Conservation hopes dashed

| 03/05/2011

(CNS): As fears grow over the negative impact disappearing habitat is having on the Cayman Islands’ unique flora and fauna, the minister with responsibility for the environment had little comfort for conservationists last week. Mark Scotland was unable to give a date when he will bring the National Conservation Law (NCL) to the Legislative Assembly when asked by CNS. Despite earlier assurances when he was first elected that the bill was a priority, the minister could not even say for certain if it would be brought before the end of this year. He said that government had taken on board the input during the latest public consultation period which ended last year and said that the bill might be tabled sometime in the coming year.

Speaking at the National Climate Change workshop back in 2009, Scotland had said his ministry was working hard to get the National Conservation Bill back on track and was going into 2010 with a vigorous public outreach campaign.

“I give the undertaking today that we will make every effort to hear all parties and take on board every concern. However, we in Cayman need to understand that the time has come tomake sacrifices to protect our Islands for future generations,” he said some eighteen months ago, when he also stated that unless the integrity of Cayman’s natural resources was safeguarded, it would be the death-knell for the Islands.

“We simply must have comprehensive and updated environmental protection legislation,” Scotland had said in 2009 six months after taking up the ministerial post.

However, speaking at a press conference on Thursday held to demonstrate solidarity for the premier in the wake of a no confidence motion filed by the opposition leader, Scotland had little to say on the long awaited bill.

His colleague Rolston Anglin said that Cayman had done a “great job compared to many others”, when it came to protecting the environment, despite the fact that there is no legal protection whatsoever for any of the country’s land based flora and fauna, with the exception of the blue iguana.

He pointed to the Turtle Farm as an example of conservation work, as well as the programme in Little Cayman to protect groupers and said that the work of legislators over the years had resulted in marine life flourishing.

Anglin also stated that more recently he had begun to see green parrots in West Bay, which was something, hesaid, one never saw when he was young. However, the minister did not seem to recognise that the reason why he was seeing parrots in urban areas was because they are, experts say, being increasingly displaced from their normal wild habitat and foraging for food and nesting places in gardens as a result.

As the NCL continues to languish in political limbo, local experts point to the mounting crisis and the real danger that many local species are in. Indigenous snakes, butterflies, bats, lizards, orchids, silver thatch palms and all other trees, plants and flowers unique to these islands have nothing in law to protect them.

Mangroves in particular, which are not only important habitat when it comes to providing a nursery for reef fish and a home to a host of wildlife, but important in their own right as a protection against storm surge in hurricanes remain dangerously exposed to destruction. Although mangrove buffer is supposed to have some protection in the planning law, the recent removal of several hundred feet of ocean front mangroves by the developer of the Ritz Carlton demonstrates that the planning designation of buffer zone is inadequate.

As development continues the loss of habitat is one of the most pressing problems because the flora and fauna have increasingly less space in which to propagate.

Without the NCL there is nothing in law to formalize the environmental impact assessment process that could point to and warn of potential losses of natural resources, enabling developers to mitigate that impact. Given the recent announcements by government regarding an array of proposed infrastructure projects, without the law the dredging of the North Sound or the installation of an oil refinery could all happen without any compulsion for the developers to carry out an impact assessment.

In the last round of public consultation on the legislation representatives from the DoE emphasised the serious urgency of the law and asked the public to show its support for the legislation. Wider public opinion appears to be in favour of the legislation: a straw poll on CNS resulted in 72% of voters wanting to see the law passed as soon as possible.

However, despite public backing it appears that fears from some quarters of the community that the law would stifle unbridled development have had a greater influence on government.

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Category: Science and Nature

Comments (48)

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  1. Goober says:

    Maybe Cayman can develop a car that runs on Blue Iguanas.

    "I get 30 miles per Iguana…Good mileage bobo!"

     

  2. Anonymous says:

    Dear UDP Supporter

    Ever heard of the words of wisdom Walter Matthau provided in “Grumpy Old Men”?

