Conservation not radical idea

| 20/05/2010

(CNS): A week after launching the campaign to push for the passage of the National Conservation Bill the general manager of the National Trust, Frank Balderamos, said he wanted people to understand that conservation is not some radical new idea. As the campaign gathers momentum he said he hoped people will read the proposed legislation so that myths regarding the law are dispelled. Although support is growing for the campaign, Balderamos said some people still misunderstood and believed the law was about stopping all development, which was not the case, but it was about having a conservation framework for the future.

With the backing of the wider membership of the National Trust Balderamos is focused on the campaign to get an even wider audience behind the proposed legislation.
“The idea of having a conservation framework is not a radical idea,” he said. All the National Conservation Bill is doing is setting out a proper framework so that everyone, including developers, considers the environment when developing, giving a better and more strategic direction for where we are going, which has been lacking so far.”
Balderamos pointed out that at present there is no thought to the bigger picture when development projects are approved, which is why there is a need to introduce the law before it is too late. “The law is not about stopping development; it is about having an obligation to consider environmental issues when we are developing.”
He also said that the law did not concentrate power in the hands of the DoE director, as has been suggested, but that conservation issues would be managed by a council, which will include representatives from planning and other departments as well the Department of the Environment.
 “I would encourage everyone who is interested in the future of our islands to read the law,” the National Trust manager said. “It’s not difficult to read; it’s written in a very accessible way and worth spending some time on.”
As another year passes without the law coming before the Legislative Assembly, Balderamos noted that the recent economic downturn had prevented some developments going ahead, preserving some of the environment by default but he said it was crucial that the law was passed soon, as, he added, once the recovery begins development will start again and without this framework Cayman’s natural resources were ever more vulnerable.
Asked by CNS what the situation with the law was at present, he said he had heard that it was under review yet again and was being circulated among certain sectors but it had not yet reached the Trust for comment. “I really hope that this legislation does not turn into some endless promise that never takes effect,” Balderamos added.
As the campaign continues the trust leader said he wanted to see the wider public become more involved in lobbying their political representatives to bring the law to the table as he believed it would not happen with support from the National Trust of DoE alone but it needed the wider public to get on board.
With a Face Book page already established, Balderamos said he hoped to see other ideas and initiatives as well as prominent people speaking out to help make the National Conservation Law a reality before any more of Cayman’s natural resources were lost forever.
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  1. Anonymous says:

     I find it difficult to believe that adults in our community are blind to the sad truth that we are capable of destroying the irreplaceable in the name of ‘Development’. This means ‘profit’ for someone, never ‘jobs’ for the rest of us.

    Children get it. It will be their world, their island, when we are no longer living. I wonder if future Caymanian coins or notes will have other extinct species like the one on the one cent coin?

  2. M.O.G. says:

    Property development and money will always have the last say in Cayman, Mac or no Mac.

  3. Kerry Horek says:

    My comment is simple:

    To the Government of the Cayman Islands I appeal to you to pass this law and as quickly as you can.

    I am asking nicely and I know that the rest of us are doing so as well.  This law is as important to us as any other law.

    Please do not overlook passing this Law anylonger, it is important to the future of our country and it needs to be approved now.

    I have asked nicely.

    Thank you

    Kerry Horek

    "Keep my Island Clean and Green"

  4. Anonymous says:

    This law is long overdue and I trust that the powers to be will move quickly to pass the necessary legislation.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I urge everyone to read this legislation. Also read the referenced treaties, such as Ramsar, SPAW etc.
    Then make an informed decision. Jumping to conclusion that this is written correctly maybe a problem.

    For the record, I support environmental protection but after reading this I found that I could not support the way it was written and what its implication was. I urge everyone to read it then give proper input on how to fix it if it is to have any chance of success.

    • Anonymous says:

      Can you say exactly what it is you object to in the Bill?

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree completely. This Bill is presented as a wonderful piece of legislation that will create a balance when in fact it is written to place power in the hands of one individual. As we have seen, too much power in the hands of one individual creates more problems than it solves. As a democratic country we need to take personal responsibility more seriously and do our part rather than turning power over to others because they tell us they are doing something for our benefit.

      We need to protect our natural environment, but we can’t allow extremist to fool us in to giving them power in order to push their anti development agenda. Cayman’s development paid for some of these extremist to be educated. Now they have become elitist who have financial security and could care less about the working class who depend directly and indirectly on development to simply put food on the table.

      We need a conservation bill that provides balance – allowing development in the most environmentally friendly way possible. The current bill as it stands is set up so one individual has too much control and  commits the country to treaties we can not abide by due to our small size and geography. The end result will be increased unemployment, more expensive housing, higher cost of living, less people being able to afford higher education, the nest egg of our older Caymanian population being dramatically decreased in value.

