Archive for December 9th, 2013

Cops record 32 crashes in 10 days

Cops record 32 crashes in 10 days

| 09/12/2013 | 32 Comments

(CNS): The RCIPS’ Stay Alive road safety campaign does not appear to have made any impact on improving driving on the local roads yet or encouraged people to obey the traffic law. In just ten days the police have attended 32 road crashes and have arrested twenty people for drinking and driving and other road offences, from dangerous driving to driving without being qualified. In addition, 23 people have been given a ticketed for using a cell phone behind the wheel, 11 for speeding, 7 for failing to wear a seatbelt and 44 for a variety of other road traffic infringements.

With drivers still not paying due attention, there have also been a number of accidents that have resulted in serious injury, including a young male motor cyclist who was airlifted off island for treatment for injuries he sustained in a crash with a Toyota in Red Bay, and the victim who was hit by a car as worked in a manhole, who is being treated for multiple injuries at the local hospital.

In the face of the continued poor standards of driving and traffic law offences, Inspector Adrian Barnett said the police would continue with the zero tolerance approach to traffic enforcement.

“This campaign is all about raising awareness of the issue of road safety through education and enforcement,” he said. “It’s clear that many people are still not heeding our warnings – they seem to believe that the law does not apply to them.

“Well, 20 people who thought they were above the law have been arrested so far and now face the consequence of court, fines and disqualification. More than 80 other offences were detected and those who were ticketed face the prospect of having a cash shortage this Christmas because of the associated fines. But let’s face it – the people who are hit hardest are those in hospital and their families,” the senior officer added.

“My message to those who continue to drink and drive, speed, drive while being distracted by cell phones, etc, is that they should think about those people before getting behind the wheel. Do not be the person responsible for another family having to go through this heartache and trauma.”

The Stay Alive traditional holiday campaign and clamp down on the road laws continues until after the New Year.

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CIG opens condolence book for Mandela

CIG opens condolence book for Mandela

| 09/12/2013 | 11 Comments

(CNS): As tributes pour in following the death of international icon and former South African president, Nelson Mandela, the Cayman Islands government has opened condolence books to allow members of the public to sign and make comments which will be sent to Mandela’s family. Books are open at the Government Administration Building on Grand Cayman, and the District Administration Building on Cayman Brac. Cabinet secretary Samuel Rose said that Mandela’s stature on the world stage was such that his popularity transcended national boundaries and the integrity of his character and courage of his actions spoke to something deep inside everyone.

“Here in the Cayman Islands, many of us came to know and admire Mr Mandela secondhand, whether through media reports, study at school, personal interest or the galvanizing effect that he had on communities across the Caribbean," Rose stated. “To reflect the esteem in which this remarkable and ground breaking leader was held by the people of the Cayman Islands, and to give our community an opportunity to pay their respects and express their sympathies, we invite the public to visit the Government Administration Building on Grand Cayman and the District Administration Building on Cayman Brac to sign condolence books.” 

Premier Alden McLaughlin, who expressed his grief at the death of Mandela last Thursday in an official statement, noted how important he was not just to south Africa but the world: “His compassion, humility and humanity were an inspiration not only to his country, but to many of us in the Cayman Islands who want only to make lives better for our people,” he said.

Mandela, who had been illfor some time, died at his home surrounded by friends and family aged 95 years old. He will be given a state funeral, which is expected to be one of the largest in modern time. Some 91 heads of state are expected to descend on South Africa this week. The week-long funeral rites will culminate on Sunday with Mandela's burial at a family plot in his rural boyhood home of Qunu. His body will lie in state for three days from Wednesday in the amphitheatre of the Union Buildings in Pretoria, where he was sworn in as president in 1994.

Each morning, his coffin will be carried through the streets of the capital in a funeral cortege to give as many people as possible the chance to pay their final respects.

Anyone who wishes to sign the Cayman condolence books see here.

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Invoices needed for Christmas packages

Invoices needed for Christmas packages

| 09/12/2013 | 19 Comments

(CNS): In the face of the anticipated Christmas parcel snarl up, the Cayman Islands Postal Service (CIPS) is urging customers to submit invoices for their own holiday parcels as well as ‘Watch for Requests’ for traceable items or parcels not addressed properly. CIPS said that without an invoice, customs cannot assess the duty people are required to pay before they can have their packages and they will have to queue to collect them during the now restricted hours at the customs counter at the Airport post office, where packages can be opened. Officials said customers can submit invoices via email to: or by fax to 345-945-6876. 