    “Pull your lip over your head and swallow”

    Less carbon footprint, and we would all be rid of your ignorant, caveman mentality.

  3. cayman stew says:

    Marc Scotland: “Conservation can wait, besides there’s lots of flora in Scotland yard”

  4. Ken P says:

    So sad to say but this isn’t a real surprise and we all know that Mark is just a small fry and can’t stand up to his honcho master Mac. Mike Ryan, Dart and Imporato are the puppet master and tells Mac what to do so we have a Premier who is really a clown in a suit, fitting for a Big Mac advert. I said that Cayman won’t see a National Conservation Bill passed until we have a Green Party which has a focus on the quality of life and trying to preserve our natural environment and heritage.

    I live in Europe where there’s a vast amont of Public Open Spaces which are either parks or nature reserves. If there’s a building that is over 100 years old and is deemed unfit then every effort will be made to renovate and preserve it. In Cayman it’s the opposite and you rarely see a Caymanian wattle and daub house still in good condition. We keep developing and fail to realize that the more mangroves and natural habitats we destroy leaves us more vulnerable to flooding.

    Unfortuantely at this rate our grandchildren will have to see a Parrot, Banana Orchid and Blue Iguanas at an Zoo. Maybe we can put some of our politicians there as well as they behave like animals, sorry animals for that comparisson. The National Trust is trying yet has its hands tied and is not well funded by Governments.

    All the best Cayman

    • Jonathan says:

      I respect and value the National Trust but the fact that it is now “housed” in what is now called “Dart Park” highlights the real situation at hand. No one, unless they are delusional, could have expected any different from McKeeva Bush and his cronies. Everyone who voted for them were well aware of the predelictions and history and fiascos this man and his bassackwards, boss hogg, buzzardly mentality have foisted upon the Cayman Islands. Those Caymanians of high stature who facilitated this situation owe the Cayman Islands an apology, at the very least. When McKeeva can utter something as asinine as “we cannot eat seagrass salad and mangrove steaks” at a public meeting in GT was that not a clue? When asked by Mr. Milburn how he valued the environment and all McKeeva could do was retort with a blustery barrage of bullshit was that not a clue? The links in the chain which make up the civilization known as the Cayman Islands are all important and the environment is one of them. We are under the thumb of greed induced manipulators, thieves, liars, users and abusers and power drunken pirates in fancy suits. The environment is one of many which are suffering now and will continue to suffer for a long time even if the perpetraitors were taken out of commision yesterday. Mr. Scotland, nor a singular one of his cohorts, is not now nor has he ever been worthy of his post and his choice of leader is the very proof of such. The hell with them all. It is only out of respect for the institution of democracy and the realization that we are between a rock and a hard place and the retention of a peaceful nature that the abuses at the hands of those guilty of internally and maliciously manipulating this country have not yet received their just rewards for such preposterous malarky as we are witnessing. Time is longer than rope, gentlemen, and your time is gonna come.

      • Anonymous says:

        Jonathan, I’m glad you respect and value the National Trust. The building the Trust presently occupies is a Government owned building on Crown land.

    • Anonymous says:

      Dear Ken P,

      Thank you for remembering Cayman’s built heritage. The sad reality you have written about is the reality I wake up to daily.

      Atleast there is some progress on the environment…some paper for Government to even consider (or ignore in this case) but on the side of built heritage, nothing and more nothing.

      I am constantly amazed that a considerable amount of my own Cayman people have very little time, interest or funds for the upkeep for our islands built heritage (privately owned or owned by the National Trust, TBA or the CNCF) yet they enjoy all the culture and heritage they find in another man’s country.

      At one time I thought that people did not apprecate the environment because they did not work to create it themselves, but then I looked at what they do daily to the build heritage, which they DID create, and I’m left without answers.

      I’ve concluded that in the last 40 years, we have acquired more money but have far less commons sense, character and culture. In the mean time I will keep on trying to do my part…and sometimes I find friends along the way…

      • Will says:

        Your commentary is spot on. We have lost our sense of national pride and now seem to be ridding ourselves of all things truly Caymanian. Our unique heritage, vibrant culture, and forests that can be found nowhere else in the world are all being sold for temporary gains.

