NCC in new CPA battle over blues threat

| 04/06/2024 | 127 Comments
Clearing and road construction by Bon Crepe without permission

(CNS): The National Conservation Council appears set for another courtroom battle with the Central Planning Authority over after-the-fact planning permission granted for land clearing and a road cutting through land in East End that is home to Cayman’s endemic, critically endangered blue iguana. The CPA did not refer the application by Bon Crepe Ltd to the NCC as required under the National Conservation Act (NCA), claiming that it didn’t need to.

However, with serious concerns about the environmental harm already caused and the future risk to these iconic creatures, the NCC has filed a judicial review application to have the CPA quash the permission.

According to minutes taken at CPA meetings in February and April this year, the application has a fairly long and controversial history. It also has clear implications well beyond the environmental damage that has already been done, as it could lead to considerably more development, which the CPA has repeatedly said is being hampered by the conservation law.

In this case, the CPA did not refer the after-the-fact application, made by local attorney James Bergstrom and his company Bon Crepe, to the NCC as required by law. Instead, the CPA granted after-the-fact permission based on its own view that there were no adverse effects, despite the clear indications that there were, as noted by the Department of Environment.

The decision caused significant concern for the DoE. Its experts said the clearing and work on the road, which is more than two miles long, has split the land between the Salina and Colliers reserves, impacting the blue iguanas that have been released into these wilderness areas as part of the project to bring them back from the brink of extinction.

The DoE sought and secured an emergency interim directive from Cabinet designating this extremely sensitive land as critical habitat, which is provided for under the NCA for the immediate protection of a specific species. Bon Crepe has now challenged that directive by Cabinet and is in the process of applying for it to be revoked.

When the CPA granted the after-the-fact permission in February, it gave a number of reasons, including the landowner’s claim that the road or trail was for recreational purposes only. Despite the DoE’s comments about the impact on the blue iguana habitat, the CPA also pointed out that the road now exists and more damage would be done to unclear it.

“A decision to allow it to remain does not result in additional construction-related adverse effects on the environment generally or on any natural resource,” the minutes stated. “The Authority has imposed a
restriction on the approval that, subject to the outcome of the applicant’s appeal to Cabinet, only recreational use of the road is permitted and no vehicular activity, maintenance, construction… is permitted without the prior consent of the Authority.”

However, Bon Crepe is seeking to extend the road even further. That application has been adjourned but the DoE said it was worried about more clearing of ecologically valuable primary habitat in this area because the real reason for the road did not appear to be recreation or just ‘farming and hiking’. It said the “extent of the road does not seem proportionate or logical for that type of use”.

Land where farming is planned, according to the applicant

The DoE added, “If the true intention was to reach the southern end of the parcels, where there is arable farming land, land access would have been sought from the south where there is a 6ft Right of Way from Farm Road. A 6ft Right of Way would be sufficient for the purposes stated of trails, hiking, and small-scale subsistence farming. A 24ft wide and 2.03 mile long road from the north seems rather intensive for those purposes. However, a 6ft Right-of-Way would not be suitable for development purposes, whereas a 24 or 30ft road would be required for development.”

The DoE pointed out that most of the site is unsuitable for agriculture, and it does not seem logical to construct such a major road through areas of mangrove forest and rocky karst landscape for ‘agricultural purposes’ when these areas do not have the conditions suitable for agriculture.

During his appearance before the CPA in February, Begstrom indicated that he was proposing to eventually build a retirement home on seaside property across from where the road would end. The road and clearing were in an area where he planned to do subsistence farming, not commercial farming.

But the road also crosses over land owned by other people or entities who gave Bergstrom access in exchange for the road to go across their land so they could access their property more easily. One landowner is Agouti Holdings, a consortium of owners that include former politicians Cline Glidden and Mark Scotland, who appeared before the CPA as interested parties.

Glidden told the CPA that they, as landowners, planned on doing more than just a road in future, as they complained about the fact that Bergstrom is also facing criminal charges for removing buttonwoods, a subspecies of mangrove, from the land without planning permission — the first time anyone has been charged with such an offence.

However, it is not clear if granting planning permission will undermine that charge against Bergstrom.

The DoE had issued a cease-and-desist order in 2023, and all work stopped. At the same time, the NCC issued the interim directive covering all of the relevant properties, which Bergstrom argued was a significant restriction on the use and enjoyment of his land, as was the right for DoE staff to access private property at any time without the owner’s permission.

