New day dawns for nature

| 16/10/2013

(CNS): As a genuine conservation enthusiast, the new environment minister is set to be a true champion in the Cabinet for Cayman’s precious and dwindling natural resources. Wayne Panton has given a commitment to pass the much anticipated National Conservation Law before the end of the year, to continue the work on enhancing marine parks, adopt the Department of Environment's climate change policy and to review and implement the CITES law. The new minister has also found money for the DoE to replace critical conservation staff and to double the National Trust’s budget. Panton has made it clear that from now on the environment will be considered before development decisions instead of being an afterthought.

He told the Legislative Assembly on Friday afternoon that preserving the local natural environment was not just about the responsibility; government has to protect the resources for future generations but it was also critically important to the tourism industry.

Panton, who heads up an entirely new ministry dealing with the financial services sector and commerce as well as the environment, noted that the environment had previously been treated in a similar way to the past treatment of financial services — as an add-on to other major ministries, tagged randomly to portfolios. However, he committed to placing environmental issues at the forefront of the country’s future development.

Panton pointed out that this made economic sense and there was more than enough compelling evidence from around the world and locally that taking steps to protect the environment at the outset was far more cost effect and beneficial than trying to mitigate after the fact.

“In an effort to redress the lack of appropriate emphasis on the protection of our unique flora and fauna and the fragile habitats on which they depend, there are a number of initiatives which the ministry has identified. Chief among these is the passage of the long awaited National Conservation Law,” the minister told his legislative colleagues. “This essential piece of legislation has been languishing for more than a decade and I am committed to seeing it enacted before the end of this year.”

He said that people would get to see the draft bill well before it reaches the floor of the LA and he planned to table it well ahead of the debate to satisfy concerns about the constitutional notice of 21 days before a meeting and to give everyone additional time to read and familiarize themselves with what is one of the most widely consulted proposed pieces of legislation in Cayman history. In the past Panton has referred to the NCL as the National ‘Conversation’ Law but he made it clear the time for talking about it was over as time was running out for the country’s fragile eco-systems.

“It is critical that we plan and implement infrastructure and physical development in ways that respect the natural environment and try to preserve the integrity of eco systems that sustains and address the threats which are serious and growing. There is no more time to lose,” he said.

Admitting that it was not a panacea for all of the ills impacting Cayman, he emphasised the critical change itwould bring by requiring that the environment be considered like other important elements in development before, rather than after, action is taken.

Panton committed to press ahead with the enhancement of marine parks but he said there would be further discussions in specific districts and with particular stakeholders. With scientific research revealing that Cayman’s reefs have already reduced by 70% since the 1970's and an imbalance in favour of smaller fish and reef-smothering algae, the enhancement was desperately needed. Without the existing marine parks things would have been far worse, he stated, but with increased threats to the marine eco-system any chance of achieving future sustainability in fishing and some resistance for the vulnerable systems, more protection was needed.

“While research shows clearly that there are benefits from the marine park protection, it also shows clearly that they are no longer enough to address all issues,” he said, pointing to the pressureof over-fishing, coastal development, lion fish, the disease of coral and other organisms and the impact of climate change, as well as the increase in population and visitors.

Panton said the ministry would examining how it could adopt the DoE’s draft climate change policy, which was drawn up two years ago but has not been acted upon. He said there was a high degree of confidence that this is real problem and Cayman was 34th in 217 countries in terms of its per capita carbon footprint. As a low lying island in the hurricane belt, even if there were people out there that didn’t believe in climate change Cayman’s geographical position justified the implementation of the policy, which would require the participation of the private sector as well as government departments, he said.

The minister also pointed to the need for Cayman to meet its obligations under a number of multilateral environment conventions and treaties. He committed to take the necessary steps to update the CITES law, which protects endangered species from trade. Panton explained that not only was it never implemented, despite being passed by the Legislative Assembly, the current law doesn’t meet the requirements of the convention, so a review is underway with the help of the agriculture department aiming to be in full compliance by the end of next year.

With funding in place to provide the DoE with the staff it needs to undertake the workload, Panton said that while everyone was concerned about Cayman’s reputation on the world stage regarding financial services, he felt responsible environmental management would also enhance the islands' reputation in the eyes of investors and visitors, as well as preserving the local natural heritage and the way of life for Caymanians.

He also pointed to the boost in funding for the National Trust, which compliments the DoE. Panton said that the Trust would use the funds to continue its goal to protect 10% of land mass in Cayman by 2020, as well as managing existing nature reserves and historical sites and to take on an education officer. The minister said the money government gives to the Trust had doubled, which might sound like a lot but it wasn’t as their budget had been cut significantly over the years and it had been operating in a very difficult situation. Panton said that although government wasn’t in a position to give them what they really needed, they would be able to do a lot with what it could give.

Category: Science and Nature

Comments (71)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    You can't claim uphold CITES while munching on turtle stew. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Cites governs *international* trade of endangered animals. 