        All of us out there that love Cayman more than money must somehow find a way to band together and fight what is happening.

        Much damage has been done but it is still not too late…

    • Anonymous says:

      Interesting you mention M. Ryan. The majority of the parcel of land to the east of the bypass that the "Ritz" has leased used to be zoned Public Open Space apart from the 300′ strip of mangrove buffer. The Zoning Plans from The Planning Department show that!. However if you go online and check the zoning of that parcel now there is now 0 sq.ft. of Public Open Space and only 10 sq.ft. of Mangrove buffer! When and how did this change? Who authorised it -XXXX As I already said – it was zoned "PUBLIC OPEN SPACE" – as in WE the PUBLIC!!

  5. Dreadlock Holmes says:

    Maybe slightly off the topic – but what exactly does Mark Scotland do for his wage? Or the rest of them for that matter. I guess the real question is: is this a government or a collection of well-fed suits?

  6. Green Hornet says:

    The interesting thing, of course, is that as a UK Territory, we are subject to all of the international environmental laws that the UK has signed – including with the EU which has some of the toughest environmental legislation on the books.

    Now just suppose one of friendly Caymanian lawyers felt one day that, instead of squeezing more money out of the business sector, he or she would head up to the EU. There this kind and wise lawyer, concerned that his/her children weren’t going to have an island worth living on, filed a suit on behalf of environmentally concerned Caymanians, to force the UK to force our government to live up to its international environmental legal commitments. 

    And so the dithering and vacillating politicians were bypassed, and our delicate and finite island was protected.

    Uhoh…guess I woke up again – that dream again!

    • Anonymous says:

      Can you add built heritage into that happy dream of yours? If so, I’ll have the same dream please.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Surprise, surprise. Delay the passing of this new legislation until all projects (eg: East End dock and north sound dredging etc) are approved and underway. The funny thing is, they must think we’re stupid and can’t see that this is why it’s being done. I’m finding it increasingly difficult to come onto CNS because articles like this infuriate me, knowing that the Governmentis so disgusting. Cayman voted thhem in, so Cayman must now suffer. All for so f&#^$#* refrigerators and some paved roads. Silly kids.

  8. Peter Milburn says:

            I am not surprised by this latest news story re the NCL.There is no one in this present Govt.and I repeat no one that has the guts to stand up and do whats right for this country.This leads to me say without hesitation that(as usual)nothing will be done until all the hairbrained schemes that have been placed on the Govts(Premiers)agenda have been realized and the irrevocable damage done.I had high hopes when,sometime back,Min.Scotland announced that the NCL would be brought to the house asap.Mr.Scotland what has changed your mind so drastically?Promises promises is that all we can look forward to?Where is your belief in doing what is best for these islands?Our cabinet is seemingly made up of men who refuse to stand up and go against protocol(Collective Responsibility) and let our Premier know that certain things cannot and should not be done,but on reflection who am I fooling?This will never happen until we get elected representatives with enough guts to say enough is enough.In the meantime the clock is ticking and the sands of time are running out  so gentlemen get on with it or please get out and lets put people in there that will put Cayman first.

  9. the Rest of the Planet says:

    What a bunch of banjo-plucking hillbillies you guys have. Your legislature couldn’t pass a pint of swamp gas without outside help and a roadmap, let alone a piece of legislation designed to save your pip-squeak of an island.

  10. Anonymous says:

    You people in the Cayman Islands need to learn a lesson in "How to claim your Democratic Rights"

    You sit down and expect the UDP and PPM to hand you everything how about getting up off your a**es for a moment and fight for a change?

    Ever heard about going to court to fight for your rights Ever heard about people power?, ever heard about confronting the governor with a signed petition and scaring him with a crowd sitting in front of his door forcing his hand to give you what is rightfully yours? These people are afraid of crowds they don’t know what will happen! so use your numbers! dummies!

