I have noted last night’s newscast on GBN which featured the concerns of residents in St. Patrick’s south of the Breakwater Project.Permit me to bring to your attention the following:-
- The breakwater was done as part of a Disaster and Vulnerability Reduction Programme at a cost of $4.6 mill. – http://www.gov.gd/egov/news/2017/may17/17_05_17/item_3/shore-back-sautuers.html
- An EIA was not done – I have that from very reliable sources – since I specifically enquired about an EIA at a recent meeting.
- The break water is the first part of the project to facilitate a St.Patrick’s marina (Blue Growth Coastal Master Plan Project). http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/358651480931239134/Grenada-Blue-growth-coastal-master-plan
Note that Hon. Boatswain indicated he wanted to have another change to run in St. Patrick’s West, to see the marina on stream. If I remember correctly, he indicated word to the effect – finishing what I started.
- Privatisation – with the development of a marina, what is now PUBLIC space will become PRIVATE.
I attach for your information two letters I had written to Minister Boatswain and to Mr. Kenny Lalsingh who was then President of the Senate.
Sandra C.A. Ferguson
Sandra C. A. Ferguson
c/o P.O. box 750, St. George’s
March 1st, 2008
Hon. Kenny Lalsingh
President of the Senate
c/o Office of the Houses of Parliament
Re St. Patrick’s Port and Marina
Via the newspapers and news broadcasts, we the people have been advised that Parliament has passed legislation to establish a Corporation to develop a port and marina project in St. Patrick’s. This project will also have an element of land reclamation.
This project is described as your “brainchild”. According to The Grenada Advocate, (issue of Friday, February 29th, 2008, page 6) the three year project comprises a Port Marina, Dry Dock Facility, condominiums and a Business and Shopping Plaza. We have been advised that the Government had to pass legislation because the funding agency, Exim Bank of mainland China, only deals with governments and not the private sector. The Grenada Advocate quotes you as follows, “The Corporation will be the sole authority to implement and manage the project, while I will be working along with them”.
I have already written to you – via letter of April 1st, 2006 – expressing various concerns and queries in respect of this proposed development. I once again take the opportunity to express my growing alarm in respect of this project. Permit me the following specific queries and observations:
- Legislation to set up a Corporation:
In your role as PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE, can you advise WHY it is necessary to set up a SEPARATE body when there is the Grenada Ports Authority, the statutory body LEGISLATED by Parliament to be the sole authority on all matters pertaining to ports in Grenada?
In interviews to the Spice Isle Review (issues of Sept.1st and 8th , , 2005 ) and the Barnacle (issue of March 2006), you advised of the following:
- Boatswain was putting the St. Patrick’s Businessmen’s Association in touch with financiers and that there was not going to be a lot of government involvement.
- You proposed that the port will be managed by the association which at the moment had NOT opened up to the rank and file business people in St. Patrick’s.
Permit me, therefore to ask the following questions:
- Is the establishment of this corporation to facilitate minimum government involvement and the DELIBERATE EXCLUSION of the Grenada Ports Authority, the statutory body responsible for all ports in Grenada.
- WHO will comprise the Board of Directors of this corporation?
- To whom/what will this corporation be accountable? To whom/what will it be reporting? Will it be reporting to Parliament through the Minister?
- Conflict of Interest:
Hon. Lalsingh, you have advised that you will be “working along” with this corporation. Again Sir, I wish to register my concern about the FLAGRANT CONFLICT OF INTEREST as it pertains to your role as President of the Senate and your business interest in this project. May I therefore enquire as to whether you will be submitting your RESIGNATION as President of the Senate to pursue your interest this project.
- Land Reclamation and Dispossession of We the People:
I also wish to place on record my strenuous objection to land reclamation to facilitate shopping plazas, condominiums and other commercial complexes. In your interview with the Spice Isle Review, you had advised that the project will involve A ROAD ON THE BEACH. Any area which is now being proposed for reclamation is “the commons” i.e. the PEOPLE’S PROPERTY and with reclamation OUR PROPERTY would become the property of the Corporation, that select group of business persons, including yourself, who would then lease it, sell it or rent it to the highest bidder – some foreign millionaire( genuine or suspect) – if we are to be guided by the trends in Grenada. And just like that, we the people, more particularly the people of St. Patrick’s, would become DISPOSSESSED OF OUR PROPERTY. Just look at what happened in St. George’s in the Zublin project and what is proposed for the Lagoon. Millionaires (?) like Peter De Savary want to offer we natives “windows to the sea” while Dick Van Dyke has just cut off our view of the sea. And now YOU, President of the Senate, want to follow suit??!!
- Natural Hazards and Vulnerability:
It is also my considered opinion, Hon. President of the Senate, that the proposed project is ILL CONCEIVED AND ILL ADVISED. I am amazed that Hon. Boatswain should be piloting legislation for this project. It is evident that since his 2007 “grand speech’” at the consultation in respect of Grenada’s proposed Climate Change Policy and Action Plan, he has not acquainted himself with the document or has chosen to ignore it. I suggest that you and your business associates and colleagues in the Senate acquaint yourself with this document. Indeed, check UN Ambassador, Angus Friday, the former chairman of the St. Patrick’s Port sub-committee. I hear Grenada now chairs the UN’s Alliance of Small Island Developing States so by now, Ambassador Friday should be well acquainted with the Climate Change issues and the Grenada document.
Grenada, like other small island developing states, is VULNERABLE to the negative impact of sea level rise, the result of climate change. Grenada’s adaptation measures calls for the protection of its beaches and mangroves. Land reclamation and infrastructural development that will result in the destruction of the natural coastal area is not recommended.
