The New Today

Commentary

Fighting climate change

Friends of the Earth Grenada was extremely heartened to hear the Prime Minister mention the environment and climate change in several contexts in the recent budget speech.

The PM told us: “As a small island developing state, with large ocean space, that is vulnerable to the effects of climate change …..Grenada, a resilient and prosperous nation……..realising its full potential through sustainable economic, social, and environmental progress for all.”

He went on to introduce some of the initiatives, namely:

  • the Development of Commercial Composting Centres that will use debris from the BEST Programme and organic waste from residential homes.
  • the GrenadaGrows project, which turns organic waste into fertiliser and compost.
  • the establishment of Rainwater Harvesting Facilities to support 400 small farmers.

For the Tourism sector, he referred to Grenada as “naturally wholesome” and “eco-friendly”.

Continuing in the same vein, he boasted of “The pristine beauty of our natural attractions, paired with our rich resources of flora and fauna add to our allure as an “unspoilt” destination and makes Grenada an ideal rejuvenation location for many, providing a plethora of opportunities to connect with nature.”

He continued by saying how “Grenadians, and visitors alike, can enjoy the wonders that exist today.”

In Pillar 4 – Building Resilience and Environmental Management, he once again elucidated,“Our Government is committed to the fight against climate change and will support all efforts to embrace sustainability and the protection of our natural environment”.

But wait nah, we had to stop and reflect at this point: if this administration is so committed to protecting and ensuring the sustainability of our ‘natural environment’, how is it that we have three major developments being built in our precious mangroves?

La Sagesse – part of the mangrove has been completely destroyed to date for the Sixth Senses development and there are now plans afoot to build an Intercontinental Hotel close to where the river meets the beach. This means that almost the entire mangrove will be gone by this time next year.

Mt Hartman – clarity is needed as to what exactly is being built by the Chinese in Mt Hartman but there has already been extensive clearing and another development – a boatyard – has been approved recently by the Planning Department in the same vicinity, more destruction of our mangroves.

Levera – recent pictures taken from the Welcome Stone, we are not allowed to walk across the development site, show that vast swathes of the mangrove and other vegetation have been cut down. This is a hundred and plus years old mangrove which is next to the RAMSAR site.

Having a RAMSAR label indicates that it has the status of being of major International significance. It is also a nesting ground for Leatherback turtles, an endangered species which has already seen a reduction in their nesting sites this year due to human activity, according to Ocean Spirits, an agency which tracks the turtles on Levera beach.

The development on Levera’s plan shows a fifteen floor glass and steel structure, fifteen storeys, imagine that, on what used to be our pristine mangrove.

The present administration will argue that most of these plans were agreed prior to the election in June.

We have been informed that the Minister for Planning has the authority by law, to rescind plans previously approved.

If any of the statements made in the budget are to be believed, then this administration has the right to re-examine some of these approved plans and to ensure that no more mangroves are destroyed, they are still our first line of defence against climate change.

“If we don’t change direction soon, we will end up where we are going”, Irwin Corey.

Happy New Year to everyone, let this be the year we make a stand to keep Grenada’s pristine beauty intact.

The above reflects the views of Friends of the Earth-Grenada