Planning not the first port of call for new minister

| 10/05/2021 | 50 Comments
  • Cayman News Service
  • Cayman News Service
  • Cayman News Service

(CNS): The new planning minister, Jay Ebanks, began touring the various departments under his area of responsibility last week, according to a release from GIS, but the new Cabinet member and representative for North Side did not include the planning department in his first round of visits. The minister now responsible for addressing runaway development, which is severely impacting the environment, blocking access to much of the coastline and placing the islands in further danger from climate change, has not yet made any comment about this critical area of his portfolio.

Many in the community are hoping that Premier Wayne Panton, who has taken on the Ministry of Sustainability and Climate Resiliency, can reverse the current trend, and are calling for the entire Central Planning Authority to be replaced, given that the current line-up is dominated by people from the construction and development sector and is chaired by the largest hardware retailer on the island.

When asked by CNS at last week’s press conference about possible changes to the make-up of the CPA, Panton said that the new Cabinet had not yet discussed the membership of public boards but he has told them that this is something they need to look at. They also have look at various pieces of legislation to see what changes can be made, he said.

The previous administration’s attempt at redrafting of the national development plan had resulted in PlanCayman, but that project has been designed to appeal to developers rather than address the access, climate and environment concerns of the community. When asked by CNS about whether there will be a review of PlanCayman, the premier said that Cabinet had not yet had a chance to discuss this either but would do so in the next couple of weeks.

The urgency regarding these issues was underscored this week by the new CPA meeting agenda, where once again turtle nesting habitat, untouched coastline and mangroves are under threat from ill-conceived development proposals.

On his first tour of departments in his Ministry of Planning, Agriculture, Housing, and Infrastructure (PAHI), Ebanks, who worked in construction before winning the North Side seat last month, visited the Public Works Department, the Department of Vehicle and Equipment Services, Facilities Management, the Department of Agriculture, the National Roads Authority, the Department of Vehicle and Drivers’ Licensing and the National Housing Development Trust.

“My first impression is that this is a very active ministry that touches many aspect of our daily lives,” Ebanks said in the release. “The staff is very hardworking and motivated to deliver on government’s policies and programmes.”

Ebanks was accompanied by Isaac Rankine, who has been appointed his parliamentary secretary, and Chief Officer Alan Jones, who has retained his post in the planning ministry.

Watch the premier answer questions about the CPA and PlanCayman on CIGTV below:


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Category: development, Local News, Politics

Comments (50)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Those of us who live in the real world don’t expect overnight changes. The reality is that development is a significant part of the local economy, which employs a large part if the population directly and indirectly.
    Making changes without careful consideration would result in increased unemployment, and hardship for many. From the workers who would find themselves unemployed to the people they rent accommodations and purchase goods and services from.
    Rash decisions would create more problems than it would solve. Give the new Government time to assess and find solutions.
    There are no easy answers!

    • Anonymous says:

      When is your application due for hearing by CPA?

      • Anonymous says:

        Don’t have one. But please, don’t let facts get in the way if your conspiracy theories

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m all for development but it has to be done in a sustainable manner taking into consideration the surrounding environment (both built and natural) and the impact of the development on the infrastructure.

      It appears that for the last several years they haven’t given a damn about anything and just rubber stamped everything that came across their desk regardless.

      FIN is the best example and symptomatic of the terrible decisions made by the conflicted CPA. It is of direct benefit to members to set these precedents so that they can do the same for themselves / their friends at a later date.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank God for import duties for development materials currently injecting funds into our economy.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well-written, Mr. (or Mrs.) Troll………. but the CPA will not change without changing the crew. You know it and I know it!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I think we are being ran by some under educated, unqualified and frankly unworthy individuals! This is the worst make up of Government that this country has ever seen and the fact of the matter is that the only 3 that ‘qualify’ should be highly concerned and ashamed that this is what we have to resort to! That is my opinion only!

    • Eliza Harford says:

      Jay Ebanks is a bright, capable, thoroughly decent individual. Please don’t perpetuate the myth that only people who’ve gone to university etc are “educated”. We’ve seen plenty of “educated” idiots in Govt. Think Dr. Frank McField … And remember that until very recently, v few Caymanians could afford to go to college abroad.

      • Anonymous says:

        Absolutely – just look at Mac – he has the kind of education that has served him very well – he has become rich and he even gets to call himself ‘doctor’ now to prove it. Jay could not have a better role model

      • Anonymous says:

        Commendable that you come to praise Jay, regrettable that you bury Frank.

        • Anonymous says:

          I’m not running anybody down! Just calling a spade and spade. I agree that “university education” doesn’t always make one able to do the job but it should none the less be a prerequisite for such a role! Not even a planner can get hired without the minimal necessary qualifications! Make a carpenter try to fly a 747 see how far it will get!

      • D. Truth says:

        You do not need to have a college degree to be honest.

        • Anonymous says:

          WELL FOR SURE you don’t need a college education to be DISHONEST. Let’s not go there!
          So in perspective, would a corporation/company hire a person to run a Larger (in comparison) organization without:
          1- MANY YEARS WORKING EXPERIENCE
          2- QUALIFICATIONS
          ???
          So basically your saying the only job in the Cayman islands that does not require the above is a MOP/ GOV MINISTER!
          MAC came from another era! We are in the 2000’s now people!

