Editorial for 04 October: Wait and see on conservation

You know it must be an election year when…

The same National Conservation Bill that has been bandied
about by government after government is finally slated to get rubber stamped
before the end of this year; just in time for general elections in May.

Environment Minister Mark Scotland assures us that the bill,
which has been in draft form for 10 years, is ready to be approved by lawmakers
once the Department of Environment and his technical team make their final
decisions.

What’s upsetting, though, is that the bill may be a watered
down version of its original self.

While we agree that development on our three Islands is
important, saving our natural resources also has to be a priority.

We need protection for our stingrays, rock iguanas on the
Sister Islands, ghost orchid and yes, even our Cayman green parrots.

Mr. Scotland says the bill is controversial. It should be.

If the bill had been made into law before now we wouldn’t
have six stingrays being held captive at Dolphin Discovery and, more than
likely, we wouldn’t be seeing the gradual disappearance of these animals from
our waters; it would be a penalty to remove them.

If we had the law before now maybe developers and landowners
would have been more careful in the way they cleared land and took care of our
indigenous ghost orchid.

If the bill had already been made into law maybe drivers on
the Brac and Little Cayman would think twice about speeding down the roads and
killing native rock iguanas.

And while parrots are a pain in the neck for farmers, they
are a natural part of our environment and should be protected. Yes, they can be
a nuisance, but they are beautiful and part of our history and culture. It’s a
shame that the National Conservation Bill is still being discussed, changed and
watered down. It should already have been put into law.

We can only hope that once, and if, it is approved, it will
go a long way to protecting the natural flora and fauna of these Islands.

 

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