National Conservation Law delayed again

| 22/07/2010

(CNS): Despite numerous rounds of public consultation since the first draft of the National Conservation Law in 2002, the current public consultation period, which was scheduled to end last Friday 16 July, has been extended another six weeks. Minister for the Environment Mark Scotland has previously stated that he wanted to bring the bill to the Legislative Assembly in September. Once it is passed, the NCL will require an environmental impact assessment (EIA) for all major developments, such as the North Sound channel and a commercial cargo port, which the government is pushing for. An EIA assesses a project’s environmental and social implications.

“After ten years of consultation and hand-wringing I’m uncertain why the government needs six more weeks,” said National Trust General Manager Frank Balderamos. “My positive side says it’s good that the general public is now actively involved in the process and that the government is taking more time to listen. However, my negative side says this is just another stalling tactic. Maybe their belief is that six weeks from now the public will have moved on to other issues and then they can simply sweep this legislation under the rug. But Caymanian society won’t sit still on this issue. I have heard from too many people, from 18 to 80 years old, who feel that the time for this legislation has not only come, but is long overdue.”

Over the last two weeks, the Department of Environment has held seven public meetings to discuss the bill and has encouraged feedback at the meetings, by postal mail, email, fax and via the DoE website.

Scotland said in a release this morning that over the past few weeks there had been a “rich and varied response to the Conservation Bill at multiple levels”. He said, “Several individuals, non-governmental organisations and community groups have indicated to me that while the public consultation period ended on Friday, they would still like an opportunity to make a contribution to the development of our national environmental policy.”

The minister said he has decided to extend the consultation period after consultation with his colleagues in government. “I recognise that the relationship between human society and the environment is complex and multidimensional, with changes in one domain affecting the other; and I alsorecognise that the way policy decisions are made has important implications for the outcome.”

Scotland maintained, “Historically, Caymanians have responded to the challenges posed to sustainable development by committing to and establishing policies for creating an enabling environment that supports sustained economic growth, environmental integrity, good governance and respect for human rights. Therefore, I see no reason why we cannot continue to achieve this.”

He said the process of moving our country towards a more sustainable future not only required better management systems, but it also a dynamic inclusive forum which brings together the demands of different social groups, values and discourses in a deliberative fashion. “We need a law that is inclusive, flexible and responsive to future needs of our country. One that will codify the norms of the Caymanian people, while simultaneously creating a structure for participation that helps to crystallise and protect our country’s environmental goals.”

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  1. Gorgeous says:

    Comments about protecting Cayman are ridiculous.  You have hundreds of graduating students each year (how many?  500?  800?).  The first priority is to find them jobs or the whole Cayman deal goes south in a heartbeat.  Isn’t there enough already by way of early warning, or do we need to get to one shooting a day first? 

    There wasn’t 500 graduates in 1965 when Cayman was still pretty and had no 10-story buildings, so the suggestion that you can stop development doesn’t work and isn’t worth making as a statement unless you say at the same time how we are going to employ our young people who are ready to enter the workforce.

    There is not enough money in Cayman to afford protectionism.  Cayman is broke.  The pro-protectionist commentors that we have been hearing from on this issue are incapable of holding more than one thought at a time and might be well advised to start connecting the dots:

    No jobs + happy iguanas = big crime.

    So, either start limiting the birth rate of Caymanians or limit the birth rate of iguanas – you can’t have both.  If everyone is that keenon conservation, turn Little Cayman into a reserve and ship all the iguanas over there.  That way in Grand Cayman we can build things and create jobs and go to Little Cayman for their holidays.  Except they won’t.  they will still go to Miami because if they could talk to animals the last animal they would want to talk to is an iguana.

    And by the way – put your depth finder on and cruise down the Ritz Carlton canals – they are 20 feet.


    • Anonymous says:

      Good Lord, Gorgeous!  If that scenario you just laid out is correct then every retiree, permanent resident and tourist is going to try to find out if it really is "better in the Bahamas."  I hope that you don’t work for The Chamber of Commerce.  You make me want to run!

    • Seadog says:

      You are obviously as smart and forward thinking as you are a boat captain – better check the calibration on your depth sounder. Or perhaps you have the gain turned down too low and the 2- 3 feet of fine silt are messing up the return – i doubt it though because i dont think you really know what you are talking about – put on a mask and go and have a look.

  2. Gorgeous says:

    This law is completely and utterly inappropriate for Grand Cayman and needs serious consultation.  The minister is right – we need jobs and will need homes for Caymanians, not iguanas.

