Daggaro begins work despite appeals

| 12/01/2021 | 123 Comments
Cayman News Service
Filling of the turtle kraal, Cayman Brac

(CNS) UPDATED WITH NATIONAL TRUST COMMENT: The mysterious aviation company, Daggaro, that has been given approval to create a helicopter-pad and related buildings near to the airport on Cayman Brac began work on Tuesday, deeply upsetting local residents owing to the destruction of an important natural heritage site. Even though appeals have been filed against the permission granted at the end of last year, the turtle kraal was filled today and heavy equipment began clearing the site, which conservationists believe may well have killed a number of Sister Islands rock iguanas in the process.

It is not clear why Daggaro moved so quickly, given that appeals have been filed by the National Trust and neighbouring landowners to the approval by the Cayman Brac and Little Cayman Development Control Board late last year.

The destruction of the turtle kraal was one of the serious environmental concerns about the project that activists were hoping to prevent, but this has now happened even though residents on Cayman Brac have yet to hear from local leaders how this project will benefit them.

Numerous questions surround the mysterious project, which was approved by the DCB despite objections and has the backing of Deputy Premier Moses Kirkconnell, who is the MP for the district of Cayman Brac West and Little Cayman. In addition, and unusually for any development, it has been given approval by the governor.

Residents are extremely suspicious and don’t see how this project, which the owners say is a regional air ambulance and search and rescue operation, can be viable. It appears that Daggaro, which has said it will be using military Black Hawk helicopters for these missions, has also been given clearance to use drones, which calls into question what activities will actually be done on Cayman Brac by a company that admits it does do military intelligence work.

Daggaro has posted a list of frequently asked questions on its website outlining what it says the plans are for the US$10 million project and has invited people to ask more.

But regardless of what Daggaro eventually does from this helicopter base, the focus now is the loss of an cultural heritage site and the clearance of an important habitat for the endangered Sister Islands rock iguanas.

Department of Environment officers were present Tuesday as Daggaro was clearing the site. But it is not clear that they had been given much warning and whether they were in fact able to save the iguanas on site at the time, as had been agreed at the time the project was approved.

CNS has submitted questions to the DoE about how many iguanas have been lost and whether any were rescued and we are awaiting a response.

Residents on the Brac who witnessed the filling of the kraal and the clearing of the area on Tuesday told CNS that they had spotted several iguanas at the site when the clearing was going on but did not see the DoE officers manage to take any away.

Martin Keeley, a well known conservation expert, said people are truly upset and disappointed that their concerns are just being ignored. He said that the DCB was scheduled to meet today but the meeting had been cancelled because one member was unwell. As a result, those objecting to this project were unable to raise their concerns or get the minutes from the last meeting when the Daggaro project was approved, which they need for the various appeals.

Following news that work had started the National Trust released a statement saying the members were was saddened to learn of the destruction of the Turtle Krawl which was a piece of Caymanian history beloved by many that has now been lost.

“We recognize there are places like the Turtle Krawl that we are unable to purchase for conservation due to limited funding and the high cost of land purchase,” the Trust said. ” As such, we continue to strongly appeal to the Planning Department and developers to take into consideration our environmental and cultural heritage when accessing development on the three islands. Sustainable development benefits us all when we show a healthy respect and love what makes our Islands unique and to benefit future generations.”

See documents regarding this development in the CNS Library.

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

Comments (123)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Pretty odd, the whole shebang.

  2. Anonymous says:

    If it is not working with China then why is the project being funded by a Chinese hedge fund?

    • Kaya now says:

      Cayman brackers what’s wrong with you people don’t you have relationship eith Mr. Hurry up there. Come on now make I know if ya ,lacking we will ship by stealth drones in a flash

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