Grenadians who responded to the Save the Camerhogne Park Committee’s call to occupy the area on Independence Day (February 7) have been applauded by the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) for their demonstration of patriotism to the country.
In extending compliments last week Wednesday at a press briefing held by Congress, former party Chairman, Dr. George Vincent, who is also associated with the Save the Camerhogne Park Committee, expressed thanks to all those who supported the initiative.
He told reporters that Camerhogne Park is an issue that touches on “sovereignty and protecting our natural and cultural resources for the benefit of Grenadians.”
He said that people from all walks of life including, supporters of Congress, as well as the governing New National Party (NNP), civil society and “conscious Grenadians” showed up in solidarity.
“…Thank you for coming out to show your patriotism…we really, really must work hard to preserve it (Camerhogne Park) and to save it from the bulldozers of the developers,” he remarked.
Labour representative in the Senate, Ray Roberts has launched a committee aimed at preventing the three-year old Keith Mitchell-led administration from handing over the park to an investor to build a hotel or a block of condos.
The committee has reportedly collected the names of over 10, 000 persons in a petition to be sent to government to voice disgust with plans to remove Camerhogne Park from its present location.
Government officials have been insisting that the park has not been sold but stopped short of saying whether a lease arrangement is being worked out with the proposed developer.
In his 2016 Budget Speech, Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell told Grenadians that the proposed hotel is in the design stage and the investors have agreed to construct a new Camerhogne Park nearby.
The park is the only recreational space left in the area and the only access locals have to the 2-mile long Grand Anse Beach.
Dr. Vincent told reporters that more than 3000 patriotic Grenadians occupied the park on Independence Day.
The former NDC Chairman who is also associated with the Save the Camerhogne Park Committee, said the next step in the battle is to complete the petition signing process.
He announced that more than “10, 000” signatures have been engraved on the petition lists, which have been circulating manually and online.
He said the Committee will continue to keep the pressure on by occupying the green space and encouraging more persons to do so.
Dr. Vincent, who is also a Senator in the Upper House of Parliament said, while his party has “no difficulty with investors, foreigners (or) tourists, Grenadians are first and foremost.”
Sen. Vincent expressed the view that “recreational sites should be developed for the use of Grenadians first and (visitors should be invited) to come and share with us.”
Making reference to the historical significance of the park, Dr. Vincent pointed to the five Camerhogne Park awards that were presented during this year’s 42nd Independence Day celebrations.
“It is really, really important that the Camerhogne Park remain where it is and that we promote Camerhogne in our awards and on the ground for the use and benefit of Grenadians,” he said.
The Congress official also appealed to the Mitchell Government as well as the project developers to “respect our sovereignty and refrain from selling out our patrimony without regard for the local sensitivity.”
“We are begging you to be sensitive to the needs, the sovereignty and the patriotism of our people,” he said, while encouraging government to “work with the promoters, the developers to find some other place because we also welcome the rooms and the hotels that would provide jobs down the road.”
“Please Mr. Investor be sensitive to our sovereignty and natural resources,” Dr. Vincent urged.
The Parliamentarian recalled that “in the past we have desecrated and degraded our environment”, and expressed the view that “we as Grenadians must (also) be sensitive to these things.”
Dr. Vincent made a plea to “civil society, groups, clubs (and) conservational organisations who have Grenada at heart to support efforts to save Camerhogne Park,” pointing out that its displacement from the current location is a threat to the future of Grenada.
“I do not want my children and grand children to be starved of access to our natural resources whether they are the forts, beaches or the rain forest,” he declared.
He also issued an appeal to those international bodies charged with “protecting our heritage…to make sure that we do not desecrate our heritage and (that) we protect Grenada and our resources for future generations.”
Dr. Vincent also called on “the people of Grenada to remain vigilant about our sovereignty, natural resource and environment.”
The Independence Day Save the Camerhogne Park initiative, which met strong objection from members of the ruling Keith Mitchell administration lasted from 12.00 a.m on February 7 to 12.00 a.m on February 8.