Cayman signs up to save North Sound

| 07/03/2011

(CNS): Organisers of the Save Cayman campaign were out on Saturday looking for support for their petition to stop the dredging of the North Sound. Captain Bryan Ebanks, who is spearheading the campaign against government’s proposal to dredge a channel in the sound, was in West Bay collecting signatures from the premier’s own constituents, many of whom are opposed to the channel, despite the premier’s comments on Thursday when he asked people not to sign. Claims by the premier that a channel will protect the Sound and won’t put the Sandbar at risk don’t seem to have convinced all of the wider public.

Speaking to CNS outside Foster’s Republix on Saturday afternoon, Cptain Ebanks said he hoped the petition could make a difference. “We have no choice, we have to do this and we are aiming to collect enough signatures to trigger a referendum,” he said. “Once the dredging is done and we see the damage, it will be too late then.”

Under the country’s 2009 Constitution, if 25% of the electorate support a referendum on a specific topic then the government is legally obligated to pass a law to allow a people initiated vote to take place and is bound by its results.

Despite hoping to get the necessary 3,000 or so voters’ signatures, the Save Cayman campaign is not limiting signatures to those who are on the electoral register. They have also been including frequent visitors to Cayman as well as residents, work permit holders and Caymanians that are not registered to vote in order to demonstrate to both the governor and the government the wide opposition to the proposal to dredge the channel they believe exists.

On Thursday the premier moved from his previous position that the channel was necessary and he would be going ahead regardless to stating that if an environmental impact study showed the Sandbar was at risk he wouldn’t go ahead. However, he has stated frequently that he believes the channel will do no harm and again in his Thursday evening television broadcast he said he believed it would be good for the North Sound.

The Save Cayman campaigners have raised concerns that unless the environmental impact assessment, (EIA) is independent and the Terms of Reference set down fully by the Department of the Environment it could produce skewed results. In the petition the campaigners ask for an independent EIA, an economic impact study and a feasibility study all to be made public before the project is considered.

Over the years a number of reports and studies have determined that open water dredging of the North Sound and its coastline has resulted in increased turbidity and a significant decline in water quality and underwater visibility, and more will not, the campaigners say, improve the situation as the premier has suggested in a number of speeches recently.

This new project proposes a 200 metre wide channel cut through the reef, which the premier claims will be no morethan 20 feet deep, and envisions two artificial islands that are said to be a mile in diameter. Dredging to remove a portion of the reef and to create artificial islands in the North Sound will cause changes to current patterns and to water quality, the campaigners say.

As far back as 1998 the people who worked on the Cayman Islands National Strategic Plan – Vision 2008 – said then that legislation had to be passed prohibiting further dredging or excavating operations in the North sound and it should be placed on a National Registry of Environmentally Protected Areas, none of which happened.

Print off the petition below or non-residents can go to the online version

See more about the campaign to save the North Sound here or  vote in the CNS poll

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Category: Headline News

About the Author ()

Comments (28)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    REMOVE McKeeva!

  2. H Williams says:

    I agree with Libertarian – petition should be to remove McKeeva and get to the ‘root’ of the problem. Otherwise, we going have to do petition against oil-refinery and petition EE sea port and on and on.

    It is IDIOTIC that McKeeva just decides (without any research) I am going to do "XYZ" unless my constituents bring evidence that it is bad, wrong…..huh?!

    Mr. Bush with the greatest of respect, it is YOUR job to do your homework and prove to US, the people that your plan is feasible — not the other way around. It is NOT my job to keep explaining to you why what you are planning to do is a bad idea. You work for us, not us for you. Damn bright and out of order!!!


  3. Yacht Crazy says:

    Didn’t Mac have a yacht? What was the name Monkey Business? Anyhow, he just didn’t come up with Yacht fever all of a sudden. He’s been all over the world cutting deals and he comes back with Yacht fever. XXXX Something aint right or is it me?

    • Anonymous says:

      yeah, plus he been hanging out in UAE with oil billionairres where they have dredged to make artificial islands, got a technology park and got an oil refinery so he believe Cayman must follow them too!

  4. Anonymous says:

    I read with much interest the comments from those for and against the proposed dredging of a channel in the North Sound. I will reserve my comments on this subject until I know more specifics of the intended dredging project.

    Equally as important to my mind, and certainly more of a major health risk and environmental disaster is the constant foul smell and leaching in the North Sound from Mount Trashmore.

    I was recently at Kirks supermarket parking lot and actually saw people covering their nostrils to protect them from the stench coming from the dump until they got inside. Can you imagine the negative impression our first time visitors must get.

    There has been much talk over the past several months about remediation of the dump, however, for some reason this subject now seems to have once again been put on the back burner, can someone please explain why this obvious health hazard is again being overlooked.

  5. Lachlan MacTavish says:

     This is an extremely important stand and petition. I urge all Caymanians to educate themselves about the possible damage and threat to Cayman a channel in the NS would do if dredged. Sign this petition, stop this foolish real estate project and show Mr. Bush that one man cannot just keep blindly moving forward.  