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes, but it is the equivalent of African states signing up to CITES and then organising rhino poaching trip.  The behvaiour is morally inconsistent.

        • Anonymous says:

          Or stockpiling elephant ivory to sell. "The oversight body on international wildlife trade agreed [2007] to a one-time sale of 60 tons of banned ivory from southern Africa to Japan". That was from a USA Today article, literally the first link that Binged on my web-search. But don't worry, we'll hold Cayman to a different standard than the rest of the world, just to make you happy.

  2. Anonymous says:

    No more stingrays and conch fishing in the sound. I was recently on. Fishing boat and stopped for some conch in north sound.  Couldn't find anything but empty shells.  Back in 2005I did a similar trip and there were hundreds of conch on each snorkel stop.  The reduction in conch in the sound in a few years is unbelievable.   

    Same thing goes for the starfish at starfish pt.  and same goes for the number of stingrays on the sandbar.  North sound is in my opinion the best national park cayman has.  We can't decimate it. It needs to be maintained for generations to come and continue to bring us tourism $$$ in perpetuity.

    • Anonymous says:

      The people need to be educated and understand if they continue to removed conchs and lobsters from their spawning and hatching grounds they will be depleted and there will be no more. Extinction, is inevitable.

  3. Anonymous says:

    This is all a bunch of hot air until they commit to fixing Mt. Trashmore. That dump does more environmental damage in a day than all the conservation efforts could reverse in a year. All we have heard from them is they don't have any solutions, but it's not going in Bodden Town. Sorry, but turning down a proper waste management facility that would be built for FREE seemed like the perfect solution to me. If you want to do anything meaningful, fix this environmental disaster FIRST! 

     

    • Anonymous says:

      So nothing should be done until one other giant problem is solved? Sounds like a good way to get nothing done. And you try to pretned you have the environment at heart.  

  4. Eyes Wide Open says:

    Having perused the previously published proposed Bill from the Government's website on this topic I would like to register the following immediate concerns:

    1. As a developing country that has over 50% of its land mass considered “wetlands” I believe this law proposes too much of a non-discretionary restriction on development the Cayman Islands, with little left to the consideration of the Government of the day and Planning Authorities. The proposed law as drafted will have a major impact on the future ability of the Island to convert property into income bearing developments and provide future jobs for Caymanians.  Several points on this issue come to mind:

      1. Many countries that have signed on to the Ramsar Treaty have very little concern about these issues as their wetlands are normally below 10% of their surface unlike our country which is beyond 50%.  Our country is at the start of its development and unlike countries like England which has developed for over a 1000 years, we still need to convert some of our natural resources into development for our future generations.
      2. The definition of “wetlands” in Ramsar, as I understand it, not only includes what we know as wetland but also coastal areas down to 6 meters (ie the North and other Sounds) as well as dryland contributing to those wetlands. This definition literally makes most of Grand Cayman and the area out to the reef a “wetland” and I would logically ask that the definition be narrowed respectfully or the Ramsar definition not be adopted.
      3. As a summary, it is unlikely that any lands on Grand Cayman could be developed without coming into contravention of this proposed Law. There will always be some wetland, some local bird, some snail that can be found on it and thus we will begin an endless cycle of objections, legal interventions and discourse in the future. We cannot, as this Law is attempting, to follow “word for word” legislature found in countries where they have a minuscule percentage of wetlands.
      4. Most of lands in North Side will be off limits between being a wetland and a dry habitat– not sure if Ezzard will like that.
    2. The definitions leading to protection of species is equally wide, requiring the Cayman Islands to protect any specie that another Caribbean (SPAW) country has protected. So if we are being overrun by Redshanks but they are endagered in Trinidad we would have to protect them here too…crazy….Proposed law too wide in remit and would have to be narrowed for Cayman. List of animals and plants need to be narrowed to be relistic.
    3. If a blue iguana walks across your house lot in the morning going somewhere and crosses it again in the afternoon you may not be able to ever develop your lands, your future house would be disrupting a blue iguana habitat!….document simply needs work.
    4. The requirement that the results of an EIA must be accepted is ridiculous. This would forever tie the hands of a Government, who may recognize the need to transfer some natural resources into development to meet a National economic requirement.  I believe further thought on how this is applied needs to be considered.  Again this wording may be suitable for developed countries with control of their economy whereas the Cayman Islands is dependent on inward investment outside of our control.

    There are many other issues with this law so I ask everyone to read it carefully before making any decision.  I know it sounds like we should have a similar law in place and it sounds all well and nice but the impact on development, maybe even your inherited lands, maybe significant. Lets not rush this one folks…its not a simple as it might sound. 

    • Green Genes says:

      Anyone can go online, http://www.doe.ky/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/Draft_National_Conservation_Law_5_March_2009.pdf, and do a search of the draft law for “wetland” and find that the law actually doesn’t say what the above poster claims. What it actually says is that there should be “sustainable use of natural resources, including … the use of wetlands and wetland resources”. Ooooh, scary.

