Carriacou residents launch public petition on Mangrove Oyster Bed protection

12th July, 2013

General Public

Carriacou

Grenada

 

Dear General Public,

 

SUBJECT: MANGROVES AND OYSTERBED PROTECTION

 

PETITION TO PROTECT AND CONSERVE OUR THREATENED TYRELL BAY ECOSYSTEM

 

It is with due difference that I take the opportunity to write this letter on behalf of the immediate community affected by the Carriacou Marina Project. This concern of ours is non-partisan non-political. This letter seeks to represent the social consciences of our community which demands that all organisation(s) having the interest of Grenada at heart become involved in such that the authorities listen to and act in the interest of the communities.

We are urging the Government of Grenada and any individuals, entities, and/or elected officials who influenced and approved the Marina Project Phase I and its 2013 expansion to immediately cease all construction related activities at the site (refrain from expanding the project) and to come to the table and respectfully address the grievances of the community (including providing us with all relevant proposal submittals, non-approval and approval documents, etc.).

It was brought to our attention that the original marina project proposal submitted by Carriacou Development Corporation (CDC) was not approved by the Physical Planning Unit. It is our understanding that a panel was formed in 2002-2003 following the non-approval of the original marina project proposal. This panel then approved the marina project proposal. Work on the project commenced in early 2003 and halted in 2008.

The dredging performed in 2003 has permanently destroyed sea grass beds, displacing countless number of species (lambi, lobster, turtles, jacks, and trillions of fishes and their food chain, and more) which depended on the habitat for food and breeding environment.

The Marina Project has not only affected the Mangroves and Oyster Bed but has contributed to the drastic depletion of fishes, lambi, lobster, etc within the Tyrel Bay ecosystem.

Uncontrolled oil spillage throughout the oyster bed has been observed during the lifespan of the first phase of the Marina project. The water in the salt flat during high tide used to be crystal clear, however, the water in the salt flat during high tide was discolored (murky, green and black in color) throughout the lifespan of the marina first phase.

There is evidence of regular dense, visible patches near the water’s surface (Algal bloom) as a result of the implementation of the marina project activities. The water appears to be discolored or murky, varying in color from purple to almost pink, normally being red or green.

It is important to note that this phenomenon is harmful to the marine life and human health. The developers proposed to provide silt curtains to prevent the said occurrences. This was not done.

Neither was monitoring mechanism initiated by the relevant Government bodies during the first phase of the project.

Members of the local community observed these occurrences and brought it to the attention of management at the time.

Additionally, prior to the implementation of the marina, the seines used to catch at least 5 boat loads of

Jacks/fishes monthly within Tyrel Bay and specifically within close proximity of the marina project (close to the Peninsula or headland of the oyster bed). The seines have not had more than five catches within Tyrel Bay since the commencement of the project (at least 10 years).

For ten long years the construction activities of the marina project have severely impacted the quantity and quality of the fishes and oysters within the Tyrel Bay ecosystem. The marina project during these ten years has not fulfilled its promise to provide jobs for the people of Carriacou and Petite Martinique.

A project of this nature in the sensitive ecosystem of Tyrel Bay call for an EIA/EIS, which include public consultation especially with those whose livelihood, depended on the Tyrel Bay Ecosystem for generations.

The Government of Grenada and Carriacou Development Corporation have had no consultation with the community prior to the 2003 approval, especially those whose livelihoods depended on the Tyrel Bay Ecosystem for generations.

The present Administration has made no attempt whatsoever to consult with the community prior




to approving the (2013) expansion of the marina project given the many grievances from environmental groups, the local community among others and that the project was halted under the previous administration (2008-2013), citing numerous sustainable development issues.

The marina expansion will eventually result in further irreversible destruction of the Tyrel Bay ecosystem and the livelihood of the local fishermen and their families.

Hence, the Community is now initiating the discussion.

The destruction of at least 7 acres and 3 acres of additional mangroves and reefs (including sea grass beds) respectively is utterly senseless, thought provoking and appalling.

This approval encroaches on the Sandy Island Oyster Bed Marine Protected Area (SIOBMPA), which was established in September of 2009.

The Government of Grenada, its elected officials and CDC in their effort to implement this indiscriminate, ill-advised Marina Project have demonstrated very little regard for its citizenry and the sustainable development of the country’s scarce resources.

It is clearly evident that the Government of Grenada, its elected official, and the developer have displayed a great level of ignorance in approving and implementing of the marina and demonstrated lack of knowledge of the importance, value and history of the Tyrel Bay ecosystem.

The elected officials have sworn to faithfully serve Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique with “integrity” (uncompromising adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty), and “honour” (Principled uprightness of character; personal integrity).

We the concerned citizens are requesting your support of our petition process to formally request/appeal to the following persons to urgently and respectfully address the concerns and grievances of its citizens with regards to the Tyrel Bay Marina Project:

 

Honorable Dr. Keith Mitchell – Prime Minister,

Mr. Elvin Nimrod – Minister of Carriacou and Petite Martinique Affairs,

Mrs. Bernadette Sylvester – Former Permanent Secretary, Carriacou and Petite Martinique Affairs,

Mr. Jerome McQuilkin – Managing Director, Carriacou Development Corporation

Mrs. Gertrude Simon-Niles – Permanent Secretary, Carriacou and Petite Martinique Affairs

Mr. Purcell – Physical Planning.

“The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ But… the Good Samaritan reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?’”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Yours Sincerely,

 

Mr. Orlon Jules

Chairman

(MOB-PC)

 

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