Mangrove buffer ripped up

| 13/05/2010

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman headline news, Ritz-Carlton Cayman, Dragon Bay development(CNS): As the National Trust launches its campaign to push for the long awaited conservation law, Grand Cayman has lost another significant stretch of natural habitat from the North Sound coastline. The developer of Dragon Bay, Michael Ryan, was granted planning permission by the CPA in February to clear over 378,000 square feet of mangrove buffer zone, despite the fact that the Development and Planning Regulations state that such natural protective barriers should only be removed in exceptional circumstances. Ken Crews from Orion Development told CNS that the goal was to replant a new 50 foot buffer of red mangroves out into the ocean, recreating what he said was the pre-Ivan mangrove fringe. (Photo by Dennie Warren Jr)

Following concerns from local sea captains that the mangroves had suddenly disappeared sometime over the weekend, revealing a cleared area of marl along the shore of the North Sound by the Dragon Bay site, Ryan confirmed to CNS that the clearance work had been done. He said it was part of a project to remove the old dead mangroves and rejuvenate the area. Acknowledging it was a sensitive issue, the Ritz Carlton developer said the removal was strictly within the limits granted by the Central Planning Authority.
At the invitation of Ryan, CNS visited the site on Wednesday afternoon with Ken Crews, a land development expert from Orion Development, who pointed out what had been cleared and where the mangroves would be replanted to create this new 50 foot fringe.
He stated that the original mangrove buffer of some 250 to 300 feet stretching along the coast for 1500 feet had been removed because some of it was dead and because of the potentially hazardous debris in the areas where the mangrove was still alive — all a legacy, he said, of Hurricane Ivan. He also noted that the plans included constructing a seawall to protect the wider property as it had been affected by storm surge during that hurricane.
Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman headline news, Ritz-Carlton Cayman, Dragon Bay developmentCrews explained that a major replanting project would now take place over the next few months to stretch the new fringe out into the ocean to rejuvenate the area where the mangroves grew before the 2004 hurricane. (Right: Trial planting – photo by Dennie Warren Jr) 
Although some of the mangrove buffer which has been removed was still recovering from the infamous Ivan surge, according to aerial photographs taken before the clearance some two thirds of the buffer zone which has now been torn up was full, healthy, mature mangrove.
Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman headline news, Ritz-Carlton Cayman, Dragon Bay developmentExperts from the Department of Environment, who had advised the CPA against allowing the removal of the mangrove buffer, said they had not seen evidence of hazardous waste in the existing healthy zone and the area being described as dead  by the developer was in fact making a significant recovery (pictured left).
There were also concerns that there had been previous encroachment by the Ritz development on the mangrove buffer in that area.
Director of the Environment Gina Ebanks- Petrie said that it was disappointing to see another mangrove buffer zone lost, given how much has already been removed from Grand Cayman’s coastlines. She said once mangrove was ripped out there were significant problems associated with trying to replant it.
“It is extremely difficult if not impossible to re-create mixed mangrove communities such as that lost in the buffer clearance. Even fringing red mangroves are notoriously difficult to replant successfully on exposed coastlines,” she noted. “We have had very little progress with existing projects such as that in South Sound, where after several years the mangroves have still not taken to any substantial level. The time frames involved in re-establishing mature mangrove stands are significant.”
During the planning application process the DoE submitted comments to the CPA pointing out that it could not identify any exceptional circumstances in this case that would enable the authority to grant permissions under the law to remove the natural buffer. The department also noted that mature stands of mangroves had proven to be considerably more effective against storm surge than seawalls and they provide nursery habitat and other ecological functions that cannot be replicated by artificial structures."
Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman headline news, Ritz-Carlton Cayman, Dragon Bay developmentAccording to the Planning Law, all forms of development are prohibited in mangrove buffer zones expect in exceptional circumstances. Crews said this case was exceptional as the mangroves were dead and the site needed to be cleared of debris. He also said the clearance was justified because the mangrovebuffer had failed to protect the property. (The site after clearance, photo by Dennie Warren Jr)
 CNS has made several attempts to contact the chair of the CPA regarding the exceptional considerations that were made and that led to permission for the healthy as well as the dead mangrove buffer zone to be removed but has so far been unsuccessful.
Dragon Bay is a planned multi-use development on leased crown land adjacent to port authority land on the North Sound coast behind the Ritz-Carlton hotel. Ryan has said he plans to make the North Sound the doorway to this new community.
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  1. Anonymous says:

    History is repeating itself. The only exception is that this XXXX man did not do this on Earth day this time. He did however bulldoze what mother nature took 2000 years to grow and take it down in 24 hours…again.

  2. Double Standard says:

    When a "true born" Caymanian developer rips up mangroves, forests etc and there are complaints we are told that we are interfering with birth rights.  When a "foreigner" (he isn’t) does it it is terrible.

    The eyesores in the SMB corridor where developers have ripped up vegetation to protect future development rights from environmental protection is an example of the disgraceful conduct that is happening daily here.

