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Tuesday, April 11, 2006 

Cayman not part of environmental protocol

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


The Spaw Protocol is known as the only regional environmental legal agreement that addresses biodiversity conservation issues of the wider Caribbean, however Cayman is not a signatory to it. Hon Charles Clifford, Minister of Tourism, Environment, Investment and Commerce confirmed this as fact when he was asked about environmental and conservation-related polices on which Cayman was lagging behind other similar territories, recently.

The Spaw Protocol came into force in 2000 and now the Contracting Parties include Barbados, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, France, the Netherlands, Panama, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, United States, and Venezuela. “The Spaw Protocol has not been ratified in the Cayman Islands but some other British Overseas Territories have done so,” said Mr Clifford.

With Cayman having no Conservation Law in place Mr Clifford said that Cayman has a Natural Conservation Bill that has been tabled as a White Paper. Explaining the link between this White Paper Conservation Bill and the Spaw Protocol, Mr Clifford said that there is a provision in the Conservation Bill White Paper that would ratify elements of the Spaw Protocol.

The absence of a Conservation Law for the Cayman Islands, and the fact that Cayman has not signed on to the Spaw Protocol, are just two items about which Environmental lobbyists in the Cayman Islands are now concerned – especially in relation to the move ahead with dolphinariums. Marine dolphins are one set of animals that is listed for protection under the Spaw Protocol.

Asked what would happen if Cayman were now in breach of any rules – after the passage of the Conservation Bill – Mr Clifford said that Cayman would request “special exemptions from the United Kingdom.” Environmental lobbyists say that they see the Conservation Law – as well as an Environmental Policy, which is also needed – as a ground rule for development on Islands such as the Cayman Islands where environmental resources are marketed to bring in revenue.

The objectives of the Spaw Protocol are to protect, preserve and manage in a sustainable way areas and ecosystems that require protection to safeguard their special value; threatened or endangered species of flora and fauna and their habitats; and other species.

The Spaw Protocol also prohibits the taking, possession or killing – including the incidental taking, possession or killing – or commercial trade in such species, their eggs, parts or products. It also prohibits the disturbance of such species, particularly during periods of breeding, incubation or migration, as well as other periods of biological stress.

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