    • Anonymous says:

      Sounds like an ex-politician. Sit down and kibber your mouth, you had your chance.

  3. Anonymous says:

    CPA needs cleared out immediately. Conflicts and vested interests everywhere.

  4. JTB says:

    The fact that AL Thompson is still in the CPA chair tells you all you need to know about the sincerity of this new government.

  5. Anonymous says:

    He has Archie Whittaker advising him…so we’ll be ok right? Lol

  6. Anonymous says:

    OMG! North Side voters, what have you unleashed upon us?

    What a mess!!

  7. Anonymous says:

    I know he ended up at Public Works but he was looking for Planning at the time. Give the guy a break.

  8. The fact that citizens are not being consulted by the Cayman Islands Government, and developers are being given preferential treatment, could very well be deemed an abuse of Human Rights.

    Particularly given the fact this may well lead to a greater toll on these islands and its inhabitants by climate change, sea level rise and future hurricanes.

  9. Anonymous says:

    4:08 The train has left the station!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Minister Ebanks what a joke. We’re screwed.

  11. Anonymous says:

    What a bunch! Good luck. Hope Panton can control these amateurs.

  12. Anonymous says:

    The CPA members have to work within the law. It’s the law that needs amending. EG: no new developements have adequate parking except Darts.

    • Anonymous says:

      Dear 7:26 pm, I would rather see new faces in CPA. If the laws continue to be ignored , there will be no change.

    • Anonymous says:

      Bullhockey! It seems the CPA members have repeatedly ignored the law in order to enrich themselves!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Fix our damn traffic

  14. Anonymous says:

    It is critical that the CPA members be changed. These developer influenced individuals have for years been making decisions that favor themselves not the people. Variances to regulations should be the exception not the norm!

    • Anonymous says:

      Throw in an unqualified person that is also a “developer” as Minister…..what a mess.

  15. Anonymous says:

    My guess is that Mr. Panton needs to do much more than “look at it” surely he must be aware of the conflict of interest that has been going there for many years. As for the Minister visiting the planning department- one would have expected that to be his first call. Waiting with bated breath!

  16. Wait for it, but don't hold your breath says:

    Hopefully he doesn’t pull a Jon Jon and admit in a month’s time he knows nothing about planning and doesn’t care.

    • Anonymous says:

      His ego won’t allow him to admit that. It’s the case but you won’t hear him say it.

    • Anonymous says:

      If he knows that he knows not, that’s not too bad. It’s all the PACT members who know not that they know not that’s bothering me. Blame the PPM for everything might be enough to get you elected, but that’s no help when it comes time to govern.

  17. B. Smith says:

    Tend to agree. No way will Mr. Panton be able to manage this lot…fingers crossed for a positive outcome

    • Anonymous says:

      Sheeeh, looks like he is having a hard time managing himself. I give this pact six months before falling on their faces. Minister of Planning et al, Minister of health et al , Minister of tourism. Hope they realise the lucky charm that got them in won’t be able to keep them there. I realise a university education isn’t part of the pact requirement but it would have come in handy. They might cut it while pandering to the uneducated on island but God help them when they have to travel to represent us overseas, as my father used to say , they won’t know their ass from their elbow.

  18. In Despair says:

    Mr Ebanks need to initiate a public enquiry into how Fin Development circumvented the law and built a concrete monstrosity, with less landscaping than any other condo development in Grand Cayman (Brac excluded as I have no been there). He needs to make a personal inspection of the site, to see how bad it is and compare it to the two condo developments either side of it which are in complete contrast with their tasteful and generous landscaping and ironshore left in place.. There is also the beautiful villa development put up by Hugh Hart, accross from Pure Art where the landscaping is an art form. Fin’s sole objective has been to cram as much rentable space into the site as possible which also meant that during construction (which has been going on for well over 3 years and is still not finished), South Church St has been used as part of the constuction site with traffic held up almost every day. Even the iron shore has been ripped up to put in a pool and a “beach”.Mr Ebanks needs to identify who approved this project and hold them accountable in accordance with the law.

    • Anonymous says:

      After the fact. Please nothing will get done. Like the ole people would say”…it too dam late now mamma…”

    • Anonymous says:

      Down the road, Tide’s looks amazing though…..right?

      • Anonymous says:

        A lovely office block by the sea! With scaffolding that’s been up on one side for about a year due to faulty windows.

        • Anonymous says:

          When the island reopens there will be a lot of departing tourists going to Tides first thing in the morning thinking it is the airport terminal. What a POS.

      • Anonymous says:

        Its past time to give up the Duties concessions to these foreign big projects. Cayman have enough big concrete buildings , so if they want to come here to invest and make millions , then they will have to
        Pay the duties in full.

    • Andrea Calderon says:

      Need to tear fin down snd let them start over within the correct setbacks. Or GOVT seize it for NAU homeless. It’s a miscarriage of every type of justice!

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, I would like to know who okayed all this. He, or they, should be put in prison. Does anyone else feel this way?

  19. Anonymous says:

    This ministry will be an ever bigger mess by the end of this 4 years.

    • Anonymous says:

      That is IF he can hold on 4 years. Pretty sad state we are in with him at the helm of planning and development.

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