Premier offers mixed message on changes to NCA

| 05/07/2024 | 93 Comments
Premier Juliana O’Connor-Connolly at Friday’s press briefing

(CNS): Premier Juliana O’Connor-Connolly stated at a press briefing on Friday that the UPM Government is not going to remove the scientists from the National Conservation Council and will not weaken the National Conservation Act in any way. However, she also said that changes will be made to the legislation, and an amendment bill is set to be revealed next week, without explaining the nature of those changes.

Although sources have told CNS that the drafting instructions do include a provision that would allow Cabinet to waive the requirement for an environmental impact assessment for public projects, the premier stated emphatically that there are no plans to weaken the law. If true, this would indicate that this will not be included in the amendments.

Following a series of closed-door meetings over the last few weeks, as reported on CNS last month, the UPM has been trying to agree on a series of changes to the conservation law as a result of pressure from the development lobby.

Since before the NCA was enacted, several powerful landowners and developers have been trying to undermine the law’s ability to protect important natural resources and limit the most egregious forms of development. They have been doing this by peddling misinformation about the law, especially regarding the powers it gives to the NCC and the director of the Department of Environment.

The law is currently the only means to mitigate the impact that climate change will have on the Cayman Islands, as the UPM Government has failed to adopt the PACT Government’s Climate Change Policy. Wayne Panton, the premier during the PACT administration until he was ousted last October, has voiced his dismay at the UPM’s approach to the conservation law, for which he successfully secured unanimous support in parliament (then called the Legislative Assembly) in 2013.

Scientists believe that climate change played a significant role in fuelling Hurricane Beryl, the strongest recorded storm to form in the first month of the Atlantic hurricane season. The rapid intensification of the storm was mostly due to the very high sea surface temperatures across the Atlantic and the Caribbean, which helped Beryl repel the wind shear that would, in other circumstances, have dampened the storm’s strength.

With a busy season ahead and the likelihood of far more hot and wet weather this summer, the need for Cayman to mitigate against rising sea levels, floods and hurricane impacts requires robust legislation. It is imperative to conserve what wetlands remain, as they are critical mitigators of flooding and storm surge, and to prevent developers from building too close to the ocean, which maximises profit but causes beach erosion.

Speaking at a press briefing following Hurricane Beryl, O’Connor-Connolly stated in response to a question from CNS that the government is not removing the scientists from the NCC or weakening the law.

But in response to a follow-up question from the Cayman Compass, she said that the law was being changed and that drafting instructions had already gone to the Attorney General’s Chambers. She said she expected that the CIG would be in possession of the draft bill in the next seven days.

The premier indicated that if the meeting of parliament, which had been scheduled for Friday but postponed because of the storm, is convened next week, the bill will be presented, as she implied that rumours about the changes to the law were incorrect.

When she answered the question from CNS about weakening the law, O’Connor-Connolly was emphatic that this was not “in any way” the case. “We are not doing it, so that’s an easy fact check. You heard it from me,” the premier, who prides herself on her Christian credentials and honesty, stated.

See the post-hurricane press briefing on CIGTV below:

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Category: Land Habitat, Laws, Politics, Science & Nature

Comments (93)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    We as voters having experience a party being in office vs individuals should be competent to vote for a unified party that presents candidates before hand for each ministry and can show their qualifications and experience to do it.

    • Anonymous says:

      I as a voter do not want to vote for a party – they are a blight on democracy – but want to continue to be able to vote for individuals, even independents, who I think is the best of the selection before me.

      I’m not saying independents are inherently better but I am saying that neither is a party and for that reason we should not curtail our right to choose down to a party line vote where the individual voter now matters even less since its the party that put them in so its the party they have loyalty to not the voters en masse.