      This bill needs to be re-worked to provide better balance. Going from one extreme to the other will only create a different set of problems.

      Caymanians, read this bill and the treaties carefully. Don’t just take someone else’s word for it. Don’t allow power hungry individuals who think you are too ignorant and stupid to possibly have control over your own property and destiny, convince you that they know what is best for you. Read this bill for your self and demand the changes necessary to protect your future and your children’s future, while developing our country in a more environmentally friendly manner.

      CNS Note: The current bill as it stands is set up so one individual has too much control and  commits the country to treaties we can not abide by due to our small size and geography. The NCL sets up a Conservation Council made up of 11 people.  It does not hand all power to one person. Further, the treaties are already signed. The Bill does not enter us into any new treaties.


      • Anonymous says:

        It is quite apparent that you haven’t read the Bill.  Who is this "one person" getting all the power that you refer to?

        The Bill establishes a National Conservation Council made up of eleven (11) members.  5 civil servants and 6 non civil servants.

        If my math is correct that’s ten more than the one you claim.

      • Anonymous says:

        Unfortunately you are showing the ignorance of which you speak.

        Read carefully: The Conservation Bill does not enter the Cayman Islands into any new treaties.  The treaties are already signed!  We have obligations under those treaties which we are not living up to!

      • Anonymous says:

        It was not stated that there was only one individual but that one individual would have too much power. The potential for this is as follows:

        The Director of Environment is a voting member. In addition, unlike any other government board that I am aware of, the Deputy director of Environment is also a voting member. The potential for the deputy’s vote to be influenced by the Director can not be ignored.

        Secondly, the sitting government has the authority to appoint the members of boards as they see fit, except with this board the can only appoint from a list provided by the Director of Environment. Once again creating the possibility for undue influence of voting members.

        Thirdly, Government appoints the chairman of boards that I am aware of. This board chooses its own chairman. One has to wonder if this has not been calculated given the potential influence of the Director of Environment over many voting members.

        The fundamentals of this bill is a serious problem. Power Corrupts. Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely.

        • Anonymous says:

          Let us assume that everything you’re saying is true (it isn’t, but the back and forth would be a waste of time).  Why can’t the Bill be debated on the floor of parliament and the issues you raise be corrected, if indeed they need to be?

          Debate is not being avoided because there are problems with the Bill.  Debate is being avoided because there is a very small, but very powerful, segment of the real estate industry who simply want this Bill to go away entirely.

          • Anonymous says:

            There is no reason we cannot have public debate so that we end up with a workable balanced piece of legislation.

            Unfortunately there are close minded people with extremist views on both sides of this issue. We have to protect the environment without killing development.

            Havinga solution that is worse than the problem makes no sense.

        • Anonymous says:

          "Unlike any other government board………"

          You mean like the Planning Board who have done such a lousy job protecting our environment?

  6. Fred Burton says:

    I  totally agree with Frank Balderamos’ emphasis that the NCL in its draft form is not a radical anti-development tree-huugger special interest thing at all – rather it is something our islands have needed for many a long year, in all of our interests and especially in the interests of future generations.

    If we look past the misinformation propagated by certain groups and read the draft law as it stands, it is a very moderate, balanced and well thought-out piece of legislation. It was drafted by sensible people who recognize the economic needs and the financial benefits development can bring, and it works to help us steer development in directions that don’t sacrifice our future blindly. It’s not a blind road block to the development and real estate industry, though I have heard some claim otherwise. Read it. You can see for yourself what it is and what it isn’t.

    When I ran the Red List process on all our native and uniquely Caymanian plants it made me feel sick to the stomach to realise that almost half are already threatened with extinction, simply due to the accelerating rate we are destroying every last natural place. Do we all really want to live in an overpopulated urban wasteland, the proverbial concrete jungle? That’s not what I hear from most residents I know – and that includes a great many Caymanians, I should add.

    But that is exactly where we are headed if we don’t take steps to change course a bit. And we’ll likely be there sooner than we all expect, the process is still accelerating. No guarantees it will be a wealthy city, either. Rapid urbanization has a nasty habit of ushering in poverty and crime.

    The NCL is a start towards trying to actively chart  a more attractive future than that, for ourselves and future generations. Just a start, and there are many more steps needed – but let’s MAKE a start, for all our sakes, before it really is too late!

    Fred Burton


  7. Anonymous says:

    Uh, sorry, but conservation is a radical concept to Cayman’s politicians and business leaders.

    Good luck.

    Your heart is in the right place but Cayman is a lost cause. The cycle of dumb people giving power to dumb people appears unbreakable.  


