Miller wants different NCL

| 06/08/2010

(CNS): The North Side independent MLA has insisted that he is not against conservation and wants to see a law passed to protect the country’s natural resources but is asking government to make a number of significant changes to the proposed legislation. Ezzard Miller said that he and his constituents want to see what he calls the ‘technocrats’ removed from the proposed conservation council and to eliminate what he perceives as its power. He also said the clause stating the crown can seek “to acquire” land shouldbe removed. Despite the fact that there is nothing in the National Conservation Law which says government can acquire land other than with the agreement of the owner, Miller says he doesn’t trust government.

It is currently proposed in the law that the National Conservation Council can, if it receives a request or a proposal, consider setting aside land for preservation. If it is not crown land the council will be able to take steps to see if it can be bought by or leased to government. If not, the council can propose a management plan and some form of payment in agreement with the landowners to preserve land for a specific species or critical habitat.

The law also provides for objections to any suggestions or recommendations by the council and there are no provisions for government to compulsory purchase any land to make into a conservation area.

However, Miller says the people of North Side have a history of fighting government over the designation of land zones and land use and there is very little trust in the district that government won’t overstep the mark. He said taking land from private hands and giving it to government was no guarantee that the land would be preserved.

He said it was very important that the conservation law has the trust of the people as Miller believes they need to buy into the law in order for it to be effective. With the changes he has suggested he said he and his constituents would be able to support conservation legislation.

“I want to make it clear that I am not anti-conservation or believe that economic development should always take precedence over the environment. However, I believe conservation legislation must reflect the cultural norms and be inclusive rather than exclusive of landowners,” Miller told CNS.

The North Side representative, whose district is one of the most unspoilt areas of Grand Cayman, said that be believed the “environmental technocrats should be enablers and facilitators to help owners develop their land in eco-friendly ways … rather than the concept of confiscating private property and laws to enforce their quasi scientific directives …”

Despite the fact that there are absolutely no provisions in the proposed law to confiscate private land, Miller and many of his constituents believe that government could still find ways to seize or prevent development if the legislation retains a provision for land acquisition.

His constituents, he said, have concerns that the major developers will have the power and the money to circumvent any government regulations associated with this law while the small land owner will be facing draconian fines and imprisonment for cutting silver thatch fronds from his own land. With what he said were too many examples of government hypocrisy when it came to conservation, he said this law would work against his constituents. He pointed out that the islands’ well know wealthy developers, such as Michael Ryan, were given permission to destroy mangrove buffers and dig canals over the acceptable depths, but when a North Sider cuts down a tree he gets fined.

Miller suggested the provision that allows local people to get licenses to use natural resources for themselves for small projects or crafts was unfair as they should be able to use a limited amount of the wood or fronds for thatch on their own land without a license. “In the same way that there are limits on how much sand can be taken from a beach each day we should have rights to take a limited amount of thatch to facilitate local crafters and support traditional artisans,” Miller said adding that denial or prohibition wouldn’t work and people needed to support the process with limits instead of bans.

Miller also criticised the proposed make up of the council, which he says should not be composed of environmental experts but should be made up of representatives from each of the districts and he said it should be the “environmental technocrats” that present their proposals for conservation to the council of lay people to make decisions on and not the other way round.

However, the director of the environment has made it clear the role of the council would be to offer environmental and ecological expert advice to developers and planners and recommendations to government; it would have no direct power to designated land a protected area or to stop any development.

Miller says he believes the council should not be able to recommend Cabinet designates environmental or protection areas but that all decisions on land zoning should remain with the Legislative Assembly.

Although Miller says people think he is fundamentally opposed to the NCL and he is being labelled an anti-conservationist, he said that was not true and there were many things in the law which he supported. Miller said he supported the idea of land management plans to help preserve and protect land and he said the conservation agreements were a sensible move.  He said that he had established a committee among his constituents and they were hoping to finish the re-write of the legislation shortly and submit the changes to the ministry during the extended consultation period.

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Comments (32)

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  1. Sarah Palin-Miller says:

    Darn tootin’. We don’t need any intellectually superior "technical experts" involved in this conservation mullarky.  They’re only gonna steal our land and stop us shootin’ those pesky national birds out of the sky.

    Hey guess what? I can see Cuba from my front porch at Old Man Bay don’tcha know!

    Maybe I should be the Premier……..

     

     

  2. Bow Line says:

    Ah know it about time.Cayman is probably the only country in the western hemisphere that up until now does not have a NCL & protection for things of histotrical importance.But yet is #4 in theworld as a financial center.Think about that.This is no surprise or accident to many of us.Human rights were only just dragged in,what? two years ago! Good eye Ez. Can yu imagine not being able to pick a few tops?Where do these donkeys get off suggestin such baseless rubish,as to project the notion authentic Caymanians are willing to not be or haven’t always been conservatively conscious.Bud Johnson & King Flowers to name a few.What a blahny pile of rubish.No surprise considering the present administration.NONE. EZ or ARDEN FOR PREMIER EFFECIVE IMMEDIATELY. The Reniassance has begun & Bow Line gaw he eye on deh RECONCILIATION.Toodles..

