UK prioritises environment

| 06/12/2012

bulldozer.JPGCNS): The British government appears to be placing increasing significance on the environment within its overseas territories and said in the communiqué released after this week’s Joint Ministerial Council that it wants to see environmental considerations at the heart of policy and decision making. The fact that the environment is listed second in the priority issues that the UK government and the territory leaders agreed indicates that the Cayman government may not be able to ignore the pressing issue of the National Conservation Law for much longer. The leaders have agreed that wherever natural resources are used commercially it is done so responsibly through the use of environmental impact assessments and evidence-based management plans.

The communiqué and the comments made by Dr Peter Hayes, the new overseas territories director, when he was in Cayman last week, indicate that government may soon be forced to pass environmental laws.

In the agreement the UK says it recognises that the territories are home to many species and environments found nowhere else in the world and that sustainable economic growth and livelihoods within the territories depend on the responsible stewardship of these natural resources. Given the importance that the British government is now placing on the environment, it is offering support and assistance to the territories to help them better manage natural resources.

“Territory Governments recognise their responsibilities for the sustainable management of the natural environment and the need to put environmental considerations at the heart of policy and decision making. The UK recognises the supportive role that it can play with Territory Governments to help make this shared agenda a reality, in cooperation with NGOs, the private sector and other stakeholders."

The need for a National Conservation Law for the Cayman Islands and legally enforceable protections for the county’s unique flora and fauna has been mounting for more than a decade but no government has had the political will to push through the necessary legislation as a result of persistent anti-legislation lobbying from special interest groups.

However, as Cayman has agreed to the latest commitments with the UK, the pressure is mounting for the government to act to protect the environment. As Cayman faces planning applications for two major developments in East End, neither of which are undertaking environmental impact assessments, the need to legislate for the environment to be considered equally alongside social and economic issues on planning applications is more pressing than ever.

According to the communiqué, the territories and the UK have agreed to a number of environmental issues relevant to the different territories, from the development of sustainable fishing to incentives that will encourage private sector investment in renewable energy.

On of the agreed priority actions is for “a more strategic approach to the management, protection and conservation of the natural environment, including embedding that understanding into Government policies and decision-making”; and also “to ensure that where commercial use of natural resources takes place, it is carried out in the most sustainable and environmentally responsible way, including through the use of environmental impact assessments, evidence based management plans, and protection of important areas.”

The agreement calls for governments to implement Environment Charters and to work towards the full implementation of Multilateral Environmental Agreements where these have been extended to the territories. The UK has, in turn, agreed to strengthen the way it represents the territories' interests in relevant international fora and to identify and share best practice.

Despite widespread public support for the National Conservation Law the legislation hasfailed to reach the floor of the Legislative Assembly. The UDP government was elected to office promising to pass the bill early in its term. However, despite several rounds of further consultation on the legislation and the watering down of the law to make it palatable for special interest groups, the minister is still ignoring this area of his responsibility and has stated that it is not a priority.

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  1. bear baiter says:

    Grenada has based it's current tourism product on protecting and sustaining their natural resources and the tourists are flocking there. If our polititions had the slightest bit of common sense they would do the same. Just how many tourists do they think are going to come here to drive on our new roads through what once was pristine forest land, admire our desert developments, etc., etc.? My guess is that you wouln't even need the fingers on one hand to count them up! What's the point in building all this crap if no one can any longer enjoy the natural beauty that once was ours? WAKE UP POLITITANS!! Get it right – for once!

    • Anonymous says:

      Our current trend is that our tourism product is based on paving our natural resources. And fatting the developers pocket and bowing to their desires.

    • Anonymous says:

      Grenada has natural beauty and scary locals.

    • Get A Grip says:

      Grenada is a beautiful island.  Grand Cayman is pretty much flat, ugly scrub and mangrove.  I admit the lazy 80s Floridian architecture of SMB is pretty ugly, but there was not much lost by building those eyesores.

  2. Truth says:

    If any intelligence is to be injected into CIG it will have to come from an outside source.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Things that work in a developed country do not work well in a third world democracy.  Cayman islands can only go so fast toward a better future as it fights to hold on to its culture of taking no responsibility for themselves.  The good news is that Cayman will never get too crowded, too overbuilt, or too easy for anyone to live here.

  4. Anonymous says:

    It has to be taken into consideration that as a developing country we cannot have the same environmental policy that fully developed countries have. Given our revenue base stopping development using a developed country’s legislation will only lead to direct taxation. We need to craft an environmental policy specific for our country’s unique situation. Hopefully most will see that the UK. Is more interested in controlling our country than really about some maiden plum and cliff rock in east end.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Bout time somebody stepped up to the plate!

