This letter is in response to the recent article ‘Marine Conservation Board stripped of its autonomy’. I have served on the MCB for many years and I can truthfully say it is one of the most important committees in our islands. The primary purpose of the board is to protect our most valuable assets – those that drive the economy of the Cayman Islands. We have guests from all over the world that come to us primarily to enjoy our beaches, beautiful reefs, deep water fishing and world class diving and snorkelling. Without those attractions, our economy will not survive.
The board is made up of all volunteers and, contrary to what some may believe, they are all Caymanian businessmen from a diverse cross-section of the service industry. One of the great things about that diversity is the balance it affords us in deciding issues that best serve the future of our Islands. We have sea captains, sports fishermen, civil servants (current ande retired), watersports operators, resort managers and retail business owners and each are able to set aside their personal agendas to discuss and compromise on what is best in the big picture on important issues. It is also important that the board remain as intact as possible to preserve continuity, past experiences and the proper mix of its members.
Rest assured, we are not alarmists or extremists. We base our decisions on scientific data and ongoing “hands-on” observations collected over the years. The undeniable facts prove that our reef system is in decline and has been for many years. The numbers of each species are sadly smaller and smaller and the reef systems in many areas are in stress beyond recovery in our lifetime. If ever there was a board that needs to have some degree of autocracy it is this one; relatively free of political interference and selflessly acting to do the best we can for our Islands to have a future.