Minister call for stronger enforcement of ‘lax’ litter laws

Legislators are calling for better enforcement of littering laws and prosecution of people who illegally dump in the Cayman Islands.

Health Minister Osbourne Bodden told legislators at a finance committee meeting in the Legislative Assembly last week that enforcement of the Litter Law was “too lax.”

North Side MLA Ezzard Miller had raised the issue of littering when he pointed out that there was a “huge problem of rodents and scorpions” in Cayman Kai, due to gardening companies dumping their trash on the side of the road.

Director of the Department of Environmental Health Roydell Carter told Mr. Miller: “One of the challenges in this particular case is that it may be on someone’s private property so we would have to serve that notice on the private person but I will offer assistance to the district of North Side.”

Mr. Carter described it as a “shame” that “some of the members of the public conduct themselves in such behavior when it’s not necessary for them to do so. There is a 24-hour operation at the landfill.”

According to the Litter Law (1997 Revision), “Whoever throws down, drops or otherwise deposits and leaves any litter in, into or from a public place in such circumstances as to cause, contribute or tend to lead to its defacement of such litter is guilty of an offence.”

Mr. Miller queried, “We have an anti-litter law. Why aren’t these people prosecuted for littering under the law?”

“Good question,” Minister Bodden responded. “And it’s an area that is way too lax in this country, not just in North Side but overall. We have to tighten it up. We have to put some teeth in there and make sure that we increase the fines and we charge a few people.”
He added that prosecuting people who are caught littering would act as a deterrent.

“Right now, we don’t do a good job of it. It’s something that I’ve taken note of when I went out for Earth Day and I saw some of the areas that were dumped in and the stuff that was dumped; it’s ridiculous. We as a country have to take better care of our island than that,” said Mr. Bodden.

Those prosecuted and found guilty of illegal dumping are liable to pay a fine of $500 and a sentence of up to six months’ imprisonment, although few cases of littering have come to court.

The law defines litter as anything, including dust, dirt, oddments, leavings, waste paper, cigarette ends, bottles (whether empty or not), derelict vehicles, and any dead animal or carrion.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Please do not pass a litter law without the full intention of the RCIP to enforce said law. I see people talking and texting on their cell phones daily yet have never seen or heard of that law being enforced.
    Without enforcement the laws become meaningless.

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  2. There is not one gardening company that is not guilty of dumping their leaves on someone else’s property. I see it every day. They carry all the leaves across the street or dump it in the empty lot next door. Every empty lot is a dumping ground for these people. I have had to speak to the owner of the house next door to a property I own already because they were dumping all of their leaves and old Christmas trees over onto my property. I cannot afford to pay someone to come in and clean up someone else’s mess, and if I had taken it and dumped it all back over in their property, they would have probably called the police and told them I was dumping on their land. My answer would have been "well, I’m just returning their garbage to them."

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