A National Conservation Law would protect our critical environmental sites.

| 12/05/2010

The National Trust was established with the mission “To Preserve Natural Environments and Places of Historic Significance for Present and Future Generations of the Cayman Islands.” The lack of comprehensive legislation which would provide the government with the means to effectively conserve and manage the natural environment and resources of the Cayman Islands is of such great importance to our membership and to the future wellbeing of our country that the Trust now feels it necessary to make a public statement.

There has been coverage in the media recently regarding the Malportas Pond in North Side and the Government’s decision not to pursue establishing a buffer around the Crown-owned pond in order to protect it from the inevitable impacts of encroaching development. The Malportas Pond discussion is just the latest example of the country’s urgent need for a National Conservation Law.

Other sites are also in danger: the Saltwater Pond and Parrot Reserve in Cayman Brac; the Mastic Reserve, Salinas Reserve, and Ironwood Forest in Grand Cayman; the Booby Pond and Blossom Village in Little Cayman; even the newly created Blue Iguana Reserve in Colliers. All because we as a nation lack a proper conservation framework.

Looking ahead we also have a new hospital project being developed in the Eastern Districts, which may provide great benefits to our nation. But how will the 500 acres required for this venture be developed? What safeguards are there that the land will not simply be stripped of its vegetation and become urban sprawl?

The National Trust strongly encourages the current Government to pass a National Conservation Law!

Do you remember what Cayman used to look like, with the Creator’s glory reflected ev’rywhere? Do you want your children and grandchildren to live in the same dear verdant Islands?

In barely 40 years, our beloved Cayman Islands have seen unprecedented development. This economic expansion has allowed us to prosper to the point where we claim to have the highest standard of living in the Western Hemisphere. However, this growth, if left to continue unfettered, will lead to disastrous environmental consequences.

The Trust has heard many serious concerns from Cayman’s citizens, both for and against a National Conservation Law. However, those who are against can usually be persuaded to change their mind, once their concerns are addressed. In an effort to reach a wider audience we have chosen to answer these concerns via this advertisement.

Q: Why do we need a National Conservation Law (NCL)?
A: Cayman’s natural environment is not sufficiently protected by current laws. Wildlife, wetlands, marine and terrestrial areas are all under threat because development has been allowed to happen without forethought and concern for the environment. Under a recent IUCN Red List Assessment 46% of Cayman’s native plants are ranked as threatened with local extinction but there is no legislation which offers them any protection – not even our National Tree or National Flower is protected. In addition, many of Cayman’s unique animals such as our snakes, bats, lizards, crabs etc have no legal protection. Beyond local concerns, the Cayman Islands have an obligation under existing international treaties and conventions to ensure that conservation is an integral part of government, commercial, and individual activities.

Q: Why is conservation important?
A: We all remember fondly “the way Cayman used to be” and we still have three wonderful islands. But if we continue with uncontrolled development, the destruction of our natural areas, and the loss of our wildlife, we will find ourselves truly lamenting the loss of a very special country.

Q: Who will be held responsible for the destruction of our natural landscape?
A: We will! Future generations of Caymanians will revile our memory if we don’t act now to protect the beauty that surrounds us. But, more importantly our leaders will be held responsible. Unfortunately, our political leaders (no matter their partyaffiliation) do not have the desire to stand up and proclaim what we all know to be true: our Islands must be protected! They take the easy way out every time, and we as citizens and lovers of Cayman need to hold them accountable.

Q: Isn’t it too late to save Cayman’s wildlife and environment?
A: No, it is not. While there has been large-scale development and destruction of Cayman’s natural landscape, there is still much we can do to protect and preserve what is left. When the National Trust began the Blue Iguana Recovery Program, under the leadership of Fred Burton, many said it was too late to save that enigmatic creature. Yet now there are close to 300 free roaming Blue Iguanas on Grand Cayman, and the Program is acclaimed worldwide as a success. But the Blue Iguana Recovery Program, and all conservation efforts, require hard work and dedication from the entire Cayman community. Corporations, individuals, churches, service clubs, community groups, and the Government, all need to work together to ensure a future for Cayman that is as green and abundant as our past.

