National Trust seeks cash to preserve built heritage

| 14/01/2022 | 34 Comments
Cayman News Service
Eldemire House on Cayman Brac

(CNS): The National Trust for the Cayman Islands (NTCI) has formally launched the Historic Preservation Fund and is calling on the community for donations to directly support the preservation, protection and promotion of built heritage throughout the country. The Trust’s mandate is to protect historic buildings of cultural significance as well as the natural habitat.

With no preservation laws in Cayman or grade listings, hundreds of traditional homes and buildings remain under threat, and the Trust needs help to acquire these properties and maintain the ones it already owns.

“There has always been a need for specific funding to protect the historic structures from our past, which in many instances require a substantial amount of maintenance and care,” said Annick Jackman, the NTCI’s executive director.

Part of the NTCI’s Historic Programme involves documenting the buildings from the past that have a special significance due to distinguishing characteristics, such as the material used in their construction, the persons who built them, the time at which they were constructed or events that took place in the location.

“Our Historic Programme offers an educational component through visiting schools, preparing educational materials, and providing tours to our historic properties, as well as by ensuring the preservation of historical sites that are safeguarded by the National Trust,” she said.

“It is of the greatest importance that efforts are made to reach out to the public for assistance at this time, as Cayman’s culture and heritage have never been so at risk by the rapid pace of development and a deficit of general knowledge around the area of Cayman built heritage.”

Currently, there are twelve historic sites across the three islands on the National Trust’s inventory which require continuous maintenance, advocacy, oversight, research and data collection, as well as fundraising.

But many more traditional properties that are not owned or managed by the National Trust need protection, and the newly launched Historic Preservation Fund is designed to give the non-profit organisation a way to engage people interested in donating to this specific area separate from the well-known land fund.

The online Heritage Register is a record of the built heritage that remains and is an important resource for tracking the level of change to Cayman’s historic built landscape. NTCI Chairman Olson Anderson said the new fund was a fantastic way to get the community actively involved in preserving their heritage and culture.

“It offers people a practical way to make a difference in the community and an opportunity to contribute to the Islands in a way that will have lasting results,” he said.

The issue over the lack of legal national protections for historic buildings hit the headlines recently as a result of the threat to a 100-year-old property that is currently in the way of a proposed supermarket expansion in West Bay.

A planning application by Foster’s to expand its district store is currently stalled as the fate of the building remains under discussion. The company has said it is willing to fund the relocation of the house to Frank Sound, where a historic buildings enthusiast wants to restore it. But planning has asked the landowners to find a way to accommodate the house on the current site.

For more information on how to contribute to the Historic Preservation Fund, email

Or donate online here, specifying in your online donation “Historic Preservation Fund”.

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Comments (34)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I’m a long time national trust member and I would prefer they stick to preserving the natural environment and stay out of the “built heritage” game.

    • Big Bobo In West Bay says:

      Think we have all our priorities wrong. We are rapidly losing Seven Mile Beach and our environment and we are preoccupied with “built heritage”.

      If we lose Seven Mile Beach it will be our greatest loss for everyone on island.

      • Anonymous says:

        The beach would not be “lost” if sound seafront project development policies were followed and the beach was not impeded in its natural advance and retreat by structures much too close to the shoreline. I fully agree that if we continue to allow the rape of the natural environment, all the old houses in the world cannot make up for the loss. The natural environment is the most important aspect of our heritage. I was a very active member of the Trust in its infancy. We actively pushed for protection of the natural environment back then. I am most distressed that the National Trust is all but mute on the pillaging of our islands. And I am especially distressed that the pillaging is now taking place in the Sister Islands. Private residential developers are raping the land and beach ridge on Cayman Brac, that being the subject of recent articles and comments here on CNS. The Trust should be outraged and pushing for better enforcement and the prosecution of the offenders. However, I understand that there is a possibility that at least one of the alleged offenders involved in recent illegal clearing of land is or has been a member of the National Trust on Cayman Brac. If so, it is doubtful the Trust will be calling for the prosecution of one of their own. I hope they prove me wrong, but I will not hold my breath waiting for them to come to the defense of the environment in these cases. It seems that the Trust do not give a tinker’s crap about land unless it has certain favoured species nesting on it. Unless and until the Trust starts doing more to protect all of the natural environment rather than just booby nests and turtle kraals, I will not be giving them one brass farthing more in contributions. I urge my fellow Caymanians to follow suit.