  3. blah says:

    Michael Ryan loves the environment!  The "toxic waste" i.e.: 4 year old car batteries and oil drums that leeched into the environment long long ago needed to be removed ASAP.  Well actually as soon as planning approved it and only in the middle of the night.  Instead of having Ritz Carlton volunteers remove the waste for FREE on Earth Day his volunteers were picking up plastic bottles on his own private property while he had the "toxic waste" and mangroves removed with a bulldozer.  Ritz-Carlton and Dragon Bay are true examples of environmental stewardship in the Cayman Islands. XXX

  4. TYPICAL! says:

    XXXXXXX…and what a shame that we can’t rely on government/ authorities to protect this island. They go back on their own rules and regulations. There won’t be much left of Cayman in another 25 years, I might have to start about relocating then.

  5. People don’t realize that bush keeps our environment moist and if you get rid of the trees, you limit our chances of rainfall, and you create more heat. That is scientifically proven! Moreover, you are killing plants and orchids that have medicinal value that could one day save us. Our bush is not just mere bush!

    Our Beloved Cayman Islands is becoming over-developed. I am seeing more dry – palm trees and shroubs not native to this Island, shipped here bringing in spiders and pest not from here. I am seeing people instead of building around nature, destroying nature to pave their own grounds. One time, Cayman use to have alot of guinep trees, alot of nesberry trees, alot of tamarind trees… but they are chopped down as needless. I have not see certain creatures for a long time. There was once a time Cayman had alot of needlecase flies, alot of them small red crabs where you could not even drive properly on the road because of them. We are slowly killing our own and don’t know it! Our culture is practically lost. Everything is becoming Americanize!

    When will we ever learn?  When its too late? 

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree withyour comments 100%. We need to start thinking strong about those valuable parts of our culture and beautiful environment which we are selling and giving away all too easily in the name of development and money. People need to start thinking more about the long run impact over development will have, and protecting our Caymanian environment and culture.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Didnt the Ritz have an "Earth Day" a few weeks back and had a huge PR stunt saying how much the care for the enviroment etc? And now they go and bulldoze the mangroves in the middle of nesting period with no regard for the enviroment. WHAT A SHAM!!!

  7. papercaymanian says:

    "Pave paradise, put up a parking lot"

  8. Sad says:

    Well done to everyone for recognising the damage done XXXXX.

    Many good comments said.

    Mangrove & the environment must be protected & such developments stopped. Perhaps when the floods come everyone can then sue the developers for removing the protective barriers (done just in time for hurricane season too).

    Sadly I doubt anything will happen & Dart & Ryan & the others will spoil all of Cayman whilst they XXXX get rich. There should be a law on how much land can be owned/developed by anyone; these people have too much power & too deep pockets.


  9. Anonymouse says:

    I heard on TV that Mr. Ryan did the clearing to clean up toxic waste in the mangroves. That was very good of him. Though now I wonder where it went and how this toxic waste was handled after it had been bulldozed into a big pile of mud and dead mangroves. Perhaps that could be the topic of the next story/interview.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Does this mean we should expect approval for Emeral Sound in the near future????????

  11. Anonymous says:


    Go to and let Jean Michel Cousteau know how you feel about his involvement with Ritz/Dragon Bay


  12. Your all pathetic says:

    Take off your Caymanian" My way is the only right way" filter and you will see things like"that the goal was to replant a new 50 foot buffer of red mangroves out into the ocean, recreating what he said was the pre-Ivan mangrove fringe."  I Came to Cayman after the hurricane to help out and sawall the damage.  I also saw first hand who was actively cleaning up and who was doing nothing.  I never saw anyone replanting any mangroves that were lost anywhere.  And now your all pissed off that someone else is going to do it in a big way and make the rest of the islands damaged areas stand out.  Lots of areas out there for anyone to pitch in and do something.  Anything!  If your not going to do something at least let others do it.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’d like to welcome Mike Ryan’s P.R. firm to the CNS blog.

      Are you really that stupid?  Do you really believe this is all part of Ryan’s grand strategy to save Cayman’s environment?  No, you’re not that stupid, you’re a paid "hack".  Go away and don’t come back until Ryan actually does replant these mangroves successfully.

      • Your not all pathetic says:

        Your right.  I guess the proof will be in waiting and then seeing if Ryan actually does replant these mangroves successfully.  I walk along the south sound occasionally and always wondered why those who can never successfully tried to replant the mangroves there.

        My rant (and yes it was) was mostly my annoyance at what little repair to the environment was done by by the local population.  My apologies and who is Bobo?


        • Anonymous says:

           Bobo is an endearing term that Caymanians, particularly West Bayers use to address their brother. These days it is used less often and is used more loosely in conversation when addressing friends and aquaintances.

    • Richard Wadd says:

       Ahem "Your all pathetic",

        Does one not think that IF the ‘Re-planting exercise’ is as it is professed to be, then perhaps would it not have been better to re-plant the new Mangrove Buffer BEFORE ripping out the existing one? Why wasn’t this done during the past 5 years since Ivan, so as to allow it TIME to become established?

       We may be ‘Pathetic’, but we aren’t as Stupid as you would like to think. 

