NCL on final road tour

| 02/12/2013

(CNS): Minister Wayne Panton and officials from the Department of Environment will begin what is expected to be the final round of public discussions regarding the much debated National Conservation Law Monday in West Bay. It was dubbed by Panton as the ‘National Conversation Law’ because for more than a decade successive governments attempted to accommodate everyone’s opinions on how Cayman can protected what remains of its dwindling natural resources. However, when he was appointed as the environment minister after the elections, Panton committed to passing the law before the end of this year and it is scheduled for debate in the Legislative Assembly next week.

Despite a sustained campaign by the Cayman Islands' only daily newspaper against the law, the minister is confident that the majority of Caymanians support the legislation. However, he is extending an open invitation to all to attend one of the six meetings over the next week to ask questions about the bill and air any final concerns ahead of the debate in the LA.

Although the opposition leader and the independent members have indicated they will not support the law, the bill should pass through the parliament following its acceptance by Cabinet and given the support of the PPM and the C4C on the campaign trail ahead of May's general election.

Once passed into law, for the first time in local history the array of unique indigenous land flora and fauna in Cayman, many of which are listed as endangered or vulnerable, will have some protection in law. The environmental impact on any development will also need to be considered alongside the socio-economic impacts currently influencing the decisions of Cayman’s planning authority. In addition, government will have the ability to create protected habitats on the land that it owns. And unlike the powers it has to force people to sell land for roads, in this case the arrangement would be entirely voluntary.

The need to preserve habitat is critical to preserving unique local species, such as the silver thatch and the banana orchid, both of which have been in massive decline despite being national symbols.

“This bill, as it is now, is the place to start. It is a sound, rational and reasonable thing to do,” said Panton. “I know there are people on either side of the issue, but this is something we must put in place now.”

Panton said the meetings this week will include a short review of the law but the bulk of the time will be reserved for questions. People planning on attending are urged to read the law and raise any points or issues on which they are not clear.

As a result of the Gimistory schedule, the DoE has swapped some dates to prevent a clash in the districts and as a result the meeting scheduled for East End at the civic centre will now take place on Monday 9 December while the George Town meeting will move to Thursday 5 December at the Peace Hall. All of the district meetings will start at 7:30pm and will be held in the relevant civic centres.

See revised meeting schedule.

Vote in the CNS poll: Should the Legislative Assembly pass the National Conservation Bill into law?

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Nice to see the PPM going on the road for this crap but nothing in the works for the unemployed caymanians.

    • Anonymous says:

      The DOE will have to do a lot of hiring to carry out even half of the ambitions in this Bill.  

  2. Anonymous says:

    The meetings are just sham….nothing will change and the government will ram it down our thoats!!…simple to figure this out.

  3. Shore Nuff says:

    The objectors to the NCL should read the Land Acquisition Law (1995 Revision). Government has long had the ability to take your property and determine your compensation, if any.

    Funny that you were blissfully unconcerned until the discussion turned to preserving God’s creation.

  4. Anonymous says:

    It is difficult to understand why CNS thiks the Compass is wrong to oppose certain sections of the NCL but it is right for CNS to be such an advocate for the bill. The road show as it is titled above is accurate as that is all it is a "road show" just as the PPM did with the Immigration bill come to the public after the fact. They have already decided what they want in the law as it is already passed by Cainet and I understand that some Ministers and backbench supporters have not even read the bill yet they supported it through cacus and Cabinet. Have we all noticed how Arden and Ezzard can quote sections of the bill to support their concerns but the Government simply tell us what it says without quoting the sections that would support their argument.

    • Anon says:

      Were n't you paying attention during the general election?  PPM's manifesto / campaign spelled out what they would be doing with their four years.  I am sure you will be equally surprised when they bring OMOV.  I, for one, would be very disappointed if they did not carry out the mandate of the electorate.

    • Anonymous says:

      Where in this article is it stated that the Compass is wrong and CNS is right?

    • Anonymous says:

      10 + years in the making ??????????????? everyone have had and continue to have an opportunity to make their presentations. Why do you still need more time? If it is as important or detrimental as some say, why did you not make your views and alternatives known. this is all about developers wanting to do as they please and while doing so the calves are dying while they are selling all the milk.

      Rememberthe conch and lobsters the same people objected to that bill, NOW YEARS LATER THEY ARE SAYING oh that should have became law 100 years ago. nothing is perfect and better an imperfect environment law than no law at all.

      Now get out and have your say and present your alternative opinions.

    • Anonymous says:

      This CNS article seems very balanced like you would expect from a decent news organisation.  Unlike the Compass who did the opposite, I do not see anything in this article which says that any MLA who votes against the NCL should be vilified etc. If by writing a mostly neutral story  you perceive them to be "such an advocate for the bill" that is actually simply a reflection of your bias and not a matter of fact. On who quotes what in favour of positions, you might note that anytime Arden and Ezzard quote anything they ONLY do so in circumstances where they cannot be challenged immediately and if they are they find every excuse why they arent prepared to respond.

  5. Anonymous says:

    There is no needto have a meeting in each district in Grand Cayman.  At most there should be a meeting in George Town and Bodden Town.

    • Anonymous says:

      Could you explain why those two districts? Having watched different 'legislative inititiatives' receive different levels of 'public roll-out' I'm interested in how people view the roll-outs. So, why those two districts? – Thanks.

      • Anonymous says:

        Because the others are close enough to them.  Petty districtism is pathetic in the age of the motor car.

      • Anonymous says:

        Oh, I don't know. It was just an arbitrary statement because I thought I should say something. LOL.