Ryan silent over mangroves

| 16/05/2012

front.jpg(CNS): The developer of the Ritz Carlton, Cayman has failed to respond to enquiries about the future of the promised red mangrove replenishment programme, which has not materialised two years after 378,000sq ft of buffer was removed on the proposed Dragon Bay site. Since Michael Ryan lost control of the Ritz Carlton earlier this year and is now facing a number of legal difficulties, the future of the proposed Dragon Bay project is now in question and Ryan has failed to answer CNS Queries about what this means for the replanting. In May 2010 following the removal of the mangroves, staff at Ryan’s former company, Orion Development, said they were recreating what was described as a pre-Ivan mangrove fringe. (Photo Dennie WarrenJr)

At the time the buffer was removed, which was cleared bythe Central Planning Authority, Ryan claimed it had been ripped up as part of a project to remove dead mangroves and rejuvenate the area. However, no significant replenishment work has ever taken place at the site of the proposed new resort and mixed development community behind the Ritz Carlton.

CNS has asked Ryan what plans he now has for the replenishment on the land and if the replanting was contingent on Dragon Bay. Ryan has failed to reply to the questions despite several attempts to contact him.

The removal of the mangrove had caused considerable controversy at the time but now, with no work ever having taken place at the site and with the entire Dragon Bay project in the balance, it appears to have been completely unnecessary.

Although some of the mangrove buffer which was removed was still recovering from the Hurricane Ivan surge in September 2004, according to aerial photographs taken before the clearance, some two thirds of the buffer zone which has ripped out was full, healthy, mature mangrove. Experts from the Department of Environment, who had advised the CPA against allowing the removal of the mangrove buffer, said they had not seen any evidence of hazardous waste in the existing healthy zone, as had been claimed by the developer, and the area which he claimed was dead  was in fact making a significant recovery.

At the time DoE Director Gina Ebanks-Petrie said it was disappointing to see another mangrove buffer zone lost, given how much has already been removed from Grand Cayman’s coastlines. She said that once mangrove was ripped out there were significant problems associated with trying to replant it. However, any effort that was being planned to replace the mangrove appears now to have been completely abandoned.

Meanwhile, local sea captains at the Safehaven dock are coming under pressure from Ryan to move their boats from the locations, despite his failure to develop a long awaited new marina as an alternative. Ryan had entered into a swap with the Port Authority for the Safehaven dock in exchange for him developing a new public marina for the North Sound boat operators but that project has also failed to materialise.

According to one of the local captains, Ryan has made a request that the boat owners move to a different part of the Safehaven dock area in order to allow him to blast the canals there for fill. It is not clear what the fill would be used for but it would be coming from crown land as the swap was always contingent on the development of a new permanent local marina. The owners are, however, reluctant to agree to any move until a permanent site is legally secured.

Ryan currently faces a number of law suits and difficulties since losing ownership of the Ritz and the entire Dragon Bay project is in question. Another question that also remains unanswered is whether or not he is still liable for CI$6 million owed to the public purse in connection with a duty waiver on the development of the five star resort.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    What happened to all the mangroves that were removed?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Breaking news:  I heard from a reliable source that he will replenish the mangroves just as soon as he repays his $4,000.000.00 bill he owes Cayman.



  3. Goin'Broke says:

    As I have noted before, the Eastern half of Block 12C, Parcel 451 is zoned as Public Open Space. As such the Planning regulations specifically forbid development of the type that has been carried out – condos, golfcourse, canals etc. The area where the boats are is also part of the PUBLIC Open Space so how can anyone be restricted from using it? I wonder what would happen if I went four wheeling on the golf course? It is after all Public Open Space!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Is Ryan going to be another one who gets up and walks out of Cayman without being charged? He should be made to repay $500,000 for commiting this environmental act of destruction yet I doubt as we know who is looking out for him, This is one reason why we need to pass the long overdue National Conservation Bill as to stop this sort of attitudes of so called investors who are only here for their own self gain. The Premier promised back in 2009 that Mr Asif the owmer of the old Hyatt Hotel that if he didn't either sell or upgrade the site that Government would charge him the room tax for the last 5 years. Today the hotel is still an eyesore and a environment hazard and Mac still hasn't forced Asif to pay, so just a lot of hot air and noise being made.

  5. Anonymous says:

    It is so sad to see someone pretend that the most important thing is to respect and care for the environment by having a program through the Cousteau foundation when their real goal is the is the immediate dollar.  By sacrificing environmental stewardship and pretending to care about the health of our land through picking up a little trash hear and there he not only wasted all the money he made by developing too much with the stupid dragon bay development, the last thing on his mind was to redevelop the mangroves.  I hope he loses everything XXXX.  The Cousteau foundation needs to step and exit from the Ritz as a sign that those who play a part in the destruction of the our ocean's health will not be rewarded.  I know it is not the Ritz that did it, but they are still associated with it…  Enjoy your time Ryan it wil probably not be as fun as the previous 8 years..

  6. Anonymous says:

    If he can't pay us back the $4m where do you expect him to get money from to plant trees…Good luck with that one..He is probably log gone by now..

  7. Anonymous says:

    Do we need MORE SWAMP (mangrove) in the main tourist area?

