November 25, 2020

MLAs to meet dump protestors

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Mark Scotland, MLA for Bodden TownThe coalition opposing relocation of the George Town Landfill to Bodden Town has gained the support of area opposition MLA Anthony Eden, and will meet government representatives Mark Scotland and Dwayne Seymour.

The invitation to meet Bodden Town’s UDP representatives came on 30 November from Mr Seymour after the Coalition to Keep Bodden Town Dump Free appealed for support in their efforts to counter the relocation, part of plans by the Dart-government ForCayman Investment Alliance.

“After appealing for support from the three MLAs for Bodden Town about a week ago, the Coalition to Keep BT Dump Free received an immediate reply and endorsement from Mr. Anthony Eden,” a coalition statement said yesterday.

While Mr Eden’s support came on 23 November, members of the 20-strong group were initially disappointed by the lack of an answer from the UDP MLAs.

However, the statement said, “Mr Seymour did contact a leader of the coalition on November 30th suggesting that the coalition meet with himself and with Minister Scotland.”

As of yesterday, the meeting had not been set, although coalition leaders, after gathering last night, expected to release a date later today.

“The coalition’s coordinating committee thanked Mr Seymour for the invitation,” the group said yesterday, “and will consider its response at its upcoming meeting.”

Vincent Frederick, former independent political candidate for Bodden Town and recently appointed coalition spokesman, said “We believe that this response reflects the growing pressure on government, and particularly on its two MLAs for Bodden Town, to reconsider the planned dump for Bodden Town.”

The group of local business and property owners and residents, formed only two weeks ago in the face of Central Planning Authority approval for Dart Realty to begin site preparation — $2.5 million for lighting, a road and drainage works — on 561 acres near Midland Acres for its “Eco Park”.

“Since its formation, the coalition has lamented the fact that the government never consulted the population of BT, and never asked for its prior consent. We wonder if the request received is just ‘PR window dressing’, or if it’s a genuine attempt to listen to our concerns and to consider our demand,” the formal statement said.

Last week, Premier McKeeva Bush acknowledged the group, saying it had every right to speak against the proposed move of the landfill, designed for recycling, reprocessing and proper storage on 110 acres on the Bodden Town site. Calling for a measure of sacrifice, however, he said the proposal was part of efforts to revitalise the economy and boost employment.

“In recent comments made by government leaders,” the statement said, “there’s no attempt to claim that a dump in Midland Acres offers any advantages for Bodden Towners. They no longer deny that the population of our district will suffer. The current ‘spin’ is that Bodden Town has to make the sacrifice ‘for the good of the whole island’.”

Bodden Town where the controversial “Eco Park” will be built

In its appeal to the MLAs, the coalition pointed out that the dump brought little advantage to the area.

“No effort at all has been made to explain to residents of Bodden Town why establishing a dump in our district is in our interests. And, in fact, it clearly is not in our interests. We respectfully ask you, as a resident of Bodden Town and one of its three elected members in the Legislative Assembly, to stand up for your constituents and for the future of your district, to support our campaign against moving the dump to Bodden Town, and to give voice to our interests, rather than those of a private company. The people of Bodden Town elected you and are counting on you to represent them.”

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