    • Anonymous says:

      Can someone please list how making a chanel by dredging, and making an island, or placing the excess at the end of the runway will wreck the north sound? I hear lots of complaints, but none that are backed up by evidence based research??

  6. Shepherd says:

    What is worrisome is that it is stated that it won’t be done if there will be any damage to the ‘Sandbar’.

    Is that it!!!!!!! Sorry not fooling me!!! Of course there won’t be any damage to the Sandbar, it is ALL SAND!

    There will be MAJOR DAMAGE to Stingray City, it will be GONE! The middle of the channel goes right through it.

    What about the North Sound snorkling sites, andthe the dives on the North Wall, oh yeah, they will be GONE too! Suffocated by the silt from the dredging.

    Ever dive where the cruise ships anchor? I have…….it is a desolate moonscape down there, destroyed by years of anchoring. Is that what you want for our reefs out on the North Side?

    Stop the madness and greed. Please.

  7. Anonymous says:

    If done right could be a real attraction for Cayman. I want to see the plans first before I take a position and not the 1970’s plans from the Norwester Magazine thats up on the Rooster’s website. show me the real plans. Lets see whats involved first before running off and signing patitions

  8. XLR-7 says:

    I am not saying that i agree or disagree with the channel,however i do believe we should research the project.Why is it that every project that is offered to the Islands every one shoots it down.Money is just not flowing the way it used to,along with a few careless spenders in the past.

    • Shepherd says:

      Not every project is dismissed. Shetty hospital is a good idea. Unfortunately those projects which mean destruction of our ecology, which is a major tourism product (and what feeds the Island) are bad ideas.

      You see, good projects don’t produce a whole bunch of quietly pocketed money.

      That’s the big picture………

  9. Keith Joseph says:

    I keep reading all the anti McKeeva stuff and of course much of it is completely justified. But isn’t that what democracy is supposed to be about – arguing about things? His big strength is,love him or loathe him, he actually tries to DO THINGS, he is ACTIVE, he pitches ideas around and tries to come up with ideas for Cayman’s future when the financial services thing is finally laid to rest as he knows it will be. Compare him with Kurt – a hugely more intellectual person – who was so soporific and laid back and indescisive in office that absolutely NOTHING strategic happened – just stuff like a few operational things like roads, the government building (started by Linford) etc and FOI and the Constitution, admirable developments but changes that did NOTHING to improve our revenue base or future survival.

  10. Libertarian says:

    ***** CAYMAN SIGNS UP TO SAVE NORTH SIDE???I CAN’T BELIEVE… IT SHOULD BE CAYMAN SIGNS UP TO OUST THE PREMIER!!! Instead of us consuming our time and precious energy to stop the dredging in the North Sound, we should be petitioning for a referendum to get rid of this man who believes in running a country like his personal business!!! Cayman, don’t be fooled! McKeeva Bush FLIP-FLOPS, he is a typical politician! He always says one thing but does something else! Bush would flip-flop just to be strategic in keeping his opponents guessing as to what he will do next! He loves to flip-flop and work behind close doors! So whilst people are signing petitions at this and at that which will never come to pass, he is laughing his head off at the people consuming their time and energy. I have just learnt that he will not go through with this dredging again! He is flip-flopping and fooling you people over and over again. You can thumbs me down all you want! You want to get rid of a bad tree, you have to strike at the root – OUST MCKEEVA BUSH ONCE AND FOR ALL!!!!!! ***** M.R.

  11. Mr.Conch says:

    If we dredge the North Sound, all of the conch that slowly plod along the sea floor in the North Sound, will eventually all fall into the dredged ‘crevice’, and presumably be stuck there for eternity.

    Won’t somebody please think of the Conch!



  12. ONLINE petition says:


    Please note that this online petition was intended to address those Visitors, Non-Residents, and Property Owners who are not Residents of Cayman and cannot vote!

    IN ORDER FOR THE REFERENDUM’S QUALIFYING NUMBERS TO BE REACHED – Caymanians, and those who are registered voters in Cayman must provide their voter card number on the (paper) petition for verification.

    It is highly gratifying to see the number of ‘signatures’ on the online petition, but I have to advise those who are eligible to vote in Cayman that they need to sign the paper version with their correct voter ID in order for their signature to count towards the referendum!

    The online petition cannot be set up to collect that vital information.

    Please, please – let’s get the referendum numbers validated – so that we can stop this process before we lose the North Sound’s ecology forever!!



    • Anon says:

      You don’t need to know your voter card number, your street address is enough to verify that you are, in fact, on the voters roll.

  13. West Bayer says:

    Sell outs!!! Might as well give up our Cayman passports too!!! UDP (Unna DANGEROUS People) need to stop making every smiley face with bulging wallets gain access to our childrens future…no wonder they young folks robbin every thing in sight…THEY FED UP with the constant ignoring and let downs!!! EVERY YOUNG GRADUATE FROM SCHOOL SHOULD HAVE AT LEAST A PART TIME JOB TO GO INTO! Because imagine you out of school for over a year and all you can hear is…”need experience”, “sorry no space”, “looking for own transportation”…on and on and on…..any excuse they can fine…but I betcha they can wuickly find a work permit!!!

