The New Today

Commentary

Green space on the Lagoon Park begins taking shape

Again, this last week-end, via THE NEW TODAY, week ending July 22nd page 15, we the people were provided with an update on the Green Space on the Lagoon Park concept by The Group.  The Group advised it had met and taken a number of decisions.

Taking Shape
A local was given the responsibility to do some signage in the specified area; a professional architect would be hired to do “a little railing like by the water, maybe a little bench by the water.”

Cuban Long Wall/Esplanade: The plan is to turn the area into something similar like the Cuban Long Wall where every afternoon one can see musicians there just practicing and old people just come and listen.

GPA Lease to Camper and Nicholson: The designated area belongs to the Grenada Ports Authority (GPA) but has been leased out to Camper Nicholson as part of its marina facility in the Grenada Yacht Service (GYS).

Open Band Stand:  The Green Space can be used to make an open band stand which can be used by the Police Band to entertain the public.

No Permanent Structure: There will be no permanent structure. Anything erected will be “moveable” like removable bleachers or a portable toilet.

Allow Locals to Do Their Little Thing:
Free of Costs:  This venue will be available, free of costs, to young and upcoming musicians and young persons engaged in dance. Locals will be allowed “to do their little thing at no cost as all of these (facilities) are intended to be free.”

Vending:  Persons who are given permission to hold concerts at the venue will be allowed to do the vending to make some money.

No Owner:  There will be no owner of the space but a group will be put in place to regulate happenings at the Green Space.  Someone will be available to set up lights for those who want to use the area.

Control of the Area: An official of Camper advised that no entity will be allowed to control the area; the space that is being created “is for the people of Grenada as a whole.”

Financing: Some financiers have been found to fund the initiative.

Shanty Town/Drugs
Other comments made by a group member:-

Shanty Town:  Grenada is becoming too much like “a shanty town”.

Major Imports for Drugs: The area cannot be allowed “to become the dumping ground it is becoming” as it is already “one of the major imports for drugs in the night.”

Drug  Suppliers: “That is the port that supplies all the yachtees in that marina and all the Belmont and Grand Anse and everybody”….  The police know it but how much can a police force do (to patrol the entire island for drug importation).”

Observations/Comments/Queries

  1. Camper and Nicholson Control of the Area

If the area belongs to the Grenada Ports Authority, WHY is it being leased out to Camper & Nicholson for five years and Camper and Nicholson will add it to the “green space”? What happens after five years?

  • Grenada Ports Authority: And by the way, between the period 2013 to present, did the Ports Authority enter into agreement with any entity about control and use of any area under its control?

Unusual Circumstances involving Transactions re the People’s Property: We the people should be aware of the unusual circumstances surrounding transactions regarding the people’s property – Islander Hill, Ballast Ground, Lagoon and Lagoon – through which it came into the ownership(?) and control of Peter deSavary’s Port Louis company for EC$1.00 – which then transferred part of it to Camper and Nicholson.

The Locals

1.Creating a Space for the People of Grenada?

If the intention of the “good citizens” is about the creation of a space for the “people of Grenada”, then how does the designation  of “locals” fit?

A local was given the responsibility to do some signage in the specified area; allow locals “to do their little thing at no cost as all of these (facilities) are intended to be free….

The Group’s references to locals should have the people thinking hard.  WHO/WHAT is this group?  What is its composition? These references to “locals” come across as being condescending; disrespectful; second-class and afterthought!!  In fact, DAMN RUDE!!

Green Space for the People of Grenada vs. Marina Amenity:
Is this Green Space really a space for the “people of Grenada” or is it really an amenity for the C&N Port Louis Marina, given the very limited land area that marina got in its deal with Peter deSavary? Did Camper and Nicholson purchase “cat in bag” from Peter deSavary? Is The Green Space a public relations gimmick to distract from the real intent?  Is the real intent to claim and control the area?

Import for Drugs
The Port that Supplies All the Yachtees in that Marina:  Exactly which port is The Group referring to?

Major Import for Drugs in the Night: Is The Group member suggesting that the area designated to be a green space is an area via which drugs come into the country, i.e. “the major import”? If this is so, then where is the import originating?

