Stop Sound plans

Below is the text from a letter to the Honourable Mark Scotland, Minister of Health, Environment, Youth, Sports, and Culture

Dear Minister for the Environment, the Honorable Mark Scotland,

I have received a number of expressions of concern about the proposed development at Emerald Sound/South Sound. Since I have been coming to the Cayman Islands for over 30 years, I have developed a deep respect for the Caymanian people and the beautiful islands on which they live.  

Based on my research into the proposed development at Emerald Sound, I do not believe this is in the best interest of the Cayman people. 

As you know, living on a small island in the middle of the ocean, the natural environment is very important to the quality of people’s lives. In addition, as we know from Hurricane Ivan, the forces and process of nature can have powerful impacts on us. Reefs, sea grass beds and mangroves provide us with protection from storms and these ecosystems provide us with food, recreation, income and attractions to tourists who support the economy. Even more importantly, from my point of view, these natural wonders of nature are essential to our inner state of well being, we are deeply connected to nature as it enriches us physically, mentally and spiritually. 

Imagine a coastline on which these natural resources have been replaced by concrete and asphalt. 

I was pleased to see that the staff of the Department of the Environment concluded that the Emerald Sound development would not be good for Grand Cayman.  

I have also become aware that there is quite a long, and growing, list of residents who oppose this development. I would like to lend my voice to those who look beyond short-term economic gain and instead are concerned about the quality of life for their children and grandchildren. 

I have an even greater concern and that is the need for a national policy regarding coastal development. During my 30+ years of coming to the Caymans I have seen more and more human impact that has undermined some of the natural beauty that attracted people to these wonderful islands initially. I urge you and your team to fight for a rational policy, without loopholes, that will once and for all define what is and is not appropriate for Cayman’s future. Anything less will result in just what we are now seeing; a gradual and endless push to sacrifice the quality of life for future generations for short-term economic benefit for a few. 

Please take action to protect Emerald Sound/South Sound in the interest of the public, present and future. 


Jean-Michel Cousteau 

President, Ocean Futures Society 



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  1. Hmmmstrange, not one comment so far.
    Here’s a person rich in the knowledge of the sea and man’s impact upon it.
    His father, Jacques, co-inventor of the Aqualung (SCUBA) pioneered the exploration of the underwater world and its creatures.
    They can truly be considered a worldly sea-faring family with far greater insight of man’s machinations upon the sea than almost any other humans alive.
    I feel that when he states development will be detrimental both above and below water we should take his advice and concerns seriously; not only locally but with a world-wide perspective.

  2. I suppose the usual greed will overlook this thoughtful comment from a renowned environmentalist who not only has great credentials but knows the island well.

    Pay attention, Caymanians!! It’s your island and your futures.

  3. As with most environmental issues worldwide, this one too will be ignored, I’m sure. The mighty dollar plays a heavier hand over the world in which the rest of us live in. I hope they find some other solution to the propsed canals in South Sound. Other Caribbean islands have managed to expand their harbours to accomodate the cruise ship industry (Grenada comes to mind for me), without heavy environmetal damage to the natural surroundings. Listen to Mr. Cousteau…Cayman could not get a better expert opinion than his.

  4. Hi mr Cousteau, What a wonderful island The Cayman Islands are. We as Caymanians are very proud of our islands ,history,culture and religion. We are happy to invite and share with people from all around the world. I personally have enjoyed watching your family for years on TV when I lived in NY for the first fourteen years of my life. I have learned snorkelling spearfishing scuba diving while living here for 43 years here and retired from working in the diving industry in 89. Although i continue to dive to this day.
    A lot of people are not aware of the history of these islands .My father was born on this island and our family goes back to the first settlers who came to these islands in the early 1700’s.
    Mr. Hislop is also part of that family. The Watler side of our family if we put all the land that we own on this island alone would be over five times what Mr Dart owns. In all these years most of the family still own this land.
    But near everyday for the last 30 years. We have been bombarded by new residents and foreigners. Visiting these islands trying to FORCE a new idea. For 500 years we have been the custodians of these islands and when people come here they love it so much they want to stay. This is what we created with no one here besides GOD.
    The history of South Sound was that the water in the sound was very shallow. It was dredged and silted and killed all those lovely creatures around 40 plus years ago . The dredged material was pumped on to the wetland where all those residents that keep signing petitions against Mr Hislop now live. I believe it was a good thing . Because of the mosquito population. As you can see the concern that Mr. Hislop has for his project he bought 300 plants to try to bring back the mangrove. What a good corporate citizen.
    Why don’t the people to the west of him buy plants and plant out the rest of red bay and south sound also. Then they could be good corporate /Caymanian citizens also. I don’t think they will do that .2 reasons , they don’t want to spend the money and they don’t want to block their view. So in conclusion I believe they should put up or shut up . Thank you so very much for your time in this matter.