    Remember when the National Trust tried to be tough back in the 1980s? They knew Grand Cayman was being spoiled rapidly and attempted to stop the destruction. But certain West Bay and North Side anti-nature goons shut them down. 


    Can you imagine how beautiful and special Grand Cayman could have been today if our politicians and developers of the last 30 years weren’t so ignorant? 


    Note to CNS censor: I did not use "ignorant" in the derogatory, name-calling way. I literally mean "ignorant" as in the absence of knowledge concerning the natural environment. 

  8. Anonymous says:

     Let’s make Cayman a priority and start saving it sooner rather than later! Please pass the Conservation Law!

  9. Anonymous says:

     My understanding is that Premier Bush is the only one in parliment against this conservation law.  Why?  What is he so scared of?  Surely he has enough informed advisors around him who can encourage him to see the importance of this law. Dragon Bay goes thru but this doesn’t?  Sounds a little fishy to me. Come on… your eyes and let’s see things for what they are… talks and that’s all that "we" care about right now.  It’s a shame that our country is slipping away.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Please I ask that all Caymanians and residents alike to support the National Trust to have the Conservation Bill passed. I ask of the UDP and Minister to please pass this importnat step in helping to conserve and protect our natural environment for future generations. This is something that is well needed and don’t allow developers to continue to destroy our mangroves and forest we need more parks and green areas to promote healthier lives.

    Keep up the good work Frank and the National Trust. Don’t let the politicians and loud mouths intimidate you please continue your good work in protecting, promoting and supporting Caymanian culture, heritage and environment. I currently live in Europe but I’m Caymanian and want my islands to remain beautiful.

  11. Anonymous says:

    It is just like the government to sit, and hold off things that actually make sense, and are beneficial to these islands. As long as there is a fat check involved they’ll approve every, and any stupid BS that any Non-Caymanian, -who has no care for Cayman what-so-ever- comes up with! Just like the Dragon Bay development that was so stupidly passed! But I hope all of ‘unna know! They aren’t worried about one thing, because when (God Forbid) another hurricane comes our way they’re going to be the first ones in the line at Cayman Airways (Business Class!) running away while their so “valuable” possession washes out to sea!

    Don’t worry Mr. Balderamos! The smart (non-government) Caymanians will help you out on this one! Just show me where I can read this law and we’ll save Cayman (or what’s left of it anyway)!
    CNS: There is a link to the draft bill in the second paragraph. Don’t forget to read the National Trust’s position paper, published a s a Viewpoint (Click Here), and vote in the CNS poll.
  12. Anonymous says:

    While I applaud Mr. Balderamos, the Trust, and CNS for their advocacy efforts I do fear that they are wasting their time.  The vast majority of Cayman’s residents (and voters!) want this Law and want it NOW.  There is only one person though who matters, and that is our Premier Mr. Bush. 

    I understand that our Leader is dead set against any environmental protections and unless Mr. Balderamos can find a way to convince him of the need for this Law, all these publicity efforts may be in vain.

    • Anonymous says:

      While I agree with your sentiment, I would hope that enough Caymanians would have to courage to speak to Premier Bush if they see him and tell him how them feel.  Maybe if he hears it from enough voters (West Bay voters) he will realize that getting another term as Premier may depend on it.

      But then again nothing has ever stopped them from voting him in bofore.

  13. Bobby Anonymous says:

    What about about the Marine side of this Law? We need this NOW!

    It amazes me how the fishing license fees became law in one day yet we wait years for the laws and powers to deal with it!!

    Introduce a ticket system for on the spot fines for certain marine / conservation offences. It will save a lot of money in wasted court cases and generate coffers for Government.


  14. Anonymous says:

    This is a welcome piece of legislation and I trust that it will be found fit to educate the members of the Central Planning Authority on it before other seemingly reckless decisions are made, as appears to have been done in the recent past. It seems that their agenda is one of "approve all that is submitted", regardless of the impact on these islands. I am not sure if this is due to ignorance of environmental issues and laws or if it is the spirit of greed that seems to permeate this society today.  

  15. peter milburn says:

    Thanks for bringing this proposed law to the publics notice once again.I urge everyone to heed the words of the National Trust and take time to read and understand what is being proposed here.This is not some thing to hinder or to indeed STOP development but some thing to enhance same as this would make some ones project even more attractive to investors when they see how a healthy and robust environment can add to their investment.Cayman does not have the mountains and rivers like many other destinations so we have to nurture what we have to offer very carefully hence the need for this law to be passed asap.I urge that all Caymanians get involved both young and old so as to save what we can for the future and for future generations.