They should also include the following information:  The item’s tracking number (13 character number in the format of XX000 000 000 XX). The tracking number is essential to match the invoice to the package. The addressee’s name and postal address, the addressee’s email address (if available) and the invoice

“Without an invoice, the duty cannot be assessed,” Deputy Postmaster General of Operations, Melissa Martinez-Ebanks, explained. “This means the customer will have to go to the Customs counter at the Airport Post Office, which is only open between 11:00am and 2:00pm Monday through Friday, and 9:00am to 12:00 noon on Saturdays, to clear the package.”

The Watch For Request was intended for customers who realize their package did not have all the addressing elements required for delivery; namely, a post office box number and postcode.  However, the process can be used by any customer with a tracking number and, if the customer wishes, it offers the added benefit of receiving the notice via email within seconds of the item being processed.

“Our normal process is to send the notice to the customer’s mail box. In cases where the delivery address does not include a valid post office box number, this is not possible—often what we see is street addresses. However, we recognise that our normal process includes the time necessary to sort and deliver the hard copy of the notice. If customers wish, they may submit a Watch For Request for any item with a tracking number. If the request includes a valid email address, the notice will be emailed to the customer as soon as the item is ready for collection, thus allowing the customer to receive the notice quicker,” Martinez-Ebanks added. 

She said the “Watch For Request” is also useful for customers who share a post office box and may not have access at their own discretion. It is the only alternative for receiving the notice for items that do not include a post office box.

The Watch for Request forms are available at any post office and can also be downloaded from  Alternatively, customers can telephone 945-6875 and provide the necessary information.

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Dart battles against proposed plastic-foam ban in NY

Dart battles against proposed plastic-foam ban in NY

| 09/12/2013 | 22 Comments

(CNS): Dart Container Corporation, a company owned by Ken and Robert Dart, is currently involved in a major battle to try and preserve the use of plastic-foam cups and containers in the face of a proposed ban by the mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg. While the Dart Group is now a major developer and investor in the Cayman Islands, Dart Container, the company that is the backbone of the Dart family’s success, is the world’s largest producer of foam cups and containers. Reports in the international media say that Dart has offered to buy the used containers at $160 per ton to recycle the material, despite the well documented problems surrounding reusing foam products.

Bloomberg introduced a bill earlier this year to ban foam food containers across New York City because of its impact on landfills and the difficulties associated with recycling expanded polystyrene containers that are soiled with grease or food.

Dart, however, has said it can recycle it. In an effort to head off the ban, which could be devastating to the company given the size of the New York market, Dart has offered top dollar for the used goods and hopes the money will be enough to persuade Bloomberg to re-think the ban.

Residents will need to separate the dirty foam containers from foam used for packaging and the city will still have to collect it, but Dart has offered to clean and truck it to a recycling plant in Indiana.

US press reports say that the discussion about recycling formed part of a committee on sanitation and solid waste management last month in the city. Under the original proposal the ban would take effect next July but it could be stopped if the city’s deputy sanitation commissioner finds the recycling is a real possibility.

However, several US cities have already opted for a ban, including Portland, San Francisco and Seattle, and gradually restaurants are moving away from the use of plasitc-foam containers, including McDonalds and Dunkin Donuts, both of which plan to stop using it.

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Female driver arrested after hitting manhole worker

Female driver arrested after hitting manhole worker

| 09/12/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The woman who was driving a Suzuki Vitara which hit a man who was working in a manhole in George Town on Friday has been arrested for a catalogue of driving offences. Police confirmed Monday that the woman was arrested on suspicion of careless driving and operating an unlicensed vehicle, driving without insurance and without a certificate of road worthiness. The female driver is believed to have struck the 22-year-old man as he was working in the manhole situated in South Church Street at the junction with Parsons Lane, George Town as she was attempting to make a turn at the same junction.

The man sustained multiple injuries and is currently in the Cayman Islands Hospital, where his condition is described as serious. Police are asking anyone who witnessed the incident to contact George Town police station on 949-4222.

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Britain marks International Anti-Corruption Day

Britain marks International Anti-Corruption Day

| 09/12/2013 | 1 Comment

(CNS): The UK government stated its commitment to tackling corruption both in Britain and abroad, by continuing its push for tax transparency and through the implementation of the Bribery Act. In a joint statement Foreign Secretary William Hague, UK International Anti-Corruption Champion Ken Clarke and International Development Secretary Justine Greening said that reducing corruption and increasing transparency were vital for improving global stability and prosperity. 2013 also marks the 10 year anniversary of the passage of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, a standard which they encouraged the international community to champion.

