The New Today

Letters

Escazu defends land and Human Rights defenders

Friends of the Earth Grenada continues to call for the implementation of the draft Land Management Policy which continues to languish somewhere between the Ministry of Legal Affairs and Cabinet.

This has been an issue for the organisation since its inception in 1991 and was incorporated as one of its primary principles in its first manifesto in 1999 where Friends of the Earth – Grenada stated that in order to ensure the environmental health & sustainability of this tri-island state, Grenada needed to:

  • Develop a land use policy with a plan that incorporates the idea that “development must be in harmony with the environment,” and which follows the principles of sustainable development. The plan must take into account such issues as the preservation of genetic & species diversity, the protection of people’s livelihoods, compatible land use, soil stability, coastal protection, and preservation of historical and cultural sites.
  • adopt the precautionary Principle approach when dealing with environmental and developmental issues.
  • continue to vigorously implement The St. George’s Declaration, The Millennium Development Goals, Agenda 21 and the Barbados Plan of Action for Small Island Developing States.
  • make a greater effort to gather the input of all people affected when planning for new developments, ensure wider consultations and Environmental Impact Assessments are held for all major developments.
  • ensure that transparency is apparent in contracts with future developers.
  • Ensure that mangrove restoration and protection continue to be done in identified areas and that any destruction of a mangrove area be halted. (FOE – Grenada 2018 manifesto, 5th version).

Despite 30 years of lobbying and advocacy and continuing International treaties such as the most recent Escazu agreement, Grenada is no further forward to implementing a policy which could see a difference in what is permitted and not permitted on public and private land i.e. the whole of the state of Grenada.

The Escazu Agreement which was adopted on March 4, 2018 in Escazu, Costa Rica is the first international treaty in Latin America and the Caribbean concerning the environment and aims to guarantee the full and effective implementation in the region of the rights of access to environmental information, public participation in environmental decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters.

In the light of what is taking place in Grenada, the destruction of mangroves and the proposed developments in Levera, Mt Hartman and La Sagesse, it seems timely to ask those we have elected to make executive decisions, to remember the many promises made at election time and the countless numbers of treaties the country has signed.

Grenadians can also support an NGO, recently established in Grenada, the ‘Grenada Land Actors’, that is presently in Court challenging the Government’s Department of Planning regarding the lack of transparency and consultation when decisions are taken referring to development, particularly in the coastal areas.

Their mission is to ‘Enact transparency, accountability and oversight of Grenada’s natural resource development, their website is https://grenadaland.org and they are on Facebook as Grenada Land Actors.

Friends of the Earth – Grenada welcome another voice in the movement to protect the environment and biodiversity of Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique.

Friends of the Earth – Grenada