The Grenada Land Actors Platform delivered a letter to the Physical Planning Unit, (PPU) on Friday, 11 September following increased concerns from its members that upcoming land development projects in Grenada might be unsustainable and that their hasty implementation lacks proper governance, transparency with the public and due diligence.
Their letter, addressed to Carlton Frederick, head of the Physical Planning Unit, sets out their concerns about the lack of public consultation and transparency in the development of projects taking place in Mt Hartman, La Sagesse and Levera. Given the public reaction, it is evident that these sites are highly valued by local communities. The group further asserts that the project proposals available within the public domain, indicate that these projects pose a tremendous risk of causing irreparable damage to Grenada’s natural heritage and vital community assets.
The letter makes 4 key requests of the PPU, which would enable the group’s experts to provide constructive feedback and recommendations to these developments that accord with principles of sustainable development:
- They ask to be provided with the planning permission and conditions for the three projects, including plans and the Environmental and Social Impact Assessments (ESIA).
- They raise alarm about the migrant workers dwellings built in Levera, which are worryingly close to the RAMSAR site and could contaminate it with sewage leaks.
- The group is concerned about the violations of the approved ESIA by the La Sagesse Six Sense Resort. Physical Planning has conceded that the infractions would be repaired by the developer, but no timeline has been established. With major construction at the La Sagesse Six Sense Resort slated to commence in October, it is of great concern that the proposed restoration of the La Sagesse pond and mangroves will actually never happen or will have little effect. Similarly, they are concerned about the status of the ESIA and the monitoring and oversight which should be accompanying the work being done by the Mount Hartman Resort Group Ltd. Accordingly, they request that a timeline be agreed upon by all parties for completion of these requirements. The goal is to ensure competent, faithful execution of this important restoration work, or protection and mitigation measures in the case of Mount Hartman, to avoid a second debacle like La Sagesse being repeated.
- Finally, the Physical Planning and Development Control Act 2016 empowers the minister to develop regulations to enable public participation throughout the preparation and public disclosure of the ESIA report. However presently no such law exists. In the absence of such regulations, the group prompts the PDA to outline the mechanisms by which the public can enter into genuine consultations with the developers and the government, which is essential to safeguard the long-term interest of our communities and the development of sustainable livelihoods on such critical projects.
The Grenada Land Actors Platform was created in 2018 and counts over 160 followers and 75 active members. The principles of the platform are pro-community, pro-environment, pro-sustainable development and pro-accountability. It is a non-partisan network of professionals, CBOs, NGOs, private land users and concerned citizens, who are invested in sustainable land management and putting people at the centre of land governance in Grenada. The goal of the platform is to ensure developer transparency, public oversight and government accountability. To achieve this goal the platform welcomes the diverse voices of all Grenadians – at home and abroad, urban and rural, young and old – to bring forward constructive solutions.
The public outcry over the devastating clearcutting of the La Sagesse site, in violation of Range Development’s own EIA recommendations, and the wave of similarly destructive development projects has indeed increased the need for a platform like this. On 29 August 2020, the group also started an online petition titled “Our Paradise and Sovereignty under Siege – Protect Grenada from Destructive Development!” on change.org (https://www.change.org/p/our-paradise-and-sovereignty-under-siege-protect-grenada-from-destructive-development). This petition has gathered over 5,800 signatures so far. The petition letter, addressed to the Chairman of the Physical Planning Unit, will be delivered at the end of September with all the signatures collected. Until then, concerned citizens still have a chance to add their signature in support of sustainable development of their national natural heritage.
Grenada Land Actors