Q: What can I do to help?
A: Let your voice be heard! . Let our elected leaders, and your fellow citizens, know how you feel. Write letters to the Editor, post blogs, e-mail/text your friends. Organize a Facebook campaign.
• Volunteer! Whether with the National Trust or some other organization with the same aims, help is always needed. Call us. We’ll find something for you to do.
• Educate Yourself! Be aware and knowledgeable about the issues.

If you have questions/comments, or would like to volunteer your time and talent, please contact the National Trust on 749-1121; Info@nationaltrust.org.ky. Also, check out our website www.nationaltrust.org.ky.

 

Vote in the CNS online poll: Are you in favour of a conservation law?

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Comments (30)

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  1. Kerry Horek says:

    Please don’t let my last name fool you, I was born and bred in these Islands and hold the environment in my country dear to my heart.

    Personally we need a conservation law in this country so that we are not stripped of all that is God’s glory around us, the natural flora and fauna of this country.  We have to regulate development and stretch it out.  If we had done this there would not be hundreds of rental properties on the island closed up today.  Sorry to say it but some of my people had no foresight, they were all wearing rose coloured glasses.

    I hope that this law is passed soon so we can stop fooling ourselves in this country.

    Also, I hope that we can put some buffer zones in place for various areas and yes I agree that major developments need to be looked into more carefully and see the environmental impact prior to them receiving their final approval.

    The children must have a future, otherwise they will hate what we have left them with in the future.

    We can grow, just not at the break neck, greedy past we have been growing. 

    If you don’t care about the environment,  and you don’t care about this country, then you should not live here.

    ‘Keep my Island Clean & Green"

  2. Caymanian at Heart says:

    Link to the Current Draft of the Conservation Law:

    http://www.doe.ky/laws/national-conservation-law/

    I started reading it, I hope you will too.

  3. Da big deal says:

    The devastation of Cayman has begun West Bay Road The Ryan &Dart Group Pease Bay Breakers Midland Acres Quarry Group Frank Sound Halfmoon Bay Joe Imparato & Connolly Harbour group East End The Shetty Travers and Thompson Group  South Sound Emerald Hislop & Connolly group Yes some of you same to think we don’t know who and what we are the don’t kid yourselves Group. Cayman try and put some rules and conditions in place for our children sake the national conservation law is a good start.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Ridiculous!

    We need to better our economy, but you group of people talking about stopping development and saving planet earth… lol… please, spare me! It is science and invention that will make a positive difference for the future, not having stinkin ponds, thick infested bushes, and ugly iguanas running all over the place. We need to also get rid of the chickens… they are a pest! All I see is them fowl all over the place! Maybe when they clear all the land they can set traps and catch them all. Also they need to get rid of them stinkin crabs found in their holes.

    And we can make a better Cayman Islands, if we can at least ship and plant some nice beautiful trees here. We can get flowers as well as carpet the needless lands here with good grass at least. Nothing will get done if you people are in our way!

    • Anonymous says:

      You sound ungrateful to God and man 

      Maybe you should live in a desert

    • Mat DaCosta-Cottam says:

      Around the world, different countries have very different attitudes towards conservation. Some, such as Canada and New Zealand, pride themselves on extensive their National Parks systems. Their National Parks cover 20, 30, even 40% of the country. In my own experience, these countries appear to generate significant financial revenue from these resources, attracting tourists from around the world, while at the same time they provide an invaluable recreational resource to be enjoyed by residents. Fringe benefits for locals include good stuff like clean air, pure water, the right to roam the best bits of their own country, high quality of life etc.

      Other countries look to development to solve their problems – Dubai is perhaps the world leader here. Sadly, things to not appear to have worked out too well for Dubai. Perhaps the reason for this is that one can only develop a certain amount before one "over-develops".

      In Cayman, we have no National Parks (and no legislation to make one happen). Our Animal Sanctuaries (or "stinking ponds" as you call them) cover about 0.5% of the land surface. Cleared / developed land already comprises over half the land. People talk about the balance of "development" and the "environment" – at the moment the balance is 50% to 0.5% (Thank goodness for the few National Trust reserves we have – otherwise we really would have rather little).

      If you, or anyone else can give an example of a country which has suffered an economic crisis, a social meltdown, a crime wave, or any other socio-economic disaster, due to an excess of National Parks and Conservation Legislation, that would be very interesting. However, it seems to me that, in most cases, countries around the world suffer financially more from over-development, poor planning, over-speculation and good old-fashioned dishonestly, then they do from protecting their natural resources.