    • Man says:

      Bow Line get an education.

      Take a look at your EZ housing development he did in Frank Sound and Fuller Road years ago. Both in swamp land and a great example of his position on the environment.

      • Bow Line says:

        I havn’t forgotten ANYONES nonsense including yours.I know yur types well,very well in fact.Too far out of the loop for yu is it? I personally dont even try to digest yur illabic babble & lack of execution.Toodles..

  3. peter milburn says:

    Mr.Miller makes interesting reading on this subject and I would like to make a couple of points.Firstly from my interpretation of what he says he would like to see the board made up of less conservationists or technocrats as he seems to think they are and have other folks in there who would on the face of it give a better balance to the developers/planners.We have all seen over the years how the planning board thinks and works by allowing some of the most outrageous plans to be passed and implemented.The DOE to my knowlege has never been allowed to sit on that board so their advice is never listened too even though they have been right in many instances.Look at the most recent planning board approval in giving Mike Ryan permission after the DOE was strongly urging them not too,to allow him to rip out the fringing mangroves at the head of his new development Dragon Bay.What the hell kind of balance is this?So how come now that the new NCL is being put out there for legislation that he and many others bitterly complain that it is stacked with folks who know what the environment should look like or how it should be protected.Of course it should have those members on board ITS A NATIONAL CONSERVATION BOARD  so lets be fair when we critisize its make up.But having said all this the final decision will fall into the hands of our wonderful Cabinet if indeed there any appeals brought forward by any disgruntled land owners and you know where there thoughts are on conservation at least the present ones in power today.They have the worst record of any past Govt when it comes to something as vital as this new proposed law.I know one thing for sure that you all had better not mess around with Little Cayman as that will certainly be the last stand for us all when it comes to keeping at least one island pristine and out of the hands of the rapists who call themselves developers.You think I wont stand up for preservation?JUST TRY ME.

  4. Man says:

    Miller says he does not trust Government…With good reason! He would have to trust himself!!!

  5. Anonymous says:

    how the hell can a man who represents about 2% of the Caymanian electorate: (a) get so much coverage from the press and (b) even be considered for Premier.  Come on people, XXXXX  Give this "Ezzard for Premier" talk a break.

    • Anonymous says:

      because he is given 3 hrs every tuesday on rooster to give his typical small minded backward rant….that goes unquestioned by the ‘hosts’……

      • Khan Dhu says:

        ….and is perfect for the show’s demographic.

        "Ezzardocracy" – government of the small minded by the small minded,

  6. Anonymous says:

    While I understand Mr. Miller’s stance that the Law needs "buy-in" from average citizens, i would ask him to remember that back when the Marine Laws were being proposed in the 1980’s "average citizens" threw rocks (not joking!) at Sir Vassel and Dept of Environment employees (the department was called something else then). 

    But Leaders lead and Sir Vassel and his Exco mates knew that the laws were needed and were the correct way to go.  The NCL is badly needed and is for the most part and excellent piece of legislation.  I for one am fed up with these so-called leaders today who have no spine and no conscience.  I’m also fed up with small minded people like Ezzard Miller.

    • Anonymous says:

      Amen

    • Pit Bull says:

      When you refer to the rock-throwing incident, it is worth noting that while one gets the impression that the majority of those calling into Rooster seem out-and-out dumb hicks they may have evolved long way in a short period.  There may be hope.

  7. Balanced View says:

    Check and seewhy Ezzard is holding this position.  XXXXXX  BTW his comment "I want to make it clear that I am not anti-conservation or believe that economic development should always take precedence over the environment. However, I believe conservation legislation must reflect the cultural norms and be inclusive rather than exclusive of landowners,” may sound good and at first and may appear to be the balance approach however when you couple that with wanting to remove the technical experts from the council it really shows what Ezzard is REALLY up to.

    If we followed that thinking we would remove teachers and educators from the various education boards and replace them with adults who dropped out of school or have no children so that we can reach a balance between the needs of the children and the wants of the community. 
     
    What Ezzard is NOT saying is that while he is not anti-conservation he is also not pro-conservation, or pro-environment (I guess he’s somewhere between nuclear and green energy). He figures that landowners should do with their land as they please and if you need to down trees or fill ponds and encroach on wildlife then so be it.  After all these creatures don’t own any land.  Typical myopic, cowboy hat and boots mentality – this is my world and your nothing but a squirrel mentality…
     
    And to know that there are those who would want to see him as Premier. 
     
    Caymanians need to stop being so politically naive and ignorant!!!
    • Justitia says:

       I seem to recall that he also suggested that landowners should be allowed to shoot Cayman parrots, an endangered species.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Ezzard wants a new NCL, but most Caymanians don’t want any NCL.  We don’t want foreigners in the DOE taking away our birth right and ability to build a house.

