Last week members of the National Trust for the Cayman Islands voted unanimously in favour of opposing any development of a Cruise Berthing Port in George Town harbour that would jeopardise its endangered species and protected species of coral and marine life. Such an act would be inconsistent with the law, they said.
On Thursday 9th January the National Trust held an Extraordinary General Meeting of its members at the George Town Yacht Club, an historic event as it was the first time such a meeting had been convened in the Trust’s 33-year history. They had been motivated to undertake such a step because of the lack of information surrounding the Cruise Berthing facility’s development, the National Trust said in a statement.
“The National Trust has consistently called for full disclosure on the potential environmental impacts of the Cruise Port project as well as for meaningful consultation with the public since the new design changes, so as to allow voters to make an informed decision when voting at the People Initiated Referendum,” they advised. “The National Trust had previously taken a neutral stance on the project until such time as additional information was provided, but with information not forthcoming, the lack of meaningful consultation, the National Trust decided it had to call an EGM to solicit the feedback of its membership and take a position.”
Members were given a presentation by wildlife and underwater photographer and Woman Divers Hall of Fame member Ellen Cuylaerts. In addition, National Trust legal counsel John Harris and Executive Director Nadia Hardie provided an update on the National Trust’s legal position as Intervener in the Shirley Roulstone vs CIG judicial review on the Cruise Berthing Port set down to be heard on the 22nd January 2020.
The National Trust said their EGM was well attended and more than 65 proxies were also submitted. As a result, a Resolution was passed unanimously enabling the National Trust to formally oppose any development of a Cruise Berthing Port in George Town Harbour which would jeopardise its endangered and protected species of coral and marine life and which would be inconsistent with the provisions of section 41 of the National Conservation Law.
The National Trust said it would press on to uphold the law as set out in the National Trust Law, protecting and preserving Cayman’s historic, natural and maritime heritage. It said it also wanted to remind people of the Constitution Order 2009 which stated the Cayman Islands “will be a country that respects, protects and defends its environment and natural resources as the basis of its existence” and “a Country that manages growth and maintains prosperity while protecting its social and natural environment”.