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m not following your logic here.  What’s the point of destroying healthy mangroves just to replant it?  I mean, if your goal is environmental in nature as you would suggest, why not just leave the healthy mangroves which were there and plant more mangroves out into the ocean?  This would be the most logical way to recreate the pre-Ivan mangrove fringe.  The mangroves which were there (the ones which were destroyed) were apart of the pre-Ivan fringe.  So, their actions seem to conflict with their goal.

    • Not as pathetic as you says:

      Slight issue with your response here – natural damage v. human damage, i.e. we can’t hold hurricane Ivan responsible for an ‘act of God’ but we sure as hell can and will hold people responsible for the damage they do.

      And whilst there’s not a lot, there has been some mangrove replanting since Ivan.

      So you think we should be grateful that he cleared "the original mangrove buffer of some 250 to 300 feet stretching along the cost for 1500 feet" (claiming it was dead when clearly from photographic evidence this is not the case) because he plans to replace it with a new 50 foot buffer?  Well I guess its better than replacing it with nothing at all but I for one am not impressed – disgusted would be a more appropriate description.

    • Raffaele says:

      This is a sympathetic response to you need to stop driving around in Mr Ryan’s pickup truck bobo and drinking his cool drink too The problem with ignorance bobo is that it picks up confidence as it goes along and it appears you been driving long distances.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Thisreally makes me feel sick and quite embarrassed to call myself a Caymanian… wonder why there are so few of us who actually love our country enough to not want to destroy it for a few extra dollars..if that even!!!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Is the CPA’s decision illegal? Any lawyers out there who know? Could a citizens group take this to court?

    It affects the whole island, not just adjoining land owners. 

    Everyone is sounding off here, but we need to ask if anything can be done about this.

    The damage in this case is done but perhaps similar actions could be prevented. A court order for re-instatement might cause a serious effort to be made to replant successfully.



    • Anonymous says:

      Not much can be done.  If Big Mac wants this, Big Mac will have it. 

      One thing we can do is try to embarrass them (if that’s possible?).  By them I mean: Ritz Carlton worldwide, Jean MichelCousteau and the Ambassadors of the Environment, the members of the Planning Board, etc, etc.  Let the whole world know who they are and what they stand for!

    • Anonymous says:

      Actually, if the CPA’s decision is unlawful then each member could be personally liable. For example, if they were "told" to grant the application, and did so because they were "just following orders" then they have breached their most basic obligation to fairly consider  all interests and apply the law through the exerciseof unfettered discretion.

      Their action in these circumstances would at least be unlawful and could, depending on the circumstances, approach the criminal (ie. corruption/personal gain or that of their friends).

      In a world where the police cannot even arrest one of their own for "stealing gas" – pretty basic and easy to prove (thanks Dan) I have little hope that they are even going to ask themselves if this smells, let alone investigate. 


      What have we become?  




  15. Anonymous says:

    Doesn’t anyone else think its weird that Mike Ryan waited until Mac was back in power before he commenced his plans?

  16. N. Syder says:

    Wait until you see how deep the canal system for Dragon Bay will be – deeper than the North Sound so that large yachts can visit. The North Sound will be dredged to accomodate the larger craft. Then it’s only a matter of time before Camana Bay gets in on it……..


  17. Richard N. Parson says:

     SHAME SHAME SHAME!  No regard for nature whatsoever.  I agree with the person that said "Cayman is lost".  Any mature citizen of Cayman birth will tell you of the value of the mangroves. Anyone who doesn’t know is ignorant. Anyone who doesn’t care is a fool.  

  18. Shame On You says:

    Some of the responses in here are so ignorant of the facts it beggars belief!

    It is a well documented fact that mangroves afford some shelter from hurricane winds.  The structure of the trees and their root systems enables them to withstand very h eavy wave impacts, thus helping to dissipate wave actions in storms and hurricanes.  Its because of this protection that so many boat owners tie their boats in mangrove lagoons when there are storms.  Furthermore, mangroves offer protection to coastlines in times of Tsunamis and other high wave events.  It was determined that, after the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami in Asia, villages with mangrove forests intact survived the waves with a lot less damage thanvillages on open beaches. 

    Mangroves help prevent sediments from reaching other critical marine habitats, such as coral reefs and seagrass beds. The health of these habitats is dependent in part on clear water, so that sunlight is able to penetrate the water column. The retention of sediments and nutrients by mangroves help to prevent sedimentation on the coral reefs, which could lead to the smothering of reefs and the growth of algae on the reef from increased nutrients in the water. The destruction of mangrove forests will lead to an increase in the amount of sediment discharged into the ocean, thereby decreasing the overall health of adjacent offshore habitats.

    Do some reading and educate yourselves.  Here’s a few links to get you started:

  19. Make more money says:

    It has finally come to me.  I know how Mac can solve all his financial woes with the economy.  Just dissolve government and put all the government employees on the Ritz payroll and whalla, all is set right.  They get what they want anyway and I guarantee they can keep better books on their spending better than the government departments can.  Maybe they can tint the concrete so that it looks like a sandy beach. 

    • Anonymous says:

      I do wonder whether they might already be on the payroll. (I hope your publishing of this comment does not make your annual licence fee go upto a cool million Wendy).