The Foreign Secretary said, “Reducing corruption and increasing transparency is at the heart of this Government’s agenda. Through our Presidency of the G8 this year, the UK has secured a landmark agreement to promote tax transparency, tackle the misuse of ownership and legal arrangements by large companies, and announced plans for a UK register of beneficial ownership.

“Last week’s announcement by Transparency International that the UK had improved in the Corruption Perceptions Index was welcome news and reflects the work this Government has been doing to tackle corruption both in this country and abroad.”

Ken Clarke added, “I am proud that the Government have brought in the Bribery Act, a world-leading piece of legislation setting out a modernscheme of bribery offences in the UK and overseas and already giving rise to convictions.

“In my capacity as the UK Government’s Anti-Corruption Champion I am looking forward to working across Government to tackle efforts by those who launder the proceeds of corruption through the UK financial system. We are already pursuing money stolen in the Arab Spring countries.

“There is more to do, however, if we are to raise our standing at home and reduce corruption overseas. The establishment of the National Crime Agency will help continue this important work, as set out in the Serious and Organised Crime Strategy we have recently published. We must also continue to raise international awareness about our strong and comprehensive Bribery Act.”

International Development Secretary Justine Greening added, “When corruption happens in developing countries, it is the very poorest people who foot the bill. It deters investment, cheats citizens out of the services and support theyneed to develop their economies and end aid dependency.

“Stamping out corruption, fraud, money laundering and tax evasion is a vital part of our work. We are tackling the root causes and will support Britain’s world class police units to bring the culprits to justice.”

The UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) has programmes in place to help tackle endemic corruption, fraud and misuse of public funds in 29 priority countries, the release stated.

In addition, DFID funds specialist units in the Metropolitan Police, City of London Police, the Crown Prosecution Service and the Serious Organised Crime Agency to stop foreign or UK criminals from benefitting from corrupt practices in developing countries. Since 2006 over £100 million of assets have been restrained, confiscated or forfeited, and just under £14 million has been returned to developing countries.

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Noland grab clause in NCL

Noland grab clause in NCL

| 09/12/2013 | 24 Comments

(CNS): At a presentation on Cayman Brac Saturday on the proposed National Conservation Law, Environment Minister Wayne Panton and Department of Environment Director Gina Ebanks-Petrie addressed once again the lies and misinformation being spread about the NCL, and stressed that government will not be able to forcibly purchase land under the proposed law, nor will it give the Environment Council, which will be created under the law, power to dictate policy. The council’s role, they said, will be 95% advisory. Planning decisions will continue to be made by the Central Planning Authority (CPA) in Grand Cayman, the Development Control Board (DCB) in the Sister Islands, and Cabinet for coastal works licences.

The law simply states that these bodies must consider the advice of the council, along with all the other advisory bodies, such as the roads and water authorities, when weighing the pros and cons of a planning application, Ebanks-Petrie explained. The council, which will be a technical advisory board, will offer non-binding input on planning applications in the same way that the DoE does now. While the CPA, the DCB and Cabinet are not compelled to accept the advice of the council about environmental concerns, the new law does, for the first time, require them to consider it.

Only crown land can be designated as a “protected area” under the new law and the NCL does not include provisions for compulsory acquisition of private land. Government can offer to buy private land in order to protect it but thy owners can refuse, the DoE director told around 40 Brac residents at the meeting, noting that Compulsory Acquisition Law and the National Roads Authority Law already give government the power to forcibly buy land. The NCL will not make any difference to that, she pointed out.

“If the council or a private body suggests that a piece of land has environmental importance, and if the council decides that it’s worth it, it will advise Cabinet to buy the land,” the DoE director said. Negotiations to purchase the land at a fair market price will then begin, “but if the owners are not willing to sell, that is the end of it.”

Just because a protected species lives on private land does not mean that the land cannot be developed, Ebanks-Petrie stated. “That is not what the law says,” she said and explained that what it did mean is that after taking note of the Environmental Council’s advice, the decision-making bodies may add conditions to the planning approval in order to protect endangered species.

Some plants and animals are endemic to the Cayman Islands, which means that they live here and nowhere else on the planet, she said. Some of these species, but not all, require a specific area of land so that it does not become extinct, and this will be the critical habitat designation. However, the council will not have the power to impose this on any land, the DoE director explained. The proposal will be presented for public consultation and then go to Cabinet, which is the body that will make the decision.

