Young Progressives speak out over project proposals

| 04/08/2010

(CNS): In June, CNS intern Ashleigh Hydes spoke with the Young United Democratic Party leaders (YUDP) about the government’s proposed private-public development projects that it hopes will rejuvenate Cayman’s economy. Last week, Ashleigh sat down with Denise Miller, (Left) the president of the Young Progressives (YP), to get their take on government plans and the same debate. Not surprisingly, Miller had a number of concerns about government plans, especially over the East End cargo facility, but she did offer support for the idea of a hospital and the development of medical tourism.

With government backing a hospital proposal by Dr Devi Shetty, the channel for the North Sound, cruise berthing in George Town and a cargo port facility project in East End, CNS asked Denise about the YP’s opinions on the same issues.

“The YP is very concerned about national conservation and our islands’ marine life,” she said. "There is a reason why the development law was written: to enforce proper checks on the development," stated Denise. She told CNS that the young politicians are also against the development of the channel in the North Sound because it is unnecessary and the ecosystem will be destroyed.

When asked about the new hospital, Denise said that the medical tourism is possibly the most beneficial of all government’s proposals. "It could be another pillar to our economy if it is done right," she said, offering support and adding that she hoped it would bring in more revenue from tourists, which is a plus.

In regards to the George Town cruise berthing, Denise had a few suggestions of her own. She thinks it needs to be improved and an environmental assessment should be done. The cruise berthing isn’t as attractive as it could be to the tourists who frequently visit the island, she suggested.

The Young Progressives are against the cargo facility in East End, Denise revealed, because "it is the last bit of real Cayman we have left," she said. They feel that the government is trying to industrialize the area against the will of the people to have the port in that district.

Although all the costs needed for the projects are, according to government, being taken care of by the developer, Denise does not think that will be the case. Her reason for that belief is that the main road will have to be moved, which will be in the hands and expense of government. She also said that so much of the untouched flora andfauna in the district will be destroyed.

"We need to have all hands on deck!” Denise declared. “The voice of the opposition and the voice of the people isn’t being heard. They are the government for all of us not just for the people that voted them in."

Since he announced these different projects, McKeeva Bush, the country’s premier, has said he will be going ahead with them even if there is opposition, but Denise made it clear that the views of the Young Progressives are definitely going to be heard. They are willing to stand with Arden McLean, the People’s Progressive Movement representative for East End, in front of the bulldozers if it comes to it, Denise told CNS.

15-year-old Ashleigh Hydes worked with CNS as a work link student earlier this summer.

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  1. Man says:

    Great little piece and great of CNS to have a young person write this, thank you CNS.

    As to the projects and all the threats on here to stop the projects? These will be supported and there will be many others willing to stand up in support. If there are persons seeking to save some flowers I suggest they plant a garden. There are far too many families with unemployed parents, far too many young people unemployed and crime is out of control. If we do not get people back to work we will find unmanageable social issues destroying everything we have built so far.

    Please, keep your ideals to yourself and join the rest of us seeking to help the unfortunate people through the next day. I am not a UDP or PPM supporter, however, I am a Caymanian that is sick and tired of Party Politics. I remember having a conversation with Miss. Miller about two years ago. She had great ideas, intellect and passion. All I have heard here is her regurgitating the PPM position. Another young Caymanian lost to the fools in control of the Parties.

    Miss. Miller please do not do this to your generation, please, take a stand for the country, not the PPM.

    • anonymous says:

      The young people are being deceived and going around deceiving others.

      The party system is not a religion, nor are their policies scriptural.

      Cayman young people need to realize that they need to follow the word of God and not Kurt or McKeeva.

      I am much afraid that they are taking this party politics way too seriously and could have only negative impact later on. Perhaps birth of gangs etc.

      I believe it is more appropriate for a small country such as the Cayman islands to revert back to a Team system that worked very well. Put the team system into the constitution. that way if a leader runs off the cliff no one jumps off after him!

      Party politics has mashed up and destroyed countries like JAMAICA, CUBA, AND HAITI.  We definitely do not want to wind up like those.l

  2. Rivers says:

    At less someone think about what may be destroyed from the what is left of cayman

  3. Jonathan says:

    I must say that I am pleasantly surprised by the way Miss Miller has looked at these issues.  I am also encouraged to see that she has identified the blaringly obvious negatives to the proposed initiatives which McKeeva Bush is trying to bully this country to do.  He has recently passed laws which circumvent the people of this country’s right to protest destructive forms of developement.  Any leader who denies the will of his constituents in these ways is really not worthy of the post.  These islands are our home and we are to be the stewards and protectors of it.  If Miss Miller is indicative of the youth of Cayman then I am heartened.  I will stand with you in front of the bulldozers.