  20. Anonymous says:

    2 thoughts – the first is that Margoves take a LONG time to grow to maturity or even take – just look at the efforts that have been going on opposite Cayman Crossing in South Sound since Ivan – numerous attempts have failed and only now are there some very small mangrove plants that seem to have taken……will Mr Ryan persist beyond the first attempt if they do not take the first time?

    2nd thought – wasn’t there an issue of mangroves being bulldozed without planning permission for the development of the Ritz Carlton?  I seem to remember that the ones on the edges (the most visible) were left until last. Seems no lessons were learnt by the upset that time and the same offenders are permitted to do still more damage.

  21. Anonymous says:

    I am just dumfounded by the decision of the CPA.

    We have laws but nobody pays attention to them, which in turn gives permission to everybody else that they can get away with whatever they wish.

    So who is exactly coming to stop me?? You must be mad!!! I can do whatever I want because my role models, the leaders of this Country, and all the business people that I look up to have gotten away with whatever they want.

    So who coming stop me now? Unna still madd!! 

    Cayman is still a lawless, greedy society and I have learnt that from you Mr. Politician, Mr. Businessman. 

    Mac and all you other suppose to be role models, I know you are secretly reading this, I just want to say thank you because my future now looks bright as I am now modelling my behaviour after you. And, I know I will succeed!  

  22. Floated On By says:

    Mangroves DID NOT stop the storm surge!…we had boats in the west bay road from the north sound. Please stop saying this as it is not true. In 1932 we had boats from the north sound in near ICCI. This is a myth.

    Mangroves are in fact habitats for little tiny things and iguanas/parrots….yes, a very good thing, but please stop talking about storm surge and buffers, please.

    • Anonymous says:

      Who said it stopped the surge? Nobody said that.  The mangroves helped alleviate the surge.  They slowed the surge.   

      You think WB road to North Sound is something?  After all this destruction of the mangroves in the next storm the boats will be in CUBA!

    • Anonymous says:

      No, mangroves do not stop, they merely lessen the effects of storm surge and hurricanes and all that.  And now that there are less mangroves I suggest you all gather at Mr Ryans development the next time a storm is coming and have a party, at least til you wash out to sea.  🙂   

  23. Anonymous says:

     Why is everybody so shocked and upset. The voters of this country keep putting people like Kurt Tibbetts and McKeeva Bush in power. What do you expect?

    If you repeatedly give power to people who know nothing about nature and care nothing about Cayman’s long term welfare this is what you get. 

    Grand Cayman is a lost cause. 

    • Anonymous says:

      agreed.  noone’s fault but the voters.

    • Anonymous says:

      And Grand Cayman is only the first stop.  You folks in the Brac and Little Cayman better understand that they’re coming for you next!

  24. Animaliberator says:

    Have we also forgotten that particularly mangrove buffer zones are our biological filtration system to break down all the "crap" we dispose off in there and prevents it from entering the North Sound and otherwise kill whatever wildlife lives there.

    If we proceed with this kind of practices, we may not see mangroves anymore but you can definitly smell where they have been with all the associated consequences attached to it.

    Soon the North Sound shall be known as the Dead Sound.

    • Anonymous says:

      filter??…look at the leaching from the DUMP!

      The Sound will be killed by the dump anyhow. Not sure this is going to be any worst.

      • Animaliberator says:

        Oh, you are so right about that, all this adds more insult to injury but should not be a reason to say "what the hell, who cares"!

        I have written a few comments in the past about the dump with the associated consequences and keep falling on deaf ears but I insist not to say: Why the hell do I bother? But rather: Why the hell not! The developers are always hoping and preying on the idle folks who do or say nothing or are indifferent, whether it be this case or another.

  25. Calcutta says:

    I’m assuming the next on their destructive agenda will be the Main Channel. They best get that out of there heads, because all hell will break loose then. Waiting for the day. 


  26. Anonymous says:

    Can somebody please define some examples of "exceptional circumstances" applicable in this situation?

  27. whodatis says:

    Wow – first the pond and now this (not to mention SMB and the host of other historical calamities of development in this country.)

    I trust that we all understand that we do not actually vote for our "government" in this country. (This is true for every modern democracy by the way.)

    We simply vote for the puppets of the true rulers and shot-callers in this country.

    Am I honestly meant to respect our "elected officials"? They are collectively a bunch of jokers!


    Rolston, Cline – are you men or mice? You guys better show me something, and quick too! (I’m ignoring McKeeva for we all know he is spineless, lost cause.)

    (I shall be forwarding the URL of this thread onto all members of government – I invite all readers to do the same.)

    • XPat says:

      Whodatis I always find myself agreeing with your posts… ever thought of becoming a politician?  I actually think we’d end up with some sensible policies and someone worth voting for!

      • whodatis says:

        (Humbled) … and speechless.

        I’ve never seriously considered it.

        However, talking is not much use without doing is it?

        Thanks for the suggestion – I’ll think it over.