    Here’s a rain check for you; Alden McLaughlin as an ATTORNEY, he is the PPM opposition Leader, This man only is interested in serving himself, many of your woes could have been lifted off your backs if he really cared about Caymanians, problem is he’s also basking in your suffering just like big Mac. Some of the people who worked on his campaign are jobless, almost homeless and on the verge of losing everything including their houses, and ALDEN OR KURT WON’T LIFT A HAND TO HELP THEM?

    2013 New Blood Guys, New Blood!

    You got the government you deserve, take it!

     

    • Anonymous says:

      14.02. Cayman does not have the government it deserves. We have the government that a disproportionately small number of perfectly asphalted, well refrigerated, West Bay voters have foisted on the rest of us, because our democratic system here is far too easy to manipulate. Once the dictatorial nature of the leadership is given expression and their defensive positions firmly dug in, they’re as difficult to remove as Amazonian Bot Fly larvae.

      When the elections come around, it’s just the same old complacent faces with the same old track-records. As for new blood, I don’t see anyone out there, but I pray they’ll appear at the right time, and demonstrate leadership and INTEGRITY.  

      • Anonymous says:

        'No my friend, it was not the West Bayers who are to plame for the current Govt. and the problems we find ourselves in. It took the balance of the islands voting public to elect the remainder of the UDP party to ensure the mess.  West Bay only put in four, you did the rest!!

         

        Not a supporter of EITHER party.  A man should stand on his merits, not BS stories that can be spun for a group of individuals who swallow them hook line and sinkers, which we won't get to use in the North Sound any longer when YOUR Premier get's his way with the channel….SAD. SAD. SAD.

         

         

         

    • Anonymous says:

      2013 New Blood Guys, New Blood!… New Appliances!

  11. Kerry Horek says:

     I am not surprised at all.  The Minister promised we would have had the law by June 2010, then it was pushed back to Sept of 2010, and now we are in May 2011, and there is still no law on the books.

    http://keepmyislandcleanandgreen.blogspot.com/2011/03/to-all-those-who-supported-dumping-of.html

    The above link is how I feel about the whole situation.

  12. Anonymous says:

    They all must go

  13. Michel Lemay says:

    I guess you are all too busy Mr. Scotland that the loss of habitat and 0 protection for flora and fona, mangroves and all indeginous things unique to Cayman means nothing; might as well throw in Caymanians too…. yes Mr. Anglin the Groupers have helped but the Turtle Farm has been a little costly don’t you think ? and what is being done in Little Cayman is good but your WAY BEHIND.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Someone needs to go to LIttle Cayman and see what is going on there. A UK property company is plowing through the interior with big wide roads, tearing down indigeneous orchids, sisel, and other plants. There are about 6 major projects going inland there. Where are all these people going to come from…and what are they doing to the habitat.
    This is the beginning of the end of LIttle Cayman……..no regard whatsoever for the plants and wildlife……

  15. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Anglin sends the clear message that, so long as Cayman is not the worst, then that is good enough. The Minister for Environment having "little to say" on the matter sends a message clearer still: the obvious need and overwhelming public support for the Conservation Law is apparently not enough.

  16. Anonymous says:

    We all know that the developers do not want this law.  We know who owns Mac answers to the big money guys and not the people.  So why does this surprise anyone.  It is very simple.  UDP has never had any intention of passing this bill or any like it.  It would not work in their favor.

  17. UDP Supporter says:

    I’m glad the UDP Government doesn’t give two hoots about this silly environmental legislation. This is just meant to cheat honest Caymanians out of their rights to develop their land and use it as they please! Development is the way to go! We need more money and jobs not more trees and lizards and other rubbish like that!

    • Anonymous says:

      And SOME women should have invested in a strong dose of birth control pills!!!

    • petermilburn says:

      idiosa!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      UDP Supporter.  I recognize that you are typing your unadulterated Bullshit in a deliberate attempt to elicit a response.  I don’t really know why you would take such an obvious, and obviously demented, position on every topic.