    • Anonymous says:

       FYI, those "thick infested bushes" are our mangroves!  Do some research on what they actually do for the land and then get back to us on your rant.  And if you hate the iguanas, crabs and chickens so much why don’t YOU go somewhere else!  Cayman is beautiful just the way it is.

  5. roger corbin says:

    It is to be hoped that the National Conservation Law will also provide the means with which invasive species of animals and plants can be properly dealt with and controlled.

    Lion Fish, green iguanas and casuarina trees come to mind.

    Responsible developers who consider Cayman for their next project will look favorably on a law with similar objectives as they find in their home country. Modern day when developers expect to protect the general environment and they would look negatively on a country which does not require them to do that.

    The success of the plastic bag campaign is a prime example of how quickly people have adopted a measure to help the environment.

    Let’s look carefully at what is being proposed by Government and have a civilized discussion without the vitriol which detracts from many open forum discussions. Hysterical comments designed to inflame opinion are uncalled for and are generally without merit.   Each person is entitled to their own opinion but that does not mean it is necessary to insult persons who do not necessarily share that opinion.

     

     

     

     

  6. Anonymous says:

    As badly as the Conservation Law is needed, it will only do any good if it actually is going to be enforced!

    Current laws such as animal welfare and planning & development laws are not being enforced. There is no funding to do so, and none of the elected officials are putting themselves out there to ensure that the law is followed as they fear loss of votes.

    So I am asking – if someone will built on a piece of land that has been zoned as environmentally protected (for example), who is going to knock down that house?

    The planning law and conservation law need to go hand in hand. As long as anybody can apply to a variance when they are developing their property (no matter what zoning the property falls under), things will never change.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Anybody that thinks a conservation law is not necessary needs to open their eyes and look around.  We (as a country) need to see the importance of preserving our natural wildlife while we move forward.  Government should be ashamed that they have not put a higher priority on this!

  8. KBusH says:

    It is absolutely ridiculous what is going in the wetlands behind Meagre Bay Pond the massive holes in Pease Bay and Midland Acres, Breakers are a national disgrace by unscrupulous quarry owners. The national trust is powerless to stop this onslaught and serious damage to our precious environment and ecology of Grand Cayman. Its is a farce and a terrible injustice that the conservation law has not be passed yet we go a wrong talking about preserving our heritage. The contamination levels in these ponds from dangerous chemicals is extremely serious. In recent months huge parcels of land have been purchase by quarry owners who no doubt intend to wreak further Havoc to these huge wetlands sanctuaries. I Implore the Gov’t to reign in their political minions and their thoughtless greed and join with the National Trust to put a stop to this attack an onslaught and declare these areas environmental Zones. Come on Cayman how much more greed and gluttony and SUV’s can we buy we can do better than this.

    • Anonymous says:

      Our National Hero, Jim Bodden, in the name of development and revenge against the government of the day, bulldozed down the only really historic thing on this island (Fort George) and his statue -doesn’t look like him at all but…-stands in mockery close to the old fort, put there by Caymanians who thought Mr Bodden was Cayman’s saviour. Only a deluded few think that now; I have noticed recently among his former supporters a rather mute, embarrassed cough cough er er response. Thank God.

      His Bodden Town "twin",(thus they described themselves), Haig Bodden was considered a brilliant "orator" in Cayman in the days when all you had to do in the LA was shout nonsense for four hours (the limit of speech then) without pausing for thought.(Mackeeva got his start at this time and in this environment). Haig went on and on about the "cock-eyed conservationists" to the enthralled support of ..well, yes, Caymanians, who kept re-electing him and Jim, until Jim went wobbly and started talking about selling Cayman Status to wealthy foreigners/Texans (er..sound familiar?) and was rejected at the polls.

      Trashing our environment has a long, undistinguished history; how many Caymanians under the age of 30 would have any knowledge of what I have written above?

      Ah so it go.

  9. Anon says:

    I think legislation should provide that all developers should have to provide green areas and plant environmentally friendly parks and playgrounds in return for each and every single major development for which approval is sought.  Approval should be subject to this.