I also wish to draw to your attention the PROXIMITY of the proposed port and marina to Grenada’s active underwater volcano, Kick ‘em Jenny and the threats, including tsunamis, posed to the entire island by eruption of this volcano. What then is the rationale for the construction of such significant economic infrastructure in such a HIGH RISK area?
- Regulation and Border Security:
I wish to express my concern, Hon. President of the Senate, that Grenada seems to becoming ONE BIG UNREGULATED, MARINA, beginning with the Lagoon area , along the entire east coast to the north as is being proposed by you. Can you advise what arrangements are proposed for the REGULATION and BORDER SECURITY in respect of this port and marina? WITH ALL DUE RESPECT TO THE GENUINE, LAW-ABIDING “YACHTIES”, it is well known that all over the world , there is a positive correlation between increased yachting and an increase in the illicit drug trade. Well known and celebrated yachtsmen, have been jailed in the US and elsewhere for their involvement in drug trafficking. Regrettably, whether due naivete′, irresponsibility and /or greed, these types seems to be the very people that some persons in authority are courting and intent on giving a free rein in our waters – to the detriment of Grenada’s security and safety.
Whatever the noble, stated intentions, plans for the private operation of the Pearl’s airstrip and plans for the operation of an unregulated port and marina in St. Patrick’s DEFY common sense.
- Economic and Environmental Impact:
The decision to undertake such a massive scale project must be based on some preliminary feasibility study. Could you therefore advise us Hon. President of the Senate, whether such a study has been already been undertaken and what have been its findings? Can you QUALIFY and QUANTIFY the benefits of this project?
What will be the negative environmental and social impacts of this proposed project? Among other things, how will this project affect fishing and fishermen? How will beaches and recreation be affected?
- Planning Approval:
Have the plans for this project been already submitted to and approved by the Physical Planning Unit?
- Public Consultation:
Are there any plans to hold any public consultations with various stakeholders on this project BEFORE the project commences?
I thank you, Hon. President of the Senate, for the opportunity to offer these concerns, queries and objections. I trust that you take very seriously your commitment to serve and protect the best interests of the Grenadian people in your role as President of upper House of Parliament. I therefore look forward to your response and action on the same.
Sandra C.A. Ferguson
January 28th, 2008
Hon. Anthony Boatswain
Minister of Economic Development
Ministry of Economic Development
- Re St. Patrick’s Port Project
Via recent newscasts, we the people were informed of your announcement of a Memorandum of Understanding signed with Exim Bank of the People’s Republic of China to support the St. Patrick’s Port Project. You also advised of the necessity to go to Parliament to set up the necessary legislative framework, i.e. the setting up of a STATUTORY BODY to spearhead the port??!!
Can you advise, Sir, why it is necessary to set up a SEPARATE STATUTORY BODY to spearhead the St. Patrick’s port? Isn’t the GRENADA PORTS AUTHORITY the statutory, regulatory body in respect of ALL ports in Grenada? And therefore, IF it is necessary to set up a separate, legal body what will be the ROLE of the Grenada Port Authority vis-à-vis this proposed body?
We are aware that Hon. Kenny Lalsingh was spearheading the St. Patrick’s port project before he became President of the Senate. He had informed we the people that:
(i) this project was going to be spearheaded by a group of St. Patrick’s businessmen.
(ii) the project was supported by the Prime Minister, yourself and other M.Ps.
(iii) you were putting the Association in touch with financiers.
Hon. Minister, permit me the following queries:
- Is this new statutory body that you are proposing a mechanism to facilitate the group of St. Patrick’s businessmen whom Hon. Kenny Lalsingh advised were originally spearheading this project?
- What is the rationale for a St. Patrick’s port at this time? Who/what is this port intended to facilitate?
- Are there any intentions to present this project for any public discussion or consultation?
- Grenada, a Millionaire’s Paradise:
It was you, Hon. Minister, who last year in your 2007 Budget presentation made reference to Grenada being a millionaires’ paradise. At his most recent Press conference, the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister informed the nation that investors were “ tripping over one another” to come to Grenada. We are constantly reminded that Grenada has “never had it so good” with SO MANY millionaire investors. As a former Minister of Finance and the present Minister of Economic Development, perhaps you could explain, Sir, how it is that Grenada has never had it better (according to your administration), yet the cry from all levels, THROUGHOUT the country is “WE KETCHING HELL!”
Only last week, I was reminded of a fundamental lesson in Economics by my former Economics teacher: – Y = C + I. The fundamental lesson is National Income equals consumption plus investment. (We ignore government spending and taxes in this equation for the time being.) He reminded me that it was CONSUMPTION which fuelled the economy, NOT investment. At the moment, we the people “KETCHING HELL TO MAKE ENDS MEET”.
While your administration boasts of a number of multi- million dollar investments, these investments:
- May in fact be considered disinvestments since they involve the “GIVE- AWAY” of valuable national assets at a pittance e.g. Lagoon, Levera and Hartman
- Are NOT CREATING REVENUE FLOWS FOR THE TREASURY given the excessively generous FISCAL INCENTIVES that have been afforded these millionaire(?) investors. Even the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have recommended that such fiscal incentive packages should be discontinued. In spite of the millions in investments(?), the Treasury is EMPTY. The Treasury is therefore not in a position to fuel important government spending and has become reliant on debt financing which in turn incurs onerous debt servicing. It is a vicious circle.
One can only conclude, Sir, that the government’s economic policy, if there is one, is fundamentally flawed.
Perhaps, Sir, as the Minster of Economic Development and one who was considered a very capable economist before your entry into the political arena, you can explain to we the people this apparent paradox. We trust Sir that the appropriate advice is being given to the Rt. Hon . Prime Minister, who has since taken over the Finance portfolio, since his forte is numbers (maths and stats) , not economics.
We await your explanations and clarifications on both matters raised.
Sandra C.A. Ferguson
c/o P.O. Box 750