The council, which in all other ways in entirely advisory, will have the authority to impose protection of species only in protected areas and critical habitat — both of which were designated by Cabinet — and the council’s decisions can be appealed to Cabinet.

Environmental impact assessments (EIAs) do not make the planning decisions, Ebanks-Petrie explained. They are another tool that the DCB, the CPA and Cabinet will use to ensure that they have all the necessary information to make their decisions.

“The current process is arbitrarily applied by the planning boards,” she said, noting that responsible developers find it “astonishing” that Cayman does not have set EIA regulations, which they are used to in other jurisdictions. The NCL will outline the EIA process for the first time and, far from deterring development, it will ensure the “clear, fair process” that is set out everywhere else, which is what developers want.

“Contrary to claims that this risks slowing development, good developers will be happy knowing that they will be treated the same as everyone else who walks in the door,” she said.

Deputy Premier Moses Kirkconnell, first elected MLA for the Sister Islands, who has responsibility for the cruise dock development, explained how, regarding that project, the EIA was one tool to be considered as they accumulated all the relevant information, including public reaction and input at the public meetings.

Nola Bodden, a businesswoman and land owner on the Brac, asked if the government could afford all the possible land purchases that may result from the enactment of the law. The Environmental Protection Fund, which is a departure tax on all visitors and residents, was created for this, Ebanks-Petrie explained. “We believe we have a good handle oncosts,” she said. “We don’t think there will be any need to impose new fees.”

Tim Dilbert asked if the members of the council would be required to register their interests. This will be covered by the Standards in Public Life law which is currently in the process of public consultation, Minister Panton said, and will require this of all members of public boards and committees. 

Dilbert also asked for a provision in the law that the Sister Islands must have representation on the Environmental Council. This provision was included in an earlier draft of the law, Minister Panton said, but then all the other districts wanted the same consideration and it was decided that this would be difficult to enforce since the council is technical in nature and it may not be possible to find people from all districts with the right technical skills.

However, he pointed out that the ultimate decision-makers for Cayman Brac and Little Cayman planning applications were the members of the DCB, who were all from the Sister Islands, or Cabinet, where they were represented by the deputy premier. And, he added, he felt sure that Kirkconnell would make sure that one of the seven Cabinet-appointed members would be from the Sister Islands.

Asked about waste management in regards to the law, Panton pointed out that this was a separate issue and was being addressed by Minister Osbourne Bodden, who has responsibility for Environmental Health and has committed to finding a solution to the landfill problem.

“This law will not address all the environmental ills of this country but it’s a start,” Ebanks-Petrie said.

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Court to hear WB Road case

Court to hear WB Road case

| 09/12/2013 | 43 Comments

(CNS): The civil action brought by four West Bay ladies questioning the legality of the deal between government, the National Roads Authority and Dart Realty, which resulted in the closure of the West Bay Road, opens in Grand Court today. Alice Mae Coe, Annie Multon, Ezmie Smith and Betty Ebanks have said that they believe their case has merit and werelooking forward to pressing their case in the trial. The writ was filed by the woman in February last year, and the women say that the governor, who is the first defendant, the attorney general, the minister of finance and the National Roads Authority acted unlawfully, as the deal they are all party to is unconstitutional.

Although the suit was filed against the previous administration, thePPM government has continued in the defence of the case even though it has not only questioned the deal but is currently struggling to renegotiate aspects of it. The NRA deal forms part of what was originally a much broader development partnership between the islands’ biggest developer and the former UDP government, known as the ForCayman Investment Alliance.

The NRA deal focused on the West Bay Road area and, among other things, required the closure of some 4,000 feet of the West Bay Road to turn land bought by Dart into beach front property to enable the redevelopment of the former Courtyard Marriott site into a new five-star oceanfront resort.

Part of the road has already been closed and buried under a significant amount of sand. However, the four women, who are part of what was a much wider campaign to keep the West Bay Road open, believe that the closure of the road, which has been in use for over 100 years, is unlawful and unconstitutional for a number of reasons and government did not follow due process.

Using the Bill of Rights and the Constitution to make their case, they claim that the governor, the attorney general, the minister with responsibility for roads and the National Roads Authority breached the National Roads Law, the Crown Lands Law and the recent amendments to the Public Management and Finance Law.

The controversial NRA agreement was originally signed in December 2011. Efforts were made to reach a final agreement by the UDP government and the minority administration that took office following the fall of former premier McKeeva Bush, as well as the current government, but the deal has not yet been formally re-agreed.