    Too bad it had to be Mom!

    Get your act together government and get this done!

  6. Anonymous says:



    This will never work in a so-called christian culture.


    Mr. Snuffleupagus is the "true" imaginaryfriend. This is based on the real "true" evidence; and "truth" is immutable; Big Bird would never lie.

  7. Green Hornet says:

    Might be a little too late. Has anyone seen the devastation of the new west bay road has caused? Or the landscape of shetty’s hospital. All the trees are gone, flattened, destroyed…..all for greed! They say this is in the name of medical tourism. At what cost mr. Minister for environment. I hope you have a good explanation for your children when they ask what happened to our envorinment. Time longer than rope! Pity we all have to suffer for party politics.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Uh-oh BoBo

  9. Immortal Words says:

    Prediction: FCIA deal will be approved by UK advisor as the establishment of a waste to energy facility is the best means to deal with the country's garbage problem. [fits UKs Environment policy]

    But retendering the dump job is not feasible – given the advanced state of road work already done, to withdraw from this package deal will cause unnecessary hardship to DART and potentaially open the CIG to litigation risk – unnacceptable given the country's current financial problems. [fits UK financial policy of not wanting to absorb any liability for Cayman/OTs]

    Accordingly, the FCIA is in country's best interests and represents best value; satisfies FFR yada yada.

    UDP rides to victory winning WB (4 seats), GT (2 seats). BT (1 seat) and CYB (1 seat) giving house majority.

  10. Anonymous says:

    In case some people have forgotten, the Cayman Islands signed an Environmental Charter with the UK in September 2001.

    Not only have we failed to impliment this Charger,  the UK is also at fault as they have not bothered to hold us to our commitments nor have they fulfilled many of their commitments. Seems about time they called for implimentation.

  11. Kmanzteal says:

    We have been entrusted with one planet and one planet only. The same people that make the laws are the same people that have profited off EVERY single source of pollution known to man.  These people are known as the elite or the 1% who own 99% of the world.

    Dumping complex chemicals, burning stuff with noxious fumes and basically just dumping trash around with no concern for the environment has all come about because greedy people have wanted more money and more power for less investment.

    Now these same people are going to turn it around and blame this situation on the common people in the form of a Carbon Tax.

    No to Carbon Tax, we are not the polluters, and we will not play your games. They will say there is no opt out because we all produce carbon dioxide. It is the elite who cannot be trusted, need to be chipped and put on medication because they have perpetrated these crimes on humanity.

    Let me also say that there are many of us who have seen through their lies with those genetically modified abominations known as lion fish. I suppose they'll be proposing another genetic modification solution to the problem that they created.

    People, if we don't wake up, we'll find ourselves in bed with the devil.

    • Anonymous says:

      "in bed with the Devil" where have you been?!!

      He is getting out of the bed, and now informing us that the condom broke!

      So, to that end I say, we beyond the threat of having him IN the bed!

  12. Anonymous says:

    A national conservation law for the protection of flora and fauna? Why not an environmental protection law that protects us humans from pollution like that which MRCU, the Government owned dump and CUC spews out every day? Why is it that that is considered such an ignoble cause? Because pollution is by far the greatest threat to our (and the global) environment, notwithstanding that here in cayman, we bury our heads in the sand about it, even though evidence abounds that there is something wrong, like the extremely high cancer rate in Cayman. Are we not entitled to expect clean air and water for our future generations? Or should we just protect the bats and the mangroves from development?
    After all, we know who is ultimately responsible for these things, so why not go after them? The obvious answer is that no government will by its own actions indict itself. The fact is that we allow the importation and use of chemicals (like paraquat) and products (like fibreglass ductboard) which have been banned in other countries because they have determined after expending millions of dollars, that those things are dangerous to the human populace and the environment.
    By the way, we already have a law that protects our marine environment (the Marine Conservation Law) and one that promotes the protection of natural (flora and fauna) and historical assets (the National Trust Law). The fact is that the DOE has lost all objectivity and has concentrated all of its efforts on development, hence they have created a “Sustainable Development Division” when they legally have no business in development, but oddly enough, they don’t have an “Anti Pollution Division” which ironically is actually their statutory business.
    When are we going to see a proper INDEPENDENT evaluation of pollution in Cayman? Why hasn’t that been done and made public?
    Problem is, we have been duped into diverting our attention to a much easier and popular target – development.
    Therefore, it is now being proposed that what we need is an effective ban on development, vis a vis the draft National Conservation Law, which would effectively turn the islands into a nature reserve, and somehow that’s apopular cause in Cayman right now. I think we need to refocus on the things that are most important first. Let us approach this most important issue of environmental protection objectively and properly determine what the real evil is. I think if we do that, we’ll come to the same conclusion as the rest of the civilized World, that the real evil is pollution, much of which is caused by certain types of development.
    But lets not, in our zeal to protect the environment, throw out the baby with the bath water.