        • One of the Hornets says:

          The thought’s been crossing my mind too whodatis.  Here we are, many of us, and many citizens, being very upset (outraged?) quite often at the antics of our elected representatives.  So, we write-in, comment, and discuss with one another how we can prevent it from continuing and in large part also to show our solidarity.  I really appreciate CNS for lending us this opportunity, however there has to be a further step or we will in many cases end up preaching to the choir.  What that step, or steps, might be is something we should also be discussing more seriously.  Some people go on to say we deserve it, because we, or many of us voted for these people.  It’s true, that out of the TWO parties to choose from, one of them won but as part of this dubious process quite a few proposed agendas and policies were missing.  I believe it’s intentionally so, and I believe that it is always that way and designed to be that way.  The forums (blogs?) here then give us an opportunity to see how many of us were buffaloed.  And unfortunately, are now giving us our one and only opportunity to raise some queries.  Because the opportunity, if you notice doesn’t arise during an election campaign.  We are an audience at that point, and we are intended to be an audience, listening to whatever spiel each party has to offer.  Without being given the opportunity (or respect) to counteract, ask questions.  Nor to ask for specifics.  That’s over.  It’s outdated.

          Politics is changing,and we right here are changing it.  We are no longer passive victims of intended or unintended consequences for four miserable years until it is deemed we can march like lemmings to the polls again.  If a government were intelligent or the least bit concerned about it’s chances next election it would begin to participate in this new form of consensus and public opinion.  So why don’t they?  Why do they see it as a threat?  Because.. it isn’t important to them…unless WE make it so. What’s the next step for us all?  To make our democracy work for US.

          Let’s discuss that, because we know they’re listening although they aren’t paying attention.

          Right now we’re running behind these often stupid decisions, instead of being out in front of them:   Instant Electorate.  Know what that is whodatis?  Electronic (with the means of public television, phones, faxes, computers…the things we use everyday)  Referendums.  Garnering instant results and an immediate consensus.  Why hasn’t it been implimented?

          It would make politicians obsolete. 

          They are doing that quite nicely themselves already by not taking advantage of technology.

          End of my comment.  Sorry it was so long but I see too many possibilities and not enough imagination.

  28. Thankful Again says:

    All I want to say hear is: What a crying shame.  The drivel  masked for explanations is equally as shameful.

    This is says it all: During the planning application process the DoE submitted comments to the CPA pointing out that it could not identify any exceptional circumstances in this case that would enable the authority to grant permissions under the law to remove the natural buffer. The department also noted that mature stands of mangroves had proven to be considerably more effective against storm surge than seawalls and they provide nursery habitat and other ecological functions that cannot be replicated by artificial structures."

  29. Caymanian at Heart says:

    What a cop out, I cannot believe they try to mask this blatant destruction on the premise that they were removing dead material and that there was a threat of hazardous debris.  Do they think we are that stupid?  It was coming back, it’s amazing, but we needed to LEAVE IT ALONE.  Trying to replant the mangrove is near hopeless, they should have left it – this progress is now LOST.

    And those dead trees, yes they may have been unsightly to some, but they are can be good nest sites for birds which nest in cavities like woodpeckers and Cayman Parrots.

    Hurricanes are a force of nature, and plants here have evolved to adapt and recover, but we have to allow them to.



    • Caymanian at Heart says:

      I would like to also point out that with no plan in place( aka the Conservation Law) this destruction also can take place during nesting season the absolutely WRONG time of year to clear any land like this.  Right now we are in the middle of nesting season, if birds had young or eggs they would have been destroyed.

      I wonder if anyone checked before they bulldozed?  I think not.  The damage here really is unmeasurable.

      Is there anyway possibly the public could find out before these things happen so we can all band together to petition?

      Take a look at what recently happened with the Iron Wood Forest, if not for a few outspoken individuals who rallied the masses we would have lost that too all for another useless road.

      Voters please speak up!  Write to your elected representatives and express that you want the Conservation Law passed.

  30. John2 says:

    For all those people wanting to know who sits on the CPA, that is public information from the Government wesbite. Really, its not some giant consipracy of secracy.,1595187&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL

    • Real Deal says:

      To my good friend John 2 that looks like a UDP caucus meeting of committee wow!no wonder things going the way they are. The same thing they criticize the PPM for they are doing XXXXX

    • Anonymous says:

      see all you haters, AL T is the chairman of planning.  What in god’s name could ever influence him to make a decision that would not be for the benefit of this country?

  31. Anonymous says:

    The mangroves are useless trees, get rid of them!  I do hope that this one gets cut down!  We need money to survive not mangroves!!!

    • Anonymous says:

       Covering your ass in cash will not mitigate the effects of a hurricane, while having mangrove buffers will.  XXXXX

    • Environmentalist says:

      Only a complete moron would say that mangroves are useless trees.


    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t know about you, but I am a young Caymanian, and I care about the mangroves, and preserving our natural habitat, for this generation as well as for the future generations of Cayman.

      I personally believe that we have allowed development to take over this island at a much too rapid pace, all for the greed of money and this is leading us in the wrong directions.

      We can claim we need to develop this and that to attract tourist, but guess what…… is that what they are really coming here to see, seven miles of concrete. No, they want to experience the really caymanian culture and environment.