    • granniewanda says:

      I don’t care what you say, if you knock down the greeneries here to replace overseas foliage, it won’t be the same. The Caymanian bush (some parts medicinal) is unique bush! The brought in palm trees, cactus, and flowers to replace it, is a disgrace!

      I think Dart and his parks is the only place where you see development that is building into nature instead of onit. I think he could have did more to Caymana Bay in terms of variety and keeping certain natural grounds untouched. But the parks, he did a good job.

  10. john says:

    Although I respect you environmental lovers, I hope you’re not expecting us – 50,000 people to live off the land. How will we feed ourselves if we don’t develop our country and increase its revenue??? 

    What… eat whistling ducks, the crabs, and agouti rabbits all the days of our lives, et cetera?

    Nature is Good, but PEOPLE are the CROWN OF NATURE!

    We need to have a balance here

    • Anonymous says:

      ‘Nature is Good, but PEOPLE are the CROWN OF NATURE!’

      Ermmmmm……? One good swoop of nature and people can disappear….

    • Anonymous says:

      John,

      This is why discussion is needed.  No one is suggesting we "live off the land" and stop all development.  The idea is to force responsible development! 

      No one is suggesting that animals (or plants) are more important than people.  But why would you, or any of us, want to live in a Cayman devoid of plant and animal life?

    • John2 says:

      What Blance? This is nto a rhetorical quesiton, John. You implied you don’t like the idea of conserving nature because it is unbalanced. What, that was in the article or has otherwise been proposed is unbalanced?

  11. Anonymous says:

    Everyone knows that planning and development will always trump the environment and conservation.

    All landowners want to be able to sell their land to developers for the big dollars and won’t tolerate any conservation law that will block their ability to cash in.

    The landowners are voters thus the politicans fear of offending future electorial support.

    In reality we all know that most people in Cayman do not really care about the environment, look at the landfill for example, look at the lack of recycling. Everyone who comes to this country and learns that in the 21st century in a country will limited land mass that recycling does not exist are completely shocked and dismayed. 

    Greed my friends is the bottom line of this issue.

    • Anonymous says:

      But greed must not be mistaken my friend, for a want that is a need!  If cutting expenditures will not be sufficient in helping our economy, we then need revenue to develop the country. Greed is some want that you don’t need, you just want to acquire for having sake. We need to bring back our country from its debt crisis

      • Joe Average says:

        yes, but we haven’t cut expenditures.  we have only danced around the topic.  this government has fallen for the same trick all governments fall for.  that is developers, realtors, etc. talk in their ear and say if you just slacken the rules and look the other way… let us come in a rape the place…we’ll make sure some of it trickles down and at the same time you’ll look like heroes for creating jobs.  sounds like a simple solution but it’s the "quality of life" that theydon’t pay any attention to.  have you heard one mention of that….from any politician?  it isn’t on their radar they don’t see that far.  what good will it do us if we’re all employed and this island is paved from one end to the other?  and after the money’s gone… sad people.

        they KNOW how to sustain this economy…even in hard times.  WE don’t need more development THEY must reduce their waste and expenditures..  they create them, they control them, and they can do something about it. instead they’re making it look like rocket science! or waiting for some developer to give them a magic bullet.  with that kind of short-sightedness it’s much easier to sell the island and our home (the only one we have) one piece at a time than look up from the trough….

        snarf snarf oink… conservation?  what’s that?

    • Anonymous says:

