Thursday 22 October, 2020

Conservation groups concerned about development in Grenada

Grenada (File)

Grenada (File)

BirdsCaribbean and partnering conservation organizations are raising the alarm about three developments in Mt Hartman, La Sagesse, and Levera areas in Grenada, which they state will negatively impact critical habitats and ecosystems for birds, sea turtles and other wildlife.

“Not only are these significant habitats for many vulnerable species of birds and endangered wildlife, wetland areas perform myriad important ecosystem services that improve the safety and health of local communities. These services are increasingly important and economically valuable in the face of climate change,” according to Lisa Sorenson, Executive Director of BirdsCaribbean in a statement on the organization’s website.

BirdsCaribbean, and conservation partners, are calling on Government leaders in Grenada to protect the island’s “invaluable natural assets from destruction” and asking for the “immediate cessation of destructive activities, pending the completion of proper Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) and approvals, mitigation plans, and full and transparent consultations with stakeholders.”

To assist efforts, BirdsCaribbean is supporting an online petition “Our Paradise and Sovereignty Under Siege – Protect Grenada from Destructive Development” on change.org that was started by Grenada Land Actors Platform. The conservation groups were also encouraging supporters to write their Grenadian parliamentary representatives about the issue.

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The development in the Levera Wetland area, to be constructed by the Singapore Heng Sheng (Grenada) Development PTE Ltd. company, is slated to include a waterpark, golf course, villas and hotels. At La Sagesse, projects managed by Range Developments will include luxury resorts. These development projects were being done through Grenada’s Citizenship by Investment programme, according to information on the BirdsCaribbean website.

“In the Mt. Hartman Estate, dry forest habitat is in the process of being cleared for a new resort and marina that will be developed by the Hartman Resort Group Ltd. Communications with the Grenadian Government’s Physical Planning Unit indicate that they are apparently unaware of the project and have not given any permission,” states the petition and BirdsCaribbean website.

BirdsCaribbean is a non-profit membership organization, incorporated in Washington, D.C., that is an “international network of members and partners committed to conserving Caribbean birds and their habitats in the insular Caribbean.” Its network consists of more than 60 partners across the Caribbean region inclusive of government agencies, institutions, businesses, and non-profits.

According to the organization’s website, its mission is to “raise awareness, promote sound science, and empower local partners to build a region where people appreciate, conserve and benefit from thriving bird populations and ecosystems.”

Other local conservation groups and partners in Grenada who are joined with BirdsCaribbean in expressing concerns about the developments include the aforementioned Grenada Land Actors Platform, and Gaea Conservation Network. Additional detailed information about the organization’s concerns about the development in the three sites can be found at birdscaribbean.org and facebook.com/grenadalandactors.

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