C4C attacks conservation law

| 09/12/2013

(CNS): Some 48 hours before the National Conservation Law goes before the members of the Legislative Assembly, the Coalition for Cayman has issued a statement attacking the bill. Although the group, which has always claimed it is not a political party, had campaigned during the election for a national conservation law, it seems that the ‘advocacy group’ does not like the law that government will be bringing to the House on Wednesday. The group suggests it will stifle development and claims that the government should establish a sustainable development policy before it passes the conservation law. Despite the attack by the C4C, the three candidates which the group endorsed during the election will be supporting the legislation.

Tara Rivers is bound by the collective responsibility of Cabinet, which has already approved the legislation. Meanwhile, backbenchers Winston Connolly and Roy McTaggart, who works with the environment minister on the financial services side of that ministry’s portfolio, are both understood to be backing the law.

Although its members of the LA will be getting behind the new law, the coalition has issued a press statement which attacks the law and asks for twelve more months to re-write it and consult further on legislation that has been dubbed the “national conversation law” by Environment Minister Wayne Panton. The minister coined the phrase during the election campaign, referring to the incredible amount of public discussion and consultation that has surrounding the formation of the legislation.

In their statement to the media C4C states, “The worst option in our view would be to try to ram through a Conservation Law … which may result in unintended consequences that create more problems than solutions. This is one instance where getting it done right is more important than just getting it done.”

On the campaign trail all eight of the candidates that ran on the C4C platform pointed to the urgent need for a conservation law and the management of Cayman’s natural resources. In the manifesto put out by the C4C, which they denied was a manifesto, and was referred to as a National Plan, the candidates collectively stated, “The natural resources of the Cayman Islands should be protected and managed responsibly to ensure that future generations inherit a healthy and viable environment.” They went on to state that they would pass a National Conservation Law if elected.

The Progressives, who were elected to office, also campaigned very specifically on this draft and promised it would be a priority. Once appointed as environment minister, Panton wasted no time and made it clear back in June that he would be steering the law through the LA before the end of the year, giving more than six months’ notice. He also announced that this final period of consultation will lead to some amendments before the bill is passed, including mandating provision for open government for the Environmental Council, which continues to be misunderstood, including by the C4C.

In their attack the C4C incorrectly suggests that the law allows environmental policy to be made by the council. However, it is Cabinet, the elected officials, who will make policy decisions based on the technical advice offered by the council. The decision by Panton to require the minutes of these meetings to be published by law and for meetings to be open to the public should go some way to proving that point once the law is implemented.

C4C also suggested that government could use the Compulsory Acquisitions Law to force the sale of land for conservation purposes. However, there is nothing at all in the law that will allow this to happen. As has been noted on numerous occasions by both the minister and Department of Environment Director Gina Ebanks-Petrie, if government wanted to compulsorily acquire land it could already do so without the NCL.

The NCL provides a way for government and land owners to choose to work together for conservation management while keeping land in landowners’ hands, but if they wish to sell, all purchases by government will be made at market value.

While the advocacy group acknowledges that the law has been under discussion for ten years, it suggests that “it has been the wrong discussion”, as they accuse the law of being about “limiting development” instead of facilitating development.

The group also called for policies covering recycling, reducing the reliance on fossil fuels and taking emergency steps to stop the dump leeching into the North Sound. However, the law, as the director of the environment has said during the most recent round of public discussion, is not a pollution law; it is a conservation law that is designed to protect indigenous and endemic species and at least some of the habitat on which they depend.

The C4C’s submission to government about a sustainable development policy sets out a desire to see much more and not less development, which it fears the law will curtail. It calls on government to offer incentives to developers for  high-end resorts and niche market hotels, mixed used developments, entertainment in general, three golf courses, mega-yacht facilities and marinas, more sport facilities, including a 50-meter swimming pool and associated facilities, as well as sewage, electricity, water, IT, roads, airport, cruise pier and various unnamed infrastructural projects.

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  1. Money Honey says:

    I wouldn't call it an "attack". A "damp squib" is more like it.

    C4C represents the tiny developer class of multi-generational Caymanians who are dedicated to one thing and one thing only. Cash.


    • Anonymous says:

      I have to ask you one simple question. When is the last time you went to the grocery store and bought food for your family with something other than "cash"? Cash or money is what keeps us alive.

  2. Ms. ButterNut says:

    C 4 $ale Cayman. Collectively, they are all about the money, which none, to my knowledge help those that need it most. They all have solutions and ideas, but don’t bother to step up and contribute the money, donations etc. C4C members, I don’t support you nor do I shop at your establishments anymore. That’s how I fight back. Thanks Wayne, Gina and company, show them how true, genuine Caymanians can be successful, honest, empathetic, moralistic and upstanding without bending to the needs of the wealthy, so-called elites.

