And here endeth the rest of Cayman….

| 03/10/2009

As the rest of the world battles with the problems that result from global warming/climate change, as the Philippines get totally trashed by a back to back series of Super Typhoons, as islands disappear under the ocean, our peerless leader had decided that the way back to so-called prosperity is to continue the trashing of what’s left of these islands.

Every developed and developing country on the planet recognizes that if you are going to develop – be it a golf course or a marina, a port, a mega-hotel or 2,000 sea-front condos – you need to complete an Environmental Impact Assessment to not only project what kind of ecological damage you might cause, but to try and find ways to mitigate that damage. Not here, though.

We don’t need an EIA to see if the North Sound will survive a mega-yacht highway. We don’t need an EIA to see if all the sand on 7-mile beach willdisappear in a storm when we have built the new mega Cruise Ship Dock. We don’t need an EIA to look at the ecological damage a working port will make to the (so far) pristine East End. We don’t need an EIA to see what will happen when we dredge the pond on the Brac and build a marina. Heck, we’ll just do what we want, as long as we’ve sold our land to our buddies and made a ton of cash, we’ll worry about the consequences to our kids and grand-kids later. We’ll be dead then and in Heaven…uhuh, right….so it won’t matter.

If I have read the mood of most people right (except those who stand to make a million or two on any one of these developments), we Caymanians have had enough of environmental destruction. Wesaid “no” to the destruction of the ironwood forest when the PPM was in power. Do you think it is likely that King Mac will care?

Young and old alike have told me they care about what is happening, and they don’t want to see any more “growth at any cost”. I’m not talking about economic cost, I’m talking about environmental cost. Using the “we have to have private investment to protect the country’s economy” sounds like an old movie track from the 1960s. The rest of the world is more worried about the ecological costs of what we have wrought upon the planet, and we are looking to trash what is left of Cayman for a few rich real estate developer buddies?

C’mon people. This isn’t a just political issue, it’s a conservation issue as well. We need to stand up and say, “Hell, no! We don’t want to see the end of North Sound.” Dredging it to create a super-highway for mega-yachts for a few rich friends will destroy our fishing, destroy our tourist attractions like Sting Ray City, destroy our reefs, and open us up beautifully to a tidal surge from the next big hurricane.

So, what are we going to do? It is time to make conservation a serious political issue, because that is what it is. Anything that attacks the essence of where we live is attacking our lives. Are we prepared to roll over and just let it happen?

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  1. Green Hornet says:

    And in case you still need some convincing, PB, check out this link to the inundation of South India:

    • not surprised says:

      Well said Green hornet.We all need to stand up and stop this crap once and for all.I am NOT against sensible sustainable development but lets go about in a cautious manner instead of this headlong rush to destroy what I want my grand kids and yours to enjoy.

             ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

  2. Caymanian at Heart says:

    Thanks for writing this article.  I hope Caymanians speak up about this issue, this is about future generations and their birth right.

    "We have not inherited the Earth from our ancestors. We only borrowed it from our children."  Ancient Proverb

    Some things are for sale Mac.  To all those with voting writes please rally against the dredging of North Sound.

    As an expat I think the day the sound is dredged will be the day when I leave this island, I just couldn’t stand to see this island pillaged any further.

    Cayman has a unique tourist product: the beaches are pristine, the diving world class and dredging the sound will devastate both these products.  Dredging will cause mass damage to not only the reefs, but also the mangroves – which are the nursery for sea life here in Cayman.  Cayman needs to get on board with eco-tourism, people pay top dollar for this product and we can compete with other markets as we have advantages being English speaking and have a safe (maybe not for much longer..) community.

    • Cerridwen says:

       "We have not inherited the Earth from our ancestors. We only borrowed it from our children."  Ancient Proverb

      It is good to be reminded that we ARE talking about the conservation and preservation of the Cayman Islands not only for this generation but for generations to come.  Resist those whose only focus seems to be how to exploit their native land in order to achieve maximum cash flow into their personal bank accounts.