Since then, both Bergstrom and Agouti have applied to Cabinet to terminate the directive, but that has not yet been heard.

Despite the clear signal from the DoE, the CPA pressed ahead with granting the permission. The minutes of the meetings, the board’s dislike of the conservation act and its impact on its decisions and development were documented when members suggested that generational Caymanians were becoming disenfranchised because of the law and how it is being used.

Despite the ongoing dispute between the two government entities, the DoE is still urging the CPA not to contest the NCC’s request for a JR and to instead quash the planning permission and take enforcement action as the future of this critical habitat hangs in the balance.

The land in question, alongside the Central Mangrove Wetlands, is some of the most important natural habitat in the whole of Grand Cayman. But land in and around the interior of East End is being increasingly targeted for development. As more and more human activity moves into the area, the threats that pushed the blue iguanas to extinction increase and will undermine efforts by the National Trust for the Cayman Islands to save them.

Catherine Childs attended the February meeting as one objector on behalf of the Trust and raised concerns about the danger posed by the road. She pointed out that this was not a trail but a “serious road” that posed a real threat to the iguanas as they moved about their territory looking for food and finding a mate.

She said that the Trust’s blue iguana programme has spent millions of dollars to save the species, which at one point was down to just 20 animals and is now over 1,000. However, the key factors that put them in danger of extinction in the first place, such as dogs, cats and cars, remain and now, in an area where they were supposed to be safe from traffic, a road has dissected their main habitat.

CNS has contacted the CPA, the planning ministry, the NCC and the sustainability ministry for comment. The NCC said it is now unable to comment as it has filed its legal action. The planning ministry said more than a week ago that a joint statement was being prepared, but we have still not received it.

See all of the relevant minutes including the documentation on the CPA website here.

The minutes are also in the CNS Library.

The application by the NCC for a judicial review is now available through the court website’s search function here cause G0131/2024.


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Category: development, Local News

Comments (127)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    #freejimmy

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  2. The Clueless and the indifferent are living Well in the Caribbean says:

    Anon 8:38am not sure who it is that is really allowing and taking part in this terrible destruction onslaught to go on whilst preaching this totally bogus “save the environment” crap but what we do know is that it’s being used to provide housing and allowing non Caymanians to obtain citizenship, who slowly but surely are destroying these beautiful islands forever. This action is clearly also very very harmful to both Caymanians and their precious Environment.Those who’s stated responsibilities and duties it is to govern these islands with Earth saving policies and mandates seem to be clearly shirking their very duty and only concerns are self indulging in E foil Activities in the very same environment assets that are slowly being diminished and destroyed.

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  3. Anon says:

    The directors and owners of all entities which seek “after the fact” approval should be individually named, instead of hiding behind a company.

    • Anonymous says:

      CNS: “But the road also crosses over land owned by other people or entities who gave Bergstrom access in exchange for the road to go across their land so they could access their property more easily. One landowner is Agouti Holdings, a consortium of owners that include former politicians Cline Glidden and Mark Scotland, who appeared before the CPA as interested parties.”

  4. Annon. says:

    How is the land owner supposed to use the land in this scenario?

    The DOE is effectively taking it without any compensation.

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    • Anonymous says:

      With planning permission.

      They are meant to use it with planning permission.

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    • MP says:

      it’s called “speculation” for a reason.

      just as something like the alignment of the East-West Arterial will cause certain people’s land values to rise, so too will increasing environmental awareness and desire for protection result in some land values to fall.

      Perhaps we should get the special interests who are meddling with the EWA to pay back their gains? Or do we recognize that land speculation, whether that land comes from inheritance or investment, sometimes results in losing as well as winning?

  5. Corruption is Compulsory in Cayman says:

    Connections boy they sure work well in these islands eh? It also helps to have family members in top “ Gowerment “positions and on a various boards and decisions making committees which always make favourably outcomes seem legitimate and fair .

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    • Anonymous says:

      We have our Marine Environment, which is our most valuable asset and tourist attraction being raided daily by poachers, but DOE has selectively ignored this just because who is involved. You can replant a tree, but good luck with the conch and lobsters.

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    • Anonymous says:

      East Enders better be paying attention to this carefully because their land could end up not being allowed to develop and rendered worthless.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    But we all know it is the expats that are destroying Cayman not the generational Caymanians.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Well these Caymanians came from Minnesota. Or somewhere up there.

