Minister says EIA is not reduced, just changed

| 16/11/2009

(CNS): Despite the fact that the director of the Department of the Environment listed more than eleven major areas that will not now be examined in the new Environmental Impact Assessment for the port development, Mark Scotland said he preferred to say that the ToR have been changed rather than reduced.  The minister with responsibility for the Environment told News 27 that, while the DoE has a say in the drafting of the EIA terms of reference for the new cruise berthing facility in George Town, the final decision would be a joint effort between the developer, DECCO and the ministry.

 “We have heard in the news lately that the terms of reference and scope of it have been reduced, but when we say reduced I’d rather say its been changed. That’s because the terms of reference were based on another project,” Scotland told the television station.

Last week Gina Ebanks-Petrie, the director of the environment, revealed to CNS the dramatic reductions or, as Scotland said, changes that have been made to the new Terms of Reference that were presented to her department recently.

Although the new proposed development focuses primarily on cruise berthing and not cargo, the development will still include dramatic changes to the marine and upside environment of the George Town Harbour, as will as a significant impact on the general downtown area of the country’s capital. However, as revealed by Ebanks-Petrie, a number of crucial environmental issues will no longer be considered, such as the damage to marine life in the harbour as well as the increased exposure of the downtown area to flooding.

The previous ToR were drawn up by the DoE and were based on extensive consultation with stakeholders and the public at large. All of the major issues, concerns and potential negative impacts on the natural, human, built and socio-economic environment were included in the study so that a proper cost benefit against environmental damage could be assessed. The idea of the EIA was also to ensure that the negative impacts were fully understood and could therefore be mitigated if not entirely prevented.

Scotland has said, however, that he does not know if the public will be consulted on the ToR which will now guide the EIA for this development.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I didn’t know Markie was the Minister of the Environment…… long as it took him to speak on this issue maybe he didn’t know either. I thought it was McDinejad based on how he was talking about "there is no need for an EIA" on this project.

    So Markie is a road builder and they made him Minister of Health & Environment…… thoughful and sensible…..we have nothing to fear now Cayman.



    • Anonymous says:

      The man with the action, and we are not using his skill  in dealing with the roads. This man is a hard working man , let him do the job that he knows best. Never could see the logic behind this. Number 2 Premier dont have a clue about roads. Leave her with the foot ballers.

  2. what a mess says:

    Minister is obviously just throwing a "spin" (misleading information for the purpose of getting his/UDP own way) regardless of the consequences.

    To not do a comprehensive EIA is so wrong that it should somehow be criminal.


  3. kill 'em all and let Baby Jesus sort 'em out... says:

    Why all the concern about Seven Mile Beach? It’s already gone. Go look, we sold it to condo and hotel owners long ago. Local people have no business swimming there. It’s gone.

    Thanks McKeeva


    • Anonymous says:

      The 7 mile beach has gone, I agree! Remember it was Mac Bush & his National Team government that lifted the moratorium on more development on the 7 mile beach after they were elected in 1992! But worse was to come. The main destruction came after the coup of 2001 & we had a tourism minister that was also responsible for development, who also happened to own a real estate company (or should I say his wife owns a real estate company, ha ha). For him, it turned out to be a win win situation $$$$$$$$$$$, but it was not a good situation for Cayman & our world famous 7 mile beach to be in! Too much development is not good & we see the effects it has had on our once beautiful 7 mile beach, but do you think he cares? Money is the root of all evil, & it was also the root of all destruction for the 7 mile beach! GREED has hurt our beaches!

  4. AA Ebanks says:

    It really is heart-wrenching to be stuck here in the UK and unable to do anything about the decisions our government is making in relation to the new berthing facility.

    I boast and brag about Cayman everyday up here and encourage people to visit and explore our natural beauty but I fear we won’t have much left to show by the time I graduate.

    I fully understand the need to implement such a facility becauseCayman thrives on our tourism industry but that simply isn’t enough of a reason to REDUCE plans to assess the negative impact that it could cause! How can we ignore our duty to protect the environment? Without it we cease to exist! I’m not your typical "tree-hugger" but I recognise that this is our island and I want my children to see firsthand how magnificent it is, not by me starting stories with "I remember the days when…"

    And then to NOT consult the public… if I wanted to live in that kind of society I’d move to Cuba! This is supposed to be a democracy. We need to stop living in the past, pretending like our actions don’t have an effect on our surroundings, and unite as a people to fight for the protection of our best prize – our sea and all its riches.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Scotland is as good as Minister of Environment as he is as Minister of Health. USELESS !!!