  2. Truth says:

    Caymanian culture had its time and is unsustainable in the present. Get out of the way and let it pass. Money for nothing has no future.

    • ANON says:

      Your ignorance and prejudice is impressive.

      Aircraft leave here everyday, you should book a one way out of here.

      • Hubert says:

        Seven Mile Beach is not sustainable as a beach if current trends continue on the beach. Walked the beach last week and was shocked how fast we are losing our beach.

  3. Anonymous says:

    We paid the gov staff $1,500,000 today

    • Anon says:

      National Trust is NOT Government.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ok time to retire this comment. We get it. And it’s not even relevant to the story.

      • Anonymous says:

        Trust needs help to acquire these properties and maintain the ones it already owns.

        “There has always been a need for specific funding to protect the historic structures from our past, which in many instances require a substantial amount of maintenance and care,” said Annick Jackman, the NTCI’s executive director.

  4. Old Boy says:

    The NT should visit and verify this register.
    I know for a fact that some of these structures are now longer standing.

    • Anonymous says:

      I concur. This government does not have a clue about preservation! Cayman has gone 30 years backward since the last election. They sure know how to pave though! As grandpa used to say- don’t know their A$$ from a hole in the ground.

  5. West Bay Real Queen says:

    Had to laugh at the recent national museum board appointments what a real joke just as useful as the Minister Incharge! This place is finito Cayman get use to it.

    • Anon. says:

      This is an article about the National Trust not the National Museum. Two different organizations ….but I agree with you.

  6. Big $$$ game says:

    Tax the developers for destroying our precious environment daily and charge for infrastructure fee!

    • Anonymous says:

      You know there is literally an infrastructure fee for development right?

    • Anon. says:

      This is an article about built heritage. Stop dragging the natural heritage/environment into the story.

      This has been a long standing issue with the Trust. The Environment has always the lion’s share.

      Glad to see…finally… an article about heritage homes.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank the developers for bringing employment and revenue to government .

  7. Anonymous says:

    Why not use some of the money that’s paid to OfReg employees and highly paid board members for doing nothing

  8. Anonymous says:

    So, it took Foster’s buying an old house in WB to get the Trust to act?!

    • Smile and the World... says:

      No, Woody Foster was the symptom, not the cause. What ‘spurred’ the Chairman and the Director of the Trust to set up a dedicated rescue fund, was internal politics.

      The Trust has been active in ongoing recognition of and attempts to rescue where financially viable, buildings of historical significance for many years now, but apart from Bodden Town’s Mission House (a museum which need constant subsidy dripfeeding) cannot afford to carry out any meaningful building rescue without access to substantial funding or opportunities for re-use or re-purposing (Planning and Permit constraints make that extremely difficult).

      Another problem is that the Trust is exposed to a self-imposed commitment to acquire as much environmentally-sensitive tracts of land as it can, particularly in the Central Mangrove Wetlands and around the Mastic Trail using funds raised for this purpose in competition with its overall fundraising mission (historic and environmental education, community outreach etc) which is already extremely constrained.

  9. Anonymous says:

    $17 a second is spent on gov wages.

    • neverwannabeacivilservant says:

      11.14pm and how much on medical expenses, inflation proof pensions and civil servants suspended for years on full pay whilst sitting at home awaiting trial?.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I agree with the list of donors but would like to add the Fosters, Kirkconnells and Dart Clans and the list is to be continued Cayman.


  11. Guido Marsupio says:

    Dead link to historic register.

    CNS: Thanks. Fixed now.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Nothing here for our kids..not even jobs…my son who was birn in usa say dad ..i come visit …maybe…

  13. Anonymous says:

    Or better yet some money from the Tourism Attraction office, which needs its own office to manage the castle and the flowers at a park. I guess Hell is expensive to manage.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Give Chris Saunders a call…he got dem good ideas now!

  15. Anonymous says:

    Why not issue a bullet bond?

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