Miller attacks National Trust

| 20/06/2014

(CNS): The charity which helps in the fight to preserve and protect Cayman’s dwindling natural environment and its significant cultural and historic sites came under attack from the independent member for North Side Wednesday. Ezzard Miller probed the environment minister and hurled allegations against the National Trust as he accused it of land banking, "harassing" land owners, pushing down values and breaking its own by-laws. He complained that the Trust owned as much as 30% of the arable or usable land in his district and made a direct plea to his constituents not to sell land to the charity for anything less than $100k an acre.

In a very direct attack on the charity which manages land in Trust to protect it from development and ensure that Cayman retains at least some of its original landscape as well as its heritage and culture, Miller implied that the law did not allow the National Trust to solicit land. He said that one of his constituents, whom he described as being harassed by the NGO, had been approached again to sell his land for just $200 per acre.

“Listen to me North Siders, if they come to you all to buy land, the minimum price should be $100k an acre as the National Trust has plenty of money,” he said.

Miller probed the environment minister, Wayne Panton, on the by-laws of the Trust and implied that the original law, passed when the opposition bencher was previously in government in the 1990s was not being followed as it was never intended to allow the Trust to solicit land. He said he had grave concerns about what “the Trust had been allowed to morph into”, as he suggested it was land banking.

He said that with so much of his constituency’s land in the Trust’s hands, his people would soon have “nowhere to grow cassava, cut a top to make a basket, chop of a branch from a mahogany tree to make furniture or even pick a mango”, as he said that no one can take anything from Trust land.

The member did not see the irony in his allegations, however, that without the Trust acquiring some land for conservation the number of silver thatch trees and other important species would have fallen to the point where the currently threatened national tree would be re-enlisted as endangered.

Pressing the minster about the Trust’s laws, Miller asked why, as set out in the law, the Trust has no district committees, which Panton said he would have to enquire about. The North Side member also asked why the Trust was allowed to solicit and harangue landowners for their property. He pressed the minster over the Trust’s refusal to allow easements across its lands for other landowners. Miller said the charity had recently refused a developer access to his tourism project of just a few feet forcing him to put in a road elsewhere that led to him going via “his elbow to get to his chin”.

The representative who seemed furious that the charity should be allowed to protect land for conservation purposes, said that he believed it was refusing easements as part of a ploy to drive down land values so it could purchase more land. The member insisted that the Trust should not be allowed to solicit for land under the law. However, the environment minister, Wayne Panton pointed out that there is no clause that states the Trust cannot buy land and so it must be able seek to buy that land.

Government allocated $620,000 to the Trust as a contribution to the organization which has a wide remit to look after the history, culture and natural landscape of the islands which included an extra payment of $120,000 compared to the 2013/14 financial year in order to assist with the visitors centre at the new Blue Iguana Wilderness reserve, at Colliers in East End. The National Trust manages that world renowned conservation programme which has brought Cayman’s iconic blue iguana back from the brink of extinction under its award winning director, Fred Burton.

Despite the Trust critical importance to preserving Cayman’s scarce resources, as in the absence of a conservation law it has so far been the only land across the Cayman Islands that is conserved. The Trust has just around 5% of the islands land under protection on which it is trying to preserve hundreds of species of endemic flora and fauna from the ghost orchid to the Pygmy Blue butterfly.

Miller was not the only member to ask questions, McLean pressed the minister about what had happened to an EU donation to the Blue Iguana Programme in East End and McKeeeva Bush the opposition leader asked how much land the Trust had acquired since the year 2000 and its value.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Mr Miller spins emotive nonsense out of  the multitude of "facts" he makes up in order to distort the judgement and thinking of his supporters, who number just a couple of hundred. The Trust has never offered $200 an acre for any piece of land. It obtains professional valuations like anyone else and, based on these, makes a fair-market offer to a willing seller.  I hope Mr. Miller can live with the reputation he is building up for himself, as an enemy of the environment, which is akin to biting the hand that feeeds you, or sawing off the  branchyou are sitting on.

     

  2. Malportas Pond says:

    The funny thing is, Ezzard needs the National Trust.  His grand scheme for a road from Malportas Pond to meet the projected new road to East End has to cross trust-owned land.  The way he is carrying on it doesn't seem likely he will get any support from that direction.