      Remember money is not all in life, for one it will not protect our beautiful environment from hurricanes and other such natural disasters. We need to start thinking about what we are doing to our island, and not be in such a hurry to develop everything overnight. We need to start thinking long term, and understand what the real consequences of our decisions will be.

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh come on keevie (Anon 10:20), please go back on one of your extended trips abroad, Cayman is a safer place then

    • Anon says:

      You obviously missed several years of school. Or perhaps you were asleep??

    • Scrooge McDuck says:

      Thanks for that.  An application to the CPA from FUJIGMO?   I thought that sounded familiar, on looking it up it was an expression used in WWII.

      FUJIGMO, Forget You Jack, I Got My Orders

      Which says a lot about the attitude of these developers.

      "You see it was all messy and in our way.  Plants and things everywhere so we decided to clean it up at our expense, and we think the North Sound has got lots of junk on the bottom so we’re going to clean that up too.  You can thank us later."

      CNS:  Did they treat you to an extra-special luncheon at the Ritz before they spun the destruction of the mangrove? 

      We can not be bought.  And neither can you.  Good reporting.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Micheal Ryan is only living up to his reputation so can’t be faulted for that.

    CPA members are only living up to their reputation so can’t be faulted for that.

    Members of the public who are concerned are only living up to their reputation and WILL be faulted for doing that.

    My suggestion is that a letter be written to Micheal Ryan with a copy to CPA, Jean Michael Cousteau Ocean Futures Society asking how their conflicting aims and objectives can co-exist. XXXXX

    Take the opportunity of talking to your elected representative and get the National Conservation Law passed without its teeth being knocked out.


  33. Anonymous says:

    Rhetorical question number one, if environmentalists provided politicians with cut-rate luxury condos, would the environment get more respect?

    Rhetorical question number two, if voters stopped selling their votes to politicians who accept cut-rate condos from developers, would the environment get more respect?

  34. Need for Change says:

    Idiots! No one issaying they stop hurricanes, what the Cayman Island people are saying is this: Mangroves sustain a unique colony of life, such as starfish, birds roost in them,  etc, even believe it or not BUTTERFLIES, why do you think we have so many starfish in the north sound? They also when intact can act as a natural breakwater dissapating the energy of waves from either sunami or hurricanes.

    BUt like everything else on this little mountain top, money talks and all else walks.

    I had friends from Dallas come down to visit, they were so surprise that driving alond seven mile you never see the beach, just the little bit at the public beach, oh by the way have you heard that there are plans for selling that also? Cayman Islands Government should try and buy Sand Point and preserve it for the future generations, oh darn wait that is now gone also!

    Point is that what is left to sell is the mangroves so this raped governement is now selling that!

    • Anon says:

      Actually, mangroves, trees and vegetation play a huge role in protecting us from hurricanes – one quick look at Haiti’s problems since deforestation should be sufficient evidence to prove that.

      I want to know what ‘exceptional circumstances’ led to this permission being granted.  There’s a latin phrase for what our elected politicians and government departments are doing… "ultra vires". 

      Look it up.

      • Dennie Warren Jr. says:

        Yep, “ultra vires” and unlawful is what the Commissioner of Police is doing in relation to Section 43 of the Firearms Law (2008 Revision).

  35. Ex-Lobsta Hunta - till Decemba says:

    I think we need to write a letter to the U.K. and let them all know what’s going on here. People other than the DoE has to be well informed on this, otherwise we’re soon not going to have anymore mangroves. Those mangroves serve as nutrients for the North Sound, all marine life, reefs and protect the in-lands from surges from Hurricanes to an extent. Tourists have been coming here to see and experience those very things. When the mangroves are gone, all of the reefs and marine life are gone who’s going to come here then? Or rather, who’s going to stay here?… Concrete Jungle.

    Please leave the North Sound alone. Respect the nature of the Cayman Islands.    

    • budget cutbacks? says:

       Has anyone ever looked to see WHO is on the PLANNING Board???  They are all businessmen in the construction and development industry.  No senior statesmen or respected elders, just a group of men serving their own interests.

      • Anonymous says:

        Let us be careful not to start pointing fingers at individuals. Remember they have their jobs to do too and how they are instructed to do their jobs, they do it

        • Anonymous says:

          Well then it seems their instructions are to let everything get approved.

          So why exactly do we need to pay for a board that does nothing but parrit wahat their masters say?

          You can save money right there, or you can blame CPA memebrs fro standing by and allowing this to happen

        • Anonymous says:

          ……..or, you can have a conscience and resign from a board that is just there to aim the accomplish the goal of a view.

          Nobody has to be a part of something they are doing voluntarily!!!!

      • Anonymous says:

        Not just any businessmen…the owner of the biggest building supply store in the country.  I gotta laugh  

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree, why would they do something like this at this time of the season.  It is going into hurricane season and those mangroves are the same trees that help fight against winds and surges.

      I remember being in primary school and taking trips to mangrove sites as a science project.  How are our children suppose to know the history of these things if they are torn down.  Mangroves are not that easy to replant or grow back.

      These people that are ‘high up there’ that is granting these request need to realize that just because someone maybe the manager of a well known place, that does not give them the right to pull down everything they feel like pulling down.  The laws are in place for a reason and no matter who you are, you are still governed by the laws of Cayman.

