Grenadians battling government over Camerhogne Park

Grenadians from all walks of life and political persuasions appear to be prepared to take on the Keith Mitchell Administration in an effort to save Camerhogne Park from being used to facilitate the construction of the Riviera Hotel.

A cross section of the people who created history by being among the first to sign the petition

A cross section of the people who created history by being among the first to sign the petition

A symbolic launch of a petition to that effect took place at the park that is located in the vicinity of the world famous Grand Anse Beach.

Senator Raymond Roberts who is coordinating the petition that is being sponsored by a Committee to save Camerhogne Park told reporters that a mixture of people are giving support to the petition.

“You would see it’s a mixed community. Young people, aged people, middle-aged people. So it’s a clear reflection that there is a momentum that is against any suggestion of commercialisation of the park in any form,” he said.

According to Sen. Roberts, in under half an hour of the launch, one thousand signatures were already collected.

The committee is hoping to collect as many as fifteen thousand signatures by the third week of February before they are sent to the Government of Grenada, United Nations, Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States, European Union, Friends of the Earth International, all major environmental groups including OASIS, as well as prominent personalities around the world who are known to be Environmentalists.

Merle Byer (center) was in the height of things helping to oversee the signing

Merle Byer (center) was in the height of things helping to oversee the signing

“We have to tell the story to them so at least they could make representation on our behalf,” Sen. Roberts said.

There are plans to formerly have the petition in all the Parishes on the island through a road show.

The Co-ordinator of the petition disclosed that efforts are being made to have Calypsonian Gabby out of Barbados who is known for his famous song, “Beach is mine,” to perform at a show at Camerhogne Park to culminate the signing of the petition.

According to Sen. Roberts, the committee is not interested in seeing their effort being “tagged politically” but rather to get the Mitchell-led government to pay attention to what the people are saying on the issue.

He described the park as being sacred territory that has artifacts.

“We ought not to let it (the park) go to some commercial activity,” he said.

Former President of the Senate Joan Purcell turned up to sign the petition

Former President of the Senate Joan Purcell turned up to sign the petition

Former Member of Parliament for the Constituency of South St. George where Camerhogne Park is the petition said “the park must remain the property of the people of Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique.”

Isaac said under no condition can Camerhogne park be released.

He recalled that when he represented the constituency in the House of Representatives he was instrumental in having the road leading to the park complete.

He recalled that even before he was elected as the MP for the area, he organized a maroon there in order to get rid of the big trees that were growing inside the area.

The former politician who once served as a Government Minister in the 1995-99 New National Party (NNP) government of Prime Minister Mitchell said the opposition that is now mounted to prevent the park being used for Riviera Hotel is not a political issue.

“This is not political. This is national. This overrides political parties and partisanship. This is a national independent issue,” he said.

Isaac singled out himself as one of the persons who spend time at Camerhogne Park almost on a daily basis.

According to him, people throughout the country, including school children, make use of the park, and should the park be given up for a hotel that is owned by a foreign investor means that Grenada is allowing itself to be recolonised.

“If we loose this park, we might as well not celebrate Independence Day. It means that we are giving up our independence,” said the former NNP government minister.
Isaac is adamant that to use Camerhogne Park to facilitate the construction of a hotel is not development.

“Development is something balanced. When we talk development it has to be balanced. It is not just jobs, there has to be something called entertainment, relaxation, social peace, social stability. Development is not just money, there has to be a place for the other side, the balance of life. Under no condition, we the people of Grenada, can give up this park,” he said.

Isaac is convinced that in the end the Mitchell government will listen “to the voice of the people and back away.”

With general elections constitutionally due in another two years, Prime Minister Mitchell has dropped hints that he is not prepared to give his political opponents fodder to beat him at the polls.

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