No EIA on Shetty hospital

| 02/10/2012

front pic.jpg(CNS): There are no plans on the first phase of the major medical centre development by Dr Devi Shetty in East End for an Environmental Impact Assessment, CNS has learned.  According to records released by the health ministry on 28 September following an FOI request, the ministry has confirmed that up to date no EIA has been done. Correspondence between the developer’s local partner, the ministry and the Department of Environment  reveals that significant clearance of land in the area had been done without any consultation with local experts on the previously undisturbed habitat, which was described as ‘obscene’ by the DoE director.

Pictures that circulated recently showing the extent of the clearance of primary shrub habitat on previously untouched land triggered major concerns from the DoE about the failure of the developers to undertake an EIA before that work started. The clearance was undertaken at a time when neither the hospital nor a proposed supporting resort in the area had planning permission.

inside pic shetty site.jpgIn her correspondence to the chief officer in the ministry with responsibility for the environment, released to CNS under the FOI law, DoE Director Gina Ebanks- Petrie expressed her frustration at what is apparently the increasing inability to do anything to protect the country’s dwindling habitats and endangered species. Pointing to what she describes as the “obscene amount” of clearance at the site, she noted that the DoE were not even asked about the planned removal of so much important habitat.

Following the director’s email, Jennifer Ahearn contacted the minister but there appears to have been no response from him to her email pointing out that there has been no dialogue with the developer about the need for an EIA.

On 9 August last year Ahearn invited Gene Thompson, one of the local developers, to meet with the Environmental Impact Assessment Board. In his response Thompson stated he would let the ministry know when the team was ready to “move forward” to meet the EAB.  According to the FOI request, there appears to have been no further correspondence in mor than a year regarding any plans to mitigate what experts believe may be a devastating impact on the environment in the area.

At a recent meeting in Bodden Town to talk with potential workers for the development, Thompson confirmed to CNS that there were no plans at present to do a full scale EIA on phase one, which is a 140-bed hospital. Since then and following on from the correspondence between government and Thompson, CNS has learned that a significant amount of the clearance was undertaken on land still owned by local developer and investor, Joseph Imparato.

It is understood that he has plans to develop a resort and supporting infrastructure on the land around the hospital site to take advantage of what is expected to be an influx of people that will eventually work and visit the Health City. The DoE and the National Trust have both confirmed that the developer did not contact either organisation to assist, at the very least, in the rescue of important plant species before the clearance.

National Trust chair Carla Reid told CNS last week that when she called Thompson about the possibility of at least rescuing orchids and other critical plants from the site, he confirmed that the majority of clearance in the area so far has been undertaken by Imparato. He stated, however, that he would be willing to allow the Trust onto the hospital site in the coming weeks to remove some important species ahead of plans to clear that area in preparation for the start of construction.

This once undisturbed area of unique habitat will be transformed over the coming years as a result of the hospital project and the proposed resort. Aside from the myriad different species in the area, many of which are endangered, that are now under threat, the site is relatively close to the reserve set aside for the Blue Iguana Recovery Programme and was the type of habitat that those iguanas returned to the wild could have colonized.

Speaking to a Canadian environmental journalist this summer, Fred Burton said that not even counting the iguanas, this land is important shrubbery that contains hundreds of rare and threatened species. “A few weeks is all it will take to destroy it all and cover it with concrete,” the local conservation expert stated.

See e-mail correspondence released by the ministry over the clearance below.

Blog entry on blue iguanas on Radio Canada by environmental journalist visiting the Blue Iguana Recovery Programme at the time of the clearance on the Shetty/Imparato site.

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  1. xxxxwit says:

    Good to hear they are skipping that crud and getting on with the economic development!  Money and jobs, that's what we need.  If you want to hug a tree, chop one down and take it home with you.

  2. Anonymous says:

    ROTFLMfAO – Mark Scotland is a joke of a Minister ot Environment!

