National Conservation Council chair Christine Rose-Smyth told Cayman 27 the council has no indication of when a review of the National Conservation Law will take place, and what form it might take.
The law has only been on the books for some ten months, and two days after the ministerial realignment was revealed last month, Premier Alden McLaughlin announced it would go to review.
Two days after the newly-elected ‘Government of National Unity’ revealed its new ministerial portfolios, Premier Alden McLaughlin announced the National Conservation Law, on the books for less than 300 days at the time, would be slated for review.
“We had to read about it in the paper, but I suppose that the talk had been around,” said Ms. Rose-Smyth, who called the National Conservation Law an important milestone for Cayman.
“Does the law need to be revised?” she said. “One end of that argument would be yes it should, to take some of that power away from the government.”
Ms. Rose-Smyth referred to the National Conservation Law’s statutory provisions that place the lion’s share of power in cabinet’s hands.
“They have the ultimate say on how the conservation funds are spent, they have the ultimate say on how most projects that impact on the environment can be developed or not,” she said.
Ms. Rose-Smyth told Cayman 27 she hopes a review will include an element of public consultation, and that government will also seek to review the National Development Plan.
“If the Conservation Law is coming under review, then I firmly believe that the National Development Plan (1997), that is supposed to be reviewed every five years and there’s been a lot of Information or knowledge coming out about the fact that it hasn’t been reviewed for practically since it was put into place, if at all,” said Ms. Rose-Smyth.
She told Cayman 27 the issues surrounding conservation, development, and the delicate balance between the two are all intertwined.
“We have made steps towards climate change plans, national energy policy plans. Those are fantastic,” she said. “It’s important to bring that National Development Plan, if it’s kicking and screaming, into the same arena.”
Ms. Rose-Smyth says the council has yet to meet with newly-appointed environment minister Dwayne Seymour.
Cayman 27 reached out to the premier for a timetable on the review but have not heard back as yet.