CASE backs conservation law

| 11/12/2013

(CNS): On the eve of the anticipated debate in the Legislative Assembly Wednesday on the long awaited and much discussed National Conservation Law, the Society of Cayman Architects, Surveyors and Engineers (CASE) has offered its backing to the law and is urging its passage to offer certainty for developers. Despite the scare-mongering in recent weeks that the law will put an end to development in the Cayman Islands, the professional body whose members are entirely dependent on development have offered their support, with the majority agreeing that the bill is an “essential piece of legislation that needs to be enacted as soon as possible”.

In a statement released to the press on Tuesday, CASE said that it “supports the immediate adoption of the 2013 National Conservation Law as we recognise, and endorse efforts to conserve unique, local, endemic and indigenous features, species and habitats of the Cayman Islands.”

The body’s executive council went on to advise its members to become actively involved in what it said would be many opportunities created by the National Conservation Law. Far from wringing their hands at the imminent collapse of the economy as we know it, as has been advocated in some quarters, the group of architects, surveyors and engineers said the proposed law will bring much more certainty to the steps relating to development.

“It will eliminate the current practice of addressing the environmental concerns of a proposed major development on an ad-hoc basis without clear requirements or guidelines, which is a welcome relief to investors who will now know upfront what the requirements are for an environmental impact assessment,” CASE said. “Many international investors are accustomed to considering environmental aspects of a major development prior to the planning application process.”

This was a point made on several occasions over the last few weeks by the director of the Department of Environment, Gina Ebanks-Petrie. She explained that modern developers and contractors anticipate the need for the environment to be taken into consideration when they make plans to begin a project. In the current environment there are no certainties and the Central Planning Authority has directed investors and developers on an ad hoc basis regarding environmental impact assessments, which has created an uneven playing field.

The law has its critics on both sides of the debate, with many believing it is not sufficient to protect the critical situation for many of the country's endemic species, while others are still advocating against it because they believe it goes too far — an impasse has prevented legislation from being passed for the last decade. However, CASE noted that the majority of the members who responded to its survey on the law agreed with it and recognized that while it is not perfect, it is appropriate in the local context.

“The new National Conservation Law is a first step towards a sustainable development policy for the Cayman Islands that if successfully implemented, will hopefully preserve the variety and richness of our natural environment for future generations,” the group stated.

Pointing to the need for the long overdue update to the Cayman Islands Development Plan and supporting regulations to support the NCL, CASE said this, more than any other law, would ensure sustainable development in the Cayman Islands for current and future generations.

Recognising that some have viewed the NCL with uncertainty in recent weeks, the society said there was sufficient leeway in the legislation to amend aspects of the law if it became apparent that some areas needed to be strengthened or relaxed, after a suitable period of monitoring and review.

CASE also pointed to the benefits to be gained from collaboration between the National Conservation Council, design professionals and developers and related professional to maximize the economic and environmental benefits of the National Conservation Law and urged Cabinet to include representatives from the sector in its quota of appointed Conservation Council members.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Billionaries, Developers, Engineering firms, and Cruise Ship Associations love this NCL Bill.  They see no impediment to backing it because of the procedural flaw built into the proposed law – that Cabinet can overrule any and all concerns of the National Conservation Council.  I have to ask everyone who thinks this is great: do you recall the decision-makings of the last Honourable Cabinet in office?  

  2. Anonymous says:

    Too little too late! That's what I want to say about this whole situation 

    • Anonymous says:

      Too little too late! Is what I want to say regarding the proposed National Conservation Law. I wonder if anyone else see the Irony in this whole situation like I do? Here we have our Great Leaders proposing a bill to bring into legislation, this bill is supposedly for the  purpose of protecting preserving and conserving our environment. But to me it's ironic that some of the same  individuals that are at the forefront  of this proposal, are some of the same people that has been sitting in the Legislative  Assembly for many years implementing lawsthat has permitted  large Investors and Developers to come to Cayman purchase our best land and the whole seven mile beach, and then to add insult to injury, those same Investors and Developers  can restrict  us  from using those same beaches.  Now that all of our prime land and most of our valuable  assets have been sold or exploited, and all the remains is mostly swamp land, you want to implement a law to conserve our environment?  I think it's a bit late because we needed preservation, protection, and conservation laws a long time ago, just the same as we need laws now to preserve and protect the best jobs for our people, we need laws that can and will insure that our bright young scholars are provided with scholarships to higher learning, because after all our children are our future and if we don't invest in our children and our people, what future will we have to look forward to? I'm afraid that if some of these kind of issues are not addressed soon, it will not matter what conservation laws that is put into legislation, because indigenous  Caymainians won't  be here to benefit form any of it, as we will have to migrate to other countries  just to be able to survive. We can no longer provide employment for the rest of the world while our people go hungry, because or leaders see it fit to allow the best jobs to be taken by other Nationalities. We have opened our doors,our arms and most importantly our hearts to everyone that has embarkek on these shoresof, now it's time to start loving ourselves  enough to put Caymanians at the front of the line we need to secure our Caymanian people first then we can consider helping others.

  3. Shore Nuff says:

    CASE is to be congratulated for seeing the big picture and promoting long term sustainability over short term profits.

    The vocal (albeit hiding behind closed doors and the sophistry spewed out by their private “media” house) objectors to the NCL are a small gaggle of developers and wanna be developers who are interested in selling their land quick or quarrying it.

    They do not have the best interests of the country and the Caymanian people at heart and simply wish to extract what they can from the ground and then, presumably, flee to some other shores (and this includes those Caymanians among them who, one assumes, have no intention of living on the earth they have scorched).

  4. Anonymous says:

    The NCL and Council are merely interpretation advisory for Cabinet which ultimately makes the decisions.  Any of their recommendations can be disregarded or overruled by Cabinet.  The laundry list of material NCL adverse effects in the port EIA has not prevented Cabinet from continuing to promote both from the same podium.  That's the loophole, and why our laws need to apply to everyone at every level.  The FCCA should not get their own set of rules.

  5. Anonymous says:

    When I look at the members of their council, I see they have nothing to lose.

  6. O. Stone says:

    This land grab conspiracy is out of control! Everyone is in on it.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Love to see what spin the Texas Tea Party puts on that.

    Well done CASE.

    • Hurrah! says:

      Glad I sold my land in the 90's. 

      • Anonymous says:

        True, the global free-wheeling pave-it-all development since then has led to the economic crash of several countries and left Cayman teetering on the brink. – Remember, it wasn't the banks that collapsed first, but the over-built housing markets.

      • Anonymous says:

        You missed out on some big profits.