    Remember this voters come election when UDP shows up wit their promises and speeches

    This Shetty nonsense was FULLY analysed already — see

    Cayman selling itself out for 100 years with no ownership of the prject

    So maybe a couple local contractors get work for a few months, thats it

    To this developer – the Government gave away stamp duty. customs duty. discounted work permits and key employee (to be approved by Shetty btw), water, utilities, discounted travel on CAL for patients, staff and families

    the Government also has to pay to put in all the pipes for the entire project

    for 100 years

    Also, the Government agrees 'not to pass any laws which might unduly impact Shetty' — I sh!t thee not


    • Anonymous says:

      In other words they had to first promise not to rip him off (like they do everyone else) before he would risk his name and reputation.  VERY SMART! Thats why he will succeed where most others have already folded up and moved on.  His money, his reputation, his risk, his expertise, his proffessional and experianced doctors and workers, and a promise that he will not have to give in to the intitlement mentality from the head of the intitlement tribe.  Were can I invest some money in here?

  3. Environ-mentallist says:

    Too bad Obama can't step in and block our deal with the Chinese…


  4. Anonymous says:

    This is why the Conservation Bill won't get passed because of developers greed, its as simple as night will follow the day. Mac has given and sold out Cayman for his and people like Imparato, Dart and Gene Thompson sake and he doesn't care one bit about our natural environment. I'm not saying we don't need development I just believe that it should be done in a sustainable manner that benefits Cayman in a positive way. Shetty for all we know might be another so called investor who comes here and reaps the benefits financially yet doesn't contribute anything to the local community.

    The National Trust has been trying for years to protect and preserve Cayman heritage and environment yet politicians don't want them to succeed in purchasing more land. How DOE or National Trust weren't contacted or a EIS wasn't carried out is a crime. This area is home to unique flora and fauna and should remain protected, so sad what is happening. I personally won't be spending any money at any of Gene Thompson's or Imparoto businesses if I can avoid it. Maybe the National Trust should do a pledge drive for 1 month an ask all residents and tourist to give $5-10 each and hopefully a few corporate clients like Maples, Walkers, Jacques Scott and LIME can match the figure they raise which I estimate would be about $500,000. If the Trust can collect $1 million then they'll be able to purchase more land that will be preserved for future generations.


  5. Naya Boy says:

    Like I have been posting CNS Like father like Son everybody who has been here long enough knows exactly what occurred at Meagre Bay Pond Bird Santuary in Pease Bay it was a matter of public record so this comes as no surprise and neither will the outcome? They put the fix in then as they will do now. Anyone notice how certain well to do Caymanians and certain business interest and politicians who like to protest about everything are erieely quiet about these issues, they all need that campaign funding and those exclusive invitations to societies parties eh If you hang with money you look like you have money. Let  those Stingray & Dolphins free ya greedy ras.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Just want to say thanks to Gene Thompson for reminding us ,just what it is that we do not like about McKeeva and the UDP.

  7. Lighten up people. says:

    Surely you all didn't think they were building upscale tree houses with cable rails and bridges, did you? Lighten up guys. This is necessary for progress. Chances are trees will be replanted on the campus during a later stage of development, just as was done at Camana Bay and to a lesser extent the new Gov building.

    • Anonymous says:
  8. Anonymous says:

    I took a drive up on that site and its all cliff rock and bush. Not sure what DOE is talking about. Thank God someone is investing in Cayman, we need the work. We can’t eat that cliff rock and maiden plum!

    • Anonymous says:

      You can't eat orchids either, obviously you missed the whole point of conservation.

    • Anonymous says:

      22.06. "Cliff-rock and bush". That's how you see it. I suppose the Amazon is just insects and trees, and Rome is just old  buildings, swarming with foreigners who don't speak English. The more you know the more you realize you don't know, but you haven'y got to that stage yet. Like a teenager, you believe you know it all.

  9. Knot S Smart says:

    A little off topic but here is some nice reading on the trickle down effect.

  10. caymankayaker says:

    I was told this clearance was done under "Special Planning Permission" – meaning it got the go-ahead from Cabinet with no reference to the Central Planning Authority whatsoever. "Legal" due to new regs that were pushed through by the Premier a little while ago. So the CPA were probably as deep in the dark as the rest of us.

    • Anonymous says:

      Nonsense. The clearing was done with approval of CPA. Why do you guys write such nonsense. Cabinet does no have power to do this. Silly comment.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Caymanians have obviously given up on Cayman.  Good luck, people!