  3. Green Hornet says:

    Not sure where’s you’ve been the last 10 years, PB. Check out this BBC link if you don’t think islands are disappearing. It’s just one example:


    I, too, know several former expats (now Caymanians) who bought land in the 1960s and 1970s, so this argument is fallacious. And the super typhoons are becoming both stronger and more frequent because of climate change.

    And yes, of course growth at any cost needs to be curbed. If we don’t, there really won’t be much point in continuing to live here.

  4. PB says:

    Cayman was a sleepy backwater before 1978 when the administration changed the residency policy and welcomed growth by allowing property owners permanent residency in the Caymans. The growth since has been spectacular, and the article published today is really an anti-growth alarmist opinion. The Philippines gets over 36 Typhoons a year, so that opinion is absurd. Islands disappearing around the world is NOT happening.  The article is rubbish. But if the opinions posted say anything they say they prefer no further growth, so that could be accomplished by merely restoiring the prior to 1978 policy of only allowing property to be owned by native born Caymanians.  The policy was changed to benefit real estate developers – perhaps the island has seen the growth and if there is a genuine sentiment to limit development then a fundamental change in immigration is the best course, rather than artificially meddling in zoning or development standards. 

    • Anonymous says:

      The article is not "rubbish". The writer makes the very sound point that we must exercise care for our environment as we develop.  You, like the current govt., are taking the view that growth and development are the only important things and, by implication nothing should be allowed to stand in the way. This is called greed. It is this sort of thinking that has so seriously damaged Cayman over the past 30 years as we have not taken into account the environmental and social impacts.  Look at the overdeveloped monstrosity that Seven Mile Beach has become.   

      Incidentally, I am not aware that Cayman, unlike some other territories, has ever had a policy that property could only be owned by native-born Caymanians. I am personally aware of a number of expats who owned land in Cayman in the 1960s. Instead, what changed was the introduction of the registered land system and the introduction of a new Development Plan for Grand Cayman after the Unity Team Govt. was elected in 1976.      

      • Anonymous says:

        I agree but in defense of the prior poster, he wasn’t  in support of further growth.  He was suggesting that a different approach would be better if thats what is wanted. 

  5. Anonymous says:

    All developments to this fragile little country should be subject to an EIA – but the government/our people should not pay for it.  As somebody else pointed out, developers should be responsible for the cost of the EIA – all the government should do is make this a statutory requirement before development projects of this nature can proceed!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Green Hornet for this article……it is always refreshing to know that there are still many sensible thinking people out there who really do have what is best for this Country at heart.  I just hope that when the time comes we are all willing to stand up publicly as may be required to put a stop to the many unbelievable projects that this government is proposing!

  7. dis man dont care says:

    For all you people who think these politicians care you are sadly mistaken not one has suggested a balanced plan reduce our population and reduce the stress on our infastucture and stress on our environment and society their idea is more is better and when problems increase they claim they are looking solutions that only political minds can solve.

    • Dick Shaughneary says:

      Dis man dont care . . . about punctuation.

      • Gram Arian says:


        Can’t you tell: it’s "Stream of Consciousness" meets "Altered States".  You don’t stop the Indy 500 at every change of direction, and you don’t drop a period in the middle of a perfectly good brain-fart.

        Plus you ain’t so good at that yourself.


        PS:  Thanks for ratting me out to the Borg about the keyboard…  Long live the Empire: 


  8. da wa ya get says:

    Thank you Green Hornet. It’s good to read that others out there realise the importance of our environment and understand the irreversible damage that these projects can do.

    The UDP claims that these projects will bring funds to Cayman…this all based on "If you build it, they will come". Not only are the EIA’s needed, but independent economic assessments are also necessary. What would be the benefit of carrying out these projects only to cause irreversible damage to the environment and on top of that, not have any economic returns? Sound eerily similar to some past UDP projects such as Boatswain’s Beach and Pedro Castle….