  3. foots says:

    I am disappointed, it is a sad day. The time is now UDP and PPM pass the law now! While we have something to save. God bless Miss Gina for her passion in what she believes in, which she is right, and along with the staff of DOE. .Please people of the Cayman Islands this time stand up, and shout, fight for what is right, and this law is right, we can’t go wrong . God made these Islands, man kind destroys, think about it! Never forget what BP has done, open your eyes, the Bible says we look, and we don’t see, we listen and we don’t hear. This is the time to look and see, and the time to listen and hear.


  4. Anonymous says:

    Really,  did you expect any different.

    Of course this would be the case !!!!

    We all knew this would happen as Mark (don’t take this personally) and all the other UDP members of government are voiceless wimps who will not stand up against their leader. Cayman no longer has democracy or management by consensus, we have a dictator ship and a one man one voice rule of our country. All of his followers are afraid of this man, so what good are they in representing the voters who voted for them in the first place. THEY HAVE SOLD THEIR VERY SOULS TO THE LEADER.

    Unless they find their balls and become independent free thinkers who stand by what is best and right for the country they will find they are all on sinking ship with their personal reputations destroyed for the  rest of their lives as being in public office.

    Come on guys, stand up and be men to be admired and respected with principles, ethics and an independent mind and voice. You might then be surprized that you will be admired and respected by the voting public who once trusted you enough to elect you into office.

    Disappointed Caymanian

  5. Ken P says:

    Very disappointing yet won’t surprise me if Mac didn’t give it to his dogs to chew on. Mark is allowing Mike Ryan to get enough time to dig up more mangroves so go figure.

  6. rectus femoris says:

    Who cares?

    Grand Cayman is a lost cause. This debate was only meaningful in the 1970s and 80s. It’s too late. The greedy idiots won 20 years ago. This war is ancient history. 

    Just let McKeeva and his gang pave and pollute the whole damn place. 

    The only fight worth anyone’s time now is over LIttle Cayman. We should push for making it safe from the fate that has destroyed Grand Cayman. 

  7. Anonymous says:

    Anyone who is surprised by this latest political move to delay updating the Conservation Law must realize that most local voters and property owners want complete control of the potential development of their land. These voters are all over the politicians as are the big monied developers to get what they want.

    It is sad but true, I respect and support Gina’s efforts. Most of the voting population have very little concern for the environment, ie. landfill…

    • Anonymous says:

      You control the property you own whereever it is you vote, yet you want to control other peoples property where you do not vote.

      If this is not your home country, how dare you try to enforce your idea of what it should be.

    • Man says:

      Said the Anonymous bigot. For your information the Caymanian people have been for many years protecting the North Sound, swamp land and the Mangroves, both, were seen as absolute necessities to the sustainability of the people. The North Sound for marine life protection, the swamp land as natural water drainage and collection and the Mangroves as added hurricane buffers. It was not until the migrants were welcomed with open arms that we were taught how to "reclaim" land from Mother Nature, fill-in swamp land and build on "pilings" to utilize these lands we fought to protect.

      All persons who are claiming it is too late, you are too a part of the environmental problem. Sir Vassal was the worst thing to happen to Cayman when he proposed and implemented the Marine Conservation Laws, today, he is a hero to all Caymanians.

  8. Kirsten Luke McCord says:

    Utterly disgraceful.  Yet, major changes to the planning law (10 stories on SMB – at what time of day will the sunshine hit the beach at these tall buildings?) can go through with zero public consultation.  The democratic process is gone.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I hope that Minister Scotland will ensure that none of the destructive projects currently being discussed in the press are allowed to sneak through the Planning process under the guise that there is further discussion about the National Conservation Law.

    Can we please talk the planning applications to death like the chosen few are trying to do with the NCL?

    I am so disappointed that the Minister and his colleagues have yet again bowed to the self interest of a few monied people who have no interest in our environment but who profess to support conservation.

    Minister Scotland please have the courage to defend your convictions. If my thoughts are misplaced then maybe your should reconsider your ministerial responsibilities.

  10. peter milburn says:

    I wonder(NOT!!)if our wonderful Premier had a say in this delay?Any takers on this?Tis such a shameand disgrace that we find ourselves in such a mess with Govt.members that have NO GUTS to do what is right for this country and all we are seeing is delay after delay so that all those wonderful plans being put forward by Mr.Bush are getting more time to be accomplished.What ever little respect that I have left is fast erroding.You ALL SUCK!!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Way to go Peter.  The people of the Cayman Islands need to get together "en masse" and go to the Governor with a vote of "NO CONFIDENCE" in our Legislative Assembly and have him exercise his Executive Power and dissolve the entire L.A.  Then we call for a new election and see what happens.  There are people in the Cayman Islands who are trying to live on a minimum budget and our leaders joined the "jet setters" as soon as the dust of election day had sertled.  We are under the rule of a dictator and his followers and things can only get worse.  Look at how the "Deputy Premier" has been given an 80-room hotel on the bluff in Cayman Brac, where there are about 1000 people as well as a large road plan.  Give the islanders their new roads and make them satisfy with the two shelters already on the bluff.  But as long we sit down on our duffs and send blogs to CNS there will be nothing done.  We should have had that environmental law passed long ago, but "money talks and B.S. walks’.