       

      The law does not propose “a non-discretionary restriction on development the Cayman Islands, with little left to the consideration of the Government of the day and Planning Authorities”. What it actually proposes is that the Planning Authorities, etc., “take in to account” advice on conservation issues before making a decision. They don’t have to follow the advice, they just have to show that they have received the advice. You know, kinda like how they do now when they get advice and then turn around and say “go ahead Mr. Ryan, bulldoze down those mangroves, we believe you when you say you’ll replace them”. The only difference is they can’t ‘forget to ask for advice’ on things like, say, Planned Area Developments, the biggest type of development we can have in Cayman, which went through in East End without even a basic EIA it seems. Anyone driving past the blowholes in East End who looks left can see the moonscape that has resulted from this lack of forethought. Seems a bit of a waste to bulldoze the land clear then have to go and replant trees to make it pretty. But that’s just me. I didn’t have that much money to waste when I built my house, so I left the half of the lot I wasn’t working on and people tell me how nice it looks. Pity no one there thought to do the same thing.

       

      “So if we are being overrun by Redshanks but they are endagered in Trinidad we would have to protect them here too…crazy.” If we were being overrun with redshanks. A scary proposition but can you point to an actual species on the list that we’re being over-run by? Certainly not red-shanks. But don’t let facts get in the way of a good story. And, to whit, since the law requires that there be species management plans, approved by Cabinet, after weeks of public discussion, do you really think that somehow a rule saying “don’t kill the redshanks that are overrunning us because they’re endangered in Trinidad” is going to get passed? No, more likely nothing will actually be protected because of knee-jerk disregard couched as erudite consideration. “Oh dear me no, we can’t protect the red-shank because it might eat up some of the flowers in my yard. The only animals and plants that should be allowed to survive are the pretty ones. Like me.”

       

      “If a blue iguana walks across your house lot in the morning going somewhere and crosses it again in the afternoon you may not be able to ever develop your lands, your future house would be disrupting a blue iguana habitat!”Pure scaremongering. They’ve gone over this repeatedly. However, lets ask the question, if the blue iguana is going over your house lot so often is it perhaps that your house lot is in the iguana habitat? Don’t you think that the blue iguanas should be saved? That some way should be found that people can build their house without the iguana having to be killed? Or do you only want to see them in zoos? “Look honey, there’s a mean old blue iguana. They used to live where our house is now but I got rid of them.” Will that make you feel proud?

       

      “The requirement that the results of an EIA must be accepted is” not actually in the Law! Again, anyone can read the law for themselves, http://www.doe.ky/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/Draft_National_Conservation_Law_5_March_2009.pdf, and see. They will see that the claim that EIA’s somehow tie people’s hands is ridiculous. If you’ve been to any of the EIA or NCL public meetings in the last few years you’ll have heard them (DoE, Consultants, Government Ministers, etc.) say some version of the chorus that “EIA’s don’t make decisions, they only inform decisions”. Ad nauseum. Bet they’ll say the same thing again about the GT dock. If they even bother with an EIA. I’ve stopped going to the EIA public meetings for the big projects because it doesn’t sound like the EIA accomplishes much but I guess the people writing the law live in hope.

       

      Yes, there are many other issues with this law, beyond planning continuing to ignore conservation recommendations and EIA results, where it’s not going to achieve meaningful conservation. Yes, everyone should read it carefully for themselves, which is why I can’t repeat the link often enough: http://www.doe.ky/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/Draft_National_Conservation_Law_5_March_2009.pdf. Because when they do they will see that the OP’s claims are bogus. Ask yourself, if we don’t “rush” to implement a law that’s been talked about being needed from 2009 and before, who benefits? Hint: It’s not Conservation, the title of the Law. Its people like the OP who don’t want conservation because they’re happy with the way things are. Ask yourself, are you happy with the way our environment is being treated by people like the OP? If not, call your politician. Not the Minister of Environment, he’s clearly not happy either. But call the others, they need to hear from their constituents. Otherwise people like the OP will win again and we still won’t’ have a Conservation Law. (As barely conservationist as this one is.)

      • Agwagon says:

        Excellent post. Keep fighting the Faux News morons. They won't give up but hopefully old age and senility will thin them out before it's too late.

      • Anonymous says:

        Well done for the above post. But it does presuppose that the idiot that you reply to understands English and is able to comprehend a simple document. Unfortunately he/she is just another example of the Caymanian attitude of self entitlement over common sense and good citizenship.

        Funny enough, some on this island will even aim their discriminatory views against REAL Caymanians, its flora and fauna.

      • Eyes Wide Open says:

        Dear Green Genes,

        Thought I heard…"Great an environmental protection law, gee just what we need, yippee!…I dont even need to read it to support it!!"…..wait a second….

        It is clear to me that you have not really read this law that you reference to so often…or you read it with rose coloured, flower-power glasses…

        Lets start with Wetlands- this law brings in Ramsar in full effect. Sustainable use of wetlands under that is what you should read. This treaty came out of an internation convention in Iran in the 1970s and it was intended to protect WATERFOWL…it grew and and grew and in a country where we are mainly wetlands and/or lands contibuting to wetlands what the impact of that treaty is significant, in fact downright dangerous for all future development.

