less affluent will always be a slave to fossil fuels and that’s just how our successive leaders want to keep it. We’ve become dependent on fossil fuels as if it were a powerful narcotic. Only if you have the money can you begin to ween yourself off of it, and even then you have to pay CUC for the privilege of having it.

    • Anonymous says:

      You are correct, Mr. Green! No “leader” (politician) is interested in their “peasants” (also known as citizens, underlings, or suckers). It’s been that way for hundreds of years………. and it isn’t going to change as long as the peasants won’t make the necessary changes!

      • Anonymous says:

        The time has come for a Green Party led by Wayne Panton and the younger generation of Caymanians. The current group of old boys and girls have zero vision and are incapable of comprehending and seizing the transition to a greener economy.

        We must / must find a way to distinguish ourselves from low end tourism places like Jamaica, Cuba and Dominican Republic. The green angle can work and be high end tourism but this will require political will and creative thinking.

  9. Anonymous says:

    We have a great tool in our import duty to drive sustainability and environmental policies. There should be no duty on electric cars, lower duty on items that come in entirely biodegradable packaging etc. They also need to lower the installation cost of solar panels.

    • Anonymous says:

      and reduce the duty (37%) on motorbikes

      • Anonymous says:

        If electric…, or scooters. The last thing we should encourage are more motorbikes.

        • Anonymous says:

          Your comment seems to be disposed with prejudged influence, I may very well be wrong, perhaps you could further explain.

        • Anonymous says:

          I’ve a motorbike. It’s faster then a deathtrap 50cc scooter, and not far off the economy of a 125cc scooter. It has the same footprint of a scooter on the road, but hey, you carry on driving your car in a 5mph car park.

          37% duty is ridiculous.

    • Anonymous says:

      It starts with public transit. At least people will have the option to not drive to work. Then would come proper emission testing. Then a programme to get scrapped cars/unwanted cars off the island. Then a proper filter for the incinerator at the dump. Then less cruise ships in port so they aren’t polluting the entire island. Then a ban on leaf blowers (these are one of the worst polluters because we have so many, there are battery powered ones). Then proper air and water testing. Then trying to reduce the amount of arsenic in our drinking water. The list goes on…we got a ways to go.

    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly CIG needs to do more. Right now a local company is advertising two brand new truck models for sale. The polluting diesel version is for $24995, the 100% Electric model is $36995. Herein lies the problem….

      • Anonymous says:

        And both run on diesel in the end.

        • Anonymous says:

          Your probably head troll, but explain how a 100% electric vehicle will ultimately run on diesel in the end, when plugging into the grid is not the only way to charge such vehicles. In fact electricity doesn’t care how it is generated, whether, from a fossil fuel source, or a renewable energy source. But you knew that already from engineering school right… People with that type of thinking in the community is why places like the Cayman islands will be among the first casualties of global warming/unsustainable practices in the future.

          • Anonymous says:

            And how many people will buy (afford) the requisite 40-60 panel array to charge their solar truck and thereby provide a viable market for it?

        • Anonymous says:

          The world has known for decades that power plants, like CUC, for all their pollution, are still more efficient than car engines for pollution per gallon. So its better to charge your electric car from CUC than put fuel in you car. – But we’re still having these arguments with people who have decided they don’t want electric cars because they’re not macho enough.

    • Anonymous says:

      Agreed. I got a quote to install solar panels on my house and the cost was staggering.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Yes lets recover them mangros.

    • No more slaps on the wrist and after the fact permission says:

      The developers that destroyed mangroves need to be held to task and be made pay into a native tree and mangrove replanting fund. They need to pay proportionally for every acre they’ve laid waste to illegally. Say $50k/acre or higher. This fund also needs to be closely monitored by DoE, NCC and Auditor General’s office and info on replanting activities made available to the public.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I feel sorry for the people who have lost their jobs but the quality of life sure has improved.

    • Anonymous says:

      Maybe YOUR quality of life sure has improved. But what about the quality of life of those (previously) employed in the Cruise tourism industry? Do you care about them? Do you see see the Stayover tourism industry rushing out to hire them?

  12. Anon says:

    Environmental concerns are a luxury that can only be afforded if the economy is good. If you don’t believe me just take a trip to the poorer spots in the Caribbean and check out any open market. Be sure to bring a scented hanky.

  13. Anonymous says:

    We need a rail system island wide. Get rid of crazy bus drivers and the taxi mafia will break up and start competing for fares with a lower price.

    Solar panels need to be easier to acquire. Get rid of cuc monopoly.

    People whom have had no problem working from home should be able to continue to do so, even if it’s for morning and afternoon to help ease traffic congestion.

    • Anonymous says:

      And get rid of the OfReg Mafioso

    • Anonymous says:

      7:55 Or a tram system particularly from George town and up the 7-mile stretch. I think trams are slightly greener and could run on solar. It would be good for tourism as well to have a hop on hop off system!

