Update: Dredging of Coral Reef for Coast Guard base in St. Vincent and the Grenadines
sre at caribsurf.com
Sun Feb 18 01:53:54 EST 2001
Hello Again Everyone,
A further update for those who are interested in this issue here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
In short, it seems that the pier is going to be built. There has been no answer to the letter I wrote to the Prime Minister and Senior Minister. There also has been no answer to an official request for an appeal hearing of the Planning Board decision regarding the project.
The Senior Minister (who recently resigned as our Prime Minister after 15+ years in office) did speak of the topic in an address made to the people of Union Island, which is the site of the Base. He made reference to project(s) in the past that had been opposed for environmental reasons, and how that opposition had failed. He also made it clear that the pier would be build no matter what, and that no environmentalist would stop the project.
It was a heavy blow to the marine protection movement here, and I wrote another letter to the Senior Minister regarding this fact. Once again, no response.
The dredging has not started yet, and the necessary equipment has not arrived. No one seems to know when it will be done. But the deadline for the military personnel her is sometime in the first week of April, so it will probably be soon.
I'm not quite sure what else can be done regarding the issue. It is now clear that the Government is not willing to consider evidence or appeal which questions the decision to dredge in the area. The funds just are not available to consider using a legal process.
Please do not take this as an admission of failure. The dredging has not started yet, so there is a chance. And regardless of the dredging, a positive thing has happened in this country. The issue is now in the hands of the people, and has found some murmuring of support. I don't think this marks the end of the battle, but the beginning. The next step will be to look for some support in a campaign towards the establish of a Trust organization here in SVG, one which might be able to prevent a situation like this from happening again.
I'd like to thank all of you for listening, and especially thank those who have discussed and/or taken action regarding this situation. I've heard about some, like an inquiry made by the Coral Reef Task Force, and I'm sure that there has been much that I am not aware of. The attention from all of you have made a huge difference, both locally and beyond. The emails of support have also made a big difference, and helped keep a positive tone in all of this.
Best wishes to you all
Kurt Cordice, Bequia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines
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