Mac spreads misinformation about conservation law

| 25/06/2024 | 69 Comments
East-West-Arterial-Rd-extension Cayman News Service
Area of planned road extension

(CNS): Last week, McKeeva Bush MP (WBW) became the first person in the UPM government to admit that it is trying to amend the National Conservation Act to make development easier, but the veteran MP was peddling misinformation and a false narrative as he did so. Appearing on Radio Cayman’s lunchtime talk show, Talk-Today, Bush incorrectly told Sterling Dwayne Ebanks and his audience that the law was delaying the East-West Arterial Road extension, as he scoffed at the need to conserve Cayman’s natural resources.

Bush claimed that the legislation was the reason why the EWA extension was being delayed. However, the delays have been caused by a number of issues, such as the failure of previous administrations to address the need for an environmental impact assessment on this road in the first place despite knowing it would be required, and the National Roads Authority’s decision to assess the hydrological issues outside of the EIA process.

Bush suggested the delay was about saving lion lizards and iguanas, dismissing both species as not being as important as “our children and our people”, and he spoke about it taking four hours for families in the Eastern Districts to get to school.

While the traffic congestion for those living east of George Town has become a major issue as the local population has rapidly increased over the last decade, there is also a long list of socioeconomic problems that have fuelled the traffic chaos.

These include the cost of housing, which has priced working people out of George Town and West Bay further and further east, and the failure of successive administrations to address public transport and the decentralisation of the business community.

The EWA extension is unlikely to solve the traffic problem alone, but the need for an EIA for this road goes far beyond the protection of any specific endangered species such as the blue iguana. The EIA would look at its impact on the Central Mangrove Wetlands, the most important terrestrial environment in Cayman.

The potential flooding if the wetlands are removed and the loss of the ecoservices could be disastrous for the entire country. There are also significant concerns about the impact the road would have on the future development of the wetlands, which would compound the worsening flooding across Grand Cayman as more and more low-lying flood ground and wetland is developed.

The recent floods demonstrated how previous development of roads and buildings without any scientific assessments have led to a significant increase in the impact of flooding on existing homes and communities. Nevertheless, the West Bay MP criticised the need for the important EIA.

“It is a crying shame that we have a situation in place from stopping that and can stop more than that,” he said about the road and future development. Bush said the law needed to be changed because there needed to be “more balance”.

However, it is evident that the scales continue to tip heavily in favour of the development sector at the expense of the environment. The construction of luxury properties well outside the reach of most local people continues unhindered by the legislation.

Numerous local and foreign developers are responsible for the constant clearing of pristine dry forest and mangroves all over Grand Cayman, and the over-development on the coastline, where, even in the face of major beach erosion, planning permission continues to be granted to applicants building far too close to the ocean.

To date, the law has had almost no impact on the pace of development, and the requirement for EIAs affects only a tiny percentage of applications. The need for a scientific assessment of the EWA was on the agenda even before the National Conservation Law was enacted.

Such assessments are common across the world and represent best practice. An EIA is not just about much more than protecting iguanas, including the protection of “our people and our children’s” homes, livelihoods and quality of life. Yet Bush insisted matters relating to the environment were delaying the road.

He claimed the government wasn’t gutting the law but seeking better balance. He didn’t explain how the balance could be any more in favour of development without removing the few teeth that the legislation has to force consideration of the environment in decisions about development.

Chris Saunders, who is not part of the UPM government, joined Bush on the show and made it clear that he also supported the amendments to the legislation, as he incorrectly suggested that just a small group of people were delaying the start of the road.

The EIA for the EWA is complete. Following last week’s NCC meeting, Department of Environment Director Gina Ebanks-Petrie said that the ball was now in the relevant ministry’s court. Based on the findings of the EIA, the government must decide which route out of four options it should select.


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

Comments (69)

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  1. James says:

    Give Mac his due. Michael Ryan’s Ritz Carlton project wouldn’t have been built without him. How many condos did it take?

  2. Anonymous says:

    I agree with most of the op ed article by CNS. However “The construction of luxury properties well outside the reach of most local people continues unhindered by the legislation.” (10th paragraph last sentence) has deeper implications that we really must consider.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I can’t wait for the day when I don’t hear from this guy or read any news about this guy, except maybe on the day he is released from prison.

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  4. Kman says:

    Now you see where Kenny got his smarts from😅, the Dodo has spoken so let’s all listen. Mac, please go and find a hole and stay there.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Jay is in charge of Public Transport and the NRA. Yet he has done NOTHING to make our lives better with traffic. Us people in the eastern districts are suffering because he does not know what to do. Is it time to hire another consultant Jay?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Jay tried his best to get the road built. He sent hundreds of trucks of fill from the housing development to build that road. It’s not his fault that the trucks were diverted to another location.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The last four administrations haven’t even been unable to paint the bike lanes promised in 2015.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Why is the 3rd Lane by the horse stables blocked with cones? Linford Pearson heading east (& it says 25 mph!!). Been like it for months since the road by the mega roundabout was built.
        No point extending highway east when traffic bottlenecks Hurleys/Kings gym/Linford Pearson

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    • eliza strachan says:

      I don’t think that’s fair. Traffic in the morning is better.
      A hell of a lot has been done to increase road volume since Jay took over.
      God knows what the queues would be like if all the new lane additions on Linford Pierson etc had not been introduced by Jay.
      Part of the problem is there are more cars than ever on the roads, the result of an expanding population.

