Government buys park land

Government handed $2 million dollars on Friday to family executors of the late Amon Ebanks, with a pledge of another $1 million to come in June.

The money is for the purchase of 68.4 acres of wetland for the establishment of the proposed Barkers National Park in West Bay.

The cost works out to about $43,860 per acre.

Handing over the cheque on behalf of government, Leader of Government Business McKeeva Bush said: ‘The establishment of this park is consistent with my philosophy of creating a balance between environmental protection and development.

‘There is still much to be done in the area of sustainable development, including passing the new draft National Conservation law which will provide the framework for the legal establishment and protection of this park, but today represents a very important step in this regard.’

Mr. Bush said the project has the potential to generate significant benefits for tourism and the environment.

‘Establishing the park will result in the protection of a unique, diverse and environmentally valuable coastal ecosystem in the Cayman Islands that, despite considerable development pressure throughout the majority of the West Bay peninsula, has remained largely undisturbed.’

In addition, Mr. Bush said, ‘the park has the potential to generate income from low-impact, land-based nature tourism.’

He said he was aware that the establishment of the park enjoys the support of a wide cross-section of Caymanians and residents who feel the Barkers area should be protected, assuring people they will always be able to enjoy this traditional area of relaxation and recreation.

‘I too believe that establishment of this park will be a good thing for the Cayman Islands and for the District of West Bay,’ said Mr. Bush.