        You are correct it does not mandate that the results of an EIA be implemented…but it says it MUST be taken into account in decision making. Can youimagine the LEGAL issues coming forth if an EIA was ignored??  In reality the EIA will be the deciding document, end of story. You are also correct that EIAs only inform decisions but sometimes those decisions are 'Sorry, you cannot do that there"…still not nice. BTW, I beleive in EIA in the correct scenarios as a method to INFORM development but this can stop it given the make up of the board and the likely request in their Terms of Reference. 

        I love the blue iguana and fully support protecting them…Imerely used that as an example…could have said the blue warbler bird from the northeastern USA–they show up down here…same differnce…..you have a problem with potential use of your lands. And if you are so lucky for government to buy your land as habitat you will only get 10-20% of its value based on recent experience with the roads.

        Regarding the species that are 'protected' or on the specie list in this law…apparently you never read all the way to the bottom…try pages 48-58…soldier crab? centipedes?? really?? seriously??? 

        Don't get me wrong, I believe we have to protect our environment. I am not specifically anti-envormentalist at all. What I am saying is we need to look at this law very carefully and implement a VERSION that is suitable for a DEVELOPING COUNTRY like ours and not just lift one from countries that are already developed–it can halt our development and put us in a negative economy with a never ending downward spiral. It can happen with this law as drafted especially with all of the tag-ons like SPAW, Ramsar etc etc. Please read it without your flower-power glasses on and make suggestions on how it can be adjusted to suit our islands. Sometimes the koolaid is not what it appears to be. This Koolaid is dangerous as mixed. Sip really, really carefully and very, very slowly….

         

        • Green Genes says:

          You may have thought that’s what you heard, but clearly you didn’t bother to hear what was actually written.

           

          So you agree that we need EIAs, you recognise that you were wrong when you claimed they will tie people’s hands, but you still don’t want EIAs. (EIAs which have not been a deciding factor in any proposed development that’s done them yet. But you think that’s going to change because of a Law to ‘take them in to account’? Get real.) Please, stop tying yourself in knots and simply say what’s on your mind. (I’d guess ‘I rather development to environment’, but I can’t speak for you of course.)

           

          “I love the blue iguana and fully support protecting them”. Unless protecting them means stopping someone’s destruction of their habitat to build something, as per your initial post. Again, you can’t have it both ways. We either protect them, or we don’t. And we’ve seen what happens when we don’t.

           

          Yes, there are a lot of species protected. Pity you didn’t use an actual one in your initial example. But that wouldn’t have been as scary. Let’s see the ones you do use this time. (a) soldier crabs. Becoming less common and already protected (in a limited way) in the Marine Conservation Law and the subject somewhere else on CNS recently of a call for protection from the Brac. But you don’t want them protected because they’re not important to you.  (b) Centipedes. I knew I remembered them talking about this the last time, so I went and checked the “National Conservation Law: Your Questions Answered” brochure on the DoE website (http://www.doe.ky/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/NCL_2010%20REPORT_YOUR%20QUESTIONS%20ANSWERED.pdf, search “centipede”).  “The one species of centipede which is listed in PART II is not the common large orange-headed Scolopendra centipede, which we see everywhere, but a very rare centipede found only in the Cayman Islands. The distribution of this elusive creature is not even known, because so few specimens have ever been found. … Needless to say, if any centipedes or scorpion makes an appearance in your home, the associated conservation plans16 and regulations43 will ensure that you are not criminalized should you decide to kill it. Unreasonable and unenforceable laws do not benefit anybody.”

           

          Now, the above may be ‘rose-tinted’ as you want to say, but do you think they’re lying? That’s what this comes down to. Do you honestly believe that anyone in Cayman is going to arrest you for killing a centipede? Come on, hand on heart, honestly? Have you ever seen a report of a poacher arrested for one conch over the limit? (100 yes, 1 – I’ve never seen it, have you?) Yet you think they’re going to have Kurt Walton kick down your door with his ‘long gun’ and arrest you for killing a centipede? Please, get real.

           

          Lets finish with the wetlands you started with. “Sustainable use of wetlands under that is what you should read.” Sustianable use. Sounds good to me. Why do you, who are not “specifically anti-environmentalist at all” oppose sustainable use? Or, to put it more bluntly, why are you in favour of UNsustainable use? Since that’s what you get when you don’t use something sustainably. It’s what we’ve had so far. How’s that working out for everyone? How do we think it will keep working out for the country, if we don’t change something now? But if we give in to “non-specifics” such as yourself that’s what we’ll have. We will have sunk a National Conservation Law that even the people who object to it can’t actually find anything specific in the Law that they object to. They just object to conservation in general.