  9. Common sense says:

    Hello Bodden

    Everywhere else in the world the EIA is paid for BY THE DEVELOPER. For example in the case of the Cruise Ship Port, whoever finances that will pay for the EIA. So it shouldn’t cost the government a penny. And nor should it when "inward investment" by whichever billionaire is funding it — and we have a few both home grown and imported — will be making the profit in the long run.

    Not having an EIA and reaping the whirlwind of ecological damage that will result will THEN cost the government (and you and me) a bundle.

  10. Bodden says:


    UDP is saying that an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is expensive and unnessary when we can do our own assessment without paying anything!

    That is the problem!  It is not like the UDP is engaging in revenue-based projects with no thought of our environment. The Question is:  CAN WE AFFORD TO SPEND ON EIA AT THIS TIME WHEN WE NEED ALL THE MONEY WE CAN GET TO SAVE THE ECONOMY???

    At this time… it matters!  

    • Anonymous says:

      So you rather we pay later? When the damage is done and we are instead dealing with the negative impacts of mega-yacht developments (and host of others)?? Are you crazy?? And by the way…..the developer pays for the EIA not the government!!!!!! This UDP driven ‘inward investment over development build it and they will come’ madness has got to stop!

      • Anonymous says:

        The fact is- we don’t need a EIA assesment- COMMON SENSE- tells us all that this will be a huge blow to the environment. Furthermore- haven’t these types of studies been done before and left to gather dust on the shelves?

        No beach= no legacy to leave future generations and it certainly means no tourists either. There. Done.

        Now, tell me again why it matters if they have the money to do the EIA assesment or not?

  11. Green Hornet says:

    Hey Joe A. Yeah, that’s always been the excuse. In fact, what kind of environmental and human respect did we have when we were rolling in dough? Not a whole lot, I’d say, or we’d have enforceable environmental and social safety net legislation. Trickle down economics only goes as far as the next bank loan or mortgage — and that all goes out the window when you’re unemployed. Nope, the rich will always keep wealthy and the rest of us will hang in by our finger nails waiting for the next pat on the head and measily payraise, and then tug our collective forelocks in piety to our masters.

  12. The Force says:

    It really hurts to know that our leaders just don’t care. The financial industry can take exit at a moment’s notice and a few clicks of the keyboard. The UK has been telling us for years to take care of our environmental issues because the day would come when they would shut down the tax havens and all we would have left is our physical plant and the humans in it, i.e. the actual physical land mass and surrounding (used-to-be- pristine) waters.

    How much more do you need to be convinced that this is happening?? We cannot afford to mess with the North Sound – please leave it alone to be enjoyed by our own people and visitors alike.

    We need to be working on everything that will retain and restore our natural beauty. We need to be investing in our people; training them to be the best tourism ambassadors in the world. Then we must start to invite back all of our visitors; some who have left because Cayman became ‘too foreign’. Train our school leavers to be food & beverage servers; hosts/hostesses/ greeters, bartenders.  There is good money in this field but right now it is being made by Canadians, Indians, Sri Lankans, Filipinos, etc.  Imagine that Canadian college graduates come to Cayman to serve in bars and restaurants – and then our people think it is not worthwhile???

    Come on leaders, let’s do the right thing. Caymanians have felt left out of this equation for years; for years we have lamented – "Who are we building Cayman for?" and now you say let’s build more and more and more!!!  Oh no, please say no.

    Let’s re-develop our beautiful tourist product, and even back track a bit.  We want families to come back here for their vacations (ordinary people) not just the glitzy, ritzy, rich and famous.


  13. Joe Average says:

    Hornet:  When economies are in desperate straits the first victims are the poor and dis-enfranchised.  And the next victim is the environment.  All compassion and reasoning is out the window.

  14. Anonymous says:

    At least someone with common sense is writing on this important issue.   

  15. The Church of God Committee for Legalizing Ganja says:

    Madam Speaker, as we find ourselves in this troubling econimic times, Madam Speaker,I declare that we must do more of the same to pull ourselves out of the mess that we have inflicted upon ourselves, Madam Speaker. We must destroy more, not less, of the environment, Madam Speaker.