  12. peter milburn says:

    I dont think that the fact that this project is going ahead is a bad thing BUT it should have been done in the right and proper way with the EIA being done as part of the whole process.The clearing of the land could well have been done in a much more civilised way IE clearing but saving certain trees shrubs etc to enhance the area when the buildings go up.This has unfortunately been the WAY for many years now.Knock it all down syndrome and its a real shame that more control is not taken over a huge project like this to make it more pleasing to the eye and the surrounding areas.Lets hope that we do not destroy everything in future developments but that is certainly not definate given the people that are in power and who control the building and planning permits.I think the common expression out there these days is"Money talks"and obviously nothing else matters.

  13. Anonymous says:

    This just goes to show how out of touch Cayman is. Cayman needs development and investment. Without material growth you will have a repeat of what has occured in neighbouring islands – crime, unemployment, the death of civilisation. Well done Gene – this is an amazing project never let the uninformed prevent you from being a pioneer

    • Anonymous says:

      Cayman needs smart development, not a bunch of hacks ruining the scenery for generations to come that are in it for the quick fix or vain glory.

    • Anonymous says:

      balooney.  if the education system worked and the labour board worked we wouldn't have to jump at every potential investment idea as there would be less people who depended on new investment.,  i do however support the hospital project fully until some of those zombies they will be importing start messing with my fishing spot up there.

  14. bear baiter says:

    Law or not they obviously don't need an EIS when they've got Mad Mac on their side! May just CAN'T come soon enough!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Come on folks what else is new….remember now, Ryan from the Ritz didn't  have to pay duties, was able to do all sort of things without permission…this is just a repeat…why does everyone act so surprised

      • Anonymous says:

        Or keep voting for McKeeva and UDP — we know what they are about and they show us every time: disrespect, no regard for law or du process,arrogant, incompetent and everyting reeks of corruption, cronyism and misappropriation of government resources.

        So why keep putting these people back in office ? to KEEP raping the country?


  15. Anonymous says:

    A little bird told me that money is already pegged for the education of nurses, so they can take care of the millionaires on the island who canalready goto  the several other hospitals or specialists on the Island or to the US for high quality care, or to Cuba for cheaper care. Seems like the "lets go big" crowd is still hanging around in government at a time where the world is only begining a Great Stagnation  for many years to come. Why do I smell a misappropriation of funds in the future as a headline. Can we submit an FOI in anticipation of corruption?

  16. Anonymous says:

    I wonder if planning permission was granted for Joe Imperato to place heavy equipment on his land for clearing. An how would permission have been granted without planning approval in place for the intended development? There is one law for Joe Public and another for those who just go ahead and do what they want, because they know there is no enforcement.  What has happened at Breakers is ecological vandalism of the highest order, and it has happened alongside  Cayman's most iconic coastline.  It sickens me to the core. The fact that this can be done freely, shows how far Cayman has sunk. Environmental considerations are virtually non-existent, it's a national sickness.


  17. Chewbacca says:

    Money first.  Look to Male in the Maldives.  That is the future awaiting Grand Cayman.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Just goes to show if you plan to invest a significant amount of cash, certain legal requirements can be overlooked for a price.  Have the government received a back-hander here to allow this sort of carry on?

  19. Anonymous says:

    You know what I'd like to see published for all to see?  I'd like to see a chronology of every law, every regulation, every rule, every process that this government and their supporters either broke or attenpted to break or circumvent in the last 4 years. 

    • Truth says:

      Instead of accountability for it all?  And Caymanians are still wondering why it still happening to them.  Its because you deserve it. "We cannot solve our problems using the same thinking we used when we created them" Albert Einstein

  20. kickme says:

    The Nauru of the Caribbean!  A few ticks get fat until the host dies taking the rest of us.

  21. Anonymous says:

    But Mac told us . . . . . . .


    . . . . there was no need . . . . . . .


    Need I say more?

  22. Anonymous says:

    Where are all of the "environmentalists" that stormed Glass House when the PPM were proposing a road through the "Ironwood Forest"? Where is your uproar now?


    UDP got your tongue/wallet?