  3. The Thinker says:

    I was in favor of C4C until now.  I was wrong.  C4C isn't about Cayman, it's about MONEY! 

  4. Anonymous says:

    You know I voted for three of the C4C members in the last election, two of which are in office now.  I can tell you who won't be getting a vote in the next election, if C4C continues with this attitude.   I expect better from educated Caymanians who claim to have this country at heart. 

    IF you have this country at heart you would be intersted in taking care of one of the corner stones of our economy, the environemnt. End of conversation.

    Good luck Wayne and thank you for having the intelligence, ethics and love of our country to stand up for this much needed and long overdue law. 

    • Anonymous says:

      I would wait until the votes are in.  See how they vote.  This is about the people you elected not the "Non Party" mouths.

  5. Anonymous says:

    On the contrary, Part 1, section 2 on page 12 of the National Conservation Bill lists a dozen "Adverse Effects"…"that may result in the physical destruction or detrimental alteration of a protected area, a conservation area an area of critical habitat or the environment generally".  I was glad to see at least 4 of these clauses speaking to pollution concerns directly, as well as to dredging.  It is all very clearly presented in there.  What I don't understand is how anyone – including the Cabinet – can campaign for the passing of the NCL, while simultaneously supporting the Cruise Port, when the very EIA reads like a checklist of all the prohibited activity the NCL aims to correct?  How can the Director of the Environment and CITA purport to feel so strongly about one and not the other?  Is it right for us to nurture a LAW that Cabinet is already planning to override at its convenience, and clauses that the Director of a soon to be endowed DOE regime can't even recall (conveniently or not)?  

    • Anonymous says:

      Anti-Pollution and Anti-Dredging language is covered in the Draft NCL Bill – "Adverse Effect" is defined as (extract):

      (a) alterations that may impair the capacity of the area to function as a habitat beneficial to wildlife;

      (b) development that may increase the potential for damage to the area from floods, hurricanes or storms;

      (c) alterations of salinity levels, nutrient balance, oxygen concentration orr temperature that may be harmful to wildlife or the ecological or aesthetic value of the area;

      (d) alterations of hydrology, water flow, circulation patterns, water levels or surface drainage that may be harmful to wildlife or the ecological or aesthetic value of an area or that may exacerbate erosion;

      (f) the discharge of pathogens, dissolved or suspended minerals or solids, waste materials or other substances at levels that may be harmful to wildlife or the ecological or aesthetic value of the area;

      (g) changes in littoral or sediment transport processes that may alter the supply of sediment available to those processes or that may otherwise exacerbate erosion;

      (h) alterations that may increase losses of the area from a rise in the sea level with respect to the surface of the land, whether caused by an actual sea level rise or land subsidence;

      (i) emissions of air pollutants at levels that may impair the air quality of the area;

    • Anonymous says:

      I think this (Port issues) should be a sharp reminder to us all of the critical need for the NCL – without further delay. 

  6. Anonymous says:

    Thank you C4C. Finally some frank, sensible, suggestions.

    • Anonymous says:

      Is this Mac? Or Ezzard?

      • Anonymous says:

        No, Ezzard attends a public NCL meeting on Northside, threatens a fellow politician with a chair, and claims to represent 'his people' on Northside who are against the NCL.

        The fact is that he doesn't represent the people of NS, well at least not the honest property owners and residents who maintain its beauty. This over inflated wind bag is only interested in raising tensions for his own nationalist agenda, 'his people' amounted to 4 or 5 people from NS who attended the NCL meeting, a small number of others who bothered to turn up were from other districts.

        Bring in the NCL now and ignore these backward looking dinosaurs.

  7. Anonymous says:

    No surprise here. C$C is just confirming what everyone already knew about them.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Those responsible for this 11th hour attempt to derail the conservation law should be identified and asked to explain themselves.

    • Anonymous says:

      the majority of the Caymanian people are in support of conservation, however not how this bill is drafted. The DOE and minister need to take in to account what the people have voiced in the district meetings and make the neccssary amendments/changes. The ppm has a history of not listening to the people after being elected, i just hope for the sake of our Caymanian people that history does not repeat it self.

      • Anonymous says:

        A democracy works on the principle that you vote the party into power with the most attractive policies for the country. This is called a mandate and allows the winning party to legislate without having to keep returning to the voting public for permission to implement its stated agenda.