          • Eyes Wide Open says:

            Green Genes, you are really worked up over a poorly written document…one that sounds all well and good but when applied to Cayman will have a major (bad) impact. Mark my words…

            read between the lines…look at the worst case interpretation…

        • Anonymous says:

          Wetlands

          Cayman has been signed up to Ramsar since the 1970s. 

           

          No where in the NCL does it prohibit development in wetlands – except in the Protected Areas that will be developed in the future. 

          Mangroves will become a protected species, however there is nothing in the NCL which will prohibit development in wetlands (although a large development in wetlands would trigger an EIA). 

          Mangroves are listed on Schedule 2 as a protected species – which means that the Conservation Council will have to develop species plans for mangroves (e.g. we will protect 50% of remaining mangrove wetlands in x area, and 30% of remaining mangroves in y area etc. )

          EIAs & Conservation Council Input

          Development control remains with the Central Planning Authority. When the NCL is introduced there will be a new requirement in law for the CPA to consult the Council and take the Council’s recommendations in to account. Simple. Sensible. 

          Section 35. 3

           

          Every entity and public officer shall, in accordance with any directives made by the Council, consult with the Council and take into account any views of the Council before taking any action including the making of any decision or the giving of any undertaking or approval that would or would be likely to have an adverse effect on the environment generally or on any natural resource. 

    • Anonymous says:

      From those who live on Northside, if it gets under Ezzard's skin then that's good for us.

    • Anonymous says:

      Eyes Wide Open, You have clearly not read the law – or, you lack the ability to understand it. 

      No where in the NCL does it prohibit development in wetlands – except in the Protected Areas that will be developed in the future*. 

      Mangroves will become a protected species, however there is nothing in the NCL which will prohibit development in wetlands. 

      Mangroves are listed on Schedule 2 as a protected species – which means that the Conservation Council will have to develop species plans for mangroves (e.g. we will protect 50% of remaining mangrove wetlands in x area, and 30% of remaining mangroves in y area etc. )

      The proposed species plan has to then go out for public consultation AND get Cabinet approval. 

      Development control will remain firmly under the remit of the Central Planning Authority. When the NCL is introduced there will be a new requirement in law for the CPA to consult the Council and take the council’s recommendations in to account.

      The Council does not have any veto power over planning and there are no non-discretionary restrictions on development in the law.

      * Protected areas are created by converting crown land in to protected areas or if private land owners CHOOSE to sell or lease their land to Government, those private lands– all requiring Cabinet approval. 

  5. brit says:

    I really hope this goes through for everyone's sake! Two new officers from other departments!! Well wonder how much work they'll do in their new position??  Hope that Mr Panton gets this bill passed & stop wealthy land owners selling every bit of this rock to anyone for the mighty dollar & desimating the environment.

     

     

    • Just Commentin' says:

      Huh?  You accuse "wealthy land owners" of "selling every bit of this rock to anyone for the mighty dollar"?  Caymanians sold their birthrights to all and sundry and continue to do so to this day. We are the ones who eagerly grab the dollars that the wealthy developers waft before us.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why are there rumours of 2 cops transferring into DoE, what about the shortage of cops we hear so much about?

  6. Anonymous says:

    …."he felt responsible environmental management would also enhance the islands' reputation in the eyes of INVESTORS"….

    SURELY HE IS JOKING HERE??!

    That law will simply make it a tremendously difficult process to do ANY development. It will almost shut down the real estate industry as developers will not know what they can do on a property…in many cases having to spend $250-300,000 on an EIA not knowing at the end if they will be able to develop it or not…

    ENHANCE….in theEYES OF INVESTORS???  SAY WHA??? Crazy idea there. Caymanians please read this document before you swallow the lemonade.

     

     

    • Anonymous says:

      16.24, the minister is not doing that, Stamp duty has already done it. Everydeveloped country in the world has strict environmental conditions on buildings these days, try building in the UK or US now, at least 1 year for permissions. This should also be the case here, to give all the chance to have a say, and to protect what naturally is a unique and beautiful island.

       

      If you want to free the housing market up, reduce the stamp duty to 1% or zero, that will do it every time.

      • Eyes Wide Open says:

        you are missing the main point….we are NOT like those countries…they have developed industries and economies….imagine someone waiting 1 year in cayman to develop some land…they would be one Cayman Airways long before that!!!!…..

        • Anonymous says:

          Obviously you guys have never built anything in Cayman. It's takes a year to get approval on a single family home, between Planning permission and Building Control. If you throw EIA's into the mix, forget it. You might as well invest somewhere else. 

          • Anonymous says:

            Been there, done that, for a multi-unit building. Approvals did not take me a year. But, hey, in case anyone believes the OP, please, go ask someone you know who has built. Or walk in to one of the developers offices and ask them how long the actual approval takes once they've submitted a plan. – Remember folks, if it don't sound right, check it out for yourself. Because its probably not.

        • Anonymous says:

          14.53 try to make sense, dear Chap, it helps us all. The Cayman Airways reference kind of got some heads scratched. I am sure it was a good point, just totally incomprehensible.