    We must build more and without a distracting development plan, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, we owe to ourselves to prosper at the expense of nature, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, these beloved Cayman Islands are a bountiful blessing upon us, Madam Speaker.

    Let us reap the harvest as our Lord Baby Jesus would have us do, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, we must develop these my blessed Cayman Islands without concern for nature or future generations of Caymanians, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, God bless these Cayman Islands, Madam Speaker.

    Yes, Madam Speaker, runaway destruction of Grand Cayman’s environment has led to a severely degraded country and tourism product, but that is beside the point, Madam Speaker. As your duly elected leader, given power by a couple of thousand very wise West Bayers, I will lead us to do more of the same, Madam Speaker, for that is the solution to our problems–more of the same, Madam Speaker. As the Bible tells us, Madam Speaker, "whosoever builds must destroy".

    Madam Speaker, it is clear to me that conservation is a liberal ploy to hurt Caymanians and help foreigners. In fact, it is the gameboxes that are the real problem. Too many gameboxes in the hands of our blessed youth, Madam Speaker.


    God bless, amen, Madam Speaker,

    Your humble Premier-Grand-Designate-Premier-Opulence-Rector-of-Leader-of-Government-Business-Premier.

    • Joe Average says:

      Dude.   With a comment like that you have set the legalization of ganja back one hundred years.  I hope you understood it.

      • O'Really says:

        So that would make legalisation 50 years closer dude, right? 

        • Joe Average says:

          does that mean legalization was more than a hundred away?

          just a minute.     phweeeeeet


          if i said it was set back a hundred and you said it was  phweeet  fifty closer


          justa minute.


          i dunno

          what was the question??   anyway that wasn’t the topic.  was it?

          • O'Really says:

             What topic?

            • Joe Average says:

              the topic was i think dude was are we going to hell in a handbasket because we aren’t paying attention to our environment and it won’t matter at all how much money we have if we can’t breathe the air drink the water and have no food to eat but some people don’t care because they have a.c. drink perrier and eat out.  see i can still put a sentence together.  this stuff ain’t so bad.

              • O'Really says:

                Mine then try!!! 

                • Anonymous says:

                  If you look really close at the faces of the iguanas for long enough you can see them smile. 

                  Anyone want some ice cream?

    • Anthony Montana says:

      Runaway sarcasm. But I like it.

  16. Anonymous says:

    It’s not just political or conservationist, it’s also economic. It may seem to cost less for projects to not bother with an EIA, but the damage wrought on the environment, the unanticipated changes within the ecosystem, end up causing more monetary losses than however much it might cost to calculate the effect of a project on the area in question. Erosion of our beaches would both damage the tourist industry and force us to spend vast amount of money to restore and protect the coastline after the fact. The dredging necessary for a mega-yacht canal or a cruise ship berthing facility will most certainly unbalance marine ecosystems and drastically affect the aquatic plant and animal populations. This is turn will produce noticable reactions all the way up the food chain and empty our wallets. And that’s not even getting into the ramifications of the utter lack of "greener" policies. Look at Mt. Trashmore! We don’t recycle or even properly dispose of our waste. It takes less than a third of the energy required to produce usable metals from ores to reuse metals by recycling, and yet how many broken down cars, junked appliances and various construction material is buried in the landfill or left to rust away in our salty air. How much concrete do we toss away when we tear down buildings to make way for new construction, despite it costing us less to reuse the materials from the old buildings? How stupid can we get? Our greatest real asset is our land and our water, and yet we treat it with such disregard and degrade its value each and every time we cut corners to avoid the "hassle" of proper environmental impact research. This goes waaaay beyond the political realm; we’re talking about our economic prosperity well into the future. Enough of this live for the moment and the future be damned attitude. We need to start thinking before acting and showing some semblence of intelligence when it comes to preserving the largest, and most vulnerable, asset we have.

    Thank you for such an important article and I support your opinion wholeheartedly.