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      • Anonymous says:

        @9:36AM
        I can’t help but put you in your place and give you the facts that you need to know.
        “These Caymanians” came from Colliers East End (you probably don’t even know this exists. . James dad Eric was first Director of Tourism for Cayman Islands and was most instrumental in putting our tourism product on the global stage that we all benefit from today. . His mom Suzy designed the “Sir Turtle “ logo which is widely recognized and used on Cayman Airways. His stepdad, the late Bob Soto was responsible for putting Caymans diving destination on the map for which has attracted millions of visitors to our islands. James Bergstrom is the first “BORN CAYMANIAN” to locally head up a globally recognized law firm.
        He is no fly by night Caymanian and unlike many others is here to stay and takes a great pride in his homeland the Cayman Islands. Plus he is not a criminal. Time for DOE and Enforcement agencies to focus on real criminals and not law abiding citizens.

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        • Anonymous says:

          So he gets to break the law then ?

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        • Anonymous says:

          You understand that all the family history and connexions that you list only make his actions look even worse right?

          Basically you are saying that because of his background he should get a free pass.

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        • Anonymous says:

          He with his other three cronies, mark, cline and Haroon just wiped out all his family members hard work and good deeds for these islands. Well done gentleman!! Its BS like this creates a bad image for the islands.

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      • Anonymous says:

        That kind of crack isn’t necessary. Everyone on these islands came from somewhere else and the Bergstroms came here more than 60 years ago. What James is doing aside, the Bergstrom family has contributed tremendously to Cayman, starting with the parents. I realise that you were responding to a snide and uncalled for comment, but let’s not stoop to the level of childness of 8:38.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Compass article on this story describes Bergstrom as an “interested party” and omits any mention of the prior relationship between Bergstrom and that newspaper.

    Cute!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Compass article also refers to the community’s discussion as a “Civil War.”

      Losing respect for James Whittaker as a journalist.

      How is a healthy debate on the interpretation of laws anything akin to a “civil war”?

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      • Anonymous says:

        “Civil War” is only in the headline. Journalists aren’t responsible for the headlines; editors are. It is possible that Whittaker suggested the headline, but it’s also possible that he had nothing at all to do with it.

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      • Anonymous says:

        “Losing respect for James Whittaker as a journalist”
        don’t be so quick

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  8. Anonymous says:

    All “After the fact” planning approvals should automatically come with a fine equal to 3 times the approximate environmental damage caused. Maybe that would make people take notice.
    Also I thought that our law was amended some time ago so that heavy equipment companies were now supposed to ensure that approval had been obtained BEFORE they undertook any clearance job. If so, that obviously did not happen. Therefore the law should be enforced and fines applied.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I agree with the concept if a fine but the fine should be 3x the market value of the property plus costs of the proceedings.

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    • Anonymous says:

      My mate Donald J told Jimmy B that you don’t need to ask for permission when forgiveness is free!

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    • Anonymous says:

      They should be automatically rejected and the offender forced to pay for, and do as much as possible to replant native species and return the plot back to it’s original state. That’ll stop em from deliberately manipulating the system.

    • Anonymous says:

      After the facts approvals must be removed.The law has been breached and the wrong doer must be charged. if this was implemented we would have preserved more of our mangroves.

  9. Anonymous says:

    after the fact approval simply should not exist. If you illegally start a project without approval the project should be denied approval and the applicant barred from resubmitting.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    Go get em, Kate

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    • Anonymous says:

      James Bergstrom has done more for the people and environment of these island than the DOE has . If DOE had done their job we would not be having this conversation today

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    • Anonymous says:

      The DOE had ample time to contact Mr Bergstrom about the issue. But they chose to wait till after the fact. If the DOE really cared for the environment they could have prevented this from happening

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      • Anonymous says:

        Curious logic. Bit like saying RCIP should have contacted a bank robber about his robbing a bank before he robbed the bank.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    You guys should create a “Save Cayman” Fund and pool together money across thousands of donators to purchase large land parcels like this so that nothing is ever done on them, since that appears what you people want. Buy the land if you are so against development. I’m sure thousands of you could muster up funds to fight your losing cause.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The road is cutting through national conservation land. Nobody can buy it, it’s already owned by us, for the purpose of protecting nature from the intrusion of humanity – this very activity!

