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Civil Society clears the air

Dear Civil Society Colleagues,

I trust that this e-mail finds you and yours safe and well, notwithstanding the various challenges that we as a people and country have to endure. Just spare a thought for our brothers and sisters in St. Vincent and we in Grenada give thanks, notwithstanding our own individual situations!

Permit me to draw to your attention the Special Press Conference of April 29th, 2021 hosted by Prime Minister, Dr. the Rt. Hon. Keith Mitchell. In response to questions by the selected/preferred journalists who were afforded a place in that press conference he made a number of statements which require “setting the record straight”.

Prime Minister Mitchell made several disparaging references to “so-called environmentalists”, accusing them of “playing politics” and wanting to “stop the projects”. However, for the time being, permit me to just stick with one matter which is of special relevance to the Grouping of Civil Society Organisations, the Carriacou Marina Project.

Carriacou Marina Project:
The Prime Minister’s Spin:   In his reference to the Carriacou Marina Project, Prime Minister Mitchell made the following statements:-

  • He did not know where they – i.e. the so-called environmentalist – came from.
  • They even brought in people from outside of the region to tell us that we are destroying the mangroves;
  • He further went on to say that “mangroves were the problem – nobody could catch a fish!’
  • Hundreds of yachts and scores of persons working; no one in Carriacou would challenge that project today.
  • Prime Minister Mitchell offered his spin: – “……the so-called environmentalists who care about Grenadians so much that they prefer to see people starve for their political objectives. He further added:- “……….. that is my spin. They may say it is not politics but I say it is politics”.

Setting the Record Straight:
Attached for your information are the following:-

  • Background information on how this matter of the Carriacou Marina development came to the attention of the Grouping of Civil Society and how the Grouping treated with it:-
  • sought a meeting with the Chairman of the Committee of Social Partners and the agreement emerging from the meeting – to conduct a rapid EIA and a public consultation at which the findings of the rapid EIA would be presented;;
  • withholding signature to the Social Compact until the matter was resolved (the matter was never resolved) – ref. Letter of January 2015 advising of this action.
  • the background to the public consultation that was held on June 21st, 2014 in Carriacou at the site of the marina development and the statement issued by the Grouping
  • An audio recording, Civil Society Speaks, which features the public consultation and the remarks made by the following:-
  • Ms. Denyse Ogilvie of People in Action and a member of the Committee of Social Partners representing Civil Society
  • Dr. Lorna Inniss, consultant to the Ministry of Agriculture, developing Grenada’s Coastal Zone Policy financed by German Co-operation, GIZ. Civil Society lobbied for Dr. Inniss to participate in the forum.
  •  Environmental Impact Assessment: Among other things, Dr. Inniss’ presentation emphasised the importance of conducting an Environmental Impact Assessment.
  • Hon. Elvin Nimrod, M.P. for Carriacou and Petite Martinique
  • Prime Minister Keith Mitchell
  • Letter from UNEP expressing concerns

Remembering George Grant of Chime FM:
It is also an opportune moment to remember with gratitude George Grant, who passed one year ago. Through his support and invitation, the Grouping of Civil Society Organisations was able to host Civil Society Speaks with some help from then Sen. Ray Roberts, Thank you George and thank you Ray!!

Sandra C. A. Ferguson
for Grouping of CSOs