      Even in countries with representational voting (a different issue) you still get independents (or micro-parties) getting elected at various levels up to supra-national in the case of the EU. Restricting voting to just major parties “that presents candidates before hand for each ministry” is undemocratic.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Supply and demand, we need more house lots so that our grandchildren will be able to afford to buy cheaper. If you live in the Brac, maybe you are noticing that land prices are going up? Have you? Why? More people are buying. Why? They can’t afford Grand Cayman. Show me which people who own house or land wouldn’t sell if they could double or triple their money? Are you kidding, you all would. The only cheaper land to buy is swampland in the Central Mangrove in Grand Cayman. Environmentalists have blocked the gazetted road for 50+ years. When will the road be built?
    Didn’t West Bay build their highway? Why can’t we have the same.
    Bodden Town is now the second largest district in the Cayman Islands. Wake up it is high time to ease the traffic congestion in the Eastern District

    • Sunrise says:

      Sitting on couple of millions of dollars on land. But, am I selling, not today BoBo!! Enjoying retirement.

  3. Anonymous says:

    When I was growing I believed a person who held position in the LA were men and women were of character, integrity, ethics and country before self. However what is now shown is self before country, greed and corruption. How can anyone respect this government? Caymanians are being weaned out of the work force and by some of our own and the elderly cannot afford medication or a doctors visit. Take a minute to think how and elderly person position living in cayman without NAU, no medical insurance, cannot afford the basic necessities and our government continues to waste our money. We need laws on the books to prevent this from happening. Why is it the peoples money paying for the special interest group projects? Time for change.

    • Anonymous says:

      There is no quality improvement amongst the field of perennial misfit candidates without shifting the eligibility criteria. Voters need to change the Elections Law to sensibly prohibit those with criminal records, and serious civil convictions, incomplete SIPL conflict disclosures, and failures to follow procurement and tendering due process. The Grandparent criteria clearly does not confer any added measure of trustworthiness. Our Cabinets have given themselves far too much power, constructed dark corridors of influence and reward, and lifetime immunity from prosecution. There are also an Attorney General, Deputy Premier, and Civil Service, all highly motivated to assist these Cabinets. The whole apparatus of good governance is broken.

      • Anonymous says:

        9:46 I ageee with you. What is scary is these dudes believe they know it all. It makes no sense to give them advice because they don’t know good advice when they hear it.

        Folks when you claim to fame is a model and TV reporter or failed lube and grocery businessman. How can we expect any better.

        Cayman 2025 give us a fresh start. We tell our children to get an education so that they can be a success. So why do elected people with no education and expect to be successful?

        Remember Benson Truman Normal Vassell Linford. All educated successful men.

        Why change that winning model?

  4. Anonymous says:

    these batch of politicians have no love for country, only their bank accounts. i really hope when the Bo Millers of this country step up again, we put them in office.

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t worry Kenneth Bernie and Jay will solve this problem.

      How did these guys get elected? Come on Cayman. We just lost Curwell in west bay. I was hoping he would run. He could do better than this bunch.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ezzard was rejected by NS because he was too direct and honest.
      The new UDP inspired generation of “what’s in this for me” voters prefer the uneducated unprincipled government we have now…Andre and Wayne being exceptions.

  5. doodlebug says:

    Perhaps she’s not going to “change” the law … just get rid of it altogether. That possibly would not technically be a change, as such.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Translation – there has been such an outcry they have been forced to make changes but will not under any circumstances admit it. Why else would you withhold details of the changes. Transparency is not in the vocabulary of this so called government. That would after all mean more press conferences, instead of one every six months and only then after public pressure.

  7. Anonymous says:

    she is such a disgrace

  8. Anonymous says:

    She is such an embarrassment to these islands.

  9. Chet Oswald Ebanks says:

    Woow, What is this money grabbing bunch of so called politicians trying to do. Seems they want to eliminate us few Caymanians that are left. Our young people can’t afford a car, piece of land, house nor mortgage. What options are left to them. 1. Live a life of crime, and a society that talks so called Christian values, but does nothing to assist nor protect it’s future Caymanian people. Who will one day before our leaders and government. 2. Migrate to another country, because their island nation home is not affordable, not even food. Those are their options.