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      • Anonymous says:

        Slight correction, the road is on private property, not “national conservation land”. The argument is not really about the road (or rather the road is a side-issue). This is an argument over whether the law as written is to be applied to everyone by and including the CPA, or not. Note that even if the rules as written were applied there is really nothing stopping the road. It might have been built a little differently, and would have gotten its CPA permission after the CPA consulted the NCC, but there is no grounds to completely deny the road.

        If you stop and think about it there’s no way that the mere presence of an iguana would stop development otherwise nothing would be built again on Little Cayman. And the building over there is proceeding apace. There might be requirements to watch out for the iguanas when building, or in what you build, but a ban on building wouldn’t stand up to public or legal scrutiny. People just want to suggest that that is what is being argued because they want to avoid dealing with the actual issue: the CPA not following the law. Again.

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    • Anonymous says:

      That’s actually not a bad idea too, but I still down voted you for your stinky attitude.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    Bulldozed Backwater fka Cayman Islands.

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  13. Anonymous says:

    Rules for thee, but not for me.

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  14. Corruptio manifesta says:

    Regarding the Planning Department and the CPA’s complicity in this environmental crime, I think it is worth reading the minutes of the 13th Feb meeting, where a critical review makes clear the real story here:

    – officers at the Planning Department, whether through negligence or corruption, allowed this development to proceed despite the fact that simply visiting it would have showed how flagrantly illegal it was.
    – once something was done by the NCC/DoE/DPP, the CPA are desperately trying to sweep it under the rug. Possibly because any investigation might show a trail of under-the-table payments to planning officers between 2019 and 2023? Or it would highlight a culture of complacency, complicity, and negligence in the Planning Department? The onus should be on the Planning Department to explain this …

    In fact, in p84 of the 13th Feb meeting, James Bergstrom himself tells us who encouraged him in his attempt to dodge prosecution for crimes that he acknowledges he did:

    “I applied to the Central Planning Authority (CPA), on the advice of the Director of Planning, for after the fact permission for the road and trail”
    “The criminal charge is not possible where planning permission has been granted.”

    From the outside, it certainly looks like Haroon Pandohie has proposed a scheme to help James avoid court by pushing through this after-the-fact and Haroon’s advice to the CPA likely reflected whatever agreement (and mutually beneficial exchanges) the two made in their private meeting.

    Are there other explanations for the Planning Department’s behaviour? Possibly – they might simply be lazy and inept. Haroon might be trying to hide that too. But perhaps, instead, he needs to start holding his staff, and himself, accountable to all of the people of Cayman?

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    • Anonymous says:

      I would love the Auditor to look into CPA retrospectively, digging all the way back to 2010 (ish) and all the private talks and deals with land owners along what was then (and probably still is now) the proposed route for the EW arterial extension to North Side. Even a church pastor got involved. I know, because one of the guys they were harassing was my landlord at the time, now deceased.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Should start that investigation now as the last press release was that they were picking the final route alignment ‘soon’, so investigate while the ink is still fresh.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Is this the same James Bergstrom that said in 2013, whilst chair of Coalition For Cayman, and I quote:

    “the people of the Cayman Islands are frustrated with party politics, government overspending, debt, crime and economic uncertainty. We are committed to bringing new and accountable leadership to unite the people of the country and restore the Cayman Islands’ reputation while maintaining social balance and sustainable growth.”

    Man, talk about empty words, you couldn’t make it up, especially the last part. What a joker.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Does this Mr Bergstrom have a relative who sits on the CPA? Why can connected people always get away with things in Cayman?

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    • Anonymous says:

      James Bergstrom is bringing shame to his family name. Apparently his ego has grown to the point where he thinks he’s Ken Dart and has the money to build major roads for recreational purposes only. Of course, even Ken Dart is satisfied with narrow trails instead of 24-foot roads to do his off-road biking. I think someone should measure his nose because it sounds like a Pinocchio scenario.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t forget to mention he is the Managing Partner of Ogier; which happens to be an international law firm.

      Even the top dog lawyers are committing crimes in broad daylight.

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  16. Anonymous says:

    It is his land. He is allowed to do what he wishes, dont like it? Purchase it from him :). It is unconstitutional to prosecute over this nonsense. The NCC and DOE are ran by idiots.

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    • Anonymous says:

      That is where you are wrong.