  36. Anonymous says:

    This is another perfect example of why the Conservation Law must be passed now.  The DOE can only advise the CPA and if they can be persuaded not to take DOE’s advice then so go the mangroves, forests, ponds etc.

    Please let us remember that when a concession/permission is granted to one developer a precedent is set.

  37. Voice of Reason says:

    This is an absolute disgrace. Yet more short sighted behaviour all round. Ryan should not be blamed – he is a businessman trying to make money. Like any good businessman he will exploit opportunities when and where he can within the limits of the law. Once he has exhausted the resources available to him in this jurisdiction he will move on to the next place. It is planning who should carry the can for this. Why did they grant permission? Where are the exceptional circumsances? Why are the caymanians on the planning board selling out their childrens inheritance? They should be ashamed of themsleves. 

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree 100% – if there are no "exceptional circumstance" it is the planners which have broken the Law by granting permission.

  38. sergio coni says:

     This is the re occurring nightmare of the "mangroves disappearing in the night" when the  original Ritz was built. But I guess it worked the first time so they decided it will work again. It is such a shame we don’t have enough influence on our own island to at least have half a chance to defend it. We need more heroes to defend us against the XXXX developers. Is there anyone out there?

  39. Anonymous says:

    He did the same thing with (and I’m being kind here because I can’t find the compass article so am going by memory) ambiguous permission at the Ritz Carlton site in 2000 / 2001. I can’t remember the year.  Over the Earth Day weekend he cleared all the mangrove to the Sound for the Ritz Golf course.  It went un noticed for a couple of days because he left a tree buffer along Safe Haven Road. 

  40. Anonymous says:

    Okay so after Ivan we really believe that mangroves are the be all and end all for when a hurricane comes? As I recall South Sound was full of mangroves and after Ivan South Sound roads were destroyed along with the mangroves. So lets stop playing this damn card that the mangroves are the protector of the island.

    Now what the mangroves are is the natural habitat for hundreds of sea creatures who will now be without a home.

    One question I would like to point out to the mass populous. Before your home was built and before the land was knocked down for your foundation to be poured. What was there? Natural land? Bush? Swamp? Mangroves?… How many creatures did your home displace? We are so damn quick to point a finger as if we are better than anyone else…

    I am not saying that I agree with the destruction of the mangroves but we point the finger all to quickly….

    • Anonymous says:

      …erm… it would appear to me that anyone who has not built in a "protected" mangrove buffer is well within their rights to point their finger…. perhaps you are missing the point?

    • anonymous says:

      The mangroves on the sea side of the South Sound road were one, or at best two trees wise, with gaps between with no mangroves a all. Hardly enough for a buffer. That’s why 300ft wide band of mangroves is (oops, was) the requirement for the Dragon Bay site.

      Intact mangroves are pretty amazing at absorbing the power of hurricane waves, Sure the ones on the coast get a bit mashed when it happens, but by the time you’re 300 yards in or so, the energy has been absorbed and the flooding further in is calm and undestructive. And afterwards, the mangrove regenerate naturally (like they were at Dragon Bay).

      Build a road and dam in the mangroves (like South Sound) and they drown in a hurricane storm surge, the water gets trapped behind the road and covers their breathing roots. Bulldoze them and spread marl over them, then you lose all the storm buffering, all the filtering, and the marl will bleed silt into the North Sound every rain for ever more.

  41. Anonymous says:

    Were these mangroves re-planted elsewhere at least ?


    This should have definitely been part of the deal…

  42. Anonymous says:

    The current CPA appear to allow anything through, it doesn’t help that all the members own contruction firms or are close family members of the contruction firm owners.

    I watched one case where under the PPM the CPA refused planning permission on apartments due to number being planned. They adjusted the plan, included 25% more apartments on the same plot and sent it back to the UDP CPA (the new plan even had more apartments than the low density area allowed) and then new CPA swept it through immediately.


    They should change their name to Certain Planning Authorisation

  43. Small Fry says:

    Excellent news. I am sick of these unsightly weeds everywhere. We need more concrete and asphalt, much more attractive and easier to clean.



    • Anonymous says:

      And when all the trees are gone we will look like Haiti.

      As Agent Smith from the Matrix part 1 said humanity is like a virus; a disease organism that replicates uncontrollably and eventually destroy their environment.

  44. NorthSideSue says:

    Whatever Mike and Ken want, the Premier grants.  Old news.

  45. Bobby Anonymous says:

    I don’t know what the problem is? There were exceptional circumstances. It’s Michael Ryan.

    This is EXACTLY why we need the conservation law passed!

    If planning go’es over DOE’s head and allows this to happen against proffesional recomendations, then the head of planning and the CPA should be held accountable by LAW!!!!!!!

    I demand to know who sit’s on the board at CPA! All pen pushers i’ll bet!

    Save Cayman before it’s to late.

    P.S. I am not a Conservation nut, I am just pissed off at the"No one listens or gives a damn when it comes to money"

    Let Joe blogs dig up mangrove and see what happens!!