In their statement of claim the four West Bay women point to a number of issues they believe make the NRA agreement unlawful. They claim the governor and government failed to follow the requirements of the Crown Lands Law, the easement rights regarding the West Bay Road, which has been in use as a public thoroughfare for more than 100 years, government has failed to demonstrate value for money and that the deal has been shrouded in secrecy.

The women say that the former Cabinet circumvented proper lawful processes and that the NRA was never in a lawful position to sign the deal in the first place. The also say that the country’s parliament, and by inference the people of the Cayman Islands, have never been fully informed of the details of the agreement to close the road and have it absorbed as part of Darts beachfront property.

They also claim that under section 19 of the Constitution, “the first defendant, third defendant and fourth defendants have not acted lawfully, have acted irrationally and have not been procedurally fair in agreeing to” the road closure and giving the land to Dart and “have abdicated their statutory and constitutional duty in doing so".

The women are hoping for a declaration from the courts that the agreement as a stand-alone contract is flawed and beyond the powers of those involved to make.

Since filling the claim, the Dart Group has been joined in the case and will also play a part in the proceedings, which are open to the public and begin at 11am Monday before Justice Alex Henderson in Court 4 and is expected to last the week.

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C4C attacks conservation law

C4C attacks conservation law

| 09/12/2013 | 32 Comments

(CNS): Some 48 hours before the National Conservation Law goes before the members of the Legislative Assembly, the Coalition for Cayman has issued a statement attacking the bill. Although the group, which has always claimed it is not a political party, had campaigned during the election for a national conservation law, it seems that the ‘advocacy group’ does not like the law that government will be bringing to the House on Wednesday. The group suggests it will stifle development and claims that the government should establish a sustainable development policy before it passes the conservation law. Despite the attack by the C4C, the three candidates which the group endorsed during the election will be supporting the legislation.

Tara Rivers is bound by the collective responsibility of Cabinet, which has already approved the legislation. Meanwhile, backbenchers Winston Connolly and Roy McTaggart, who works with the environment minister on the financial services side of that ministry’s portfolio, are both understood to be backing the law.

Although its members of the LA will be getting behind the new law, the coalition has issued a press statement which attacks the law and asks for twelve more months to re-write it and consult further on legislation that has been dubbed the “national conversation law” by Environment Minister Wayne Panton. The minister coined the phrase during the election campaign, referring to the incredible amount of public discussion and consultation that has surrounding the formation of the legislation.

In their statement to the media C4C states, “The worst option in our view would be to try to ram through a Conservation Law … which may result in unintended consequences that create more problems than solutions. This is one instance where getting it done right is more important than just getting it done.”

On the campaign trail all eight of the candidates that ran on the C4C platform pointed to the urgent need for a conservation law and the management of Cayman’s natural resources. In the manifesto put out by the C4C, which they denied was a manifesto, and was referred to as a National Plan, the candidates collectively stated, “The natural resources of the Cayman Islands should be protected and managed responsibly to ensure that future generations inherit a healthy and viable environment.” They went on to state that they would pass a National Conservation Law if elected.

The Progressives, who were elected to office, also campaigned very specifically on this draft and promised it would bea priority. Once appointed as environment minister, Panton wasted no time and made it clear back in June that he would be steering the law through the LA before the end of the year, giving more than six months’ notice. He also announced that this final period of consultation will lead to some amendments before the bill is passed, including mandating provision for open government for the Environmental Council, which continues to be misunderstood, including by the C4C.

In their attack the C4C incorrectly suggests that the law allows environmental policy to be made by the council. However, it is Cabinet, the elected officials, who will make policy decisions based on the technical advice offered by the council. The decision by Panton to require the minutes of these meetings to be published by law and for meetings to be open to the public should go some way to proving that point once the law is implemented.

C4C also suggested that government could use the Compulsory Acquisitions Law to force the sale of land for conservation purposes. However, there is nothing at all in the law that will allow this to happen. As has been noted on numerous occasions by both the minister and Department of Environment Director Gina Ebanks-Petrie, if government wanted to compulsorily acquire land it could already do so without the NCL.

The NCL provides a way for government and land owners to choose to work together for conservation management while keeping land in landowners’ hands, but if they wish to sell, all purchases by government will be made at market value.

While the advocacy group acknowledges that the law has been under discussion for ten years, it suggests that “it has been the wrong discussion”, as they accuse the law of being about “limiting development” instead of facilitating development.