      You cannot do what you want with your land if it breaks the laws of the country.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Building a road on your own property is not breaking the laws of the country.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Destroying potentially-endangered native flora and fauna very likely is, however. Guess what you have to do before you can build a road.

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        • Anonymous says:

          You must live on Fantasy Island.

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        • Anonymous says:

          “Building a road on your own property is not breaking the laws of the country”

          Without planning permission it is illegal you donkey; as is building a house, deck, gazebo, swimming pool or anything else on your land that requires building without planning approving it frst…..

          That line “the lights are on but no ones home’ springs to mind.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Boy are you on the wrong side of history.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The Bergstrom Bot has spoken.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Just because you own the land doesn’t mean you can do what you want dimwit. He’s a lawyer and could explain that to you if you asked for his 750 per/hr fee.

      Thank F for the DOE and NCC; the seem to be the only board and Govt dept we have in Cayman that actually gives a sh*t; about Cayman.

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  17. UK Hypocrisy the real threat to Cayman ? says:

    Destroying Cayman so we reach 100 K in population while our political rats keeps selling this BS about looking after our people. Yet our biggest hypocrite secretly aids this terrible environmental onslaught that is destroying everything including our dignity in its path. When is the UK going to puts is power and influence where it’s mouthpiece is who by the way keeps touting this save the planet scheme, or is it what we have always known about colonialism where one never practices what you preach and quietly imposes upon others what they will never tolerate nor suffer with themselves and Hypocrisy being is it’s favourite and main ingredient.

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  18. Anonymous says:

    Developers hate the Director of the Environment. But she is the only one who has any courage to stand up and do her job. Like the NY Attorney General the Director and the Department of Environment are doing their job!

    Special interests will try to get the law changed and get the spindless Governor to move her as the Director.

    STAY TUNED.

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  19. Anonymous says:

    CPA stop your lies. Planning stop your lies.

    The National Conservation law hasn’t stopped the more than 7,000 planning applications CPA approved since the law was passed.

    Can somebody show how many and which applications to Planning or Cabinet were refused because of the National Conservation Law?

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  20. MP says:

    “Bon Crepe Ltd” shows a clear contempt for the rule of law, for the people of Cayman, and the environment and heritage of the Cayman Islands. Fortunately, for once, we can actually put a name to the corporate moniker.

    So I’ll say it clearly:
    James Bergstrom shows a clear contempt for the rule of law, for the people of Cayman, and the environment and heritage of the Cayman Islands.

    For those who know James personally, it is time for you to consider the type of person you are willing to associate with.

    For those who engage in the Funds industry through Ogier, consider whether you want someone who disregards regulation, law, and common sense to advise you.

    For those working on developments at James Bergstrom’s direction, take the time to find out if he is giving you instructions to commit crimes. Your ignorance won’t necessarily be a defence.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Well, if I need some lawyer to massage the law for my cause, I know where I’m going!

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      • MP says:

        Well, his Chambers 2024 review say does that James “shows excellent creativity”.

        Just like honest people should avoid ‘creative accountants’, I think honest people might want to avoid this ‘creative’ lawyer!

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  21. Anonymous says:

    Salinas and Colliers Reserves are not for humans. There is no hiking or farming in there, because it’s not for us. Any contractor proceeding on a construction project they know needs a permit, that doesn’t have one before the first shovel hits the dirt, needs to lose their T&BL. Where is DCI to shut down these bad actors? Cancel their nominee front company, and disqualify the nominee UBO from resubmitting under any name. Sorry James, this is rotten, and you should certainly know better.

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  22. Anonymous says:

    So how much money has to be paid to which politician in order to ensure that this issue is resolved in favour of the developers prior to the next election? I expect that is a very active question and the subject of as much negotiation as the formation of the current Cabinet.

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  23. Anonymous says:

    We need to amend the Development and Planning Act so that the members of the CPA have to personally pay the costs associated with these appeals if the CPA loses. That is the only way that the CPA will ever even think about complying with the law. As it is they do whatever they want on behalf of developers and we the public picks up the cost. That is an outrage.

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  24. Anonymous says:

    Two key questions that everyone standing for the next election should be required to answer:
    1) Have you or your campaign had in the past and do you or your campaign currently have any financial relationship with any developer, and
    2) Will you agree to disband the CPA.