    If anyone for one second thinks our Premier has any worry. She will get taken care of till she dies like we all have too. A list of the goodies she will get. Full pension, full insurance coverage, and more am sure. Cayman has become unrecognizable. Greed from those selling land, homes, and one of the worst are those greedy, greedy and I mean greedy real estate agents and their companies. That so called almight green dollar. We need it to live, but boy it has become an evil, evil dollar. The more these greedy real estate agents and their companies make, the more they want. Just look around and am gonna take a guess. They all or most likely 98 percent. Are driving around, either in a Benz, Beemer, Audi as I call it Huddy. The care nothing about Caymanians, this island nation and territory. All the care about is that almighty green dollar.

    I for one am not sorry that, those properties that got destroyed by hurricane Beryl passage did so. Growing up I was taught from an early age to swim, dive. And the most important lesson I was told, was to respect the sea, ocean. It is beautifull to look at and enjoy. It also sustains you with food, seafood. Take only what you need. But when it’s rough, it can be deadly. Even during hurricanes, muldslides etc. We here in Cayman, most don’t even go out and enjoy nature, they have no time, life is a struggle everyday. Everyday I learn something new and see something new. Mother Nature is an awesome thing to be enjoyed and most of all respected Hon Madam Premier. They best advice I will give to you as a fellow Cayman Bracker, Caymanian is to strengthen the National Conservation Act, law not cause futher, future damage to these Beloved Cayman Islands your always praying and asking God to protect. To those who know me, know I speak the truth. When I say back in 2000, when the Cayman Islands didn’t pass the White Paper. Mother country the UK made it law. I spoke up at that time by point blank openly telling you. That disrespect, discrimination and hate has no place in these Beloved Cayman Islands. As a God fearing Caymanian and hearing you always asking, praying to God to protect these Beloved Cayman Islands. Do the right thing, leave the National Conservation Act, law alone. The Cayman Islands have more urgent issues to deal with. Just a few, proper housing for everyone, a world class education system, world class public transport system, passing a livable minimum wage, instead of a slave wage. Those are just a few and there are many, many other important urgent issues affecting these islands.

    Now I will say this. These Beloved Cayman Islands, that I love and respect. We as Caymanians, Cayman is almost at the end of that piece of rope. One day we are gonna wake up and realize we are totally doomed. Then ther will be nothing that anyone can do to right this sinking ship. Wake up my Caymanian people take back your country. We should no longer be held prisoners by those fighting everyday to tell us Caymanians. How, why, when we can or can’t. We are a proud, resilient people. To every Caymanian, make your vote count. These so called, wanna be politicans. Have to earn our respect and our 1 vote. I hope the powers that be are listening, because Caymanians will no longer be silenced. We do matter.

    And am gonna end by saying this publicly. Am one Caymanian that is happy to see politics put aside during this last hurricane emergency. Thank you for doing your part to keep these Beloved Cayman Islands safe, it’s people, residents, visitors. And I pray and hope all will do ther part to adhire to the government, NEOC emergency information going forward. A big shout out to my favorite local radio station Radio Cayman. It was going all though. We are truly blessed, thank you to all at Radio Cayman. The one and only truly Caymanian Radio station. May God continue to bless and keep these Beloved Cayman Islands protected. Stay prepared, stay safe Cayman. Please don’t drink and drive. For the life you save, may very well be your own.

  10. Anonymous says:

    civil disobedience is the only recourse left, a protest must be organized to call for an immediate general election.

    we cannot allow this government, born of backroom deals and betrayals to dictate the future of this and the next generation. The cayman people made our voices herd last election when the minority party attempted to force through a power grab, now we must do so again to remove this aberration that now holds power.