The group also called for policies covering recycling, reducing the reliance on fossil fuels and taking emergency steps to stop the dump leeching into the North Sound. However, the law, as the director of the environment has said during the most recent round of public discussion, is not a pollution law; it is a conservation law that is designed to protect indigenous and endemic species and at least some of the habitat on which they depend.

The C4C’s submission to government about a sustainable development policy sets out a desire to see much more and not less development, which it fears the law will curtail. It calls on government to offer incentives to developers for  high-end resorts and niche market hotels, mixed used developments, entertainment in general, three golf courses, mega-yacht facilities and marinas, more sport facilities, including a 50-meter swimming pool and associated facilities, as well as sewage, electricity, water, IT, roads, airport, cruise pier and various unnamed infrastructural projects.

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Conservation Bill critique

Conservation Bill critique

| 09/12/2013 | 30 Comments

Conservation is an important and emotive subject. It tends to be polarizing and can cause people to passionately disagree without being willing to acknowledge and accept the sensible aspects of the other's view. One of the Coalition for Cayman's 10 founding principles reads: A belief that the natural environment and resources of the Cayman Islands should be used responsibly ensuring that future generations inherit an environment that is clean and safe. 

We are therefore strong supporters of laws and regulations which protect Cayman's natural environment and resources for future generations.

Given the very limited space available in Cayman, we are also aware that this protection must be designed together with a national development and infrastructure plan so that we have a cohesive fit and balance for Caymanians to be able to own homes and have the opportunity to own a business as well as provide for the type of infrastructure that is needed to support a modern and expanding population. 

This was the general thrust of the paper we prepared entitled "Sustainable Development" and delivered to the new government shortly after they were elected.

The main concerns passed on to us about the draft Bill relate to a lack of the appropriate balance with the country's needs and the concentration of power in such a small group of unelected individuals. Here, briefly, are some of those specific concerns:

1. Policy should be made by our elected representatives and then implemented by the non-elected Government employees. The Bill allows policy on all matters related to the environment to be made by a council which includes Members of the Department of Environment, the National Trust and other political appointees without any reference to the Minister in charge of policy making on behalf of the elected Government.

2. Out of proportion penalties of CI$500,000 apply to any and all offenses, whether intentional or accidental, covering a broad range of habitats of 225 species – plus more "which may be threatened".

3. A new government bureaucracy will be created at significant unnecessary expense, while the increased costs and lost time created by the new requirements will discourage development, thereby further reducing revenue (both to government and the private sector) and employment during difficult economic times.

4. The Compulsory Acquisition Law is already on the books. This new Bill, working in tandem with that, would allow compulsory acquisition of private properties which might be deemed "protected" because they were adjacent to protected Crown property. Land is also a financial resource in Cayman as it is passed down from generation to generation providing collateral for our children’s education, our first home, our own business, etc. For Caymanian landowners to potentially lose the use of their property or the property itself, and without proper compensation, is unthinkable.

5. A comprehensive Conservation Bill should include provisions for Waste Management and Recycling.

We urge our Government to put the current Bill on hold and prepare a national development and infrastructure plan, which includes our conservation aims (what are we trying to protect) and the needs of a growing population (what areas are approved for future businesses, residential properties etc) including the related infrastructure requirements (location of future roads, airport, port, garbage disposal, sewerage treatment etc). The Bill can then be revised in light of these requirements.

This Bill may have been under discussion for 10 years, but it has been the wrong discussion. It should not have been about limiting development. It should be about permitting sustainable development whilst implementing green policies (recycling, reducing reliance on fossil fuels, taking emergency steps to stop the Dump leeching into the North Sound etc) that will make our Islands safe and clean in the future.

There is no resistance to a conservation law but there is real resistance to the drafts that have been put forward in isolation with serious inherent flaws and without any direction from the elected Government on its environmental and sustainable development policy. Based on all the feedback we have received from many concerned citizens, business owners, and residents, that appears to be the case once again.

Preparing a national development and infrastructure plan should not take long. We suspect much of this work has been done and is sitting on physical or electronic shelves within Government. There is no reason why a 12-month timeline would not be realistic for both the plan and a revised Bill to be brought to the LA. Our Government must first, and at the very least, agree on a Conservation and Sustainable Development Policy. To create a proper Bill you must have a policy in place that deals with 2 such important and intertwined issues.

The worst option in our view would be to try to ram through a Conservation Law (or any Law) which may result in unintended consequences that create more problems than solutions. This is one instance where getting it done right is more important than just getting it done.

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