A local television news item on the evening of 22 June 2017 captioned Principle 10 caught the attention of the Sentinel, and on Sunday 25 June 2017 there was a more in-depth presentation on Chime FM’s Sundays with George Grant (SWGG), when the 4 presenters — who spoke on behalf of the international (project) coordinators, explained in more detail the requirements and benefits of Principle 10, with special reference to Grenada.
What was most interesting however, was that for the entire duration of the 22 June TV news item, lasting for about 3-4 minutes, footage was shown of the 5-star Silver Sands Hotel development, under construction for over 2 years now on Grand Anse beach. There appears to be no completion date in the near future — as the project from a spectator’s observation, appear to be not a hotel, but a ‘concrete village,’ some say a ‘jungle,’ on an already overcrowded Grand Anse Beach — with no apparent international design parameters or considerations, which would eventually enhance and not degrade the physical environment of the Grand Anse area, which requires a Pure Grenada Brand (hotel) infrastructure in general, as the resemblance to an over developed Miami-type beach ‘facility’ begin to materialise, with ‘nary’ a spot for a blade of grass and a coconut tree.
Principle 10 was one of the agreed declaration from delegates representing well over 150 countries, who met in Rio de Janerio Brazil (hence the name RIO Conference) in 1992. This was the first of a series of global environmental conferences to address the negative effects of the built environment, as a major contributing factor in the quest for sustainable development.
The presenters on SWGG affirmed that the Government of Grenada has indicated a willingness to adhere to the requirements of Principle 10, and has agreed to participate and adhere to its covenants, a major one of which is the involvement in the decision-making process of stakeholders at the grass roots level(s); and that governments will be held accountable for failure to comply. This process of global engagement started in 2012 and would be concluded in 2019, according to the presenters.
Among the perquisites for its implementation are the right to information and a modality to involve the public, by including their recommendations in the conceptual and design processes, together with access to justice by the introduction of appropriate local legislation. Mention was also made of a monitoring mechanism in order to ensure compliance by government(s).
In the Grenada context, we have become accustomed to the scenarios where our government(s) ignore or pay lip service after signing international conventions, for example on 13 April 1998 Grenada signed the World Heritage Convention — thus signaling to the world its recognition and appreciation of its own natural and cultural heritage, and that it intends to ensure their protection and enhancement.
What we are witnessing in Grenada today is a reversal of these tenets where concrete and steel have become the hallmark of our development. This is accompanied by a decline and decay of our cultural and social fabric, after witnessing the struggle to ‘save’ Camerhogne Park, the refusal to restore York House and the Public Library, while Quarantine Point hangs in the balance to remain a social amenity for the wellness and spiritual uplift of the nation. As the current top-down approach including the Blue Economy initiative, of which not much public information is available — takes centre stage; the future of our local fishing industry Island wide hangs in the balance, while our unrestricted access to (public) beaches – the major recreational facility for Grenadians, appear to be under siege and may become a thing of the past, if vigilance and public resolve remain dormant, notwithstanding the current mantra for oil and gas exploration in our ‘territorial’ waters.
It is with great expectation therefore, that we anticipate Principle 10, would not suffer the same fate as previously executed international conventions, and that our post-colonial politicians and decision makers come ‘to appreciate the new thinking, as others in the rest of the world have — that environmental policies, programmes and projects should be formulated with the awareness of the global nature and multiplicity of environmental and social problems,’ requiring a new inclusive bottom-up approach.
In this regard, the imminent threats and existential consequences to Grenada must be a top priority if global warming, climate change and rising sea levels appear to remain an academic pursuit, as the State of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique brace itself for another unpredictable 2017 Hurricane Season.
A Willie Redhead Foundation Presentation