Related:  The plan to develop a “Green Space” in the Lagoon

Failure/Inability/Obstruction re Law Enforcement: The Group/one of its members is suggesting that the police are  aware of the situation on this “port” but did not take action; the member/The Group  suggested  that the police lacked capacity – The police know it but how much can a police force do (to patrol the entire island for drug importation)”

Obstruction? The police make drug busts all the time. So relevant questions would be – did the police deliberately close their eyes or were they impeded from carrying out their tasks?  Was this situation, as described by the member of The Group, deliberately allowed to flourish with the blessing of some influential entity or individual?

Border Security: Are there adequate, trained Customs and Immigration Services personnel in marinas in Grenada or do the marinas operate as republics, particularly those which cater to the rich and famous?  It is no secret that most rich and famous believe that, unlike ordinary folk, they are entitled to special privileges and exemptions.

Yachting and Drugs
The drug trade is a risk associated with the yachting industry and the Caribbean is no exception. Indeed, the Caribbean has become a significant trans-shipment point for drugs from South America to the more affluent North. This observation does not suggest an accusation against everyone.

But everyone one knows that one rotten apple spoils the entire barrel and makes a bad name for all involved in the industry.

A casual “google search” will throw up many examples of the connection between yachts, yachters, captains and other staff of yachts and the drug trade. Among the cases “where Grenada name call” were:-

In 2007, a drug baron, described as the UK’s richest criminal –   a.k.a. Willy the Milkman because he “always delivered” – was convicted, following an 11-year Operation Extend. Among the details of the case was that Grenada was one of the islands that was a staging post. James Goodrich, a prize-winning Californian yachtsman who had been smuggling drugs since the age of 19, was one who also got an 18-year sentence as a result of this operation.

2011, German Police Seize 1.1 Tons of Cocaine :  “……..French officials intercepted the 13-meter yacht near the island of St. Maarten on Saturday after it had left Grenada…”

2018:  Multi-millionaire Barbados businessmen  arrested in $3m drug bust, yacht suspected in drug trafficking:  “…. two millionaire businessmen, caught up in a scandalous $3 million drug bust by the Drug Squad of the Barbados Police Force….”  The yacht,…The vessel had reportedly just returned from a trip to Grenada…..”

Grenada is a small country with porous borders. It should protect its borders and by extension, its people.  How it treats the yachting sector, including marinas should also be a consideration in ensuring its border security.

Shanty Town
In Grenada, shanties are an indicator of:-

Failure of the government to enforce building/other regulations: The failure of the government to enforce building/other regulations results in things getting out of hand. And this failure to apply and enforce certain building regulations applies to both ordinary folk and some of Grenada‘s CBI-mega investment projects.  While the mega-investments will not look shanty, the PRINCIPLE is still shanty.

Poverty:  Poor citizens do not have the means. So they creatively build with those things they do not have to pay for. E.g. old crates. For the Carnival, we the people know that the Kirani James Boulevard/Port Highway will temporarily become a stretch of shanties.  While it may not look pretty, people have to earn a living.

The vulnerabilities and lack of opportunities in situations of poverty create an enabling environment for the drug trade to flourish and the use of drugs by those who can least afford its use.

Fiscal Incentives and Government Resources:
Refer once again to the claims/requests for reimbursement made by Camper & Nicholson’s letter of July 2012, after it had completed its temporary reclamation: –  e.g. stamp duty, sales taxes, taxes re receipts of rents and profits from land in the hands of the land owner and/or subsequent purchasers.

How will the Government of Grenada be able to meet its various obligations such as security and assistance to  its vulnerable citizens if  it continues to give away more and more of the people’s assets with absurdly,  generous fiscal incentive package over a period of 25 years and the Treasury foregoes greater and greater income in exchange for some meagre, low paying jobs.

Are We the People supposed to be “grateful”  to The Group and its financiers for creating the  Green Space and  “allowing we locals” to use OUR space that our authorities permitted  Camper and Nicholson  to occupy and mash up in the first place??!!

We the people need to study we head and mind we business! GRENADA DESERVES BETTER!!

Sandra Ferguson