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  25. Anonymous says:

    The CPA doesn’t allow objectors to speak unless they are within the notification area and file an objection in the required time. Why did they allow Cline Glidden and Mark Scotland to speak? Based on their own rules, only applicants and objectors can speak.

    “Persons from the public and media may listen to and observe the meeting proceedings, but they may not speak or submit any documentation.”

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    • Anonymous says:

      9.39 it’s the local rules…
      “Who ya for and where ya born..” it really is that simple.

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  26. Anonymous says:

    The CPA needs to be permanently disbanded, the senior management of the Planning Department needs to be retired/shown the door, and every amendment to the Development and Planning Act and regulations made since 1995 need to be repealed.
    Nothing done by those entities or concerning that legislation in the past 30 years has been in the interests of anyone except the developers and the politicians that they own.

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  27. Anonymous says:

    Cline Glidden, employee of James Bergrstrom, all this wanton destruction of the environment makes you wonder how these so-called upstanding Caymanians can look their kids and grandkids in the eye. Soon the white butterflies will go the way of the red shank, each year the island’s biodiversity deteriorates and we have no-one to blame but ourselves. Government sits idly by, punishing no-one. WTF

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  28. Anonymous says:

    Hmm. Rich landowners, lawyers and politicians. And a two mile road to nowhere. When will they unveil the plans for the new international airport?

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  29. Anonymous says:

    That road is for a development and everybody involved knew what they were doing.

    The difference, some wealthy people think they are above the law.

    Rich lawyer or politician you are not above the law.

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    • Anonymous says:

      This situation is such BS. If the DOE was so concerned about the environment why did they not go to the developers and notify them ? Instead the waited for the road to be completed.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Check the CPA records.

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      • Anonymous says:

        10:37, are you related to 11:35? Which part are you in these illegal activities?

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      • Anonymous says:

        The landowners were notified in 2019, and again in 2023. The owners of Agouti and Bon Crepe obviously think they are above the law.

        The attacks on the National Conservation Act are a distraction. Focus on the Planning Law, the Department of Planning and CPA.

        What are they doing and for who?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Might want to wait and see about that.

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  30. Anonymous says:

    Yet the DOE continues to ignore the illegal quarrying of 65A 42

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    • Anonymous says:

      illegal quarrying is the job of planning

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    • Anonymous says:

      DOE is only making a big deal out of this because of the people involved. They should focus on all the poachers in the Marine Parks and
      Open Zones who continue to rape and pillage our marine life.

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    • We checked our records for quarrying on Block 65A Parcel 42. We received reports from the public in October 2023 and our Chief Conservation Officer confirmed that material was leaving site. Addressing illegal quarrying is not covered by the National Conservation Act. It is the remit of the Planning Department, and we have no jurisdiction to enforce the Development and Planning Act.

      We forwarded our information to the Planning Department on 20 October 2023. Our understanding is that there was already an enforcement case by the Planning Department from earlier in the year. We subsequently received a consultation request for after-the-fact land clearing of this parcel in November 2023, and we strongly recommended that the Central Planning Authority refuse the after-the-fact-application. We are not aware of the outcome.

      Our review is copied below:

      Site Overview
      The application site was partly man-modified and consisted of primary dry shrubland and dry forest habitat. The site is also in close proximity to the Salina Reserve, which is protected under the National Trust Act. Given the proximity to the Salina Reserve, it is possible that the application site was being used by Blue Iguanas as it is within its geographic range.

      Advice to the Central Planning Authority
      We are concerned about this application and that it does not reflect the extent of works that are occurring at this site. At the time of writing, we have been provided only with a site plan that shows 2 acres of land clearing. DoE Conservation Officers visited the site in October 2023 and witnessed multiple trucks filled with top soil and rocks leaving the site. We have submitted onto OPS a video which shows the excavation works and a truck being loaded with material. We reported our findings to the Planning Department on 20 October 2023. We also note that there has been Enforcement from the Planning Department in the past, although we believe works have been ongoing at the site regardless. We believe that the after-the-fact and ongoing clearing and excavation represents an unauthorised quarry and not a simple land clearing exercise. Given the level of excavation and the amount of soil and rock which has left site, we do not believe it is plausible that this is for farming.

