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Extended NCL Discussions

Hon Mark Scotland, MLA

Statement by Minister for Health, Environment, Youth, Sports and Culture the Hon. Mark Scotland, JP.

In the past few weeks, there has been a rich and varied response to the Conservation Bill at multiple levels. Several individuals, non-governmental organisations and community groups have indicated to me that while the public consultation period ended on Friday (16 July), they would still like an opportunity to make a contribution to the development of our national environmental policy.

As the Minister for Environment, I recognise that the relationship between human society and the environment is complex and multidimensional, with changes in one domain affecting the other; and I also recognise that the way policy decisions are made has important implications for the outcome. Therefore, after consultation with my colleagues in Government - I have decided to extend the public consultation period for an additional six (6) weeks.

Historically, Caymanians have responded to the challenges posed to sustainable development by committing to and establishing policies for creating an enabling environment that supports sustained economic growth, environmental integrity, good governance and respect for human rights. Therefore, I see no reason why we cannot continue to achieve this.

The process of moving our country towards a more sustainable future not only requires better management systems, but it also requires a dynamic inclusive forum which brings together the demands of different social groups, values and discourses in a deliberative fashion. We need a law that is inclusive, flexible and responsive to future needs of our country. One that will codify the norms of the Caymanian people, while simultaneously creating a structure for participation that helps to crystallise and protect our country's environmental goals.

This Government is committed to developing a Conservation Law that:

  • Results in a fair participatory processes
  • Builds partnerships and promotes collaboration, at multiple levels, to address and find solutions to the challenges of sustainable development,
  • Acknowledges that strengthening national institutions and empowering people is key to effective and sustainable resource management,
  • Recognises that the environment is integral to sustainable development,
  • Strengthens the quality of decision making,
  • Harnesses the opportunities the environment provides for economic growth and human well-being, and
  • Enhances our scientific and technological capabilities, to enable us to respond to environmental and development challenges more effectively.

By extending the public consultation period on this Bill, I believe that we can develop the right legal framework to achieve these goals, so I encourage everyone to take advantage of this extended opportunity to comment on the Bill and get involved in shaping the future of our country.