We have read in more than one newspaper about the success of the Grenada Motor Club Drag Racing event at Pearls on 6 November. We read of the custom vehicles, the speed records, and the safety requirements.
But memories of the skills, glitter and artistry are not all that is left behind. The litter generated is a lasting abomination. Anyone who thinks that the area was cleaned up has simply not visited it since the drag racing. Some of us drive through it day after day with tourists. We show them the old airstrip, the old Soviet-built planes, and tell them the history of the Revolution and the Intervention. Pearls is the backdrop to so much history.
But we do not need to tell our visitors to ‘Pure Grenada’ about our filthy habits when it comes to garbage disposal. They are there for all to see. It looks like a deliberate exhibition of all that is worst about Grenada and Grenadians. “Just drop it anywhere and someone else will pick it up” (But nobody did). “People are paid to pick it up” (But they have not done so). “We are not bothered by mosquitos and rats” (So our hygiene is deplorable, and our health as tourists is at risk). “We’re not going to let other countries tell us how to live” (So we’re happy to let everybody see that we wallow in garbage). Every piece of litter is a nail in tourism’s coffin, and in our own.
Litter at Pearls, and at the approaches to Pearls i.e. Seamoon, is so in–your–face, so blatant, that it looks like deliberate defiance. To our tourists in this fragile industry which contributes so much money and so many jobs to our fragile economy, it is a real turn-off. We’re another country to tell their friends not to bother visiting.
We ask: was anyone responsible for cleaning up after the drag racing? If not, why not? If so, why did they not do their job? Were they paid to dispose of litter, or just to spread it over a wider area? It extends well beyond the compound, down to the river.
Were vendors charged a cleaning fee? Were there sufficient bins? Was the public asked to use them? Was any of the admission fee put towards cleaning up? If so, why was the money so blatantly squandered?
The Drag Racing Committee has, like all other event organisers, the responsibility of leaving the area as they would wish to find it. They have not exercised this responsibility. Neither has the Grenadian public exercised their responsibility to treat every public space as their back yard.
Grenada Green Group