    • Anonymous says:

      Let’s go! I’m ready.

    • Candid says:

      Yes, lawful civil disobedience is a must and should be the go-to method in a country were elections do not seem to change much.

    • Sid Vicious Ebanks says:

      “How many ways to get what you want
      I use the best, I use the rest
      I use the enemy
      I use anarchy”

    • Anonymous says:

      “we cannot allow this government, born of backroom deals and betrayals”

      When this is how PACT was formed, are we surprised in the slightest that the UPM came about in the same manner?

  11. Anonymous says:

    What the hell is this 17th century throwback doing as our premier? She’s going to drive Cayman into the middle ages.

  12. Anonymous says:

    How did this person become the Premier?

  13. Anonymous says:

    When “media” outlets like CMR make such personal attacks against the Cayman Islands first female Premier there is no wonder our politcs are deteriorating. We teach our children to respect women and leaders and then CMR grabs the mike and shows by example what hypocrites we are.

    • Anonymous says:

      LOL you must be new here.

    • Anonymous says:

      Respect must be earned. Neither Catron or JuJu will ever get any from me.

    • Anonymous says:

      Nice deflection. Please do better next time.

      Our vote no longer matters. The current government will do as they wish. That is all. We are excused.

    • Anonymous says:

      Respect has to be earned. This woman is the biggest flip-flopper in the history of Cayman politics. She is loyal to no one but herself. How can anyone respect her is a better question.

    • Anonymous says:

      Respect is earned, not demanded. This Premier has proven over and over again that she will do anything for power, position and political expedience all under the guise of using God to trick her constituents to continue to vote for her.

      She has consistently used her position and power to ensure that she maintains high positions in Government and to ensure that she gets the highest pay possible and all of the political trappings of each office.

      She has now taken a bunch of political wannabe’s under her wing to usurp the position of Premier. Unlike the former Premier who didn’t need or was motivated by all of these things she has now found herself trapped into having to do the bidding of her political handlers in order to ensure that she maintains the gravy train she is now gotten used to. Unfortunately, now in the age of social media her dirty deeds and true self are coming to light. She like some before her is simply trying to deflect, blame and insinuate that others are making up stories or accusations to make her look bad but the real truth is that she is now being seen for what she really is.

      She keeps saying like she did before the last election that she won’t be running again but we all know now not to believe anything that comes out of her mouth. Believe me the day, you see her not run will be if she finds herself in a position where her constituents turn against her and hence the reason she would never approve of any boundary changes. If Cayman Brac was one constituency like it used to be, trust me, we Cayman Brackers would have gotten her out a long time ago but she knows who will vote for her and how many votes she needs which are minimal and as long as she can do what has do be done financially and otherwise to keep them happy she can ensure her re-election. She was quite worried last year when she saw how many votes Elvis was getting, so much so that she gave up God for one night to say that she would legalize weed if she got elected in order to keep many of those that would have voted for Elvis..This should have shown the people of Cayman Brac East her character and that she would stop at nothing to get elected even if it had to be going against her Bible thumping ways to say that she would support the weed vote.

      Cayman Brackers and particularly those in the East now know about her ways but they too have come to rely on her handouts and still believe that she is holier than thou because she has the gift of praying at every event and wearing ugly long frocks to make them think that she is actually being Godly…Soon they will realize exactly what she is about as soon as they vote her out and the chauffeur driven luxury cars, the vacations, round the world trips, highest paid positions, and the free government money to pay off her constituents goes away. I for one hope it is as soon as the next election.

    • Anonymous says:

      I am no fan of CMR and the way they go about things but personally, I’m glad someone’s finally calling her out on her crap AND standing their ground. It’s the only way to stop these politicians from perpetually fleecing us and might ultimately bring about more accountability. One can only hope.