  3. Anonymous says:

    You just need to read the divorce cases and the drug cases in the courts and then go and offer to buy up the land of anyone mentioned.  Half the time you get a great deal.

  4. Anonymous says:

    What amazed me was Ezzard agreed to the Conservation Law.  Ezzard never impressed me as someone who was concerned with the flora or fauna of the Cayman Islands unless money could be squeezed out of foreigners. 

  5. Anonymous says:

    The National Trust should try to buy beach land . There is noone in the Cayman Islands that is going to send their children to swampland to enjoy the weekend. Lets try and stop this nonsense of pretending that anyone is saving swampland for the future. Every piece of swampland on Grand Cayman especially across the street from West Bay beach sold for more then $100 per acre. The Trust is offering $7000 per acre. The swamp in central mangrove is valued $20,000 per acre. Dart paid 6 million for the first piece 150 acres to build Camana bay, $40,000 per acre. That was more then 10 years ago. Stan thomas estate was bought for 125 million which included almost a 1000 acres in central mangrove and 500 acres where the new 4 lane highway went through. Plus kimpton hotel piece and some more property. Swampland is on the rise because of the new hospital ,new road, ironwood develoment. Thats the fact, anyone buying at $20,000 is getting a steal. The new road will open up land that for over 30 years have been denied by greedy people who can't see past their nose. The East has been blocked from development too long. It is due time that families who own land can make money from land that they have held onto more then any other district has. Especially west bay and georgetown. The capital should be in the center of the island, better for traffic, the airport should be built there also. 

    • Anonymous says:

      and the dump should be in the centre of the island too according to your arguement

  6. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Lord for not allowing any of these comments to be worth anymore than the toilet paper I used today to "WMA"

    • Anonymous says:

      I disagree. It is good to have someone stand up to these straw hat wearing people of leisure who have for many years been an impediment to progress and development which after all pays our bills.

      The wealthy and civil servants  don't care that our services, schools, police, etc.efc. are all dependent on income from land sales and development, not mangroves.

      • Anonymous says:

        Govt income is 90 percent dependent on our financial services and tourism industries, not construction. Our tourists are crying out for less concrete and more nature and natural environment.

         

        Why would they come to Cayman if everything looks like Miami Beach, they would just stay in Miami Beach.

      • Anonymous says:

        That's the problem with limited resources, they eventually run out. If you can only see as far as the end of your nose you'll find the edge of the cliff quite a surprise when you fall off it.  Short term thinking, for short term gain is never sustainable. 

  7. Anonymous says:

    That's strange. Wouldn't Miller not want the Trust to capture as much land as possible for the people of the Cayman Islands and to keep people from buying up the North Side beaches?  The Trust is our only hope of ensuring that doesn't happen. The more beaches and land captured is the more reserved for our generations to come! So … I thought Miller was a man who stood side-by-side with the Trust.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Miller just shut your mouth for once, never has one man said so so much and produced so little..

     

  9. Sold paradise and put up a parking lot? says:

    This is Millers attempt to increase the value of scrub land.  If his constituents wanted better parcels, they were ready and abundant in the 70s and 80s.  Poor planning on your part just does not justify entitlement to wealth now.

    to the people of cayman: stop listening and swallowing false political promises! This reliance on government is causing the great divide of the wealthy and the social services asking for hand outs. Ask any self made millionaire if they relied on a politician? (No.) get Edication and buy your grandchildren a decent modest lot.

    ezzard, stop promising $100k land value for swamp land- you are just a wack-a-doodle!

  10. Anonymous says:

    All you Ezzard haters  can have your field day but we in North Side appreciate his willings to say the unpopular things to protect the next generations of North Siders. Unlike most of you it was his forefathers who made the mastic trails and other trails to plant food and cut materials to build houses, make roap and baskets to feed their families.

    How much land does the national trust own or has landlocked to reduce value in West Bay, Gorge Town or Bodden Town very little I supect no the land owners in those distrcts must get the full value of their land

    • Anonymous says:

      The National Trust doesn't have any land owner landlocked in North Side or East End. Ezzard is just spouting nonsense as usual. He needs to concentrate on doing something positive for his district such as having a better police presence to stop the drug heads from breaking in to people's houses or better bus service to and from George Town. In fact what has he done for that district in the past six years other than put up street lights by the boat ramp? 