    He should have taken the lead on this issue from the very beginning but he is too afraid of McDinejad.

    How is it that McDinejad comes out when he announced this project saying there would be no EIA… after significant public pressure, Cline and Scotland are scrambling and at pains to try to convince the public that there will be an EIA albeit  with "changed" not "reduced" TORs. Give me a break….do you all take us for fools ???????

    In this case your words speakmuch louder than your actions !!!!

    But as we all know words alone just won’t cut it !!!

    Scotland please go away as you have no credibility on this issue……how in the hell did you end up as a Minister anyway….particularly with this Ministry ????????

    • Anonymous says:

      So true post (12:08) !!!

    • Afraid to Strap on a Pair Also says:

      Please Try Not to Speak, Mark.

      As far as I’m concerned, Scotland was the beginning of the end.  When he failed to step down after the election debacle, everything after put CI into the category of third world banana republic.  Any time he opens his mouth words come out and that’s always a bad thing…

  6. Anonymous says:

    For clarity, an EIA is a decision making tool. Each project as it is envisioned has its own UNIQUE EIA. That is to say if you plan to do a cruise dock in the North Sound it would look a lot different than the one where you already have existing berthing and anchoring. This is a fundamental point that seems to be overlooked. The PPM/Atlantic Star MOU envisioned a cargo port to the north of the existing location in virgin territory. Obviously, it would look at different issues than where this one is proposed.

    Noise in the neighborhood is one factor that this one does not need to be considered because this project does not put cargo and buses near to the residential homes of North Church Street. It does not need to study the impact on the existing retail stores as they remain in the vicinity, and I could go on. There is no such thing as a “Complete EIA”. Each EIA is developed based on the proposed project and its proposed site.

    Also there is this constant discussion of having the EIA done BEFORE the project is designed. You need a design FIRST then you can have something to study its IMPACT on the environment. Only when you have a Design can you then review and do an EIA. The result will allow decision making. It can allow a model for mitigating damage based on a revised design, methodology, etc.

    Even if the EIA shows catastrophic damage to the environment, such as a dam’s EIA usually does, a country may consider it important to proceed with its building as China did with the Three Gorges Dam. They saw its national needed for electricity so important that it displaced over 2 million persons and their homes to build it and flooded ancient villages and archaeological sites. Our country may decide that even if the piers damages Cheeseburger reef for instance, that that is a reasonable trade off for the economic investment into the economy at this time of global recession. During boom times, it may not be worth it.

    So at the end of the day it is just a decision making tool. Both the PPM and the UDP have said, thank God, that that there is “a bridge too far”, the damage of the Seven Mile Beach, and we see that this EIA is studying that. We need to review what is being studied when it is published but not be misled for political purposes.

    That is how an EIA works, that is how it is used. Do some research before you blog silly political statements(both sides)!!!

    • what a mess says:

      "For clarity",it still remains that to properly determine the posible/probable consequences, a comprehensive EIA needs to be done when the design is ready.

      To drastically reduce or change such parameters for such a large project suggests that the powers that be are much more interested in the project going ahead (short term gain) than making as sure as possible to mitigate any possible negative impact (long term gain).

      I hear posters on here voiceing their concerns…and that is everyones democratic right.

      Doing a comprehensive EIA (regardless of the design) will show to all the benefits versus possible negative effects, and should not be something that anyone would attempt to avoid…unless they have something to hide!

      "Justice should not only be done…it should also appear to be done"

  7. K-man to da bone says:

    Another one right out of McKeevas books. Does Mark Scotland and the UDP think we are all Primary School students because they surely treat us as such – "preferred to say that the ToR have been changed rather than reduced" – Don’t be like Mr Bush and take the Cayman people for fools Mr Scotland! When you reduce the EIA from including 11 areas OF IMPORTANCE, it is being reduced Mr Scotland so don’t make yourself look a fool just to please a few! If there is nothing to hide or that the EIA will prove that the Port Berthing Facilities could cause major damage to our Tourism Industry, thereby not allowing certain people from receiving from "under-table" deals, well just call for the EIA tobe done to satify ALL of Cayman!

  8. Anonymous says:


    Bill of Rights – s.18

    "Government shall, in all its decisions, have due regard to the need to foster and protect an environment….

    To this end government should adopt reasonable legislative and other measures to protect the heritage and wildlife and the land and sea biodiversity … etc."



    • kill 'em all and let Baby Jesus sort 'em out... says:

      Sorry, no chance, buddy. Note the wording: the government shall have "due regard" to the need to foster and protect..    