  11. Anonymous says:

    reminds me of the endless delays in bringing in the smoking ban……

    every day is further proof of the incompetence of local politicians….

    we need direst rule from the uk asap……

  12. Nan Herman says:

    I decided to use my name today.  Bullshit Mark Scotland and to all of the backbenchers!  Who do you believe you are fooling?

    • Man says:

      Respectfully Sir, I, like you, agree this is BS; however, we need to respect these positions and be mindful of our public statements. Children read these too. He is a democratically elected Minister. He is, sadly but true.

      I fully support the bill, I disagree with a further extension to those who failed or refused to submit their comments during the allowed time. I disagree with Minister Scotland, but respectfully disagree. I vote in BT his electoral district and will not vote for him, but then again, I did not vote for him in the past elections either! But respect is due, if not for him for the position and as a means of demonstrating to our youth a respectful manner to disagree. CNS is providing us with a great opportunity to do just that, let’s take it.



      • Dilemma says:

        Thanks man, CNS should use this post as a flagship for all posters, the standard on this forum is too low, it allows too many ignorant people to display hatred and malice.

        Be respectful.

      • Nan Herman says:

        The name is Nan but you can call me Ma’am.  I didn’t vote for him either and don’t agree with how he how he and Dwayne maintain their positions.  And I’m probably older than you, Sir and don’t need to be lectured about manners! 

        • Man says:

          XXX As for their positions, I did not join the groupthat went to court to object so I have no recourse but to ensure I do not vote for them in the next election and speak to as many friends and family as I can to ensure they too, do not vote UDP or PPM!

  13. GR says:

     How disappointing!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Interesting how the consultation period is so important on this bill but totaly unnecessary on the Planning Law.

    It will be interesting to see who it is that will build the first 10 story building XXXX.  I wonder if it will be approved before the conservation law???  And Weather the new fees will be Waived on it.


  15. Man says:

    What a load of political BS. Come now Minister Scotland, those who failed to make a contribution during the allowed time cannot be allowed to hold up this law further. The majority of the people have spoken in support of this bill and the consultation time has passed. Please do the right thing here and demonstrate we are responsible citizens. Pass the bill.

    • Beachboi says:

      I agree whole heartedly!  What came out of Mr. Scotland was a geyser of political double speak and mumbo jumbo.  I so wanted to pick his run – on sentences apart, but that would be a waste of time.

      The consultation period has ended and they are going to prolong it so that the bill is, as Frank said, swept under the rug and forgotten.  What more needs to be said and done???  It is apparent that there are some projects that must be fast – tracked before the bill can become law as to avoid the environmental impact studies.

      I am so glad that these politicians now know that they are not dealing with  people who will allow them to do as they please.  We are the country’s watchdog’s Mr. Scotland, and we will not let you get by with a bunch of verbal diarrhea in an attempt to mislead us. 

  16. Ex-Caymanian & Not by Choice says:

    Mr. Balderamos, we the public know exactly whythey are stalling for, the Ritz Carlton North Sound dredging project Dragon Bay, the 10 stories Waterways project, and the East End Port project,  the NCL will be an obstacle in their way.  The people will have a Law in place to use against Developers and the bought out politicians.

    If Mark Scotland had any respect for himself and his people he would have had this passed through long ago. XXXX

  17. Anonymous says:

    Isn’t it quite sad that I’m not at all surprised by this headline?  Well Cayman, lets see how many projects are pushed through and passed by planning in the next six weeks.  I mean, come on…this bill has been on the table for how many years and we still need a further six weeks for additional input??  Give me a break!

  18. Anonymous says:

    DUMD and DUMBER.= what a bunch we have running this country PPM were DUMB and UDP is DUMBER.

  19. Anonymous says:

    everyone of you UDP memebers need a BOOT none of you HAVE a CLUE what to do for this COUNTRY.just in there getting RICH we need EDUCATED politicians to run this country.EVERYDAY they are DELAYING on something WE need people that know what they are DOING.

  20. Shaking my head.... says:

    Delayed again, huh? Suprise suprise. Should give just enough time for some more damage to be done before the new changes come into effect. Cayman, Cayman, Cayman. (Sigh)