      • Anonymous says:

        Well…what else has he done….. I wonder if he is in charge of the wonderful welcoming committee now stationed at the most dangerous bend in Frank Sound Road opposite the Barn.  The tourists love being whistled at with the smell of ganja burning and small time drug exchanges going on in plain sight.

        Mr. Miller please put some of yorendless energy on these problems.

        Thank you,

        A concerned North Sider for 35 years

        • Anonymous says:

          I called them the board of directors because they had a table and chairs and met regularly, but I see their tree has been cut down so I'm not sure where the meeting is now.

          • Anonymous says:

            The meeting still goes on, either across the street at the bend of the road(see the pile of garbage) or strategically placed sitting above the garbage dumpster where they can be found seeking shade and cat calling the tourists going into Kirks Corner…

            Maybe Mr. Miler can raise some money for a table.

    • Anonymous says:

      So when a foreign investor wants to buy NS land they should pay no less than 100k per acre as well, regardless of what the valuation says?

       

      Can Ezzard take that mentality to a bank and just say that the land is worth 100k to help with a mortgage, or will the bank require a valuation or two from an independent source?

  11. Anonymous says:

    This man is nuts, thats all i have to say. One minute he doesn't want you to sell your land to expats, and when the NT try to purchase land to preserve for further generations and animals, he want you to sell for a high price.. Holy shit Jeeves..

    Yo know he worst thng about this is,those foofoo Eastender love this donkey and will vote him in again!!

    • Archie Buck Dem Up says:

      En who ya mama is, Ezzard represents Northside not East End donkey!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Eazzard Eazzard, You need to step down now you are really too negative for Cayman and North Side… That Poor district can't get nothing because of you … look around . Please try and find somthing good to say about something or someone at times…. You are training Ardain to be just like you, We know that Ardain don't have the Brains or Education as you have but Stupid is as stupid do …. or something like that .

  13. Anonymous says:

    Ezzard, before you look in the mirror and puff out ya chest, look at thecomments on CNS and see just how big a Jackass you are.  Not one comnent is in  your favour.  Now walk on down to North Side Primary and ask them to enroll you in a special class they will create jcalled teaching Political Jackasses how to think 101.  And be kind and ask them to provide one more desk for that member from West Bay who wanted to allow Dilbert to turn the Salt Water Pond in CYB into a Marina without a proper EIA or business case. 

  14. Anonymous says:

    What many commenters to this article haven’t realized is that Ezzard needs attention poisitive or negative doesn’t matter as long as he has the spot light he is happy.

    The highlight of his week is the radio show where Ezzard gets to rant and welcome people to “Ezzard’s World” without fear of serious questioning by the hosts.

    The best thing to do is turn him off and go about your business.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Ezzard wants the government to dictate the price of land?

     

    Sounds like commie pinko socialism to me.

     

    Lets just let the trust compete with everyone else for the land. Letthe market decide the price.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Maybe people that sell at that price have, I don't know, common sense for the good of the world we live in. 

  17. A Guilty Pleasure says:

    Does this 'man' ever have anything positive to say? Is he never positive or happy about anything, or is it just in his nature to always complain & be unhappy? Humpty Dumpty

  18. Shame on the Trust. says:

    Offering just $200 per acre is a serious insult and if I was a supporter of the National Trust I would withdraw entirely after hearing that. They are taking their own people for complete idiots and I'm really angered to hear that they would go so low. It cost roughly $125 per sq. ft. to build a house and here they are offering $200 per damn acre. XXXX

    • Truthseeker says:

      So. when you discover that the $200 per acre figure is pure fabrication, and that the Trust has offered and paid fair market value, based on at least two independant proffesional valuations, will you consider that the "serious insult" is not from the Trust , but rather from your own representive, Ezzard Millar who is winding you up for political gain?. Please speak to some landowners who have sold land to the Trust..   

    • Anonymous says:

      If it's landlocked mangrove swamp, it's worth $0. Besides, what's the harm in offering less than market? Maybe the seller is charitable and wants to contribute to preservation of the land (I guess that's not the case in this instance. So many people think the government isthe government is a piggy bank to tap.)

    • Anonymous says:

      Sounds about right for swamp land.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thanks for sharing Ezz

    • Anonymous says:

      You can always say "no thanx"

    • Anonymous says:

      But are they building anything on it? What does it worth as raw land? The intention here is to preserve this for our children’s future.