    I am all for ecology but when we look at the Seven Mile Beach area, which is dotted and fringed with SWAMPS that bread mosquito's and smells awefull – I ask why do we need to mix SWAMPS with tourists – especially with ALL the other areas in Cayman there is an abundance of SWAMP (mangrove).

    It's not like the SMB SWAMPS account for 100% of SWAMP'S on the island.

    Let's be realistic…. SWAMPS are BAD for tourism and tourists!

    Let's keep the outlying areas as natural habitat. That is good – but lets make the Seven Mile Beach area on the North Sound more tourist friendly. Less smelly. Less Mosquito infested. And more attractive with lush tropical palntings of palm trees and flowers etc.


  8. Anonymous says:

    Add that some of the large vessels at the Safehaven dock are not functional and cannot move – essentially abandoned.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Relax everyone.  Replanting mangroves isn't that difficult – like playing lawn darts in the sand.  Get a bushel of seeds to the ambassadors of the environment and their kids can replant it in an afternoon.  Just takes sunshine and time to become a jungle again.  The stuff grows like a weed in this climate.

    • Anonymous says:

      Take a look at the South Sound replanting effort if you think it's easy. Replacing a functioning ecosystem takes centuries – if it works at all. Better not to destroy in the first place. Pretending a complex system like mangroves can be replaced is just silly.

  10. JoeB says:

    Caymanians all.   Get used to disappointment.  Unless you get help this is your future.

  11. Anonymous says:

    This is certainly the direction that the beautiful Barkers “national park” is headed.
    Bye bye Barkers. Hello ‘growth and job security’

  12. Anonymous says:

    I will lay the right at the feet of our premier as well.

  13. peter milburn says:

    This comes as no surprise to me after the way in which he took out all that mangrove w/out permission.Promises promises is all you get from these developers who come here with grand schemes which promise the world and pull the wool over the eyes of the  powers that be.Our planning board or whomever was responsible for allowing this should all resign as they sure dont have the well being of our environment at heart.Keep in mind that without a vibrant environment we will have NO visitors.

    • Anonymous says:

      Developers who "promise the world and pull the wool over the eyes of the  powers that be"


      Actually, they dont pull the wool over their eyes, they rain $$$ on them.

    • Soapbox Sally says:

      Well as I remember, at the time the minister for business was also the minister for the environment…..massive conflict of interest….but was it that way for a purpose?

  14. Dreadlock Holmes says:

    New Expression:   "You've been Ryan'd!!"   Something similar to being bs'd but generally involves a lot more money!

  15. deepdiver says:

    WHO in their right mind would EVER allow this man (and his company) to remove such vital growth with only a 'promise and a kiss' ?…

    perhaps a lesson might be learned here – as it seems we will never get this part of our mangrove back.

    IF future politicians are going to allow this kind of development to happen , it may be a good idea to secure some sort of up front payment (in escrow) to ensure re-planting/replacement happens as promised.

    But that would be prudent….clearly not our current government…alas…

  16. Not verified says:

    We welcomed this guy to our country and gave him status?

    • Not hopefull says:

      I believe it was Mac that welcomed him and gave him status.  Not "we".

      • Anonymous says:

        We should demand and explanation – and it had better not include reference to condos and a real estatebill!

      • Anonymous says:

        IRREVOCABLE status at that. Thanks Mac.

        • Ambassador of the Environment says:

          It is revokable based on the commission of any offense connected with or made possible by the grant. There is hope yet.

      • Anonymous says:

        Another of Mac's buddies takes us for a ride, or is this Richard Parchment's fault as well…?

  17. Anonymous says:

    I wonder how many of these 'developments' would have been allowed to go ahead had the environmental law been passed?  I wonder why this law has been stalled for so many years whilst other laws, accommodating these um, 'developers' to go ahead have been rushed through quick-time?  Why, do I smell something fishy? Is this much needed law going to be left to stagnate while Cayman is stripped of its natural resources and there's nothing left to protect?  This is environmental suicide.

    If the proposed environmental law wouldn't have helped in situations such as this, then perhaps amendments should be made now rather than later, but either way, get on with it and give us our law quickly please.

    • Anonymous says:

      "Why, do I smell something fishy?"


      Fishies do not pay "commissions" or "consulting fees" on the sale of their habitat.

  18. Yvette says:

    HELL will Frrrrreeeeeeeeeeezzzzzzzzzeeeee over before you see him spend on mangrove replenishment.  We all knew it was bull then and its even bigger bull now.

    • Anonymous says:

      He hs spent the same amount that the Caymanian people have on mangrove replenishment.  Same big bull.  Caymanians can't even make a conservation law.  But they are busy getting paid to "work on it" for how many years now?  Caymankind.

  19. SKEPTICAL says:

    Allowing for a considerable amount of irony in CNS’s report of enquiries made of Ryan about his promise to re-instate the mangroves, IS ANYBODY SURPRISED that he has not fulfilled his undertaking, and I am sure that nobody has any doubt about who it was ensured that he was able to undertake the original removal. In the event of a major hurricane passing North of the island it may be a case of ” what goes around comes around “, as, without the mangrove barrier Ryan removed, what little of Dragon Bay has been built may be be removed completely.