        • Anonymous says:

          Yet based on the experience of EIA's here recently, IIRC the timeline for the Dart Dump EIA, its not even taking 6 months for soemthing the size, scope and potential impact of a DUMP. Smaller, simpler projects? Don't see what you're worried about.

    • Anonymous says:

      EIA's cost on average $70,000 – and only large developments will be required to undertake EIAs. 

      People wanting to build a house or an apartment complex or office building will in most cases not be required to undertake EIAs.

      Developers undertaking large PADs or other large scale developments e.g. resorts, golf courses & the Government for e.g. ports and roads  – would be required to undertake EIAs if the land they are developing is ecologically sensitive.

       

       From the DoE's guide of the NCL:

       

      As part of the current application review process an assessment of environmental impacts for smaller projects may be carried out in-house by the Department of Environment, whilst larger projects will likely require external consultants to conduct full scale environmental assessments. The issues to be addressed by an environmental assessment will depend on the type of project and the location.

       

      An environmental assessment is a measure aimed at major works with the potential to cause significant environmental, social and economic impact. As is currently the case, small scale proposals such as building a home, will continue to be reviewed by relevant government departments, including the Department of Environment. These reviews may contain recommendations aimed at mitigating the impacts of a proposal.  

      • Anonymous says:

        You sure havent done a EIA!!….if you find a company that does one for $70K please let me know….

        • Anonymous says:

          How much did your last one cost? (And tell us who did it and which project, so people can go ask them.)

          Ahh, but facts are a hard thing to come by. We could do a quick web-search and find that, in Europe, “For 60% of the projects examined EIA costs amounted to less than 0.5 % of the overall capital cost. Costs in excess of 1% were the exception, and occurred in relation to particularly controversial projects in sensitive environments, or where good EIA practice had not been followed.” (http://ec.europa.eu/environment/eia/eia-studies-and-reports/eia-costs-benefit-en.htm) So, if an EIA costs, as you claim, $250,000, and the EIA was 0.5% of the total project cost, then the total project would have cost $50,000,000.00 – Fifty Million Dollars <Dr. Evil Voice>. Unless of course they weren’t following good EIA practice. Actually, the same EU study found that “For projects with capital costs in excess of 100 million ECU, EIA costs may be as low as 0.2%.”

           Now, considering that in Europe they have lots more regulations than Cayman will probably ever have AND they’re a relatively expensive place to do business anyway (because of the regulations some would say) I’d say that their ratios for the cost of an EIA compared to the overall project cost will probably be similar to Cayman’s since we have the extra cost of having to bring in the consultants to balance it all out. So, your claim of $250,000+ for an EIA is looking like it needs some proof before we can believe you. – Unless you’re talking about projects in the tens of millions of dollars range in which case, as a % of total cost, the EIA (0.5%) is a drop in the bucket. And its certainly not enough to stop soemone from doing a project thats worth doing.

           

          • Anonymous says:

            It's money being spent BEFORE there is any guarantee that the project will happen and also before any funding is available…..it's a major hurdle…just watch. 

            • Anonymous says:

              No, its money being spent as part of your project. You know, like how you draw theplans before you put a back-hoe shovel in the ground? This is the same thing. Before you drive the bulldozer throught he trees, know what kind of trees they are. Its not a major hurdele, responsible developers do it all the time, even in Cayman. Just look around you now.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes it will attract reputable, progressive global investors – the only type we need in Cayman. 

       

       

       

  7. Anonymous says:

    This global warming output is nonsence…we are 50,000 out of 7,000,000,000 people on the palnet and we do not have factories or carbon centric inductries…..if we burnt Grand Cayman to the ground each and every day we would not put out enough carbon to impact the earth's atmosphere….we are 19,000 acres–lighting alone burns that amount eacch day.

    Not saying countries like China, USA, India and such do not impact output of Co2…just saying nothing we can do here impacts the theorectical global warming concept…nothing. Just pure Bullsh#t.

    • Anonymous says:

      wow …typical caymankind small mindedness

    • Anonymous says:

      Per-Capita carbon output, not a ranking of total output. Since so many of us have multiple cars as oposed to the people who only have bicycles our per-capita output is high. (Plus the CUC carbon output attributed to all those tourism places like restaurants and hotels, remembering our 'population-over-the-year' is several times higher than our resident population, is added to what we use as resdidents as well, to get a per capita use for the country.)

      And he didn't say if we turend off every engine in the country it would make a difference. What he said was 'as a low-lying hurricane-impacted island' we better prepare for climate change or its goig to kick us int he fundamentals. (Like tourist arrivals or home insurance.) And part of that preperation is being able to say to the 'real polluters' (however you want to aportion that) 'we're doing our part with solar panels, you need to do your part or our reefs will die and we'll be coming to you for handouts because half of our economy will die'. Also, as we keep saying about the government budget, a little bit saved here and a  litle bit cut there and soon we're talking real numbers.

      Read the report, or listen to what people are actually saying, not what you think they're going to say.