  6. Big ole Fake says:

    That’s is our politicians favourite pastime next to making a whole pile of false promises they have no intention of keeping but 1037am and 3:02pm you spot on about those who are aiding and abetting them and playing the pretending game on the poor people of these islands.This is a clear dereliction of their duties and a huge disservice to the Cayman Islands and its environment and people .

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Says the man that single handed destroyed the beauty and tranquility of seven mile beach. His developments have eroded our beaches, our way of life and nothing left for the next generation!

    Only England can save us from the likes of these wolves who are in disguise and pretend to help the people but only helping themselves.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t depend on England. They have enough on their hands to fix the U.K. We have to do it ourselves! We have to start voting sensibly. All of you out there voting over and over for “handouts” are dragging Cayman down with these illiterate, unscrupulous jackasses. You all need to demand more for your vote. Look around we are in a hot mess and too many of you only expects $25.00 on Fridays. Your vote is precious, stop wasting it.

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      • Big Bobo In West Bay says:

        12:51, Enough is enough. At least in England there is some semblance of environmental laws and enforcement of the laws. We are destroying the environment rapidly here because developers have bought off everybody in power and practically no laws are being enforced anymore.

        You say your vote is precious and don’t waste it. What stupidity. The political talent pool is so low here that there is no one to choose from.

        People really need to get mad about the environmental destruction but alas, we are a totally passive people because generally we have it so good financially. Keyboard warriors will not change these Islands.

        My dream is that people wake up and a Green Party is formed, but I know I am simply dreaming in technicolour.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Well his lips were moving, so yeah.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    The inmates are running the asylum. Time to apply for my British passport and try a diiferent type of crazy.

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  10. Elvis says:

    Listen. The guy is a crank . Everyone knows it. The govt refuse to address it . Cayman broken simple.

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  11. Moi says:

    Couldn’t run a bath, never mind a country…

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  12. ANON says:

    You’d have to wonder where he gets the time…

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  13. Anonymous says:

    This is probably not specific to the conservation law. Mac spreads misinformation generally, and sometimes he just spreads, in a mansplaining type of way.

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  14. Anonymous says:

    All that is necessary is to take the road to the back of Bodden Town.

    There is no need to go any further.

    However, the Grand Harbour bottleneck will still be there. They can build all the feeder roads they want. None of it will stop the traffic jams from the east.

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  15. Enablers & Perpetrators says:

    Outstanding 10:37am Could not have put it any better than that. The False pretenders around here now is unreal! all about absolutely Nothing!

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  16. MM says:

    We all know that it’s a delicate balance: They are two extremely important issues: The road is needed because too many Caymanian families are adversely affected by traffic nightmare system that they are currently experiencing. Imagine getting up at 4:30 am to get themselves and the kids ready for school to get out early just to beat the traffic. Then by 5pm the traffic starts backing up so many families arrive home at approximately 8pm by the time the kids are fed and out to bed is about 11pm. This is repeated for 5-days. Do we stop to think how this is negatively affecting the family structure. Yes flooding may be an issues by building the road but there are flood prevention measure that can be put in place: during the construction of the road water culverts can be built alongside the road to channel the water to the sea. This will mitigate the flooding of properties and homes. Our environment is fragile and extremely vulnerable and everything must be done to ensure that is protected but our families are most important. If our families structure are affected then all other issues become meaningless.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I feel your pain but there are other solutions to the traffic problem we have other than to destroy natural pristine habitat of animal, flora and fauna. Especially when conflicted persons stand to gain with this new road. A few ideas. Actual driving test required for all work permit holders (adds CIG revenue), Proper Public transport, Higher licensing fees for older vehicles, the list goes on. This is nothing but kicking the can down the road.

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    • Anonymous says:

      All the EIA process does is identify those potential issues so the government can build the right road in the right place the right way. The EIA is not holding the road up. They can’t even pave the section from Hirst to Woodland. PLUS all it’s going to do is get people to the bottleneck at Hurley’s faster.

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    • Anonymous says:

      That’s exactly what an EIA is for. The government has known for years they’d need to do an EIA for the road, but they sat on it and now we’re all sitting in traffic.

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    • Anonymous says:

      One of the points of the EIA is to find out where the culverts should go and how many should be put down.

    • Anonymous says:

      I feel this but I don’t think this road will fix this anyway, they have to some how deal with the Hurleys roundabout, that is the bottleneck currently.

    • Anonymous says:

      Utter drivel. GREED is the problem. 1 bed apartments now close to $2500 in GT. That’s why people are moving out. And most landlords are Caymanian. GREED GREED GREED GREED GREED!

    • Hubert says:

      So MM, what do you suggest for the Grand Harbour bottleneck?

      You are very short sighted on your suggestion.

  17. Anonymous says:

    …how is this joker relevant- open your eyes Cayman, this is paid distraction from the land King.

