In a recent caycompass.com online
poll, readers were asked if they supported Cayman’s National Conservation Law.
Considering how important Cayman’s
environment is to the health of residents and the success of the tourism
industry, it was surprising that the poll attracted the fewest number of
responses and comments of any Compass poll in years.
The National Conservation Law, if
passed as suggested, would fundamentally change the way land is used and
developed in the Cayman Islands. Developers
and realtors believe it would be the death knell of the real estate industry
here. Some land owners could find the values
of their land plummeting because it would lose its development value.
On the other hand, most people
agree that Cayman needs to have a law in place to protect the environment and
the creatures that live here.
But despite the importance of the
issue and the fact that it could impact almost every resident and visitor to
these Islands in one way or the other, only people in select interest groups
seem to care. We’re afraid that just like some other important issues we’ve
seen in Cayman, those that speak loudest, no matter how small their numbers,
will probably get their way.
Public apathy on most issues has
become more prevalent in recent years. So-called morality issues like
homosexuality, Sunday trading, liquor laws and gambling get responses from the
clergy and/or the religious segment of the population, which in turn usually
elicits response from others. Us versus them issues like Caymanian versus
expatriates and UDP vs. PPM also generate interest, even if most of it is in
the form of emotional venting. But
topics like the environment, education, labour practices, and health are
generally ignored despite their importance.
Part of the reason that people are
apathetic about the National Conservation Law seems to be that so few people
seem to know much about it. Well, everyone
has another chance to learn what’s at stake because the government extended the
consultation period to 27 August. We hope anyone who calls the Cayman Islands
home will take the opportunity to learn what the Conservation Law entails and
voice their opinions about its contents.