        Cayman doesn't appear to get this most basic of principles, preferring to run the country as one large committee hearing. This is both expensive, time consuming and ultimately unnecessary.

        The NCL has been on the cards for years, if those with vested interests haven't managed to convince the party in power of their case, then it's too late. The voting public approved this legislation by voting in the government.

        So for heavens sake Cayman, stop acting like an 18th century town council committee and get on with the job of responsible and legitimate governance. This law is desperately needed, for too long the poachers, developers and land owners have had their own way. The people have already spoken through the ballot box, now get on with it.

  9. Anonymous says:

    After reading the C4C viewpoint, i dont think they  "attacks conservation law".  I would say C4C is just being realistic.  What they say makes perfect sense and as a 7th generation Caymanian, i hope the powers in charge will be open for suggestions. 

  10. Anonymous says:

    Looks like a bullet was dodged when C4C failed to impress at the ballot box.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I am not sure if CNS read the same view point as what C4C posted

    • Anonymous says:

      People just read the hedlines, then make their comments. Read the article people, read the viewpoint.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Dear PPM

    What is the rush?

    How will this bill impact the proposed redevelopment of the dock in central George Town?

    Why is nothing being done about the dump since the environment is a campaign priority?

    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly – Moses purports to support the NCL on the Sister Islands roadshow, yet doesn't see anything wrong with pulverizing 626,000 cubic yards of national marine park to build cruise piers for the family business!  The Port EIA shows that a Port and functional NCL policy are not compatible! 

    • Anonymous says:

      ppm, we are still waiting for the cut on the duty for fuel that you promised us so that we can afford the cost of gas and CUC .  Please fulfilll some of the other (many) campaign promises that you made before we go onto these complex issues.       

    • George Towner to dah bone says:

      Come on people, thePPM isn't rushing this law through, they are only trying to impliment a law that's been laying on a shelf collecting dust for over ten years, which this proposed version has been watered down to almost nothing. This law has been talked about, with ton loads of public consultationand amendments over the years, don't you think it's by time now to finally get this law passed? We can no longer keep kicking the can down the road, it has already been kicked to pieces and no need to give them another one to kick down the road. So C$C please stop trying to derail this law at 11:59pm, when you all had ample time to bring your concerns and suggestion forward. It would be fun to see when Roy, Winston and Tara vote yes on this bill in the LA, if the C$C is going to scould them for supporting such an important law, as those three were their candidates. Every polls that I've seen, majority is in support of this law and I am too, because it has a lot to do with protecting our environment, which I'm passionate about. So Minister Panton, please go through with this law and not to focus on the few distractors, which might be the same ones that has been throwing a monkey-wrench into this law over the past ten years.  It is left up to this generation to make the right decision to protect these Islands for the future generation, that when we reach in our golden age, our grand kids would be proud to call Cayman their home and we can then look back and be proud of the accomplishment we made by supporting the NCL. As that late President Ronald Reagan qouted: "If not us – who? If not now, when? C$C, I'll leave those questions for you all to answer and if you all cared so much about Cayman, then answering those simple questions should be a breeze.

  13. Anonymous says:

    What a mess.

    The 3 C4C candidates support it, but C4C does not.

    Caymanian deserve C4C

  14. Anonymous says:

    C4C is searching for relevancy.  Go back to your ivory towers.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Read the view point for yourself. The Coalition for Cayman does not attack the bill it asks questions and offers suggestions.

    • Anonymous says:

      C4C can ask questions if they wish but why did they waited until so late to do it.  All the questions they might have have already been answered. While some of them got elected and were welcomed by the PPM they rest must remember that C4C did not have the majority to form the Government.  The PPM did and they are bringing the bill which will be passed into a law.  The law is needed,if there is something in it that proves to me inadequate or detrimental then it can be changed as times goes by as is often done with the Immigration Law.  Laws can always be changed, they are not written in stone.  PPM please go ahead and pass this law ASAP.  They are coming out this late to try to throw a monkey wrench- ignore them and go ahead with it. They do not want to help but to hinder and like the Opposiion they can't do it so they don't want the credit to go to anyone. 

      • Anonymous says:

        better later than never. Im just thankful that C4C has made such a balanced statement. 

      • Anonymous says:

        What is exactly late?                                                                                                                      So if questions are asked and suggestions are made before the deadline they should be ignored considering the ppm only start the public meetings two weeks ago? Unfortunately that is typical Caymanian ignorance and you wonder why the country finds itself in the current malaise

        • Anonymous says:

          "….that is typical Caymanian ignorance".

          When you make such bigoted statements you turn off people who might otherwise agree with you.