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  18. Don't Pave Paradise says:

    Unmanaged development is impacting our quality of life. The National Conservation Act doesn’t stop development, it helps us balance the economic, social and environmental needs of our community.

    The proposed amendments would shift the balance further in favour of development. The short-term gains of a few should not take priority over the long-term wellbeing of us all.

    Say no to unsustainable development and support the NCA by signing the petiion:

    https://www.change.org/DontPaveParadise

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  19. Anonymous says:

    Imagine what King Charles would say!

    #stopecocide

    https://www.stopecocide.earth/

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  20. TeeTee says:

    Leave the darn mangroves!
    Yes! our people are very important but if there are no mangroves to help the ecosystem and the whole island floods out, what happens then?
    Greed greed greed smh

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  21. Anonymous says:

    Who elected these people? Oh thats right we did. So look in the mirror for whos responsible

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    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, 11:47 am we elected them to represent US the Caymanians and our Cayman. We thought the politicians had power but they don’t. The developers are in control. Are these the same ones who voted for the Law?

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      • Anonymous says:

        The developers are in control for one reason: The Caymanian politicians sold out to them. Money talks and our politicians listen. Legge was right.

  22. Anonymous says:

    We need to get rid of these two abusive cretins! Both are from the same old UDP trash can and need to be joined by the one who has a penchant to wear repurposed bedspreads!

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    • Anonymous says:

      UDP trash, well put 11.46.
      C’mon Cayman we know who is part of this trashy UDP recycled group and it’s time to make sure none of them can get their grubby hands on power again.

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  23. Anonymous says:

    Anybody still listening to this garbage ‘male’?

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  24. Anonymous says:

    can anyone explain how is is that the work on that extension seems to be well underway!? I am seeing dump truck after dump truck going in there and around the bend and clearing land.

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  25. Don’t hate player Cayman hate the Game says:

    You can say all you want about Bababushka but the other picture on here speaks volumes of some people’s complicity in keeping those like him in a useful political arrangement or marriage in order to protect their strategic and economic interest. Those are the real threats whom are destroying our environment and our Caymanian way of life. All whilst play this cynical game of pretending to care.

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  26. Anonymous says:

    What would really be news is ‘Mac not spreading disinformation about anything’

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  27. Anonymous says:

    Campaign fund raising has started and the development cabal is demanding proof of loyalty.

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  28. Anonymous says:

    Did someone mention developers handing out multi-million dollar condos in exchange for ‘real estate consulting’?

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    • Anonymous says:

      That would be an act of overt corruption warranting the immediate arrest and prosecution of all involved, and if proved, confiscation of assets (including from the developer).

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      • Anonymous says:

        And yet nothing happen(ed) or will

      • Anonymous says:

        It’s the loophole created by allowing politicians and their immediate family members from owning businesses. It’s legal for a Cabinet minister to own a real estate business. Developers with LLCs (meaning they’re non-Caymanian) are required by law to use local real estate companies to sell their development. Developers need permits. Developers are allowed to pay commissions in cash or kind. It’s the perfect set-up for corruption that is technically legal. It will continue until laws change, but there is absolutely no desire for the government to change these laws because this is exactly how they leverage being elected into becoming rich. This is by no means isolated to one politician and it crosses all of the political parties.

        • Anonymous says:

          The loophole you describe does not exist (anymore than pulling a gun on teller is a way to unlock a vault without having the key).

          Crime is crime is crime.

        • Anonymous says:

          Yes. The AML regulations “should” address these issues, but they don’t.

    • Anonymous says:

      You really dont think that Ritz Carlton Condo was bought at an arms length do you?!

  29. Anonymous says:

    Cayman needs to shut this ‘man’ up, he is a digusting speci’men’! How is he paying for his own overseas lawyer, pleading to pay his bills n walker? Get rid!

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    • Anonymous says:

      He is funded by wealthy Jamaicans and select others who have gained from his influence peddling. Standing in line for grant of status is such a bore when you’re rich.

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  30. Anonymous says:

    ‘Bush spreads misinformation”….We’ll what a surprise.
    Bush and Saunders, what a nightmare union of the man who started Cayman’s ruin, teamed up with the man who seems determined to finish the Job.

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  31. Anonymous says:

    Hooray for honorable Bush & Honorable Saunders, they are making Cayman Great Again! Please Mr Bush, keep development going as we need the money and jobs. Selling work permits brings in lots of money to the poor people. We love you Mr Bush, you are the greatest!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, the greatest felon in Cayman politics to date. Anyone who voted for this criminal is aiding and abetting and complicit in the damage he has caused and yet to cause to Cayman’s sustainability.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Just those two getting up in the morning is causing damage, then throw in their buddy Mario and the pot is set.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t give up your day job if you have one!

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    • Anonymous says:

      What, no likes for this crazy post? Seems like these honorable guys are not so popular.

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  32. Anonymous says:

    Ask Mac, Saunders, Julianna, Jay, Kenneth, Dwayne, and the NRA to show you where the money is budgeted to build the EWA road. There is no money. So it is easier to blame the EIA and NCC.

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