Rangers appeal to PACT to save threatened mangroves

| 26/04/2021 | 21 Comments
Widespread clearing of mangroves is causing environmental concerns

(CNS): An adjourned application for a subdivision that threatens the Central Mangrove Wetlands is one of a number of controversial items on the Central Planning Authority’s agenda this week that activists hope the PACT government will be able to pause, in light of the commitment made by the new premier and his team to protect the environment and in particular critical habitat such as mangroves. The Cayman Islands Mangroves Rangers wrote to Premier Wayne Panton last Thursday, drawing his attention to the existential threat being posed to the Central Mangrove Wetlands by the application expected to be heard Wednesday and a number of pending projects threatening the South Sound mangroves.

The application by Lookout Holdings Ltd for a massive subdivision of more than 435 home lots, which was adjourned in March to allow the applicant, the agencies and objectors to return and discuss the application in more detail, poses a number of major issues, but the threat to the wetlands is of particular concern.

Meanwhile, the Rangers have been increasing their activism in recent months as the threat to local mangroves from development grows, despite the adoption of a species protection plan.

The constant clearing of mangroves over the last few years to make way for more and more development was a major concern for many voters on the campaign trail this time around, and there was considerable fear that things would only get worse if a PPM-led coalition formed another government. But with Panton now at the helm, there is a feeling of hope that he can intervene and stop the pending clearing of more of this critical habitat.

In his debut speech as premier Panton said, “The loss of irreplaceable mangroves and possible extinction of marine life is a price too high to pay.” This has resulted in a surge of hope, not just among the dedicated conservation community but by ordinary Caymanians who voted for many of the new members in Panton’s team. Their commitment to protecting the country’s natural resources and the new premier’s own environmental credentials was fundamental in the public support of Panton leading a government of independents.

Given the urgency, the Mangrove Rangers are now pleading with the premier to act immediately to protect the entire Central Mangrove Wetlands for future generations and place a hold on this development and other similar applications until new CPA members are appointed, given the conflict of interest regarding the current board.

The letter from the environmental non-profit organisation, signed by Executive Director Martin Keeley​​ and Associate Director Christopher Luijten, stated: “The CPA board is primarily composed of developers, with the Chairman being the owner of the largest building supply store in the country. This poses obvious conflicts of interest in the face of sustainable development as acknowledged by the auditor general, Sue Winspear, and MLA Chris Saunders in 2019.

“Therefore, the Cayman Islands Mangrove Rangers strongly recommend that a freeze is immediately put on CPA until a diverse array of new members, including scientists, ecologists and DOE representatives, are appointed.”

CNS has contacted Panton and his team, who have said they will get back to us with a response.

The assignment of ministerial responsibilities within the new Cabinet has not yet been announced, though Panton is expected to take on the environment portfolio. However, it is not yet known who will have responsibility for planning or how quickly that new minister will be able to act to meet the promises made by all of the PACT members to address runaway development and whether they can step in quickly enough to prevent approval being granted.

See the CPA agenda and the Mangrove Rangers’ letter in the CNS Library.

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

Comments (21)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    1. Aside from red fore-shore mangroves, (The ones that live right by the edge of the ocean and grow out of the water) There is a little protection offered from the sea by these plants.
    2. In land black mangroves are essentially swamps filled with turbid water and mosquitoes
    3. There is a degree of selfishness against the Caymanian people perpetuated by outsiders who are trying to influence Cayman to protect beyond reasonableness
    4. We need a mangrove buffer And continued development so there is sufficient low-cost housing for future Caymanians, East

  2. Bertie : B says:

    Wetlands are essential for protection from hurricanes . removing them can be fraught with devastating flooding .

    • Anonymous says:

      Tell that to Ivan Bertie.

    • Anonymous says:

      Lack of development will make it impossible to protect the island because there will not be enough people here to save it. A mangove buffer makes sense in certain places but protecting everything guarantees that everything will be lost.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Celtic 4 Life!

  4. JTB says:

    The continuing presence of Mr Thomson as CPA chair is a pretty good indication of whether this government’s statements on protection of the environment can be dismissed as just so much hot air. If they really intend any change, he should have been removed already.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Better call Chip and Dale.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Let them eat mangroves!

  7. Anonymous says:

    For illegal clearing confiscate the contractors equipment.
    That will nip it in the bud.

  8. Anonymous says:

    one man’s ‘wetlands’ is another man’s swamp…

    • Anonymous says:

      Look at the Google earth satellite photos from the aftermath of hurricane Ivan. The mangroves were all gone and the island survived. They grew back overtime and now we don’t want to ever cut them down again until the next devastating storm takes them away

  9. Say it like it is. says:

    It seems Panton must have a problem with the assignment of ministries. He was quick enough to name his Ministers, but it seems there must be some disagreement on who gets what.Not a good start for PACT.

  10. Anonymous says:

    i think the cayman islands mangrove rangers should enlist the help of the the teenage mutant ninja turtles…. mangrove-turtle power!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Clue: Property that has been paid and bought for by a private individual, is not public land, its not protected wetlands, its not land that you get to decide that the owner can and cannot do with.

    Get over your sanctimonious virtue signaling.

    You want wetlands to not be developed? BUY THEM or get your government representative to buy the land back!

    • Anonymous says:

      Also, over CI$ 8,000,000 loss of stamp duty income to govt. plus all the ongoing import duties, resales, employment, etc which will be lost for the sake of preventing a landowner from legally developing his property.

    • Anonymous says:

      Clue. No-one, landowners included, has an unfettered right to anything they want. If sawing off the branch you are sitting on only affected you I’d be happy to help you. Sadly, destroying protective mangroves hurts all of us.

      • Anonymous says:

        This isn’t a case of “unfettered” wish.
        This is following the laws of permissible development. You’ve chosen the wrong development for your rant.

    • anonymous says:

      Exactly. This is a democracy and if I sell a piece of land, it is no longer mine. I cannot tell the buyer what he or she should do with it. Other people have no say in the outcome.
      I refuse to let people with no education tell me what to do. If this continues, then all of the people dependent on Government for a hand out, will see their allotments decrease due to lack of funds. The NIMBY’s certainly do not want other people near their little pieces of paradise.
      Want to stop development, then buy the land yourselves.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Not to mention, adding all this unchecked housing capacity has a negative effect on Caymanian home equity…just sayin.

    • Anonymous says:

      On the one hand you complain houses are too expensive for the average Caymanian, now you decry what you fear will bring down house prices…smh.

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