A new online public advocacy group aims to let Cayman’s voices be heard on the important issues that face the country.
The group, Speak Up Cayman, is starting its work by advocating for the DOE’s proposed Marine Park Enhancements.
It promises to deliver public opinion electronically to those who shape legislative policies, and we say ‘it’ promises, because it’s not clear who is running it.
“We really need to get this plan implemented do that we can save what we have now. There’s no time to waste,” said volunteer Morgan Ebanks.
She told Cayman 27 it’s her passion for environmental issues that motivated her to become a part of Speak Up Cayman. The group is using its online presence to push for marine parks expansion.
“Coastal development, our new invasive species the lionfish, overfishing is a big one, diving in certain areas, there’s a little bit of pressure too,” said Ms. Ebanks. “This plan is intended to relieve some of those pressures, to allow our marine population to recover, to repopulate, and also become more resilient to future pressures.”
Here’s how it works: the website connects users to their elected representatives by allowing them to send their written feedback on issues directly to the MLAs themselves.
Ms. Ebanks said Speak Up Cayman is designed to help young people in particular have a voice on the issues that matter to them.
“Because we are the future, we are right now, we need to stick together and start speaking up about things that matter and that are affecting our lives,” said Ms. Ebanks.
Ms. Ebanks said she can’t take credit for creating Speak Up Cayman. She told Cayman 27 that she and a few of her friends share common environmental interests became involved with the site as unpaid volunteers. So who’s behind it? Ms. Ebanks said that person, for now, prefers to remain anonymous.
“We didn’t create the site, and we are not getting emails directly from Speak Up Cayman. We are just volunteers that found out about the Marine parks enhancement issue and we support it, and we are trying to get the word out,” she said.
And by giving the public a forum speak its mind, she hopes to shape a better future for Cayman.
You may note more than a whiff of irony in the fact that whoever’s behind Speak Up Cayman would be reluctant to back it publicly.
We’ve reached out to the DOE and the National Trust to see if they know who’s behind it, but haven’t heard back.
As far as the DOE’s marine parks expansion proposal is concerned, the plan has created a bit of controversy, especially among some groups of fishermen. The plan could designate up to half of Cayman’s waters as no-take zones, a big increase from today’s 15 percent.