      Really all the owner has to do is refuse and wait for a price they wish to accept. As a a potential purchaser I have the right to offer what I want to pay and you as a seller have a right/position to refuse. Done deal either way!!

    • Anonymous says:

      You are assuming this is actually true as I have heard that the Trust purchased land in North Side recently for over $25,000 per acre.  It wouldn't be the first time Ezzard has as accused the Trust of wrong doing without facts to back it up. 

  19. anon says:

    Can you believe this man applied for the job of manager of the Trust once?

    • Former Trust Employee says:

      But did not show up for the interview,  Without notice! Way to go Ezzard! Claims he was "making sure a Caymanian got the position". People who do not show up when they have obligated themselves to do so do not help dispel the myth that Caymanians are unreliable,

      Nuff said

    • Fly on the wall says:

      Applied. was offered an interiwew, didn't show up.  Way to go Ezzard! 

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes,I can believe it.

       

      He would pave paradise and put up a parking lot.

    • GR says:

      Yip, the same person who never arrived for the interview and didn't have the courtesy to call and say he couldn't make it.

  20. Anonymous says:

    This is one politician that never ceases to amaze me.  One minute he makes sense and the other minute he displays an acute dose of arrogant ignorance.  He should be all for preserving what little unspoilt territory we have left as a country, but instead, he gets up and opens his mouth without engaging his, can I say "brain?"   In my few short years on this earth, I have watched the sea-grape trees, cocoplum bush and pine trees disappear along West Bay road.  I never thought I'd see the mangroves in the swamp on the other side of West Bay Road disappear too.  And if that went in my short life time, then I can only imagine what will happen next, the mangroves in Newlands from Duck Pond to Rum Point?  The grape trees and cocplum bush along Frank Sound beach?  Thank you National Trust for trying to preserve something indigenous!

  21. pmilburn says:

    Its a shame how some people have to be against an NGO that is trying to preserve some of these islands for other generations to enjoy.They own land that many people have willingly sold.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Informative article.  Now I know to oppose Ezzard Miller for any position in the government.  No need for his kind of stupidity there.

  23. Anonymous says:

    I am disgusted by Miller's comments.

  24. brit says:

    why can't you do something about the roads & robberies on Northside instead of blowing hot air?

  25. Anonymous says:

    Sounds suspiciously like "I own a chunk of land in North side and need to drive up the price"

  26. Bobo says:

    Millar, if you had even a glimmering recognition of ecomonics or geography you would realise that as the supply of a good is limited or reduced the price of the remaining goods being offered for sale increases, demand being equal. As you seem to be merely processing oxygen and converting that and organic matter into irrelevant noise, I will spell it out more simply for you: –

    National Trust buys land = decrease in supply of land for development = increase in value of all other remaining land.

    Got it? Probably not.

    And those that do sell, are presumably happy with the price offered, or they wouldn't sell. Or are the National Trust going round at night and putting blue iguanas up the nighties of old ladies, scaring them to sell?

    Plus, land banking, environomental protection, conservation, call it what you will, enhances and preverses the attractiveness of an area into the future. Don't agree? look up John Muir (one of my hero's), or Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln.  That's right Ezard, you are arguing against one of the greatest naturalists ever and two former American presidents, as well as countless other great men and politicians in other countries who have had the backbone, intelligence, foresight and correctly-set moral compass to protect massive areas of their countries, even when the supply of wilderness and unspoilt land in those countries was massive, particularly compared to Cayman.

    Cayman has a land area of 100 square miles. USA has a land area of 3.794 million sq miles, so we have much less natural environment to loose, yet America still saw fit to protect (1,006,619 sq miles), or 27.08 percent of the land area of the United States! How many national parks does Cayman have – none! Unless you count Barkers "National Park", which has no protection and is Mr. Dart's plaything.

    Look at these countries on the following list, which includes both those with desperate economies and those with the most developed rich economies:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_national_parks

    Mr. Millar, if you read this and don't change your mindset, then only one conclusion can be drawn. You are a self-serving, short-sighted, amoral numpty with no ability to think more deeply than to regurgitate your constituents comments. Absolute shame on you. I presenly have asbolutely no respect for you on any level whatsoever. Let's see if you can change that?

