THE NEW TODAY is calling on Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell to indicate to the nation the exact position of his ruling New National Party (NNP) administration on the status of our beaches.
It is time for Dr. Mitchell to break his silence on the vexing question of whether all the beaches in Grenada are for the use of the public or some have been reserved for private usage.
It is unfortunate that 50 years after the Lord Brownlow incident at La Sagesse that Grenadians have to engage in another raging debate on private vs. public beaches on the island.
This newspaper is clear in its position that every Grenadian regardless of their status in life or in the society have a right to access any beach in Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique.
There should be no negotiation or trade-off with anyone for use of the people’s sacred property like the beach.
The current Prime Minister has a tendency to hide in the background and send out one of his ministers to feel out the people on many sensitive matters in the country.
It is now the Minister of Tourism & Civil Aviation, Dr. Clarice Modeste-Curwen who came forward at Tuesday’s post-Cabinet press briefing to shock Grenadians with the news that a cruise ship had approached government for exclusive use by its visitors of one of our beaches on the day of visit.
What was even more sad is the fact that the minister was suggesting that Grenadians should be prepared to give up the beach for a few hours to accommodate these foreign visitors.
This is clear confirmation that the NNP regime is not nationalistic and is prepared to run the country’s business not like a government but like a rum or salt fish shop.
This paper holds the view that our beaches is not like goods on the shelves of a shop for sale but the patrimony of our people who fought for centuries to try and get a better life in the sun.
No government in Grenada should ever entertain the thought of compromising such prized assets of the people like our beaches for no amount of money.
Why would a government want to trade our beaches that belong to all the people in the tri-island state for a few bucks from a cruise ship company?
Is the government going to send in members of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) and the Special Services Unit (SSU) to keep out Grenadians from going on the beach on the day that the cruise ship comes to Grenada with its passengers?
Who are these special “cargo” who want exclusivity on our beaches? Are they members of a particular sexual orientation? Are they a bunch of rich folks from North America, Europe or China?
The NNP administration is very insensitive given the recent past in which Grenadians reacted angrily and took to the streets despite Covid-19 in support of Evan Smith who was beaten by a white couple in Fort Jeudy.
This newspaper cannot help but note the silence on the issue of the so-called progressives that promote “Project Grenada” within the NNP regime.
Why is the so-called leader, newly appointed Agriculture Minister, Peter David silent on this beach proposal issue? Where is the President of the Senate, Chester Humphrey standing on this matter of national concern?
Is it a case of Minister David hiding behind the principle of Cabinet’s Collective Responsibility when the ordinary man in the street knows who is the exact dominant figure in the government?
This is not a matter to be put to the people for direction or consultation for a change in policy since it was settled over 50 years ago by the NJM that all beaches are public in the State.
What the government should be doing at this point in time is to send a strong message to those who are using the internet to sell or rent their property to foreigners with the false impression that they will have access to a private beach on the island.
There is absolutely nothing to discuss on the issue of the beach as Grenada has no exclusivity for any consultation to be held upon by the government with the people.
Grenada is not for sale and no foreigner should be allowed to ask for the exclusive use of any beach at the expense of natives.
The duty of the NNP government or any other administration is to enhance Grenada’s property but the message on Tuesday from Minister Curwen-Modeste amounts to one which suggest that St. George’s is willing to sell out to the highest bidder.
Our unshakeable position is that the government is elected into office to hold Grenada’s property in trusteeship for the people and is not there to negotiate the people’s business to those who are willing to pay any high price for it.