We won’t be silenced say BT dump protestors

| 19/03/2012

IMG-20120308-00020 (258x300).jpg(CNS): Comments made by government’s backbench MLA Ellio Solomon about a recent protest during a UDP meeting in Bodden Town will not silence the objections, local activists have said. Vincent Frederick, one of the local residents spearheading the Coalition to Keep BT Dump Free, said it was the second attempt by government to silence those who oppose the plan to open a waste-management facility in the district. “First there was the systematic theft of our yard signs by an unidentified individual in a pickup truck, and now this attack on our right to demonstrate,” he said, regarding comments made by Solomon last Tuesday in Finance Committee, as reported on CNS. “But they won’t shut us up,” promised Frederick.

Alain Beiner, another member of the coalition, described Solomon as a spokesman for government and pointed to the concerns everyone should have regarding his position on the rights of the people to protest.

“His comments must be seen as a veiled threat against the right of free expression of anyone opposing government policy. Will they try and call the police to break up any future protest? The problem is not our protest, Mr Solomon, but government’s assault against our district and its environment by needlessly forcing a dump on us so that Dart can expand its empire and increase its profits,” said Beiner,

The coalition said it has repeatedly asked which government entity decided that the George Town dump had to be moved and who selected Bodden Town as the best relocation site. It has also demanded to see the documents on which these decisions were made, but has yet to receive any reply. “By reprimanding the police for not stopping our protest, they admit that they’re unable to answer coalition objections,” Beiner added.

The coalition members said that while government appeared to be looking after Dart’s interests, it was trying to defend the interests of the Bodden Town populationbecause government had left the activists with little choice.

“They have refused to consult the people and ask for their consent,” said Gregg Anderson, another coalition leader. “They promised to meet with the coalition and never got back to us. They promised to give us the information we requested and broke that promise as well. And they failed to invite us to speak at their rally. Solomon’s comments may well be the opinion of government and a threat to everyone’s civil rights. Government’s decision is reckless and threatens to destroy Bodden Town and our way of life.”

He added that government was showing no concern for the health and welfare of the district's residents as he again emphasized the position of the activists that the problem of the George Town landfill could be deal with where it is, as was government’s original plan.

“Instead of encouraging economic growth in our district, the dump will be an obstacle to any new developments, whether a business, a tourism facility or a residential project. They’re intent on converting a pristine residential/agricultural area into heavy industrial use, and rezoning Midland Acres behind our backs,” he added.

The coalition has estimated that of Grand Cayman’s population of 52,601 in 2010, no less than 46,869 people resided in West Bay and George town. This puts 89% of the population — and its waste — far from the proposed new site.

“Department of Tourism figures for 2011 show a total of 309,091 stay-over tourists, overwhelmingly along the Seven Mile Beach corridor,” Anderson said. “This adds, on average, another 5,944 every week to the GT-WB area, not to mention that most people living in the Eastern Districts work in GT, producing more waste in the area. We can safely assume that government intends to truck at least 92% of the island’s waste all the way to Bodden Town and on to the proposed dump, wasting fuel, increasing noise, pollution, accidents and wear-and-tear of our roads. This can only make sense for Dart.”

Category: Politics

Comments (5)

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  1. Like It Is says:

    I support the move.  Moving the dump away from the heart of the most important area of Grand Cayman is a no brainer.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I am not a Bodden Towner, but I am a Caymanian who supports your colaition to keep Bodden Town "dump free".  Whatever happens on this little rock of ours effects all of us, whether good or bad, and no matter which district so we Caymanians have to unite in solidarity against such decisions made without regard for the expressions of the people.  I commend you for taking a stand and hope and pray you, like the West Bayers exercise better judgement in the next election. 

  3. Anonymous says:

    🙂 talk about hard pressed to find a news story.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Put the new dump in West Bay !

  5. Anonymous says:

    Isn't it funny how people change their views when it suits them? I remember Mr. Solomon being very vocal about the voters rights & encouraging Caymanians to demonstrate when he had the platform of the Rooster talk show before he was elected into office.

    So what has changed since then Mr. Solomon? Do you still stand for government transparency,  the right for the community to stand up for their rights, ask questions & hold the elected officials accountable as you once did before getting elected?

    Remember the same voters who voted you in can certainly vote you out!