The Save the Camerhogne Park Steering Committee has launched a bumper sticker campaign to further sensitise the population on the importance of preserving the park in the south of the island for the use of all Grenadians.
Chairman of the committee, Jude Bernard said there are about 40,000 vehicles on the island and the group is hoping to have a bumper sticker on every other car on the island with the target being 20,000 bumper stickers.
In an interview with THE NEW TODAY newspaper last Friday, Bernard said the initiative was started in order “to push the significance of the park and the need to preserve the park as well as highlighting the threats that the park currently still faces by having a bumper sticker campaign.”
The committee was set up amidst fears that the ruling New National Party (NNP) government of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell was planning to give the park to a foreign investor to build a hotel project.
PM Mitchell has stated publicly that he intends to revisit the Camerhogne Park issue at some point in time.
According to Bernard, the committee is soliciting the assistance of the general public, business community and the Diaspora to assist with funding the campaign that will cost approximately $100,000.00.
“We’re trying to set up a bank account at one of the banks, so people can anonymously make deposits to that account. We are also going to approach the business community to make donations, either in cash or in bumper stickers…a bumper sticker cost basically around $4.00”, he said.
“We believe that, that Campaign will cost us at least $100,000…somewhere in the region of $100,000 which we do not have but we believe that these are funds that we can raise and we believe in the next four months we should be able to get the required money to get the campaign,” he added.
Bernard is confident that the Bumper Sticker initiative will be supported by the public because of the common interest among individuals to have the park saved and not turned into something else.
He said: “We are confident that it will succeed because we are aware that the park is supported by Grenadians. Over 85% of the persons polled three years ago indicated that they wanted the park preserved in spite of the Prime Minister saying that the park is not being used – any minute, any day, you can see that the park is bursting with kids and adults, geriatrics, visitors, you just name it.
“We know that there are a lot of people who may not want to carry the bumper stickers because they are fearful that it may be misconstrued as they not supporting the government and many people told me in the count down to the election that they are supporting the government but they also want the park and we believe that some of those persons while they may not be brave enough to carry a bumper sticker, they would come forward and support this”.
Bernard also stated that he sees the initiative as a revolving programme that weighs heavily on getting a definitive response from government about the safety of the park.
He described the bumper stickers awareness as the first phase “as we’ve said time and again, the game is not just to protect the park but also to enhance the park but we cannot in all earnest go out there and say we want to enhance the park unless we know we have the park”.
“So, once we’re successful with that campaign, we think we can get the support afterwards from those out there who are sympathetic towards the park and who are very, very concerned about preserving the park to do some of the enhancements.
“Some folks are saying that it’s already sold, so why are you wasting your time? We want to take the Prime Minister at his word. He said as recently as the eight of January in an interview with Lou Smith on “Beyond the Headlines” that the park is not sold and we hope that we can trust him and we can take him at his word but if it proves otherwise, this would be a tragedy for us in our country that the Prime Minister would say something like that and mean something totally different.
Bernard dropped hints that a collaborative effort is in the making between the Committee and the Ministry of Tourism to develop the park.
He said, “I met with the Minister of Tourism because the Ministry of Tourism, they are the custodian of the park, they are the body with the responsibility for the park. So, I met with the Minister and we are eager to set up a good working relationship with them and we even mentioned the whole idea of signing an MOU so that together we can work and we can enhance the park.”