    Gov’t need to focus on these robberies and killings and forget about STUPIDNESS like the dredging and the dock…cuz that will not do us any good when nobody comes here anymore because of crime!

    Oh and another thing……heard “big buyer” planning to close off the road to cars in front of his new HOTEL on SMB!!! Betta not be true Mac…. betta not be true! ;(

  14. Anonymous says:

    With all the things we have to do running our daily lives it is irratating to say the least that any of us have to take time out to make the effort to try and stop a TOP ELECTED OFFICIAL from making foolish decision with no real though whatsoever of the end result. Stop making work for us.

  15. John Champion says:

    The simple fact of the matter is that this country, as a whole, has lost confidence in the Premier to lead them.

    It is very unfortunate because even after a less than auspicious start in politics where Mr. Bush was implicated in the First Cayman Bank scandal, he managed to win back the trust of enough people to re-elect him.

    I even supported him quite vocally for the last election on the grounds that the PPM were spending recklessly and the backbenchers were contributing nothing.

    Well, I am sorry to say that I no longer support Mr. Bush, nor the divisive party system that has infected Cayman politics like a cancerous tumour.

    The party system has brought out the absolute worst in what was supposed to be our country’s finest and brightest minds.

    The position of Premier and Deputy Premier absolutely have to go and we should embrace simple democracy.

    Politicians must represent the view of the people that elected them. For instance, if there was to be a vote in the Legislative Assembly on an important matter such as:-
    Dredging the North Sound
    National Lottery
    Sunday Shopping
    Oil Refinery in East End
    Cruise Ship dock
    etc, etc, etc,
    I would expect the incumbent MLAs for each district to hold meetings and actually solicit input from the people that elected them.
    This, my fellow Caymanians is true democracy. What we have now is a wolf in sheep’s clothing and if we were to call a spade a spade, we have a dictatorship.

    Mr. Bush, if there is one thing you can do to help your people, please fix this broken system that you are the head of. Take down the wall that separates you from the common man and return back to humble roots. Let us have a new day of openness and humility in our government. Please?

    Regards John.

  16. petermilburn says:

    I urge everyone in these three beautiful islands to sign up against this crazy scheme that our Premier is trying to push through for whose benefit is still to be seen.The north sound should and must be left alone and not to be used for some political football.How can we justify bragging about how wonderful our natural environment is here to entice stay over visitors when in one moment of madness(yes that is what it is) we could lose all that God has given us.
    I have been asked by some how do I know that this is a wrong move to dredge and my simple answer to all is that once it is done it cannot be put back to where it was beforehand.Ask any of the knowlegable boat captains that ply those waters daily and they will tell you how bad it will get.These men are not marine scientists but people who have learned by observing and asking questions of others in the know.Many of them have retired but their knowledge is born from common sense not by reading books.
    I urge everyone who have the interest of our future generations at heart to say NO to our Premier and to stand up for what you the best for all Caymanians,visitors and most of all for our children.

    • Anonymous says:

       I am a Bracker born and raised and all I can say is that both political parties is a waste of time, all they are looking is 2 things one is WHAT CAN WE DESTROY AND THE OTHER IS WHAT CAN WE WASTE ( BURN MONEY)  ON. If there was a place for me to sign here on Cayman Brac I would get my whole family in on it and sign it

  17. Anonymous says:

    Unfortunately I was not able to listen to the talk show on Friday when Capt. MLA indicated that dredging would only happen over his dead body. Great! At last someone on Mr. Bush’s teamis willing to stand up and be counted. But my question is: Would he also have been prepared to stand up to the Premier if he did not have a vested financial interest in seeing further dredging kept out of the North Sound kept???

  18. Anonymous says:

    Thank you CNS for posting the attachment document!

    We can all sign it and deliver it to the UDP and PPM offices locally. Dredging the North Sound will be a tourism disaster on many levels and the “investors” are not going to help any locals or our economy, just a few corrupt politicians and their cronies.

    If our overseas supporters wanted to sign this petition, could you please give us a government address to send this to? Maybe the Governor’s office or Department of Environment?

  19. anonymous says:

    Heard this gentleman on Rooster this morning and he was very arrogant and demeaning to the callers.- a pity because it took away from his message.


  20. Anonymous says:

    The Premier should not dictate to the people of the Cayman Islands that he will go ahead with plans to dredge the North Sound regardless of the petition or what the people think, he should instead embrace his people of the Cayman Islands and ask us what we want or how we feel about it and then act accordingly in the best interests of the people as indicated by the people. Especially those who know and would be most effected by the consequences.

    • Libertarian says:

      ***** Sorry if I am out of touch with the rest of the crowd, but collecting signatures for the removal of the premier is what we should be focusing on – not stopping a talk, a meaningless clatter about dredging the Sound. Get rid of them and their policies and that will solve all your problems! ***** M.R.

  21. Anonymous says:

    200 metre wide channel…really?

    • Lachlan MacTavish says:

       Can you imagine what the storm surge through a 600foot wide channel in the NS barrier reef would look like.