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KEEP CAYMAN CLEAN - BRYAN TARGETS LITTERING

Cayman Conversation 12 Oct, 2023 Follow News

KEEP CAYMAN CLEAN - BRYAN TARGETS LITTERING

Minister Kenneth Bryan

Cayman Conversations

‘Keep Cayman Clean’, could very well be the mantra that underpins a campaign to stamp out littering now coming to the end of its first phase. And there’s a strong push to keep the message alive.

The campaign is an initiative of Hon. Minister of Tourism Kenneth Bryan alongside Hon. Parliamentary Secretary Heather Bodden and has been underway since August with a combined focus of ‘information, education and enforcement’.

Speaking with Caymanian Times publisher Ralph Lewis on the podcast Cayman Conversations, Mr Bryan said changing behaviours is a key element and now that’s being supported by legislation.

Coming out of this campaign, Cayman has recorded its first conviction for littering with at least one other case pending, thanks to Mr Bryan’s efforts to increase the penalty from a fine of $500 to $10,000.

CULTURE OF CLEANLINESS

As explained by Mr Bryan, Cayman’s culture of cleanliness is at stake.

“We recognise that you need to get to the root cause of the problem in the first place. And I hate to say it, but it’s not robots that are doing this, it’s we as human beings that are doing it. So where is this coming from? Why do people feel the need to do it? Is it a lack of efficiencies within our structures, or the availability of bins? Is it just people who are just being irresponsible and uncaring about the community and the environment what are the causes?” he asked.

Mr Bryan said the conclusion was that adequate resources are already deployed by the government and committing further resources will come at a cost which would impact the community and the wider economy.

It’s a question of balance, he said, as Cayman’s tourism-based economy could suffer if the destination is rendered unattractive by litter. But Min. Bryan went further by stating that even beyond the impact of tourism, it’s the responsibility of residents to ‘keep Cayman clean’ - a lifestyle pattern that has been at the core of Cayman society for generations.

He however noted that development and population shifts have seen a change in once-accepted practices of community cleanliness.

“With growth and success come some of the other outside influences and it’s for it’s for us to remind those that are born here, who come and live here, who come to work here, to remember why Cayman was an attractive jurisdiction in the first place. If we all forget that then the thing that you want to come here for can simply go away. It doesn’t happen overnight but five to ten years from now, you go holy moly, this is a totally different place than when they came!”

A national Beautification Task Force(BTF) headed by Parliamentary Secretary Heather Bodden has been leading the drive to clean up Cayman and keep it that way.

We think that this one should be an easy solution,” Mr Bryan said on Cayman Conversations, “because I believe in my heart that everybody wants to keep the country clean.”

“It’s a number of steps that we have to do to make sure that we encourage it. We try to put necessary legislation in place for people to be deterred from doing it. Make sure to put systems in place whereby it makes it easier for them. Educate the public as to how something as simple as dropping the food when you’re sitting down by the beach side…you may see it as an isolated incident, but that affects the country as a whole.”

PAY THE PRICE

The other aspect of the campaign is legislation and enforcement, Mr Bryan pointed out. Noting that littering is not a victimless crime, he said not only is it the responsibility of Caymanians but more so, persons coming to live and work in the Cayman Islands.

“We believe that with a series of deterrents by reviewing the various pieces of legislation that we need to look at so that people can understand that if you do this, it’s not something that is accepted and that you will be penalised for it.”

The Tourism and Transport minister disclosed that among the legislation being looked at are laws dealing with littering, public health, the Public Lands Act, traffic regulations, the Towns and Community Law, the Penal Code, and even immigration law.

“We also recognise that half of our population are on work permits. If you are found breaking the rules we want to change laws within immigration so that we can revoke your work permit…because if you’re not willing to obey the laws that are important to this nation to keep it the way it is, maybe you’re not the appropriate person to be here.”

In that respect, he is also urging employers to ensure that their guest workers are fully aware of this.

COMMUNITY ACTION

Mr Bryan also gave a ‘shout-out’ to the groups and individuals throughout the three islands who volunteer their time with clean-up campaigns, along with the government departments, agencies and civil servants.

He encourages them to promote their efforts and urges others to get involved and volunteer.

“Just share it like it to show the movement people think there is something that they’ll see the movement happening and be encouraged by it and positive they will breed results.”

One area that’s of particular concern is the high visibility of litter on streets caused by commercial enterprises, such as businesses involved in landscaping and transporting unsecured debris.

If you see something, say something, he said urging the public to report such incidents to the authorities.

“The streets is where most of it is visual, and in communities where you walk and you see things we want people to be more attentive to their responsibilities. If you see something, say something that’s very important. This is what you can do.”

With this phase of the ‘Keep Cayman Clean’ campaign now ending its initial three-month run, Mr Bryan says he is committed to keeping the momentum going.

“It’s like we’re pushing a big stone ball up the hill and the momentum is coming. We need to continue. So we ask everyone to please be a part of this. Obviously, the first thing is to clean up after yourself. If everybody did that on their own, we wouldn’t have a problem at all. So clean up after yourself and volunteer as much as you possibly can.”

On that note, Cayman Conversations podcast host Ralph Lewis ended with the quip: “Cleanliness is next to Godliness.”


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