Cayman truly is a jewel: our beaches, our wetlands, our mangroves, our undisturbed green spaces, our coral reefs, underwater world and our wildlife on land and in the sea – all valuable beyond measure.
All of these are perfectly balanced by nature and together they keep our air clean, filter our waters, protect us from flooding and storm surge, provide a habitat for our wildlife and pollinate our plants. This very necessary biodiversity allows us all to live healthy lives on this island. But all of this is under threat. As the pace of development continues to race upwards, little by little our natural world is slowly being destroyed and is losing this essential balance.
Our beautiful Seven Mile Beach is being eroded, our wetlands are being drained, our land and mangroves are being cleared and, as if this self-inflicted damage wasn’t bad enough, sea pollution and climate change are making things worse.
We all need to pay attention to this, because if we don’t stand up and start protecting our island it will become overdeveloped, overpopulated and our natural spaces and wildlife, which are essential to our existence, will die – and so eventually will we.
I believe that Cayman is truly at a tipping point.
I despair at our poor environmental record and seeming blindness when it comes to our need to protect the natural world. I was very disappointed about how deaf our government was to the electorate on the port issue, so much so that it took a court challenge from the people to halt the project. I am also truly dismayed by future plans to continue pushing for large-scale development and population growth.
The ever-higher wall of concrete which continues to creep along our beautiful Seven Mile Beach has all but eroded the beach south of the Dart properties. I walked the beach the other day and saw no decent setbacks, very few trees and just towering walls of concrete, nearly all offered as daily/weekly rentals. None of this development benefits the average Caymanian. The very last part of wild SMB is on the brink of being developed by the Dart group. I know that they often do sympathetic, careful development and that they own the land and have every right to do this, but it just feels so completely wrong.
We should have tried to conserve this last wild bit of our most beautiful beach for future Caymanians. Think how thankful they would have been if we had, how they and their descendants would still be able to race up and down that final mile of natural beach and shelter in the shade of sea grape trees rather than being overshadowed by tower blocks full of wealthy visitors. Once that is gone, all we will be left with is the rather tawdry Public Beach area which will soon once again be choked by rows of tired loungers, higglers, huge plastic toys in the water and overrun by tourists. Maybe 500 feet left out of 5 miles? It breaks my heart.
It is wonderful to see so many of our young people standing up and advocating for the environment and we owe them our full support. It is up to all of us to insist that our elected representatives take action on all this now, before it is too late.
We have a good choice of excellent candidates who have declared that they will stand up for our environment. So please choose a candidate who prioritises the health of our precious natural world, alongside cost of living, education and healthcare, because these are the people who genuinely care about Cayman and her future generations.
Whoever you choose to vote for and whoever wins, I hope you will join me in keeping up the pressure and letting our MPs know that this continued destruction of the environment must cease if the island is to remain a healthy place for us all to live – with balanced flora, fauna, green space and biodiversity. Only our will, strong laws and planned, sustainable development will achieve this.