       Yes, greed. And love of money is the root of all evil.  I am sick of living in a place that is willing to spend thousands, millions, to sweep things under the rug without dealing with issues head on. Whether it’s crime, the environment, human rights…everything is discussed, publicized, and then, forgotten.  This is the fairy land of fairy lands, where desensitization plagues the old, the new and the soon to arrive, because it’s like we’re not a real country…not yet.  I am of this land and I am thoroughly disgusted with the incompetence here.   I am not against development, and could never be because that’s like saying I don’t like having a roof over my head or going to the grocery store and shopping plazas but for God’s sake, aren’t we killing the ‘goose that laid the golden egg’ ??  Why do we need more 5,6,7 storey hotels cropping up on SMB, blocking the view of the beach which belongs to everyone, SITTING COMPLETELY VACANT, AND DILAPIDATED WHEN NOT IN OPERATION, turning us into South Beach 2…some of the most luxurious places to vacation are small, intimate, exclusive villas and cabins…we are a small island that,depends on tourism and banking…can we diversify our tourism product more? Can we be a little more creative in finding ways to bring in money than just sell off every last square inch of the country?  Can we not see how destructive and unnecessary it is to develop sensitive areas, including areas that protect us (like mangrove property)? Why have we failed to look a little deeper, to achieve a balance between the natural environment WHICH ULTIMATELY SUSTAINS US (whoever asked the foolish question about us living off the land vs. developing is an extremist with intention of finding balance), and the environments created by humans?  Why have we poisoned our own natural fresh water supplies for the sake of a highway, when WAYS COULD BE FOUND to save one and allow the creation of the other?? BECAUSE THERE ARE NO LAWS THAT SAY YOU HAVE TO.  And that my friends, is just how greedy people like it.  The less they have to contend with, the better, because they live for the betterment of themselves, and not the betterment of our community.  After all, there is space for sale on the Moon too, because the plan is, "If we screw it up here, we can always go elsewhere!"  NO ACCOUNTABILITY WHATSOEVER.  When we come together and look at sustainable development, we will find that development is not the enemy, it’s the foolish people behind it that we are to blame.  Passe ways of thinking to hold on to what they have.   They can make a difference in how much is destroyed and they do have the kind of power to influence governments in a way that will mean the best for the natural environment as well as success for those involved in the projects.  This warped country needs to do a serious assessment of itself (SANS THE OVERSEAS CONSULTANTS!) and really ask if anyone should respect it when allows such stupidity to prevail.

  12. bradley says:

    I will tell you… and I am not the only one who sees this, but 500 acres for a hospital is alot of land, alot of cutting down of trees for palm trees, and removal of bush needed for a moist environment. Think of it, 1 acre covers 50 yards of land… think of 500 acres. I sometime wonder if they got the figure straight!

    Unless they develop this hospital inan eco-friendly manner, there is no guessing – I guarantee that much wildlife will suffer from such a land clearage. Although we will be starting a new thing to pump revenue in the country, think of our beautiful tourism product.

    Just a thought

    • john says:

      The Narayana Hospital is needed to put food on our plates!  It seems bush is more important than people to you.  And if God made people as well as bush, and people can think and reason, I am sure we have more value than a parrot or snake in the bush!

      I am not saying we just get rid of wildlife… no… but there needs to be a balance approach.

      It all has to do with "HOW" we develop!  It all has to do with building and developing wth mothernature! 

      We can’t stop development now!  And I am not endorsing reckless development!

      • Anonymous says:

        John,

        That’s exactly want the Conservation Law sets out to do!  Not stop development, but prevent reckless development.

      • Lois Blumenthal says:

         So, if you are not endorsing reckless development, we can assume that you support the Conservation Law. There is a course that isn’t two sides screaming at each other. We all want a beautiful AND economically stable country. The Conservation Law is not a radical document. There is no cause to think it is and we shouldn’t let anyone use this issue just to try to make political points. It’s a sensible plan and the country needs it. 

      • Not Too Old To Care says:

        John – Ecclesiastes 3:19 takes a practical view of the relative importance of people and their environment. "Man’s fate is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; man has no advantage over the animal."

        If you really endorse "developing with mother nature", perhaps a good place to start would be by not considering yourself "have more value" than nature. If you are superior to the environment, you should be able to get along just fine without it. If you cannot survive without the environment, it is probably in your interest to protect it.

        Will there truly be no food on your plate without the Narayana Hospital, or is this just a turn of phrase you are using? You should visit a country where the environment has collapsed. You may find many plates around the world emptier than yours. 

    • Knal N. Domp says:

       I acre equals 4,840 square yards (43,560 square feet)

      That’s just shy of 70 yards by 70 yards (or nearly 835 feet by 835 feet).

      Shetty’s 500 acres equals 3,136,320,000 square inches of Beloved Island Cayman…

      • Anon says:

        Why overcomplicate things by comparing to football fields (another poster) or giving conversions to feet and yards.  500 acres = just less than 1% of Grand Cayman.  Surely that puts it into perspective that is easyfor anyone to comprehend?