      The site was primary habitat and environmentally sensitive. This approach of clearing and commencing site works before planning permission is granted and consulting agencies’ comments are received is extremely worrying. It removes the opportunity for reviewing agencies to provide constructive comments and feedback on best management practices which may include recommendations for the retention of ecologically valuable flora or mitigation measures to protect the environment including protected endemic species such as the Blue Iguana and minimise impacts to adjacent landowners and the wider area. Although we do note that after-the-fact applications are usually in response to enforcement action, the frequency of after-the-fact occurrences potentially indicates that there are inadequate deterrents from conducting work without the relevant permission in place.

      We strongly recommend this application is refused in light of the above.

      24
    • Anonymous says:

      19°21’08.0″N 81°07’36.4″W

      For those that want to go look on Google Maps and see the line of trucks in and leaving the property in question.

      • Anonymous says:

        Repeat and well known offender, trying to cover it up by putting the property in his wife’s name.

    • Anonymous says:

      Quite Franklin, I’m appalled by this kind of behavior from a former elected representative.

  31. Anonymous says:

    CPA says ‘development is being hampered by the Conservation Law?”

    National Conservation Law (Act) was passed in 2013 and came into effect a year or two later.

    Show pictures of Cayman in 2013 and then 2023 show me where the National Conservation Act has stopped anything? WTF?!!!!!

    Development and traffic and flooding have exploded SINCE 2017.

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  32. Anonymous says:

    That road is a 30 foot wide road. That is for a development plain and simple.

    CNS – can you publish the shareholders of Agouti Ltd. ?

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    • Anonymous says:

      UDP boys..

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    • Anonymous says:

      And so what if a man wants to develop his land?? what Gina needs to do is buy out the land then she can dictate what happens on it. Just tired of her b.s

      9
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    • Anonymous says:

      Block 69A Parcels 29, 30 and 50 (approx. 100 acres):- beneficially owned by Cline Glidden Jr, Darrel Rankine, Raul Nicholson-Coe, Dervin (aka Buster) McLean, Paul Parchment and Mark Scotland (together Agouti Group).

      The CPA minutes publish who owns it.^^^

      14
      • Anonymous says:

        Say what you will about the CPA, but in this case they have been pretty transparent releasing all of this information to the public like this. Dare we say ‘good for them; government in the sunshine’?

      • Anonymous says:

        Thanks 11:09! Every rhatid one of them a born Caymanian!! Booya!

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  33. Anonymous says:

    Forget the blue iguanas or the buttonwood for a second.

    Developers and their lawyers are willfully ignoring the laws of the countries, encouraged by current and former politicians who say “its easier and cheaper to pay the fine; just ignore the law, break the law, do what you want and pay the fine afterwards.”

    Does anyone believe that the applicants didn’t know what they were doing?

    Department of Planning = Department of Permitting granting whatever the paymaster wants.

    The CPA = proxies for the developers and proxies for the politicians whose largest donors are developers.

    Elections are 10 months away. Politicians and their proxies on the CPA need to keep developers happy.

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  34. Blues Traveler says:

    A pittance fine for illegally clearing the land and the train rolls on with no regard for nature and the habitats for endangered species.

    Business as usual.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Since you have such a concern over these species, donate your land or purchase Mr Bergstroms parcels.

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      • Anonymous says:

        11:33 you seemed to have commented a few times on this article; what’s your role here because you clearly have a vested interest given you clearly don’t care about committing illegal activities?

        You a dump truck driver, provider of fill for the lands…or something else in the illegal project taking place that’s come to a grinding halt?

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        • Nature Boy says:

          The poster’s mindest is of wanton enviromental destruction for nothing more than pure greed.

          A true enemy of mother nature and all that is good with the world.

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  35. Anonymous says:

    Wait, didn’t the CPA just lose the same case – not following NCC advice – in the Boggy Sand case?

    47
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    • Anonymous says:

      No

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      • Anonymous says:

        Oh, what case did they lose then?

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        • Anonymous says:

          Nice try DOE spin doctor. The above answer remains correct.

          2
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          • Anonymous says:

            Both sets of news articles read the same to me. Still waiting to hear you explain how the case they lost was not ‘consult before granting permission’ exactly as this one appears to be.

            Case A: CPA grant permission, NCC say you needed to ask us first. CPA lose. Repeatedly.
            Case B: CPA grant permission, NCC say you needed to ask us first.

            Looking forward to your explanation of how the two cases are different.

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            • Anonymous says:

              I see how its different. This time they re going to change the conservation law. Simple really.

          • Anonymous says:

            You’re obviously an alternative facts type of guy.

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