It was in a different era centuries ago, when the English poet Sir Walter Scott admonished his fellow countrymen by asking: “Breathes there a man with soul so dead/who never to himself hath said/this is my own, my native land?”
Fast forward into the 21st century when the President of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana H.E Stanley Grainger announced recently, that the language of the Guyanese Amerindians must be preserved. This pronouncement is an indirect recognition of the culture of the indigenous people of his country, which is identified as an important component in the cultural tapestry of Guyana. No doubt the University of Guyana would take up the challenge.
Recently in a BBC broadcast on the destruction by ISIS of the world famous UNESCO nominated archaeological remains of buildings and artifacts of the ancient Persian civilization(s) of the Middle East (Syria & Iraqi) – the British reporter had this to say (words to that effect): when a civilisation is under attack, you first destroy its culture and traditions, the complete destruction which follows becomes that much easier.
What however resonated with the Sentinel was when, close to home, the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Keith Rowley – in the MTV evening news of Feb. 15, 2016, lamented the parlous state of Trinidad’s heritage buildings and in some cases the irreversible loss of this national assect, and in this regard the Prime Minister opined, “A people who does not preserve its cultural heritage is not deserving of nationhood”. (echoes of York House, Govt. House and the Public Library).
This statement immediately brought to mind the intention of our government to give/lease/or sell Camerhogne Park to a rich foreign investor, to construct a hotel in order to provide jobs to so many of those without work.
In medieval England, Robin Hood (Social history of England) took from the rich and gave to the poor ushering in the seminal offering of socialism. In Grenada today after 42 years of political independence our politicians are trying to convince we the people that taking from the poor to give to the rich is ok, as long as a few low paying jobs become available, and as if building a hotel on Grand Anse beach is the hallmark of development, when most of rural Grenada remain in its virgin state.
Camerhogne Park is not a place where one plays professional cricket or football or engage in athletics pursuits. It is a RE-CREATION-AL park, a public place of peace and quietude – the only one of its kind, as far as the Sentinel is aware in Grenada.
It is where the citizens of this country from all walks of life, all over Grenada, all year round go to relax and ease the tension from the challenges of a today’s world, in a Grenadian milieu. It is like a spiritual haven – a cathedral without walls.
Camerhogne Park is a green, landscaped area about 2.5 acres in area, established for the people of Grenada about 25 years ago – with facilities provided (over the years), where anyone can sit in peace and at ease, breathe the fresh air, switch off, and try to connect with nature, even without plunging into the azure blue of Grand Anse beach.
So the question which stares us in the face is: Why the Government of Grenada wants to deprive Grenadians of this well established and constantly utilised facility in order to satisfy a rich foreign investor who can build a 5 star hotel or any other facility for that matter – in so many other desirable parts on the island, without taking from the poor to give to the rich?
Another matter which is rearing its ugly head is the intention (preliminary approval may already be granted) to construct a zipline over our historic Capital City. This gigantic structure is supposed to run from Mt. Wheldale over the town to Fort George. This project again boggles the mind as to what type of investor would want to compromise or even destroy the historic ambience of St. George, and worse still to construct a base and landing platform at Fort George, when the World Bank is trying to assist the Govt. in converting the fort into a premier tourism site, which it has the potential to become after the police have vacated the site, while at the same time seeking to ruin its appearance and ambience by introducing a ZIPLINE paraphernalia onto the fort.
Another initiative, is that Fort George together with Forts Matthew and Frederick are together being considered as a proposed UNESCO St. George’s Fortifications Project, which could have enormous economic and cultural heritage returns and put Grenada on the world Cultural Heritage map. But we will never achieve this goal with a zipline on Fort George.
In the Sentinel’s view such a project is ill-conceived and has no economic, financial or aesthetic benefit to Grenadians, which should be the government’s first consideration.
The Sentinel intends to provide a more indepth analysis of the negative environmental “fallout” of such a project over the town of St. George. It would be interesting to know who would be the users of this monstrosity. Is it intended to be a “tourist attraction” or a St. George’s residents’ nightmare?
We have the Camerhogne Park controversy and the pending ZIPLINE project, both of which do not have public support save for the hardline party followers, but which the government has proceeded with, then informing its constituency – WE THE PEOPLE, of what it intends to do. HAS GRENADA LOST ITS WAY? Or is this visionless thinking a condition from our colonial past!
(The above reflects the views of Willie Redhead Foundation)