Ironwood log tabled in LA

| 17/12/2013

(CNS): Over the years thousands of documents have been tabled in the Legislative Assembly for public access but for the first time in history last week an Ironwood log was laid on the parliament’s table by the member for East End. Responding to the criticism about objectors to the National Conservation Law by Environment Minister Wayne Panton, Arden McLean brought the piece of local tree into the House to make a point about conservation in the eastern districts without the need for legislation. The independent members have largely rural constituencies with small populations and have raised concerns that their districts will be targeted for land grabs by government.

Both McLean and North Side MAL Ezzard Miller suggested during the debate that the government would be seeking to forcibly acquire or intimidate their constituents into giving up their land in North Side and East End, where most of Cayman’s remaining natural resources now lie, as a result of the destruction of George Town and West Bay because of development.

During last week’s LA debate on the conservation law the log became symbolic for the debate and in particular for the eastern district members, as McLean said that the people of East End would see the National Conservation Law as an encroachment on their past guardianship of the eastern side of the island by those in the western side who have “cut down all their trees and now they want to come and save East End”.

During his presentation of the bill Panton suggested that people talked a lot and claimed to support conservation while deriding the law, and he accused them of being prepared to cut down an endangered Ironwood tree so they could sit on the stump and talk about conservation.

McLean said he found it offensive and had brought the log to show to Panton and the other members as he suspected that some of them may not recognize what Ironwood looks like.

It was Ironwood that had played a part in putting an end to plans for a new road in George Town when McLean was responsible for roads when he served in the 2005-2009 PPM cabinet. Found nowhere else in the world,  the local species of Cayman Ironwood is extremely hard dense wood and was in demand for building purposes throughout the islands' history. Many were cut down as a result and the tree is now endangered  .

McLean said that when he was in office conservation had stifled government projects as he accused civil servants of being “tree huggers” when they should have been carrying out government policy. He spoke specifically about the George Town Ironwood forest, which became the centre of the protest against an extension of the east-west arterial road through an area that is home to several of critically endangered species. He said the pressure from the public has resulted in the road extensions being stopped

Although McLean was to eventually support the law following a number of changes, such as the retention of spear fishing for locals already in possession of spearguns, during the debate he suggested the law would stifle the country.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    How cute that somewhere so small has disputes about the "East End" being harmed by the whims of the "West End".  I doubt even Jonathan Swift would have made that kind of stuff up.

  2. pmilburn says:

    What was this all about?Maybe I should put some illegal conch shells on that tables next sitting!!!!!!!

  3. Gut Check says:

    Even 20 years ago, I knew this is how it would end for me;   I own acreage that has ironwood — I recognise it and protect it.   Eventually some official body will come along to decide that they can protect it better, and thus I should turn my lands over to them.  

    Is there any doubt that I will value my ancestral lands more than they?    I am fairly certain that my children will visit me in prison, if they are able.  Perhaps they will bring photos of the 'developed' trails through my land, andthe throngs of tourists who enjoy them.   It will be a small comfort.  

    • Anonymous says:

      Looks like your land is under more threat from the people who want to cut the ironwood down.

    • Anonymous says:

      You wont have to sell or lease your land to the Government. 

      It may be an option for you if you would like to. 

      Or continue to protect it yourself. 

      The choice is entirely yours. 

  4. michel says:

    And your point is with this piece of Ironwood Hon. Mr. Mclean ? I don’t gEt it ! Please explain why ?

    • Anonymous says:

      The point is ironwood doesn’t grow as big stumps but slender logs so the Minister didn’t know what he was talking about.

      • And AnotherTing says:

        Now I know some people fall down small smallest. And Another Ting

    • And AnotherTing says:

      And your point is, many Caymanians including many of them in the Assembly today, never saw a piece of ironwood until it wS presented in this manner. If ya still don't get it, well, can't help ya ya far gone. And another Ting.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Okay, who did the ironwood log and laid it out at the LA?

  6. Anonymous says:

    If some developers went into the Outer Nowhere Islands of Skeebun-Dinga, you maniacs would all be up in arms about the Skeebun-Dingians’ human rights. But since it’s here in Cayman, your disdain for the simple folk who were here before Johnny Come Lately exposes your gross hypocrisy. Cayman belongs to the Caymanians.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Ignorance is bliss and politicians will be politicians.  I wonder if they have ever flown over Haiti?  It is as brown as mud for a lack of conservation.  Is that what you want?  How much better West Bay road would have been if there had been parcels of land left untouched with its population of sea grape trees, cocnut trees, willow trees and cocoplum bush growing in between units of hotels and condos?  It sure would have looked more appealing than building after building.  Then when that was done, they turned on the Mangrove Swamp across the street and did the same thing.  Sure we can have development, but lets have it in a responsible way that preserves some of the natural habitat for people and the creatures who call it home and have no voice.  A born Caymanian!

  8. Anonymous says:

    I would love to drop a log on that table.

  9. Anonymous says:

    That looks like a fresh cut log

  10. Blockhead says:

    So he cut down a tree to show Minister Panton that people were coming for his trees???

    Head must be as hard as that coconut splitter…..

  11. Cow Itchs says:

    I am stumped on the the irony here.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Yep, go cut down that ironwoood tree and bring it to the LA.