Country urged to clean up act

The Cayman Islands Beautification Committee, which works under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism, has designated this October as Beautification Month.

Godfrey Nixon Way

A derelict van and unused building materials on Godfrey Nixon Way, less than two miles from Owen Roberts International Airport. Photos: Hannah Reid

Its Chair, Heather Bodden, has advised that her committee is currently working up formal proposals, noting the campaign would call for intensive clean up projects across all three islands.

The Beautification Committee was given CI$150,000 in the 2007/08 budget. It is understood that CI$100,000 is being earmarked for the initiative, which has the full backing of the ministry.

Ms Bodden advised that her committee now plans to hold meetings, starting this month, to flesh out plans for spruce up activities.

Concerned about the levels of littering, derelict vehicles, industrial waste and other man-made eyesores, October was chosen as it precedes the start of the tourism high season.

‘We have Pirates Week and the Cayman Islands Jazz Fest in November and Christmas the following month – all of which attract high numbers of tourists to the islands,’ Ms Bodden said.

‘We want to be prepared to show visitors a cleaner, greener Cayman.’

Ms Bodden suggests that any such campaign should encourage homeowners and businesses to landscape and clear up unsightly yards/forecourts.

‘It’s been three years since Hurricane Ivan and we feel there’s no excuse for why peoples’ properties, yards, etc. are not in better shape. It all boils down to good neighbourliness and maintaining a clean and healthy environment.’

It’s been suggested that the month long clean up include a ‘Cleanest District’ competition.

Encouraged by law enforcement’s zero tolerance approach to litter, Ms Bodden said the campaign was to encourage individuals to take responsibility for the cleanliness of their environment.

‘It’s everybody’s problem… We are seeing some serious littering and dumping problems and it’s not something that Caymanians are used to.

‘There’s only so much that the government and the beautification committee can do.

‘A Beautification Month will instill a real sense of civic pride,’ she added.

It is also anticipated that the campaign will receive support from a wide range of public and private sector entities.

The former MLA suggested that such environmental ills were relatively new to Cayman and were largely due to the influx of different nationalities to the islands.

‘In [certain] areas we’re consistently seeing garbage strewn around. Instead of putting trash in proper garbage cans, they’re putting it in the supermarket bags and tossing them out.

‘Dogs and chickens are tearing the bags up, trash is spreading everywhere. We are also seeing a lot of scrapped vehicles and obsolete refrigerators in such neighbourhoods,’ she remarked.

Ms Bodden was unable to state whether the campaign would become an annual event. ‘We will have to see how much support we get from the community this time around,’ she said.

FYI

For further information about the committee’s work contact Ms Bodden 916-3574.

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