The New Today

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The Lagoon to come alive

Once again the Lagoon Park is in the news. Based on report of October 29th in the New Today , we the people have been advised that we can expect to see “a transformation” of the Lagoon area close to Bryden & Minors, led by “a group of civic minded persons who have expressed concern about squatting”.

The group has already secured the funding for cleaning a particular space in the Lagoon and to give it a facelift.

Plans for Vending in the Space in the Charge of Camper and Nicholson:

This “group of civic minded persons, concerned about squatting” have been considering plans for vending in the space currently in the charge of Camper and Nicholson. We the people have been further advised that Camper and Nicholson, in charge of the Grenada Yacht Services, has given a commitment to “to make it a community space” and to see the space utilised in order “to bring life to the community but positive life.

Fish Friday á la Gouyave:

Among the suggestions to bring to life this Lagoon space, under “the charge of Camper and Nicholson”, is Fish Friday, á la Gouyave Fish Friday. We have also been advised that Gouyave Fish Friday “died a natural death”.

Via the report, we the people were provided with the following details:-

A Lot of Sellers: The Gouyave vendors would be able to take part in the Fish Friday along with vendors from the city “as the place is quite big enough to accommodate a lot of sellers”.

Provided by the Organisers: Tents, tables and chairs would be provided by the organisers to facilitate the Fish Friday.

Parking: To get parking space, businesses in the area are being approached – from Bryden and Minors to FOODLAND – to leave their parking lots open to accommodate the vehicles that would bring patrons to attend the Fish Friday.

Clean-up: Camper and Nicholson has committed to put a clean-up team at the disposal of the organisers at the end of each day’s activity for the clean-up and maintenance of the area.

Benefit People: “They really want to do it as a community project now to benefit people.”

Making the Area Lively Again:

Among other ideas “to make the area lively again” are:-

  • Steelband Sunday with the Community: On Sundays, a steel band would be “allowed” to entertain the public and snow cone, popcorn and ice-cream vendors would be “allowed to come and ply their trade”.
  • Melon/Corn Market: “On one given night, the area can be used by persons as a melon market, and a corn market on another night with only one single product being sold there.”

Meeting with the Parliamentary Representative

The “organisers” have met with the Minister of Implementation and Member of Parliament for the area to “get him on board” with the project.

Observations/Comments/Queries

Lagoon Space under the Charge of Camper and Nicholson: One thing is clear! Camper & Nicholson wants to ensure its CLAIM to the space!!

Locals vs. Community: One notes that the tone of communication of the “civic minded group concerned about squatting” has changed somewhat and the word “community” has replaced the word “locals”.

Grenada Yacht Services/ Port Louis Camper and Nicholson Marina: It is rather curious to read that Camper and Nicholson is in charge of the Grenada Yacht Services. We the people are aware of the chain of transactions in respect of what was “people’s property”:- Grenada Yacht Services – Viktor Kozeny’s Blue Lagoon – Poole Capital S.A (of Bru Pearce fame). – Port Louis Land (of Peter deSavary fame) – to Camper & Nicholson Marina Investments (was it of Nick Maris fame?) via Camper & Nicholson Grenada Holdings. Majority shares in Camper and Nicholson Marina Investments then passed to a Hong Kong based company called   First Eastern.

So what is this bulls…t about being in charge of Grenada Yacht Services? Have the new owners/developers of the Port Louis development, the landside development – Islander Hill et al – divorced the development from the Camper & Nicholson Marina? We note that Peter deSavary passed Port Louis and other properties to the “Egyptian billionaire ”.

Original Deed of Release of October 6th, 2006: The transactions regarding the “people’s property” Islander Hill, Ballast Ground, the Lagoon and Lagoon Park, remain a mystery. When Citizens in Defence of Grenada’s Lands and Heritage was doing its own research in respect of the transactions, it was taken aback to find that the deed registered – Deed of Release of 17 December, 2007, No. 419/2008, registered on January 22nd, 2008, Liber 4-2008, page 83 – is NOT the original deed which facilitated the conveyance of the property from Bru Pearce’s Poole Capital S.A. to Peter deSavary’s Port Louis, part of which was subsequently passed to Camper and Nicholson Marina Investments.

It is NOT THE ORIGINAL Deed of Release. This document states that the original indenture made between the parties on October 5th, 2006 referred to as the Principal Release, CANNOT BE FOUND. Thus the indenture of 17th, December, 2007 was made TO PERMIT RECORDING and was also effective as of the 5th day of October, 2006.

EC$1.00: The conveyance of 2007 was signed and sealed by then Minister of Finance, Keith Mitchell, for and on behalf of the Government of Grenada, conveying certain properties to Peter deSavary’s Port Louis for the sum of EC$1.00.

