A contractor illegally dumped a load of debris on a North Side beach and left a sign stating: “Catch me if you can.” Then he got caught.
Following an alert from a member of the public and a story in the Cayman Compass, an investigator with the Department of Environmental Health went to the area and asked around until he figured out who left the mess. Department officials made whoever it was – they wouldn’t say – pick up the debris.
Tania Johnson, spokeswoman for Department of Environment Health, said the department gives people the chance to clean up a mess before taking any legal action. In this case, she said, the investigator told the contractor to clean it up. The site is now clean, and Ms. Johnson said the contractor will not be fined.
The site was cleaned up within a week of the original article appearing in the Compass late last month, Ms. Johnson said. She said her department has a duty to investigate littering and dumping incidents when they are reported.
In an earlier interview, after the brazen sign that read “Catch me if you can” was left on the access road near the dump site, Ms. Johnson said dumping is a common problem around Grand Cayman. Almost anyone who drives down an out-of-sight road can find household appliances, tires, and any manner of debris left to rust or rot.
The sign, and the pile of construction debris and household trash, came to the attention of the Compass after Edy Bjerkholt stumbled across the sign while looking for fishing bait. He posted a photo online, calling for help to find whoever left the pile of trash, which was invisible from the road but in full view of the sea. The only evidence visible from the road was the sign, written in purple crayon on a piece of countertop or something similar.
Adrian Seales, with the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, said the incident would violate the littering law and could also be considered trespassing. But police enforcement would depend on someone actually witnessing the littering – otherwise, it’s up to the Department of Environmental Health to enforce the laws.
Ms. Johnson said her department can force property owners to clean up messes and issue fines if they don’t. In this case, the contractor dumped the debris on private property and the department was able to get him to clean it up.
Mr. Seales said since 2011 the police department has prosecuted three people for violating the littering law.