A PROJECT THAT APE SHOULD BE REPORTING ON
On Sunday, April 09, 2023; the second anniversary of the most recent eruption of our volcano La Soufriere, a trio of civic minded nationals journeyed to Buccament bay to observe first hand, development taking place in that area. The trio spoke with the residents who were on the beachfront at that time to solicit their feedback on the current happenings and how they felt about it.
The trio comprised Louise Mitchell founder and Attorney at ‘Louise Mitchell & Associates’, Marlon Mills, environmentalist by profession and social activist, and retired Geography Teacher Donald De Riggs. Louise Mitchell is the third daughter of the late Sir James F. Mitchell and is also the Executive Director of the SVG Environmental Fund and Vice-Chair of the SVG Conservation Fund.
From the outset let it be stated that as concerned citizens, it is our duty to oversee the development of our tiny 150 square mile island state. There is currently no named government agency that is keeping tabs on this project, neither has there been any reporting on the progress of the project which is a shame as this is a government assisted project. Since the project has started local residents some of whom are workers on the project state that there have been at least three different nationalities of workers who have been employed at the hotel project site who are not necessarily doing skilled work that Vincentians cannot accomplish.
Out of pure concern, the trio, without bias chatted with all who could accommodate discussion, some who embraced the project as good, hoping that their standard of life would also be improved, while others deprecated (expressed dissatisfaction with) the government for allowing so many foreign workers, when the so called ‘technical’ jobs could be learned and perfected in a day or two, leaving many Vincentians unemployed. Others also wondered why nationalities had to be changed so often and wondered if they were mules.
Also of significant importance is the fact that since the last public consultation went sour, the government strategy is to meet with stakeholders on a one to one basis, where it would be easier to coerce (force) vulnerable stakeholders to yield to their unreasonable demands. Some have also been paid sums, for what is unclear. All these issues need to be clarified officially! How many stakeholders were paid, how much each was paid and for what ? The public needs transparency.
The western part of Buccament Bay, just before Little bay, was covered with white sand a few weeks ago and in less than two weeks the accompanying photo shows what has been left of the white sand. Seine fishermen in the area state that they seldom catch fish in the area where white sand was unnaturally placed more close to ten years ago and since the development of the resort, tri tri quantities have also diminished, putting a lie to the statement that development improves the quality of life, when in fact in this scenario, it is actually eroding the culture and livelihoods of the local community.
Additionally, there are concerns about the disposal of grey water and solid waste from the resort and how/where it will be disposed of safely, without jeopardizing the health of locals and visitors alike. These concerns warrant close attention, as contaminating the aquatic life, both riverine and marine is very likely, with a constant stream of effluent (liquid waste or discharge) from the resort. Therefore, water quality monitoring must be a regular and continuing activity.
As mentioned earlier, the purpose of the visit was to monitor the progress and damage done in our community and to sound warnings before we have to repeat a local saying “… if ah bin kno !”, but ‘if ah bin know’, is always said too late ! And many will agree that a ‘stitch in time saves nine’, so let’s do this thing right, and right the first time. We cannot afford to make mistakes, as mistakes with nature can take a long time to remedy or may be irreparable.
Contributed by : Donald De Riggs.
April 10, 2023.