    • Anonymous says:

      14.40  No one had any warning, and there was no public consultation, so no time to "storm the Glasshouse". Joe recently decided not to go ahead with his 400 acre quarry in response to the public outcry, and then sprung this one on us. So don't distort the facts, which is that Joe wiped out a huge area of virgin forest without warning and without the usual planning permission. This is a quite separate matter from the clearing of trees for the  Shetty Hospital. The Department of the Environment has been ring-fenced and castrated by this government. Nature has taken hundreds of thousands of years to create what we've inherited, and we should be more intelligent looking after it for our children. To outsiders from Europeor Canada for example, this sort of wanton and quite unnecessary destruction of ancient forest  must seem like we're stuck in the middle of the last century.


      • Anonymous says:

        No one had any warning?? When the bulldozers were clearing the land, why didnt you environmentalists go up there and stop them from destroying the trees. Unna padlock unna selves to trees in South Sound, unna go on the radio with unna children and tell the PPM to stop with their plans for a road thru the Ironwood forests, unna stage a big, ORGANISED protest outside the old Glasshouse, but none of you went to East End or Govt Building (and STILL havent gone) and protested against what you call a terrible destruction.


        Are you afraid of what McKeeva Bush and his Govt might do to you? Or are you all ALSO sipping at the UDP trough?

  23. Anonymous says:

    Everyone watch closely as this moves forward.  They will be asking to "pull a Dart" and have the ocean front Rod moved back from the Sea so that they can build a resort there to " serve" the Hospital.

    We are setting a precedent with West Bay Rd. and Dart.  If you don't believe me take a look at their plans, if you can. They being The Shetty group and Imparato who owns that land surrounding the Hospital.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Another really smart move.

    Kill off the tourist industry and sell the island by the square foot to so-called investors only interestedin a quick buck.

    Anyone want to speculate how long it will be before the Shetty Hospital goes the same way as some of those other monuments to stupidity like the derelict Hyatt, Spanish Bay, the Courtyard Marriott or the vacant building lots you see everywhere on Grand Cayman?

    If you think the Cayman Islands are currently experiencing poverty and recession you ain't seen nothing yet. When the cruise ships stop coming and the eco-conscious tourists boycott the islands you'll be back to fishing (if there are any fish left to catch) and making silver thatch rope for a living.

    Old saying 'short term gain, long term loss'. 

  25. B.B.L. Brown says:

    Terrible.  Terrible!  Isn't the law being ignored by having no environment impact study?  If so, why isn't it enforced?  Doesn't anyone care if our natural  environment is being destroyed?  Is enriching certain individuals more important than our heritage?  Only in the Caymans!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Mrs. Ebanks-Petrie obviously cares a lot. So do Carla Reid, Fred Burton and a host of other people. Unfortunately, they seem to be banging their heads againsta brick wall here just the same way they do regarding South Sound mangroves and captive stingrays. It must be so frustrating to be anyone who really cares about the environment here. 

      • Anonymous says:

        I do believe that the Planning Law addresses situations such as this.  Let's see what they do about it seeing there were no approvals given by them. 

        • Devil's Advocate says:

           Laws without Enforcement are Laws without teeth, and therefore can protect nothing and noone.

           The Planning Laws, the Environmental Laws and the (non-existent) Conservation Laws are 3 prime examples.

        • Anonymous says:

          And if Planning dont come or do anything, am going to purchase Ten (10) 40 foot containers and rent them out to the jacans, Filopions and Indians on my property. So come on down Cadian!!!!!!

  26. Anonymous says:

    There is no legal requirement for an EIA, so why is everyone upset about this? 

    Even if there had been an EIA it would probably have been worse than the one done for East End Sea Port.  That was a joke if I ever saw one.  There was no public consultation of that EIA nor was there any recommendations as to avoid the major environmental damage that was proposed.  No it was ridiculous. 


    It is also ridiculous that there is still NO Conservation law.

  27. Anonymous says:

    How absolutely disgusting. Shame on you all for this God knows what you ave destroyed by doing this. This island is going to be a concrete jungle soon with no-one on it!! Al of us Caymainian & expat alike are fed up with this little regards for eviromental  protection whether it be land or sea. Shame on you.