    • Anonymous says:


      I refer you to S.18 of the Constitution Order which came in to force in November 2012.  It reads:

      18. Protection of the Environment

      —(1) Government shall, in all its decisions, have due regard to the need to foster and protect

      an environment that is not harmful to the health or well-being of present and future generations,

      while promoting justifiable economic and social development.

      (2) To this end government should adopt reasonable legislative and other measures to protect the

      heritage and wildlife and the land and sea biodiversity of the Cayman Islands that—

      (a) limit pollution and ecological degradation;

      (b) promote conservation and biodiversity; and

      (c) secure ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources.

      Hopefully this will help you understand the point of this article. Your attack on the DOE shows your ignorance as sustainable development and conservation go hand in hand.

      Also, the National Trust Law only applies to properties owned by the National Trust which is a non-governmental not-for-profit organization.





    • Anonymous says:

      There are other (better) ways to make money besides endless "development". Think about the meaning of the word "sustainable".  

      • Anonymous says:

        You may be correct but not with Cayman’s current tax base. No development no revenue to government. Simple.

  13. Anonymous says:

    If the UK cared about the environment they would have moved the landfill a long time ago.

    • Anonymous says:

      If your children mess up their room, they tidy it. How can this be the UK's problem? Greedy politicians who have been unwilling or incapable of negotiating a satisfactory solution to this problem are to blame.

      When they can figure out a way to print money for themselves, things will happen.

      • Anonymous says:


        You tidy my room don’t lie to thesepoor people.

        Now where’s my dinner? I said hot dammit not lukewarm!

        • Just Sayin' says:

          I blame it on the helper. I’m convinced she steals all my left socks too.

    • Anonymous says:

      No sir! It is your responsibility not theirs!

    • Anonymous says:

      Maybe the UK are now reading the people's comments on CNS and taking note….unlike the government here who only criticise, condemn people's comments and do nothing positive about anything!

  14. Environ-mentallist says:

    We need this conservation law ASAP!!

    Charter companies need to be regulated on what they are taking out of the sea on a daily basis. Some of them are good about it and others have no regard for the law what-so-ever!

    Have a look at the comment (3rd from the bottom) on this link from trip advisor, I was completely shocked and disgusted…


    They are taking lobster out of the water during thanksgiving break (wich is in November and out of season as far as I know) according to the post which even includes pictures to prove that they are taking way more than they are allowed aswell!

    This has got to be stopped! DOE, CIG, RCIPS do something about this before they are all wiped out!

  15. Anonymous says:

    no worries we have mark 'captain planet' scotland!!!!

  16. Pit Bull says:

    So should the UK take control of this – it is a national interest and an issue relevant to the Uk's international relations.  It is not a matter for local governments.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think your efforts to be seen as pithy, disdainful and John Bullish as well as Pit Bullish are rather forced and strained on this particular issue.

      • Pit Bull says:

        I do like the fact I have a CNS stalker, but I would rather have one that was not a self-righteous one-trick pony with a weak trick.  Could you please try and do better next time, this effort was not one of your best.

        • Anonymous says:

          Thanks for the compliment of calling me your stalker but in fact I haven't commented on your posts for very many months now and, furthermore- the horror!- I actually agree with some of them, despite their tone and neo-colonial slant. Perhaps you have two or more stalkers? A case for Lord Leveson, perhaps.

  17. the truth says:

    Not a Priority! Enough said! Bye bye minister, i wonder if he is completely oblivious to the fact that his career is OVER in the Cayman Islands or is he completely oblivious to the fact. He seems pretty good at being oblivious to things.

  18. Anonymous says:

    No chance Bush will rush on this one!

    Just think, his good buddies Ryan and Dart depend on wrecking the environment, their developments are a disgrace in this respect, with no regard for example to your natural mangrove protection.

    Then what about waste disposal, he has given this one to the Darts! Will you have a proper waste disposal, will you have energy from waste, no chance!

  19. Mangled Mangrove says:

    We had a nice environmental law, but Mike did not like it.  So Mac saw to squishing it dead.