    • Anonymous says:

      Have you considered what would happen if every small nation thought that way? We may be one small country, but collectively with others, we still can create a profound negative impact.

      You seem to lack common sense.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Will some of the posters below actually READ what is proposed and then comment. Not only are we getting a local environmental protection law but it is also ADAPTING 6 international Conventions….and some of those are sure NOT GOOD for Cayman.  Just read in between the lines of the SPAW Convention document. We need to thread carefully here so we do not kill our ONLY goose…I really dont want to go back to thaching rope.

    • Anonymous says:

      Tell us whatis hidden in between the lines of the SPAW Convention that is so bad for our 'Only goose' ?

      I am not sure which goose you are talking about, but it sounds like you may have gotten stuck in the 1960s (when the main gig in town was clear cutting and dredging mangroves). 

      Our two main industries which contribute the most to GDP and create the most jobs are tourism and finance.

      The NCL and the various environmental conventions that we have been signed up to for years, which will only be formalised by the passage of the NCL – will be very benefitial to our tourism industry. And the impact on the financial industry will be neutral to positive. Cayman will become a more attractive place to live, will be rated higher on healthy and environmentally friendly places to live and work. 

       

      'The Protocol Concerning Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (SPAW Protocol) was adopted in 1990, and entered into force in 2000. The SPAW Protocol seeks to "Take the necessary measures to protect, preserve and manage in asustainable way; 

       

      1. areas that require protection to safeguard their special value, and
      2. threatened or endangered species of flora and fauna."
  9. Anonymous says:

    While I am all for Environmental protection, the passage of that bill will certainly lead to a complete shut down of our development. Given that our development is the main pillar of the economy…HARD TIMES AHEAD!!!

     

    • Anonymous says:

      It will not shut down the development sector. 

      It will simply require development to happen in a sustainable way – but yes it will put a stop to the wild wild west wreckless development if thats what you mean. 

      Developers of large scale developments will have to undertake EIAs and may be required to adjust thier plans to minimise environmental impacts – thats all. 

       

       

    • Anonymous says:

      Quite the opposite. This will be good for the economy and many Caymanian families. 

      With 5 million dollars flowing in to the Environmental Protection Fund every year to be usedfor the conservation of land – thats going to mean lots of money flowing in to the community – to land owners / Caymanian families – who will be able to lease or sell their land to the Government for conservation purposes. 

  10. Anonymous says:

    Minister Panton is quite correct in dealing with CITES legislation separately from the "internal" matters that would be covered by the National Conservation Law.

    According to Wikipedia CITES means “the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.”  Wikipedia goes on to state "Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten the survival of the species in the wild."  So CITES is about international trade, and so CITES legislation by its very nature must be focused on international trade matters.

    For regulation/restriction of “internal” trade i.e. within the country, it would be for the National Conservation Law to cover the protection of internal trade in specimens of wild animals and plants in such a way that it does not threaten the survival of the species in the wild.  That’s why national legislation such as the Marine Conservation Law currently and the upcoming National Conservation Law would be the appropriate ones to cover "internal" trade matters, for example catch limits and closed seasons for taking various species from the wild (eg conch, whelks, lobster, etc.) and total prohibitions in taking any of various other species anytime (eg starfish, sea eggs/sea urchins, sea cucumbers and sand dollars.

    Minister Panton has committed to getting the new National Conservation Law passed by the end of this year.  So on what basis are you accusing him of "blowing smoke"?

     

    • Anonymous says:

      Because it is hypocritical to sign up to CITES and then have industrial state sponsored trade in endangered animals in the domestic market.

      • Anonymous says:

        How is a country signing up to a treaty designed to allow the international trade in endangered species counter to having domestic trade in endangered species?

        • Anonymous says:

          I love the thumbs down to logic. It really puts some of my fellow anonymous comentators in to perspective.

    • Small Islander says:

      We have a real problem with people from Grand Cayman coming over to Little Cayman every holiday/long weekend and pillaging the place.

      They take back buckets of soldier crabs and even garbage cans full of land crabs. They clear conch and lobster out of replenishment zones.

      And no one says boo.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I know I have banged on about this before, but if just one thing comes out amongst these proposals PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE will the Government get a properly organised and funded recycling system in place on the Islands. It's no good relying on Rotary and other Charitable organisations, albeit they help tremendously. There are Thousands, possibly tens of Thousands of Dollars worth of scrap metal on the dump on the Brac. Surely it's within the capabilities of  the Government in conjunction with Thompson Shipping, or another company to collect all this metal and SELL IT!!!!!. In the UK if you have an old car, companies are queuing up to buy it, secondhand metal is a very saleable commodity. And don't start me on glass, still throwing it in holes in the ground, absolutely CRAZY!!!.

    • Anonymous says:

      Move the dump at the same time…silly to have it in the centre of our densest population and our tourist centre….

    • Anonymous says:

      On GCM there is voluntary recycling of metal, glass, and plastic, and the Humane Society will take old newspapers.  Contact http://www.junk.ky if you want to get a recycling depot going in your area.

