The vote landowners will never forget

If you are a Caymanian landowner, ask yourself this question: Do you think you and your family will be better off — or worse off — if the National Conservation Bill is passed through the Legislative Assembly?

Disturbingly, we at the Compass are hearing that the Progressives-led government is planning this Wednesday not only to begin debate in the House on the bill, which is fine, but to suspend House rules so it can pass the bill the same day — that is to put an end to any further debate. They know this bill cannot survive even another week of public scrutiny. They know that delay is defeat.

In today’s newspaper, the organization Coalition for Cayman (C4C) presents a well-thought-out position paper that notes, “This bill may have been under discussion for 10 years, but it has been the wrong discussion. It should not have been about limiting development. It should be about permitting sustainable development whilst implementing green policies (recycling, reducing reliance on fossil fuels, taking emergency steps to stop the Dump leaching into the North Sound, etc.).”

The Coalition goes on to urge government to put the current bill on hold: “The worst option in our view would be to try to ram through a Conservation Law (or any law) which may result in unintended consequences that create more problems than solutions. This is one instance where getting it done right is more important than just getting it done.”

Also on this page (opposite), we present a guest column from North Side representative Ezzard Miller who takes serious issue with the proposed legislation. Last evening, Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush presided over a rally in West Bay opposing the bill and another is planned tonight at the Town Hall in downtown George Town.

The last issue we can recall Mr. Miller and Mr. Bush agreeing on was that they didn’t particularly like each other. It must be an exceptionally bad bill to bring together these twin pillars of Cayman politics — one the most popular representative ever from West Bay, the other his political rival of similar stature from North Side.

The question must be asked why any elected representative would cast a vote that is so harmful to their voters — and to the economic well-being of these islands. Why are these members willing to vote against the best interests of small Caymanian landowners and march in lockstep with Environment Minister Wayne Panton who, in turn, is marching in lockstep with Director of the Department of Environment Gina Ebanks-Petrie?

Pied-Piperism in politics is always troubling but even more so when the minister tooting the flute is such a strong proselytizer for a bill he no doubt believes will be his legacy legislation. We understand the desire for loyalty among Cabinet members, but we would argue that comity must be put aside when it supersedes their greater responsibility to represent the best interests of their constituents.

Of one thing we are certain: Elected members who vote to shut off debate, through the invocation of Standing Orders in the House, and ultimately vote for this toxic bill will be counting on collective amnesia taking hold in the country before the 2017 elections.

We can assure them this newspaper is not going to let that happen.

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9 COMMENTS

  1. Once again you go bashing the bill. It seems a bit unfair that the daily editorial has become your personal daily peace to blast the conservation bill. I never see you go on about education and the fact over 30% are not passing their achievement tests. The children of Cayman are our future and you do not go on how they are being let down by our public schools. Maybe if you did we could get the passing rate up to 95%

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  2. I am a landowner in the Cayman Islands, including some undeveloped land, and have read this draft law from one end to the other. Considering the nature of that personal investment,, I still support passage of this law without reservation.
    I profoundly disagree with the stance this paper has taken in its editorials which, in a spirit quite contrary to the Compass’ latest policy for readers’ comments, amounts to using the paper as a daily soap box to attack the NCL from what I consider to be a minority viewpoint founded in radical right-wing libertarian politics.
    I have been a reader and contributor to the Compass for many decades now, and am greatly saddened, and indeed offended, by the content and cynical strategy of these editorials. I for one hope the NCL passes this week, and fear nothing from it as a landowner because the NCL does NOT threaten my economic interests at all. Enough of this scaremongering!

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  3. I own quite a bit of land in Cayman as well, a lot of which has not been developed yet. Whether I support this bill or not is not my biggest gripe, I am just sick and tired of the constantly changing political agendas in Cayman this is just another example of why it’s hard to put any faith in a long term investment in Cayman simply because you never know when some change to the lands law will cause you to lose your shirt or some change to the immigration policy will get you kicked of the island. Every time a new administration comes in they do an about face on what the last one started, they have no centralized integrity all one politician want’s is to out due his rival even if it’s to the detriment of the people. I’ve read the bill and happen to agree that it doesn’t clearly say that government will just take your land if they want it. But mark my words if they want your land and you won’t sell it you can best believe that you will never be able develop it. It will be tied up in so much BS and red tape that you’d have no choice but to take what they offered you. The CIG has proven time and again that will do whatever it takes to get what they want. Say no to them and see if you ever get a red card or approval for anything from the planning department. No matter how you look at it you will be forced to sell one way or the other. And I’m sure the price won’t be to your liking as they’ve also shown that they are willing to manipulate valuations to benefit themselves as well. Your Valuation will say 100K and theirs will say 20K and that’s all you’ll get.

    As far as why they are so rushed to get it through is simply because during his campaign he promised to do it by the end of the year. And I’m sure the timing is more important than the content.

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  4. I am completely invested here and own, outright, what many would consider one of the most favorable development parcels in these islands; beachfront property currently covered in old growth forest and containing many endemic, even endangered species. Some of them on the Red List. Yes, I intend to develop it one day. Yes, I intend to pass it on to my children. Yes, I am 100% in favor of the National Conservation Bill. If anything is going to ruin these islands it isn’t the passage of a bill that seeks to protect what is left of our natural environment.

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  5. A third significant land owner weighing in. This important law is designed to help enhance the value of personal and commercial property for all investors. If passed this law will finally give structure to the value of the land. It is not left to the whimsy of whomever is in charge. I am honestly baffled by the Compass’s opposition, the C4C last minute protest, or any individual who has bought into the seemly blatant distortions to the laws true value. this law is important to the Cayman Islands, and any land owner within her beautiful world.

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  6. As a foreign resident, the strongest statement I can make is that I find very particular such persistent, systematic and relentless opposition to the National Conservation Bill from a power that should not take parties in this arena.

    Nevertheless, I do agree with the title of the editorial: The vote landowners will never forget due to its intrinsic accuracy: anybody invested in the long-term well-being of the island and whom, on top of that, is a landowner, will never forget how positively convenient the National Conservation Bill is.

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