    • Anonymous says:

      Is that you, JuJu? Only your fantasy projects and plans are personally attacking each and everyone in Cayman now and into the future, not to mention finances too (the public purse you like to spend so recklessly). You and the others are deluded if you think you can continue milking this gravy train you’re on. It’s took decades to get here but you can’t fool all the people all the time. Your number is up and if you can’t be accountable now you will be held accountable in the future. Is this really the legacy you choose to leave?

  14. Anonymous says:

    These press conferences are painful for watch. It goes prayer, ego trips and then questions from the media. Just state the facts of the situation & let us get on with our day. The unnecessary waffling is a waste of everyone’s time & not helpful.

  15. Anonymous says:

    She’s got no clue what she’s doing and it shows.

    • Anonymous says:

      she and her mates know exactly what they are doing and that is called feathering their nest. Don’t kid yourselves, she is very sly and manipulative and knows how to hold on to power

    • Anonymous says:

      Totally agree with you. Did anyone really listen to what she said in the press conference? Mouthfuls of big words strung together into sentences which are actually complete gibberish? God I hope she does much better when acting as out international ambassador.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Our countries must look at us & laugh. What a joke of a place we’ve become.

  17. Anonymous says:

    The more I research climate change, the more I question geoengineering. Projects like Project Stormfury, Project Cirrus, Operation Popeye, and HAARP raise concerns.

    And very concerning article caught my eye that Recent studies highlight another unintended consequence: disappearing ship tracks. Regulations by the International Maritime Organization in 2020 reduced sulfur pollution from ships by over 80%, improving air quality but also reducing the reflective clouds that help cool the planet. This has accelerated global warming, especially in busy shipping areas like the Atlantic, where the effect is equivalent to losing the cooling impact of a large volcanic eruption each year.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Madam Premier you are the best as we need development. Thank you

    • anon says:

      This is a joke yes?

    • Candid says:

      Yes, we do, like when she spent government money to develop a privately-owned car park in the Brac—and used compulsory acquisition legislation to save someone who fell behind on a mortgage. She is working for the people – just not many.

      • Anonymous says:

        Sounds like the Brac School which is being built on her family land. No conflict there right!

        • Anonymous says:

          What’s with the road she gazetted in April too? The compulsory purchase thing. What cunning plan is behind that?

  19. Anonymous says:

    does she believe in evolution?
    does she believe in mad made climate change?

  20. Anonymous says:

    Direct rule from England is necessary

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree. I wonder how we go about making that happen???

      • Chet Oswald Ebanks says:

        We get out show up. and protest playfully all over three islands and ask for early elections. We tell them they have failed their Caymanian people for far too long, we have l9st for govern.

    • Anonymous says:

      Never happen as the governor thinks Ju-Ju & Big Mac are real capable leaders

    • Anonymous says:

      They have direct rule back home. Feel free to go back there if you want to be entertained by that shitshow circus.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Until such time as the NCA is rectified to be constitutional, no member of the UPM shall receive any of the 163 votes which I control.

    • Anonymous says:

      Unconstitutional? How?

      And how does one ‘control a vote’ (other than their own)? is this the garrison politics I keep hearing so much about?

  22. Anonymous says:

    She gives all Christians a bad name.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Unsurprising to hear a snake speak in parseltongue. She is an absolute coward and will not commit to anything as was witnessed during this presentation. I cannot believe my Brackas have been stupid enough to keep this woman employed for so long.

    • Anonymous says:

      Stop insulting our wonderful Premier, she is serving the people. Her government knows we need development to keep our economic prosperity growing. Please Madame Premier stay on your course.

      • Anon says:

        Another good joke. We need to understand and manage our natural resources and acknowledge the climate change future that we face. We need to stop managing simply for today. Unfettered development is not the answer to our future. Wake up Cayman!

    • Anonymous says:

      Well said, she now decides to do a press conference, who cares to ever see or hesr from her again. Stay home darlin’ nobody interested in you, these Islands are functioning by the good people here, not you nor your corrupt politicians


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