    The East End freshwater lens is arguabley the most valuable natural resource in all three of these islands.  As we all know, water is essential to life, those who would endanger it do so at their own peril because the importance of it (thankfully) is not lost to all of us.  The West Bay and George Town freshwater lenses have been rendered somewhat useless by pollution from various sources, mainly from faulty septic systems but also many other contaminants.  The Lower Valley lens is viable however it is very susceptible to overuse which would result with an influx of saltwater into the water table so it is delicate in that regard.  With an estimated safe daily extraction rate of almost one million gallons, the East End freshwater lens is the last and only viable freshwater resevoir in this country.  To destroy this or endanger it is completely unacceptable and it will be defended.  The book   "Geological History of the Cayman Islands" is my source for this information.  I suggest that every school in Cayman utilize it.

    It defies common sense to consider putting a port in East End where they have said they want to from the stand point of consideration of the weather patterns in this country which make the South Eastern coastline a rough water area most of the time.  The impact to the marine environment would be massive and permanent.  It is a bad idea all around except for those who would benefit from the construction of the facility.  The jobs which would be created would not be worth the cost.  There is a very good reason our forefathers put the port on the Western side of the island and that is because it is the lee side of the island considering weather patterns.  The possibility of the best possible solution for this problem is negated by the self-serving, anti-democratic, asinine and destructive way that this country is being governed.  The damage done to the George Town area is irreversible.  To extend this to the almost pristine waters and scenic coastline in East End is ridiculous and ludicrous.

    To stand in the face of an elected member of said district and attempt to dictate to him what will be done in the district he represents goes far beyond the pale.  It also exemplifies the lack of both quality of character and integrity we in this country have been subjected to by McKeeva Bush and those who use him as a political tool (that is putting it nicely).  The system of patronage, the negation of transparency and the Jamaican model of the two party system (even the colours are the same; red and green) have been exceedingly damaging to the short and long-term health of this country.  I can only say look at the consequences Jamaica has suffered as a result.  In my humble opinion there should be no need for one who represents his district or country to be aligned with anything other than a love of country and sense of responsibility for the privilege of leadership of a given district.  To be a profiteer at this level of responsibility is repugnant and should not be tolerated at any level.

    I have reservations about the long term impact Dr. Shetty’s hospital may have as well, one of them also is in regards to the protection of the freshwater lens.  If those in the know were to make it public knowledge the proposed site then it would be possible to investigate the pros and the cons.  However, as usual, there is no real transparency and those who would wish to manipulate the market are keeping that from the light of day until they want to and after the back-room deals have been solidified.  Thus the public is left to conjecture and rhetoric.  It may well be a viable and positive form of development for this country if it were implemented properly however I have no confidence of this because as history is my teacher on this, optimism is unfortunately impossible because no matter of the viability the implementation of such is key.  People, the fox needs to be removed from the henhouse.

    The North Sound dredging idea has been dreamed up by people who do not give a damn about this place no matter what their public relations firms may like to tell us.  The cons of such a project seem to outweigh to pros.  A common sense discussion on the subject would, in my opinion, prove that to be so.  Not only has the gold rush mentality been destructive to this country, the gold has been spent and is running out quickly.  

    No matter what the subject, if our government continues to run the way it does now then even viable and beneficial things and ideas will be destroyed by the greed which is so obviously evident.  We as a country can try to move forward as best as possible but it can not and will not happen unless those in positions of leadership are held responsible for their actions.  To be in a position of leadership is a privilege and do not forget it otherwise the consequences are dire for us all.  These islands are small enough of a country to practice real democracy.  There is no reason it cannot happen except for those who would wish to destroy Cayman and it’s future for their own purposes. 


    • durrrr says:

      good post, Jon! Hope your uncle takes notes.

    • Bow Line says:

      Great post! Sharp as a tac.The rich,as yu know in their posturing are above everyone because they “buy” their water,99% of which isn’t natural.But they “buy” it,& obviously to them sources are irrelevant, so they’re happy.Great post.NO dock in East End!

  4. nauticalone says:

    Agreed, East End and North Side will develop. However, both these districts will develop according to the wishes of "the peope" of these districts and Cayman as a whole, and not just according to Macs wishes "regardless of what the people want".

    I’m from North Side and East End and have already joined Ezzard and Arden to ensure that my voice is heard and wishes respcted.

    A dock in East End by cutting through the hardest rock in Cayman is exactly as Arden has suggested; it’s about quarrying the rock for money…while industrializing/destroying a prestine area…nothing else!

    If Mac thinks there is so much support for this then he sould call for a referendum like he’s calling for gambling/casinos.

    Remember we can change our minds at any time about gambling/casinos (yet Mac thinks that important enough for referendum…which is really his way of legalizing something many find immoral while he can continue to pontificate up in the church) but once a massive hole is cut into East End and the area (including the water lense) is detroyed, it will then be too late…and Mac and the owner of the proposed site will have left smiling all the way to the bank.