    • anonymous says:

      DofE is staffed by Caymanians for the most part, starting at the very top. There are a few expats on their staff, but look at the shakers and movers there, and you have to admit that is a highly Caymanian department. Caymanians standing up for what they think Cayman needs to take care of. Gina (Director of Environment) in particular is one ouf our real national heroes and deserves better than to have her and the committed Caymanians in her Department labeled as expats. Get the facts right at least, even if you don’t agree with them! People like Lisa Hurlstone, John Bothwell, Phil Bush, Bradley Johnson just to name a few of their hard working folk… they do deserve some recognition and respect.

      • KY says:

        "deserves better than to have her and the committed Caymanians in her Department labeled as expats."

        Looks like your prejudice is showing, there I was thinking God created everyone equal, now it seems being labeled an expat is an insult.

        Just shows how some Caymanians look down their noses at hard working, law abiding expats.

         

  9. anonymous says:

    This is really standing up for the people. We should really appreciate this.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is extremely short sighted and a political attempt to retain his power and please his constituents for what they percieve to be their benefit.

      If he was looking out for Cayman and its long term prosperity Miller would support a strong conservation law.

       

  10. anonymous says:

    We need Ezzard Miller for Premier.

    • Anonymous says:

      the amount of thumbs down to this comment says that there is a tiny glimmer of hope for cayman…

  11. anonymous says:

    Ezzard is a man of wisdom and great insight. He is a real diplomat, a statesman and legislator when he says "I am not against preservation" he emphasizes that there needs to be protective clauses into the preservation law that will not boomerang into the faces of land owners at a later date.

    In essence what Mr. Miller is really saying is that he does not trust government ‘AT ALL!" and he is so right. Who in their right mind would trust government with their land?

    He is again doing the right thing in standing up for the people protecting their property from the unscrupulous hands of government which he nor the people trusts!

    I conclude that we need Mr. Ezzard Miller for Premier!

    • Anonymous says:

      ahem … He IS the government 

    • Q says:

      Another stupid voter who will inevitably mark his "X" in the wrong box when it comes to the next election. Wake up people! Your government and leaders don’t care about you.

  12. anonymous says:

    This seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding about the makeup of the proposed Conservation Council. The NCL is supposed to be a National CONSERVATION Law, and the Council is tasked with making RECOMMENDATIONS to the pimary decision-making bodies – like the CPA, Cabinet and so on.

    So the whole point is the Conservation Council needs to know whatit is talking about, from a technical environmental point of view, otherwise ther input to decisionmaking by others, will not be based on any factual expertise in environmental matters.

    Replace the environmental experts on theCouncil with district representatives then all you will have is another political body with no particular expertise in the subject. We already have plenty of that.

    The whole point of this law is to provide solid, fact-based environmental advice to the government’s decision-making bodies, in a framework where this input has to be weighed properly in the balance. That is why the Conservation Council MUST include the country’s top environmental experts.

    The environmental advice from the Council will be weighed in balance with the social and economic concerns, by the (supposedly) democratic structures that are already in place – i.e. by the political arm of Government, and by its existing statutory bodies.

    The Conservation Council is supposed to be there to provide one line of advice ONLY, and that is environmental advice. Not social advice, political advive or anything else like that. So the whole point is to ensure the Conservation Council is populated by conservation experts.

    If Miller distrusts the Government, the conservation law is NOT the place to try and leverage in other political influence. There are many more appropriate targets for that concern.

  13. Anonymous says:

    ezzard’s word of the week: ‘technocrat’

    i’d love to hear him explain that term

    ezzard miller is the king of the small town soundbite

  14. Anonymous says:

    Ezzard Miller is a dinosaur and last of a dying breed of anti-environmental old men who see the environment as a obstacle to be overcome or destroyed rather than protected. I wonder if he’s even taken the time to actually read the law? Hopefully, he and his bizarre views on this issue will be quietly and effectively ignored.

    • Truly 100% Caymanian:) says:

      I can only say that i agree with one part of this msg "Ezzard Miller is a dinosaur and last of a dying breed”.

      He is the last of a dying breed that is trying ever so hard to do what is right and not think about who he is pissing off in the process. Which seems to be the driving point behind the majority of currently elected officials! Too busy trying to grab a dollar here while on top of that trying to please this one and that one and forgetting exactly why they were given the power that they now use as ‘they’ see fit… To protect the ‘PEOPLE’ of the CAYMAN ISLANDS.

      It is we the Caymanian people that elect these inviduals to speak for us and lookout for our well being. We should be their driving force.

      Food For Thought: – If we ‘the people’ wind up as extinct as everything from the beach to the bluff, what do you think will really happen to our islands then?!?

      We need to make a stand now before this gets any more out of hand!

      • Beachboi says:

        This comment is 100% contradictory!!  You start off trying to  defend Ezzard, but you end up condeming him for what he is.  Try again! 

  15. Anonymous says:

    Can we please seperate the Marine protection issues from the terestrial issues? We need to protect our marine life NOW! Give officers the powers to do so.

    Our marine life is getting slaughtered while we sit and wait.