Kenneth Bryan on East-West: “This road is going to be built” Loop Cayman Islands

The content originally appeared on: Cayman Compass

Yesterday (February 27, 2023), Kenneth Bryan, Minister for Tourism and Transport, made several comments to host Orrett Connor on Radio Cayman’s ‘For The Record’ show regarding the proposed East-West Arterial Road, including his view of the purpose of the environmental impact assessment (EIA). He also indicated his intentions regarding his relationship with the current administration if the East-West Arterial Road is not built.

Bryan, on the EIA

Concerning the EIA, Bryan said:

Now, I read a report… the other day suggesting that the… Miss Gina Petrie Ebanks has even suggested that the EIA report is to give the Government consideration of how to build the report, how to build the road or even whether to build it.

And I don’t recall at any point in time there was even a question of whether we’re building it or not. We’re gonna build the road. There’s no two ways around that. This road is going to be built.

Bryan added: “So, while there was a suggestion by her to say that it will also give us a consideration of if we should do the road, that’s not an option; we are going to do the road. How we do the road now is in question, and I respect the EIA from that perspective.”

Comparing Bryan’s comments about the EIA to the National Conservation Council Directive (the “Directive”), the Directive states:

The results of the EIA will be used by the project proponent to develop an Environmental Management Plan (EMP) for the project.

The EMP will form the basis for environmental monitoring and mitigation during the implementation of the project.

The Directive further indicates that the project proponent, i.e., the National Roads Authority, will carry out the “project according to the EMP as contained in permissions granted by the relevant entities.”

The Directive concludes that, in doing so, the “proposed Environmental Management Plan shall include the mitigation measures recommended and present procedures and reporting relationships” and should clearly state:

Institutional arrangements for carrying out the work parameters to be monitoredMethods and best management practices to be employedStandards or guidelines to be used and thresholds to be adhered toSchedule and duration of monitoring (including details of initiation of action necessary to limit adverse impacts evident from monitoring)Format and frequency of reporting of resultsActions to be taken, including stoppage of works, mediation of impacts and revocation of permits, for non-compliance with any aspect of the Environmental Management Plan.

Environmental considerations

Regarding environmental monitoring and mitigation during the implementation of the project, Bryan said: “We are going to consider the environment because we have to. It’s our constitutional obligation to do so.”

However, he noted that “the lives of the people are more important than anything else, particularly the quality of life of our people.”

Bryan saddened by the approach of environmental opponents

Regarding the environmental considerations and what opponents said publicly about the proposed East-West Arterial Road, Bryan said he was “saddened, truly saddened by what is supposed to be a good movement about protecting the environment being used to try to stop this road.”

He explained:

We can find a balance as to protecting the wetlands. The wetlands has its place.

We are a Government of sustainability and transparency, but we cannot… because it seems one sided… where there is a concerted effort to undermine the development of this road.”

He added:

I’ve seen a video that went out recently.

At the end of the video, the poor young lady who did it.. I don’t know who is advising them or pushing them… she said ‘and they only want to do this road to open up lands for certain developers’

Bryan concluded:

I found that to be an insult to the Government because you’re saying to me that I’m trying to put a road through just so I can open up the land for certain people.

I’m trying to resolve the traffic issues, decentralize the way we are developing our country because we can’t do that without a proper main arterial.

People have forgotten the fact that what happened in Ivan when you couldn’t get from one side of the island to the other.

What will Bryan do if East-West is not built

Commenting on his position with the Government if the East-West Arterial road does not go through, Bryan indicated that this would force him to consider his position with this administration.