    No to a cargo dock in East End…!!!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Denise Miller 2013 or 2011 or 2012 !!!

  6. Caymanian at Heart says:

    As a landowner in East End, this discussion is much misguided. However I appreciate the youth in the statements made by the young lady. They shallowly follow the Opposition’s discussion to date and do not give any real solutions.

    The idea that East End will stay as it is, without any significant benefit to the land owners, many whom that is all they have inherited, is not likely to happen unless the people who object to further development in the East End “pay up” for the land. If someone had said thirty years ago that George Town had to remain as it was, we would all still be out in our fishing boats or in the ‘land’ before daybreak trying to find something to eat today. Things change and East End and North Side will change too thankfully.

    What we have to discuss is not leaving those districts the way they are now for George Towners to go and visit on weekends, but how they will be developed to be sustainable and compatible with “good practices”. That doesnot actually mean that the East Enders and North Siders are relegated to thatch huts and fish frys for the remainder of our lives. Hopefully not. The people of the eastern districts are currently paying more than any other Caymanian just trying to get to work each day. The fuel increase hit us more than anyone else.

    The eastern districts need to have opportunities, just like Cayman Brac is getting. We will need jobs to be created in our districts, to allow land value growth and to become a party to the wealth growth conducted in the western districts.

    There is one thing I am sure of and that is the Cargo dock will be relocated out of George Town eventually. Be it now, in 10 years time or maybe slightly later. When the current cargo pier was built by government in the 1970s everyone questioned the need for such a “huge dock”. 35 years later, half of the port is now in Industrial Park and there is a complete conflict with our cruise industry with the other half. At the lowest rate of growth projected for the Cayman Islands (2%pa unlike what we have seen in the past of 4.8%pa) the population will grow over the next 30 years by 80,000 additional people. It is clear that the little cargo pier in downtown will not suit nor work for much longer.

    What I would like to hear from the young people of this country, on both sides, is real debate and VISION on how we will deal with these and other real issues. And unless this sounds too critical of the Youth parties of both parties, I highly support their involvement in the process but they need to stay away from the day to day ‘sound bite’ politics and instead prepare themselves to lead this country through vision and debate for the future.

    • Anonymous says:

      This young lady’s family is from East End and North Side, she must have spent a lot of time in those districts, you shouldn’t try to discount her view as simply taking the opposition’s lead. It seems as if you think it’s only the George Towners who want to preseve those districts.

    • Anonymous says:

      There will be civil disorder, violent insurrection and the removal of the government by force before that dock gets built. And future generations of Caymanians will be grateful that their inheritance has been protected from the overarching greed and shameful avarice of certain East End "landowners".

    • Anonyboy says:

      So you tink that 10 story buldings and a cargo port is okay for East End? With your logic the whole island will get to look like the Seven Mile Beach.

    • Anon says:

      LOL. "A landowner in East End", i.e. someone who does not live in East End but is hoping to make big bucks from this project. 

      Like the Financial Secretary’s projections for govt. revenue increase you are basing estimates of future population increase on past statistics in spite of all the evidence to the contrary. We see where that got us. Given that we have had a dramatic decline in our population of about 10% since 1998, and given the uncertain future of our financial industry on what basis are you suggesting that our population will grow to an additional 80,000 people over the next 30 years? It could as easily drop to 30,000.  I challenge the whole idea that we need a new port at this time. It is certainly not a priority. The "little cargo pier" can be expanded to include the space presently occupied by the Cruise Terminal when that moves elsewhere. Don’t you understand that a cargo port in EE would increase the cost of every import? Would cause major govt.expenditure to create the infrastructure? And stop acting like it is the only project that could conceivably create jobs or stimulate the economy.   

      You are also missing the major point that such an unnecessary project would have a devastating impact upon our environment. The largest fresh water lens on this Island would just flow into the sea. What would happen to our wildlife? Already few birds are to be seen compared to just a few years ago (I recalla Viewpoint by one Terry Wilton on this). It would be an invitation to disaster from hurricanes. Has any environmental impact study been done in connection with the proposed project? Is that the reason the National Conservation Law is being deferred to get these deals in first? 

      Will there be any end to greed motivating these decisions in our Islands?      

  7. Whizz Dom says:

    An old viewpoint, which from my experience holds true.  Anyone who expresses an interest in being a politician before they are 30 should never be one.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree with you, but Denise hasn’t said that she plans to run.

      • Anonymous says:

        Rolston and John McLean Sr. were both elected to the LA before they were 30 years old………amm……..ok I can’t claim that either of the two were good for the country…… I guess you MAY have a point but not necessarily !

    • Anonymous says:

      Are you saying that young people shouldn’t become familiarised with issues of national importance before they turn 30?? That’s probably why we have some of the current buffoons in the L.A.