  28. Green Hornet says:

    Why are we not surprised? When Ryan cleared 400 acres of mangroves on Earth Day 2001 on what is now the (for sale) Ritz Carlton, he was thumbing his nose at anyone who was concerned about ecological conservation. Obviously, nothing has changed 11 yeasrs later. Bulldoze first,  worry about it later (not!).

    • Anonymous says:

      He bulldozed 400 acres on one day?  

      Wow, that bulldozer operator is pretty good!  #forthewin

      • Anonymous says:

        You are an ignoramus and obviously have no idea what or where Fort George is.

        • Anonymous says:

          21;26, I presume your post is in response to 12;42  and not 14:21 ? 12:42 was commenting on bulldozing done by Ryan, while that one by 14:21 was about Jim Bodden's destruction of Fort George. I think you mixed them up.

          • Anonymous says:

            I think YOU also got them mixed up 9:17!! Look again! This kind of mix-up is common on CNS when posters don't refer specifically to the post they are responding to.

    • Anonymous says:

      And who was it who personally bulldozed Fort George all those years ago, setting the trend for this country's treatment of its history and environment? Ah yes, I remember. Mr James Bodden. Our National Hero. With a statue honouring him just a few yards away from where he bulldozed Fort George into oblivion.

  29. Anonymous says:


  30. the truth says:

    As "The Truth" has said before, there is nothing that can be done about these types of blatant disregard for the voice of the people, local and Expat alike, until these current ministers and their guardians the Attorney General are removed from office. They hold no candle even to those who sit at the helm of boards established to protect the Cayman Islands beautiful natural landscapes and unique species of plants and animals. We should not be alarmed by this, we should be alarmed by the fact that this disregard can be conducted freely. If this was a country of countrymen who had a little spine (Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Belize,Middle East) to name a few, this would simply not be allowed to happen. People would have descended upon these atrocious developements and that would have been that (problem solved and our voices heard lound and clear). My fellow country seem to be lacking basic testosterone or just too busy being bar flys. There are many people who have great ideas but true brilliance lies with those who envision things yet to come and who know that the bridge you crossed on your way to the top might not be there when you return (just a long fall). These current Ministers and their lavish self serving supporters (all big developers) will soon to come realize that in the near future. When the young leaders rise up and NATIONALIZE the majority of it!


  31. Anonymous says:

    Here is the link refereed to in the attached email from DoE.

    Once again we get international press about our lack of concern for our God given environment
    of which,I might add, we are not being very good stewards.

  32. SHAME ON YOU says:

    Does anyone else see a pattern here? A certain local(who just coincidentally happens to be the same local involved with Dolphin Discovery where the tagged sting rays were being used as part of their attraction) partnered with non-locals in other projects where there again seems to be more emphasis on green currency instead of green country. 

    • Anonymous says:

      I believe this same individual was in the group of business owners who are said to have convinced McKeeve to give up on the "expat tax".Makes you wonder if that whole thing was staged to stir anti expat emotions and gain back support that McKeeva had lost amongst locals.Also wonder if the other merchants were misled in this instance.

  33. Anonymous says:

    "hundreds of rare and threatened speceis"? come on, get real. There was a time not very long ago wheneveryw square inch of this island was untouched by human hand.

    we need development, pure and simple. 

  34. Anonymous says:

    Isn't one of these individuals mentioned also involved with the Dolphin attraction that is Part of the recent Stingray controversy.  When will these rich, politically connected developers start giving a d@mn about our environment?

    • Truth says:

      When will all of you that give a damn realize that many don't and never will.  If you do nothing to stop them then NO ONE will.  And so far no one has.  The only way to stop rich, politically connected developers is to be more poitically connected to your voted in leadership then they are.  Next chance you all get make sure the ones you vote for are willing and able to work for you the people.  Or just get used to dissapointment.

  35. Anonymous says:

    not surprised at all….. this whole project has been a smoke and mirrors excercise since day 1…..

    so many questions still remian…

    what are they buiding?…hospitals, schools, resorts???

    when will they be complete?

    who is building?

    how is it being financed?

    where is the business plan?

    where is the eia?

  36. Anonymous says:

    what is the current status of planning for this project?