In light of recent statements made by Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell at the General Council of the ruling New National Party (NNP) in Gouyave that nobody uses the Camerhogne Park, the Save Camerhogne Park Committee has taken steps to prove the Grenadian leader wrong.
The committee whose lead spokesman is trade union representative in the Senate, Ray Roberts has been collecting data over a period of time of persons visiting the park at Grand Anse.
Sen. Roberts told reporters at a press conference at the Park last Wednesday that approximately 16,000 persons visited the park during the period mid-July to early September with approximately 400 visiting every day.
He said the committee believes that this data should send a clear message to Prime Minister Mitchell that Grenadians are indeed using the park.
He added that a second survey was conducted by a reputable person in the business of conducting surveys and the findings will be sent to Dr. Mitchell and his cabinet colleagues.
According to Sen. Roberts, the results of that poll will be available in the coming weeks and will encompass the views of the entire nation on the use of Camerhogne Park.
“We would have it sent to our government, our Prime Minister, his cabinet. So we are backing up our agitation to Save Camerhogne Park with not just words but with empirical evidence and again we would hope that Grenadians respect what is professionally done”, he said.
“…Our Prime Minister is a Statistician. He is a bright fella and he should be certainly appreciative of the fact that data could be used for many things but he knows too that data could be empirical evidence and therefore we would hope that he treats it with respect because I think the evidence is pure,” he added.
Sen. Roberts expressed the view that Grenadians should respect the results of the survey since it was “professionally done” as he knows there are some persons who are not bothered if the park is relocated once jobs are provided for them.
“Nobody wants anything else but jobs for the entire population of Grenada, those who want to work. We want to see good jobs but we must also have recreation. We can’t ignore the fact that Grenada needs green spaces. Unfortunately, this park is the lone green space. So when you put children in you’re gonna come up with in excess of 15, 16 thousand. So we can’t ignore those realities,” he said.
The Mitchell-led government has been meeting with stiff opposition to hand over Camerhogne Park to a foreign investor to build a five-star hotel.
Sen. Roberts told reporters that if the fight is not continued to save the park and surrounding areas, the use of the beachfront at Grand Anse will also be limited to locals.
He recalled that, “a couple years ago a man constructed a stone fence along the beach, so you just have beach to walk on. If the water is rough you can’t pass and now we have another facility with a fence, just above the highest watermark. So again your usage of the beach will be limited and if you go down to Journey’s End (on the beach), you would notice a similar process is taking place”.
“…Now I know people getting work as they say, but you’re using a place where you used to enjoy which is go to the beach, use the entire width of the beach to (play) football, to family functions…if these fences continue all you would be left with is the water.
“We want to urge Grenadians to take a look at what is happening…Development yes but development must have purpose, perspective, it can’t be, it cannot be willy nilly as we seeing what is taking place now in the name of providing ‘ah work’ and generally the jobs we are talking about are temporary jobs”.
Sen. Roberts called on the principal investor, Egyptian Billionaire Naguib Sawiris, to “recognise and respect” what is Grenadian patrimony, stating that “like the people in Egypt who place maximum value on their pyramids, Camerhogne Park is the same to ordinary Grenadians.”