      That’s intentionally subjective and loose language. It means nothing. "Due regard" can be interpreted any way you want. In the eyes of McKeeva and Scotland it probably means anything goes short of spraying agent orange on every tree in Cayman and using high explosives to clear out all coral reefs.

      Plus, I don’t think that part comes into effect for another 3 years anyway, plenty of time for lots of profitable and permanent env. destruction.

      If the public understood what our new constitution does and does not do they would be screaming in the streets.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Hey clueless, you cant even run the Hospital much less make statements about the EIA for the port development. You are clearly just incompetent. Crawl back in your hole and leave it to the experts who understand that this project can environmentally damage our reef and marine life unless these issues are taken into consideration but that is never going to happen with your leader McCluess. You are a disaster as Minister of Health !!!!!!

  10. anonymous says:

    Increased risk of central George Town flooding???!!!


     It stands to reason WITHOUT A STUDY, that with more physical structures in the harbour that the flooding risk will actually be diminished. And if it is water in GT getting to the sea, that is minimum at the moment (not allowed in new developments)


    Prior to the port expansion and the Royal Watler terminal, Harbour drive was flooded periodically to the point of closure.  That has stopped and I can guarantee that extending out the land even more this will reduce further.


    I urge the government to ignore the DOE and Environmentalist (and tender operators) at this point to proceed with this needed national project. For the older folks you will remember, these were the same points Mr Berkley faced for the current cargo finger pier when that was done in 1975.  thank goodness we did that or we would still be walking around with smoke pots.


    These points are now getting a bit ridiculous.  Why not study the impact of the piers on the beach at Bodden town…you can never tell, and it will kill some more time and certainly get news headlines!!



    • tired says:


      Do you remember Ivan! Assessing affects on flooding risk is very important!  I don’t follow the logic that more structure would make less vulnerable. Fact: more structure in a high risk area at the very least make us vulnerable to the cost of repairing said structure in the event it is damage/destroyed by any hazard.
      I am no expert but I suspect that the effects of man made channels on storm surge and wave formation is substantially complex that lay persons can’t just decide it won’t be a problem.
      Also can’t someone just poll the voters to see how they feel? in a democracy the majority rules an therefore if this port does not have the support then it should be halted. It would be the safest thing to do politically, that way the people can be “blamed” for what ever final decision is made.
       By the way the ToR for the EIA should never by drawn up by solely one party (especially the Developer who has a vested interest in the project going forward no matter what) it should be a medium reached between environmentalist’s government and possibly the developers.
      Going this route of just doing as you please will lead to civil unrest and I am pretty sure that nobody especially investors want to go somewhere where the native people are uprising.
  11. Anonymous says:

    Why is it that the udp ministers & "junior ministers" (is a junior minister even legal in the constitution?) cannot seem to get their stories straight? We have now heard at least 3 different versions about the EIA for their dart port project! The udp should at least appear to show a unified front even if we all know in reality that they only have 1 voice! I am sure that their boss cannot be too happy.

  12. Spin Doctor says:

    Let me put this in terms we can all better understand:

    We’re going ahead with this thing.  So shutup!!!!

    • K-man to da bone says:

      Hey Spin Doctor, I like how you said "We’re" because only people that are actually having their pockets "lined" can agree to this project going ahead witout simply having an EIA done. Thats all the Cayman people are asking for, FAIRNESS, so please go do your "spinning" somewhere else and if there is anyone who should "shutup" its you and your few cronies!

    • Anonymous says:

      ok mac ok… sorry for voicing our concerns!

  13. Smells like fish... says:

    Whew, that’s a relief. I feel better now. I am sure that this minister will stand up to McKeeva the instant he tries to do anything that would harm Cayman’s natural environment. We can all relax now.

    I am confident that Mr. Scotland’s loyalties lie with Cayman’s best interests and that of future generations of Caymanians, not things so shallow as a political party and it’s current bully boss. We are in safe hands with Scotland on the job! That conservation law should be rolling out of the LA any day now.

  14. Anonymous says:

    It completely escapes me how politicians can be so bold and confident that a huge construction project such a short distance from a $1,000,000,000 stretch of prime real estate will have no negative impact on the crown jewel of the country.

    Even with the maximum Environmental Impact Study there are no guarantees but to future generations you can with a clear conscience say that you did everything possible to protect the environment for future generations.

    Given the clear understanding that the sand moves along 7 mile beach to have significant dredging along one area will have an impact of some sort.

    God help the country if they make a mistake.

    • Slim Shady says:

      …and heaven forbid we end up with "8 mile beach", what then?

      • Popopop says:

        I think we are more worried about it becoming "the area of water formerly known as 7 Mile Beach"