       

  18. Sick and Tired of the B..,S..... says:

    What a spineless LITTLE individual he has become. The amazing thing is that as with so many of the Cabinet who are like him – it is impossible to see the puppeteers strings that lead back to the man at the top.
    Ironic that when so many tourist destinations in this region are doing everything they can to develop “Eco-Tourism” our Minister of Tourism (yes, him again) is terrified of passing a law which might put obstacles in the way of someone wanting to build another glass and concrete tourist “attraction”.

  19. McCarron McLaughlin says:

    This government will never support any legistlation that give laws more “teeth” when it’s related to our environment, it wouldn’t help their “destroy now and then think about it later agenda”. Just to name a few, the EE dock, North Sound Dreg, Shetty’s Hospital & the cruise dock.

    These laws can’t come into place before these projects are started of atleast approved , if they did come into law now none of these project wouldn’t have a flying chance in hell of happening as they are now.

    These are fact!

  20. Anonymous says:

    Disgusting! What are you waiting for – the oil refinery, the dredging and every other destruction – then bring it in? Politrix in all its non glory!

  21. Anonymous says:

    What can you expect from someone who was not properly elected?

  22. Anonymous says:

    Perhaps Chuckie could stage a march in favor of passing the new Conservation Law, oh wait he never brought the conservation law before the LA in 4 years.

    I am sure it is a major regret of his.

    Face it Caymanians do not want a Conservation Law with teeth, Ezzard is in favor of it as long as it doesn’t have any power to keep people from cashing in on development money.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ah that’s not 100% correct. Some of us born and bread Caymanians work every day in preservation and conservation.

      • Anonymous says:

        Please accept my apology as I know many in the DoE as well as others who care and are working without fanfare.

         

    • Bahhhh! says:

      Caymanians do indeed want comprehensive environmental legislation.  The DOE did their due diligence, public meetings, etc and the public spoke out at the meetings and through letters (CNS: how many did the DOE receive in support of the NLC and how many did they get not in support?).

      But you are right, Chuckie couldn’t get this done either – too many greedy people.  All the DOE is trying to do is formalize and give teeth to the process that they are already invited to be a part of..

      PS PROTECT THE GROUPERS!

  23. Anonymous says:

    another soon come storey from this pathetic government…..
    and they wonder why there is a motion of no confidence against them????? …zzzzzz

  24. Burnsy Lun Thompsons says:

    For all those who waiting for Marky to push this you are fooler than i thought.He has to consult the real government the “West bay Politburo” who will give him permission to act and they do not want this rubbish law as this limits their profit margin.

  25. Anonymous says:

    May be we deserve to start over. The earth need time without people to recover.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Is it that the Conservation Law would get in the way of economical development?

    • Anonymous says:

      Our economy can flourish via Eco Tourism. Our people would be healthier and our children will have something to inherit.

  27. Anonymous says:

    When will the people in the Cayman Islands learn that Cayman politicans are just like any other politicians around the world. They sing one tune during the election campaign and then forget everything that was apparently so important to them.

    Hint: If someone hasn’t been involved with a certain topic for some time one way or another (never mind whether they have been in government or not) , chances arethey are not seriously interested, even if they talk the talk during election!

    Wake up!

  28. Anonymous says:

    Shame! Shame! Shame!
    Alden’s Motion is the correct way to go – remove the entire Government. Every one of them is tied to McDredge’s apron strings.
    I had hopes that Mark would have seen the light and did the right thing, but that hope is now fading as well.
    Shame! Shame! Shame!

  29. Bahhhh! says:

    Grown some BALLS Mark!  You know this is important legislation.  You are a cowardly sheep.    You can bring it /table it whenever you want.  Big Mac’s been at you….bahhhh!

  30. Anonymous says:

    The idea that doing nothing is doing a "great job" shows how self-deluded the UDP government is – about the environment and a great many other things.