Hon. Peter David
Member of Parliament,
Town of St. George
October 2nd, 2021
I trust that this e-mail meets you safe and well. I write to you in your capacity as a Member of Parliament. Permit me to advise that I write in my personal and individual capacity.
Town of St. George
Hon. David, you have the privilege of representing the people of the Town of St. George, a very special place – the capital of Grenada and the seat of its various institutions as well as home of its many built, historical and heritage treasures. Among these are York House, Government House, Fort George Complex, the St. George’s Market Square and the Carenage with its Georgian buildings and picturesque scene.
You have held this honour and responsibility over the last eighteen years, beginning in 2003, four consecutive terms. While you did not offer yourself during the 2013 elections, having crossed to the NNP side, you threw your support firmly behind NNP’s candidate, Hon. Nikolas Steele. Notwithstanding the long, established presence of the family business in the River Road area, he would not have won without your active support. During his term as Member of Parliament for the Town of St. George, he could be considered your proxy. Permit me, therefore, Hon. David, to raise the following concerns in respect of the Town of St. George – the St. George’s Market Square and the St. John’s River Project.
St. George’s Market Square:
Hon. David, you are aware of the historical, cultural, political and economic significance of the Market Square to we the people of Grenada. Since 2003, or even prior to that, and continuing to the present, there has been a Market Square Project, world without end. In 2020, there was significant work undertaken on the Market Square and continuing in 2021.
Based on the information provided in the 2021 Budget Estimates, one can only describe this expenditure as phenomenal. According to the information contained in Vote 30, Ministry of Infrastructural Development et al:-
Approved Estimates 2020: The amount allocated for the St. George’s Market Square Project in 2020 was EC$ 1.50 million.
Actual Provisional 2020: At the time of the budget presentation, the actual provisional expenditure was EC$3.69 million – EC$2.19 million (140 percent) more than was budgeted.
Source of Funds: The source of Funding was grant funding; it is reasonable to assume that the source was the National Transformation Fund (NTF), the largest source of grant funding. I note that apparently in 2021, the list of capital projects to be funded via the NTF was not identified.
Value for Money: Are we the people satisfied that the unfinished Market Square Project at the end of 2020 reflected value for money EC$3.69 million?
Approved Estimates 2021: The approved estimates for 2021 is EC$800,000.
A Pagoda in the Heart of Market Square:
It is reasonable to assume, Hon. David, that some of the approved estimates must have gone to that building currently under construction. From what I can determine, the destruction of the heritage site of the Market Square is now COMPLETE. At an estimated expenditure of EC$4.4 million, we the people were looking forward to the restoration of the Market Square! Gone is any remaining open space and to add INSULT to injury, the building currently under construction – accessible from an entrance on Halifax Street – appears to be a PAGODA!!??
Can you explain Hon. David? Is this another declaration that “the Chinese feeding us”? As the Member of Parliament for the Town of St. George, were you advised/consulted? Did anyone ask whether or not the constituents of the Town of St. George or the rest of we the people had anything to contribute? Did the Grenada Cultural Foundation endorse this? Did this receive the approval of the Physical Planning Unit?
St. John’s River Flood Control Project
As Member of Parliament for the Town of St. George, you certainly are aware, Hon. David, that capturing the River Road and D’Arbeau vote is essential to winning the seat. I note that the St. John’s River Flood Control Project to address the problem of flooding in the River Road area is being rolled out during this rainy season. Is this a signal of some sort? This project has been in the making for a number of years. When were the stakeholder consultations held? Was an Environmental Impact Assessment done?
I expect that you are aware of the historical significance of the St. John’s River vis-a-vis the community of River Road. A river, Hon. David is a living entity. The St. John’s River is one of Grenada’s largest rivers and, notwithstanding the abuse it has suffered over the years – like the removal of stones in the lower part of the river – it is still “alive” and very powerful.
It appears that, apparently, the intention of the project is to pour quite a bit of concrete. I suggest, Hon. David, that, had the appropriate, consultative processes been undertaken, the recommendations would have been to undertake actions to restore and rehabilitate the river where appropriate – e.g. stabilising the river banks by planting the appropriate vegetation or other “green solutions” and strengthen the walls where necessary – improve its recreational value and enhance the green public space and ambiance along the river bank.
It could have been a major undertaking in which the entire community could have been engaged and of which all would have been very proud. In the fullness of time, we the people will find out whether that expensive solution – EC$10 million according to the 2021 Approved Estimates – will address the flooding problem experienced by the River Road community.
The experiences of other countries tell us that, with the solution proposed, the St. John’s River is on its way to becoming a big DRAIN.
It is well known, Hon, David, that you are a popular political figure with a lot of loyalist supporters, some of whom may even be described as disciples. Undoubtedly, whether in your capacity as attorney or otherwise, you have helped a lot of people – some of them out of “serious scrapes” – for which they will remain eternally grateful. But, Hon. David, as you reflect on your years as the “People’s Champion”, Member of Parliament for the Town of St. George and as you get ready to again offer yourself at the next polls, what will be your legacy?
In your position as Member of Parliament, what actions/interventions have you facilitated that has been transformative while demonstrating respect for and confidence in the people of the constituency? What has sustainably improved/will sustainably improve the quality of life of the disadvantaged and vulnerable of the constituency?
What will help them to help themselves and become “masters of their destiny” so that they do not have to queue up at the constituency office, cap in hand? What signal/message does a PAGODA in the heart of one of Grenada’s most significant monuments of political, cultural, heritage and other significance, send to your constituents in the Town of St. George and to we the people, citizens of Grenada?
I thank you Hon. David for the opportunity to share these concerns/queries.
Sandra C.A. Ferguson