    • Anonymous says:

      It's Miller….Miller! You can't be from Cayman. C'mon man!

    • Anonymous says:

      You are so right and your last paragraph guarantees that Lizard will defiantly dig in his heels and proves just how belligerent and ignorant one man can be….  He doesn't think like the rest of us…  He sets his agendas in his head, sticks to them and hopes to come out Rosie on the other side…

      this is not a normal and rational human being. This is a chip on the shoulder, object for the sake of it egomaniac who will continue to spout his diatribe as long as the rest of us listen and let him. 

      I suggest we ignore and shut him down. Might take a few rounds but will be worth it if we can finally be rid of this waste of space….

       

       

  27. Anonymous says:

    I wonder if Ezzard sees any value in the Mastic Trail which is one of the Islands top land based tourist attractions?

  28. Bling Man says:

    Well somebody need to protect our island, cause the CIG na doing much.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Same old song and dance from Ezzard. Remember when he went after the National Trust in the early nineties? Gotta keep his name in the spotlight to make it seem like he's earning his big salary!

  30. Anonymous says:

    That's right Ezzard, have a go at this charity for not paying enough money for trying to protect your land and past. actually while you are at it why not have a go at those other evil charty do gooders like Meals on Wheels – all they ever do is give out free meals to under employed Caymanians, taking away the livelyhoods of the resturantes and sandwhich shop owners all over the island. EVIL EVIL EVIL – you must shut them down as well.

     

    and while we are at it don't get me started on the Red Cross – providing help and assistance in time of disaster and need! how dare they! please shut them down as well

    • Anonymous says:

      Instead of giving away stuff for free or selling it cheaply, the Red Cross should charge people $100,000.00 to come into ther offices!

    • Anonymous says:

      Charge the elderly $100,000.00 per plate!!!  Money first!!!!

  31. Anonymous says:

    Land is way over-valued, an acre of swamp should go for no more than 1000. Land owners have these delusions that just because they live among wealthy foriegners and their projects, that they can inflate thier prices. You are not "property rich" just because your property is next to somebody who is rich.

     

    I guess we need a zillion dollar cayman note worth less than the paper printed on it before these idiotic valuations stop.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Here is Miller condoning that a semi-Govt entity should pay more for some parcels of land than tthey may be worth, why would i pay CI$100k for an acre of landlocked swamp with no vehicular access? Next thing you know Miller will be accusing the Trust of purchasing land at over-inflated prices and making it harder and costlier for young North-Siders buy their first piece of land.

     

    Ezzard, you need to look at the BIG picture of what some of your verbal nonsense may bring to the people of North Side.

     

    Did we feel it was right for Government led by McKeeva to buy land at an over-inflated price (3x the value I believe) a few years ago at the junction of West Bay Road and Northwest Point Road?

  33. Sold paradise and put up a parking lot? says:

    5%?  Oh dear.  We all know the tourism from SMB made many locals wealthy and sorry we simply cannot make more land, but conservation has to be a key to our future.

    A plan please!? 

  34. Anonymous says:

    What does Ezzard think that he is doing? I know he is an authority on most things but since when does he set real estate prices in the North Side district?

    This is way over the top, even for Ezzard.

    Next he will tell us where to shop, what to buy certainly what to eat.

  35. Anonymous says:

    I wonder what pendulum Miller swings on?  Lord knows that it sure is wide.  He can make the most sense on one swing and then display the greatest ignorance on the next swing.  On this occasion, the pendulum has swung to the extreme side of ignorance.  Ezzard, when all the land has been developed and nothing has been preserved in its pristine condition, what do you think will happen?  How will you ever get it back?  Don't you see the value in preserving some of our natural habitat?  Man, don't act so ignorant, or arrogant na?

    • Anonymous says:

      And look at our beaches!  Our beaches are up for sale!   But if you give a parcel of beach and land for parking to access the beach; if you give that to the National Trust at least you have a provided a beach and access to everyone with no fence blocking them!  EZZARD, I THINK YOU ARE STRESSING TOO MUCH ABOUT THE MONEY!

  36. Anonymous says:

    $100k an acre? He needs to check the real estate listings?

  37. Anonymous says:

    Ezzard is such a caveman.  But this is nasty and harmful to the interests of the whole population.