Green Space/Restoration: We the people have been advised that “the group of civic minded persons concerned about squatting” has already secured the funding for cleaning a particular space in the Lagoon and to give it a facelift.

Clean-up and Restoration: Why was the clean-up not undertaken by Camper and Nicholson Marina years ago? It was part of their obligations under a 3-year arrangement for temporary reclamation to facilitate their establishment of additional berths. Under the licence for temporary reclamation, the obligation of Camper and Nicholson is to clean up and RESTORE the green space.

Abandoned Barge/Concrete: Why was that abandoned barge allowed to be there for more than 10 years? How did certain parts of that area end up being concreted?

Secured Funding: Is that funding part of the deposit that was required with the Grenada Ports Authority for the issue of the temporary reclamation licence and intended to finance restoration if this was not properly undertaken by the Marina?

Making the Area Lively Again/ Do It NOW to Benefit the Community:  

“They really want to do it as a community project now to benefit people.” But wasn’t “benefits to the people” the reason that Peter deSavary’s Port Louis and Camper & Nicholson were embraced? Development and jobs, jobs, jobs…..?   The “people’s property” was given away for EC$1.00!!! Is this an admission that what has happened to date really was NOT about community/people?

But wasn’t this query/concern publicly expressed by the Citizens in Defence of Grenada’s Lands and Heritage and its associates – branded by some as “detractors of progress” – which took actions to bring these concerns to the attention of the public and the “authorities”? Who is benefitting and who is paying?

2.1. The Lagoon Park and Vending:

Gouyave Fish Friday: Gouyave is the fishing capital of Grenada. Therefore, the Gouyave Fish Friday Festival should be revived not taken to the Lagoon Park.

Parking/Toilets et al: The organisers are committing to organise parking. Tents and clean-up services will be provided. The Lagoon Park abounds a “highway”. It is unsuitable for the proposed Fish Friday weekly activity. Parking may be available but insufficient.

Toilets: The issue of TOILETS has not been broached and these will have to be portable toilets.

Another Wall Street (a la Grand Anse)? The same problems/challenges that have developed in the Wall Street, Grand Anse will be faced at the Lagoon Park. (According to a grapevine, the Parliamentary Representative of South St. George is proposing to relocate the Wall Street vendors to Camerhogne Park !!?? Fulfilling campaign promise(s), the grapevine advised!!!! But didn’t the Representative’s party sign the People’s Resolution to protect Camerhogne Park in perpetuity as a “green space” for the “use and enjoyment” of we the people??!! But that is another story!)

Vending vs. Squatting: Undoubtedly, the issue of squatting, which was permitted to get out of hand by the previous administration, requires urgent attention and resolution. Whose agenda, political or otherwise, did squatting serve?

When did the containers (and concrete making equipment take up residence on Lagoon Park)? A resolution which proposes a version cum Wall Street on the Lagoon Park is inappropriate.

Squatting on the Port Highway: The approach to resolving this matter should approach the issue of squatting on the entire Port Highway.

3. People’s Parks/Not for Vending:

It is my view that the Lagoon Park should NOT be an area approved for vending. It is a green space to be enjoyed by all and sundry, just like Camerhogne Park. As at Camerhogne Park, all and sundry should be able to have activities, from time to time, at Lagoon Park, IF deemed appropriate.

We all know that the People’s Park, Camerhogne Park is a busy space: – people of all ages just “chilling”; accommodating school tours; family picnics; birthday parties; gospel concerts; fund raising events by various organisations/groups (of all ages) from all over the island etc. etc.

There is NO particular group that lays claim to Camerhogne Park but it is available for the use and enjoyment of all. This is the principle that must prevail in respect of Lagoon Park.

Additionally, we the people must not permit ourselves to be distracted with the immediate “in your face” issue of squatting and “benefits now” for the community/people to the EXCLUSION of the bigger issues.

Beyond the immediate issues, we must also consider the following:-

Original Deed of Release of October 6th, 2006 which cannot be found and which apparently passed, among other property, the ownership of the Lagoon seabed into the control of Peter deSavary for EC$ 1.00, who later sold to Camper and Nicholsons Marina Investments.

Deed of Mortgage: This Lagoon property was mortgaged by Camper and Nicholson to facilitate the US$25 mill. to put down berths et al in 2009. Incidentally, this mortgage arrangement was permitted by the administration of the National Democratic Congress of 2008-2013.

Remember that these documents have implications for the rights of access, ownership and control of these properties by future generations. Or have we already lost them courtesy all those “caring” stewards we have been voting into office to look after our interests?

NO TO VENDING ON THE LAGOON PARK!

PROTECT LAGOON PARK!!!

PROTECT CAMEHOGNE PARK!!!

Sandra Ferguson