  46. sergio coni says:

     They should have re- plant the buffer mangroves first, wait a few years and when they actually "take on" it could be evaluated if they can remove the original mangroves. DoE is in a loosing battle with this big guys!

  47. Anonymous says:

    C’mon people get with the picture.  We should all know that nature replenishes itself fron natural disasters IF LEFT ALONE!  This is just another example of how money talks on this island.

  48. Anonymous says:

    Okay. I’ve XXX had enough!!! XXX is wrong with these ppl?! I don’t think of myself as some environmentalist nutjob…but I think I’m gonna have to become one to save my island!!! I’m signing up to the National Trust and I’m gonna begin to pester my representatives everyday about passing that National Conservation Law. This just peed in my cherrios this morning!

  49. peter milburn says:

    CPA(CANT PROTECT ANYTHING!!!!)Who runs this board and who TELLS them what they must do?I guess that is a silly question.Why bother to have a dept.of the environment when they give sound advice and no one listens anyway.When is all this madness going to stop?Problem here is that a precedent is now being established and next thing you know the buffer that was so badly needed around the Malportas Pond will be allowed to be destroyed as well.

               I just hope that the CPA board will sleep well after making yet another stupid decision(and there have been many over the years)Lets face it folks MONEY talks and B/S walks.

  50. GR says:

     Since when are dead mangrove trees exceptional?

    Hopefully the surge from the next hurricane will destroy Dragon Bay.

  51. Chet O. Ebanks says:

    This is so sad. Goes to show that money can buy just about anything on this poor rock of an island. Just wait till the next hurricane hits Grand Cayman. If anything wasn’t learnt from Ivan that came through the North Sound, just wait for the next one. Suckers why not just sell eveything to Ryan and Dart and all us Caymanians can just work for them. Sad sad sad.

  52. freak of nature says:

    Give it to them when the next storm comes it will belong to the crabs Caymanians start packing your S@&# up this place is gone  you that cant afford to travel your goose is cooked my friends Law enforcement is going to imprison you to keep these developers and their communities safe and interment camp is probably your next housing arrangement or garrisoned projects either one will work. Our own greedy Caymanians and there friends did this not foreigners.

    • Anonymous9 says:

      "Our own greedy Caymanians and there friends did this not foreigners"


      I have been saying this for years. We need to stop blaming expats for everything.

      You can’t blame foreigners when you SELL OUT!

  53. John Evans says:

    You should check out –

    And a number of other similar sites.

    Destruction of natural barriers and habitats like the mangroves is simply a dumb move. You trade off a relatively small, short-term financial gain for long-term environmental devastation that can never be properly rectified.

    I would be very interested to see a comment on this from Jean-Michael Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society because, based on my interview with Cousteau in April 2007, it severely compromises the credibilty of their Ambassadors of the Environment Heritage House operation at the Ritz-Carlton.

    During the interview Cousteau criticised the government of the day for allowing Ivan-damaged areas of mangrove to be torn up when they should be allowed to either regenerate naturally of form the basis for eco-tourism projects with visitors helping to rebuild the lost vegetation.


  54. Jenna Jameson says:


    I can’t wait for the CPA to grant Burns Conolly and Rene Hislop permission to dredge South Sound because of "exceptional circumstances".

    Like I said before, money can’t stop natural disasters. But I guess these guys can afford to leave before the hurricanes hit. They’ll be able to avoid Cayman getting Katrina-ed.


  55. Jenna Jameson says:

    Michael Ryan and Kenneth Dart officially own the island.

    However, someone needs to send them a memo, or an email, or a text message to let them know that money cannot stop hurricanes and storm surge.

    Who sits on the CPA anyway? XXXX

    • Anonymous says:

      I am unaware of the makeup of the CPA are but obviously these individuals either care little about the natural coastal buffers and know/understand less about the disaster that this island could suffer because of their removal. The majority of the people appointed on government boards, including the CPA, are political puppets and are there to carry out the wishes of the politicians who put them there, not look after the best interests of these islands. Incredibly sad.

    • Anonymous says:

      With all due respect, please name an island where mangroves stopped hurricanes and storm surge?

      90% of the damage casued by Ivan is because CPA doesn’t insist we build on stilts. One would think with our topography this would be a no brainer.

      At least we agree the CPA is useless. In fact, right behind the politicians lack of forsight for quality education, this group’s lack of forsight to keep buildings Caymanian has greatly contributed to the loss of the Caymanian Culture. Wouldn’t Cayman be a unique toursist destination if we were forced to build traditional looking homes (which were ironoically on stilts) rather than our looking like a suburb of Miami?

      • Anonymous says:

        old time Caymanians had alot more sense than the modern ones wid all de edication.

        build your house on stilts

        leave the beaches for recreation and for the odd cemetry

        catch rain water

        plant cassava and plaintain in every mole hole

        walk everywhere

        harness the wind for your sails

        take care of your family and your neighbors

        build a welcoming front porch

        work hard and give thanks

        and on and on……………..




    • Anonymous says:

      Sitting on the CPA are only "McKeevaites" – does that explain all the "exceptional circumstances"?

      I agree with your sentiments Jenna, but as we know "money talks" so WE have no say.