  12. Anonymous says:

    This is good news.  Ireally hope you can pull it off Mr Panton.  Cayman so desperately needs environmental protection and restrictions to be placed on future developments to best protect the islands natural resources.

    • Anonymous says:

      I hpe so too- but holding my breath. If he did’nt have to deal with the likes of “The Sons of Thunder” we would get somewhere with this.

    • Anonymous says:

      I hope if he pulls it off you have a job overseas or a lot of money somewhere as all development will basically stop here…it will be like the last 4 years… only for ever.

      • Anonymous says:

        As long as the population and tourism sectors continue to grow – there will be a demand for development / construction of new houses / apartments / plazas / hotels. 

        Developers of large scale developments will simply have to build more sustainably and figure in the costs of an EIA in to their development plans. 

        Construction of normal homes, apartments and commercial buildings will be largely unaffected by the NCL. 

      • Green Genes says:

        Hmm, lets think abotu this. On the one hand we have (other) posters claiming 'Dart is the only one developing', on the other hand Dart says 'we do EIAs before a big development', on the other hand we have this poster claiming 'this will kill development'. Hmmm, something here doesn't add up. Too many hands and one of them seems to be in the cookie jar not wanting to be spanked.

        I've seen otehr places that require EIAs and still ahve a lot of development. South Florida being a good example. As long as there is a reason to develop (tourists coming because we have an enjoyable nevironment to visit for example) there will still be development. It just means that the development shouldn't kill the golden goose. Or has someone already used that analogy for the otehr side fo the argument? 

  13. Old Timer says:

    Minister Panton is a breath of fresh air indeed!

    He is one of the few politicians elected in recent times who is beholden to no one and does not need to worry about re-election. This affords him the unique ability to take positions that are in the best long term interests of the country and its people.

    Hopefully ALL members of the LA will support these vital objectives and not seek to undermine the Minister's efforts to save what is left of this country for future generations.

    We have needed good leadership in this area for a long, long time and it looks as though we have finally found our man.

     

  14. Soldier Crab says:

    Mr. Panton this is long overdue. However when are we going to see some relief at the pumps,  utility bills, the grocery stores? Your party promised some reduction when you all was campaigning but I am in the red worst than ever!  Christmas is right around the corner and my bosses are telling me not to look for any raises or bonuses for the third consecutive year. I am grateful for the job, but I don't see how I can make ends meet any further. I have cut AC, water, entertainment and so on to near next to nothing.

    please keep your campaign promises.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hi Soldier Crab,

      If you want to see really rough times implement that Environemtal law as drafted…all development will come to a grinding halt….your boss will not only not give you a raise..he will fire you! 

      I hope people read it and not just say "oh its an environmental law, it must be good for Cayman"

      …read it , study it….make an informed decision please or your goose cooked.

       

       

    • Anonymous says:

      You took the words right out of my mouth!  I am intotal agreement with this!  Red is the new green!

    • Anonymous says:

      And that is precisely what is being done. Have you forgotten that the Progressives also promised to pass the NCL? Yes they are going to address costs but first they must stabilise government  and its finances and regain the trust of the Uk that had been so spectacularly destroyed by the previous government under Bush. That is spectacularly on course so far even though we are only four months into their regime. Everything cant be done at once and most certainly more good soon come!

  15. Anonymous says:

    Horay! 

    Hope is restored for a prosperous abundant sustainable future for Cayman!

    And in Caymanian politicians. 

    Kudos to Wayne Panton! A true statesman!

  16. Anonymous says:

    Two new Enforcement Officers who are being moved sideways from other government departments is not enough. The department is desperately shorthanded and in need of experienced and capable staff to put a stop to wholesale poaching and destruction.

    Get more staff now!!!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Well Well

    Gina must be in glory land, after all we have little now to survive from the sea and land just you wait Mr. Minister until you pass this ridiculous bill. I only hope you havep also given her money for enforcement because survive we will.
    One thing is for certain and that is PPM is not for the poor we shall only get poorer, everything they have done thus tar impacts the poor Caymanian, what a bunch.

    • Anonymous says:

      12.14…if your comment actually made any sense you could be dangerous.Fortunately it does not. Sounds like a real case of jealousy. You could of course always get off your backside and go do something for the environment yourself, like clear some litter, divide glass, tins etc for recycling. Suspect you just let the bottles and tins fall by your feet when you finished with them.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Are we going to be consistent and apply CITES principles to internal trade and well as international trade?  A truly environmentally committed minister would take that position, but then I think Wayne is blowing smoke.

    • Anonymous says:

      This idiot is hoping that Wayne would ban the sale of turtle meat at the Turtle Farm. Haha.

    • Anonymous says:

      Actually, that would be inconsistent. Can you show anywhere in the world that applies CITES internally????

      BTW, one of the principles of CITES is trade in farmed species. (Actually also in rached species, where stock is taken from the wild, raised up, then slaughtered and their skins sold internationally. But lets not think on that too hard.)