A Land Use (Management) policy ‘should promote an effective use of land in meeting the need for homes and other uses, while safeguarding and improving the environment and ensuring safe and healthy living conditions.
Strategic policies should set out a clear strategy for multiple benefits from both urban and rural land, including through mixed use schemes and taking opportunities to achieve net environmental gains – such as developments that would enable new habitat creation or improve public access to the countryside.
Planning policies and decisions should recognise that some undeveloped land can perform many functions, such as for wildlife, recreation, flood risk mitigation, cooling/shading and carbon storage or food production’.
Grenada created a Land Use Policy in 2017, assisted by Mr George De Romilly of Caribinvest. The thrust of that policy, drafted by the consultant in collaboration with members of Civil Society, was that Grenada needed to be seen as a Natural Resource to be protected and conserved rather than a piece of real estate to be exploited by all and sundry.
Friends of the Earth Grenada have continued to follow the progress – or lack of – the policy.
(1). In February 2018, we were told that the final draft was being completed after another consultation and would then be presented at cabinet.
(2). In 2019, we were informed that the Policy had now changed its name to Land Management Policy and was still being deliberated.
(3). In 2020, Minister Oliver Joseph responded to a question on the Kellon Bubb programme saying that the policy was now coming back to the public for further consultation. Inquiries were made to the relevant Ministry, which admitted they had no idea that this was happening.
Minister Joseph was contacted regarding his comment and Friend of the Earth-Grenada were told to contact the Ministry of Agriculture which had already told us they were not sure about the status of the policy.
(4). Friends of the Earth-Grenada most recently asked the Farmers’ representative in the Senate, if he had any knowledge of the whereabouts of the policy and we were informed that it was in the Ministry of Legal Affairs.
It is tragic that a policy of this nature, which, if used properly could protect Grenada’s precious wetlands, its dry forests, its glorious beaches and the rainforest and yet, here we are, four years later, still unclear about is progress.
This prevarication only allows for the continued destruction of our National Parks, i.e, Levera and Mt Hartman and our mangroves as in La Sagesse.
Nicole Leotaud, the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI)’s Executive Director, based in Trinidad, stated on World Environment Day on June 5, while applauding the civil society campaign around the Escazu agreement, that “Caribbean citizens need to have a stronger voice in decisions about how our valuable natural resources are used. Many voices together are louder than scattered individual voices.”
With this in mind, it is possible that Caribbean citizens’ perspectives on environmental matters being shared and seriously considered in regional and international spaces could become a new norm which is why Friends of the Earth-Grenada urges those wishing to preserve Grenada’s ecosystems for future generations to lobby their Parliamentary Representatives to do the same.
A copy of the draft policy should be available at the Ministry of Agriculture and should you want further information, please contact [email protected]
“Land is the basis of Independence” …..Malcolm X.