    • Anonymous says:

      Ah everybody knows everything. Years ago before all of the work permit holders came .People who drove busses were mostly Caymanians. We offered the Government a plan 30 years ago to solve what we saw was problems coming. We said you need to subsidies each bus driver with $700 per week for 7 days, eight hours per day. They had to pay for fuel, insurance, maintainability, etc. What would of happened is it would give Government time for a year or two to buy their own busses. They could then offer bus passes, discount passes for tourists and free elderly. Proper bus stops off the street to pickup people only at bus stops.
      They didn’t op to do the idea and so we picked up the operation of a disorganized system which includes racing on the street and pickup from anywhere in Jamaica.
      What would have meant for today would have been multi millions of dollars save from road repairs and widening of roads proper safety for customers to picked up off the road, no holding up of traffic etc. Years ago bus stops were donated from service club.

    • Anonymous says:

      @ 7.55 But…but..but…tink of all dem wotes!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Bike lanes and sharrows…where are they Cayman? We paid for them already as part of the 2015-2020 NRA Plan! Time to get more aggressive with this “government” that has grown content to neglect indelible responsibilities and promises, still hoping nobody will remember!

    • Anonymous says:

      Most bike lanes are a waste of time with all the debris, rocks, trash and wire from worn car tyres making it more treacherous and in some cases more dangerous with the poor state of repair than the shoulder of the car lane. All great in theory but useless in practicality unless a commitment of upkeep applied.

      • Anonymous says:

        not to mention the danger of riding a bike here, given the atrocious driving habits of so many

        • sheesh says:

          LOL, while there are definitely atrocious driving habits methinks you should take off your damn blinders to the atrocious riding habits of so many of the bikers who think it is somehow good or okay or smart or acceptable to ride their bicycles damn near in the middle of the road. Get a clue. Anyone has the right to ride a bike and it should be encouraged but like so many other things, you all need to stop being eedjits who think it is okay to create a roadway hazard by riding like this. This is to say nothing of the retard joggers and walkers who do the same thing as they make snide remarks and scowl at all drivers who are trying to get from point a to b and have to navigate around said pompous, self entitled nimrods. These are the same people who do not care that they are creating an impassable situation for motorists. Like I said, get a clue. You may now commence with your ignorant comments.

          • Anonymous says:

            I’ll put my hand up anytime you’re asking for ‘self entitled nimrods’ – the truth is cyclists have just as much right to the road as motorists and I’ll also gladly hold the traffic up (but not disrespectfully) whenever ‘methinks’ there’s a ‘blinkered eedjit’ about to cut me up and run me off the road. The amount of time’s during hard curfew with an open road ‘eedjit’ drivers found it necessary to honk angrily and run me through potholes when they could easily bridge the broken white line and overtaken with ease, – ‘eedjit’ mentality & ‘retard’ courtesy.

  15. Paradise lost says:

    Alden McLaughlin Joey Hew Tara Rivers Dwayne Seymour Juliana O’Connor-Connolly Moses Kirkconnell and the rest of the UNITY government led by the PPM are void of solutions. The environment does not matter to them. If changes are not made we are doomed. Cayman should accept its fate and formally turn the country over to Dart that controls the lot of them and cease pretending that MLA’s are working for the greater good.

    • Anonymous says:

      Need for someone in Cabinet who cares about the environment and Is bright enough and prepared to push environmental matters politically.

      Time for Wayne Panton to consider running again next year.

      • Anonymous says:

        Wayne is ppm and will always be

      • Anonymous says:

        He’s a minority in our sea of slack and corruptible, would be MLAs. I hope he does run next year and the voting people of Cayman realise he is our salvation in paving the way for a cleaner, environmentally responsible future. However it’s very difficult for a majority of voters to spot a gem floating in a cesspool and many others that vote on the basis of favour and short term gain.

    • Anonymous says:

      Paradise, the only thing wrong with your suggestion is that Mr Dart cannot be trusted! Mr. Dart works for Mr. Dart!

  16. Anonymous says:

    “ shielded from COVID-19 and other infectious diseases” ???? What kind of utopia this is? Did I miss your departure from planet Earth?

    Sadly, no fundamental changes would erase The Dump from the face of Grand Cayman. It is The landmark of your government‘ failure and it is here to stay, for many decades. You can decorate it many different ways though and try to sell an “environmentally pristine “island to the duped visitors.

    Fundamental changes start with fundamentally different mindsets.

    • Anonymous says:

      Recycling to reduce waste going to landfill would be a good start on all 3 islands.

      • Anonymous says:

        But The Dump is here to stay! Unless you hire Japanese to setup and teach you how to recycle ♻️ it is all empty talk. But The Dump is still here to stay, unless you hire Japanese to mine it and build/ run proper incinerator. Anything less is just blah blah blah blah. After the Dump is gone and proper recycling and waste management runs like well oiled machine, you can make next step to “pristine environment”.

        • Anonymous says:

          The Dump will be here until the next Hurricane Ivan. After that one hits there will be no choice. A ticking time bomb.

        • Anonymous says:

          Who the hell needs to go to the Japanese? Americans and Canadians have been doing incinerators and recycling effectively for the past 2 decades. This is not nuclear physics or putting a man on the moon.

          Simply not that difficult. Just requires a political will.

          • Anonymous says:

            So naive. Keep dreaming bro’. This is the Cayman Islands.

          • Anonymous says:

            Japan is an island country that faced the same problems Cayman is facing. Lack of space to be exact. Their emissions levels are zero. No americans or canadians can reach that level of pollution control.

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