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.