By Makeida Antonio
Artists and designers across Antigua and Barbuda have been propositioned to create a T-shirt design to raise awareness of the country’s largest wetland which is facing development.
Controversy has surrounded plans which came to light last October to create the Western Imperial Special Economic Zone in the area around Seaforth Beach, near Jennings. Developers are set to build a casino, resort, luxury villas, hospital and a financial district, among other things.
Activist Raul Samuel previously organised an online petition demanding the project be scaled back and has also led walkthroughs of the area to educate residents on the importance of the country’s wetlands. The area tipped for development is currently a haven for many threatened and endemic species of wildlife.
Samuel said the T-shirt competition is a way to keep the issue prominent in the minds of residents.
“It’s just out of a drive to keep the matter topical and make more people aware of the Seaforth issue. It’s not exactly making news every day so I want people to remember that it is still in existence – the move has not stopped – and at the same time use it as a fundraising event for future activities,” he told Observer yesterday.
The competition is open to persons of all nationalities, and designs must be submitted with the designer’s name or business name. All entries must be submitted in PDF or jpeg format and will be judged based on impact, originality and creativity.
“I didn’t want to limit it to any particular nationality. Sometimes persons may think ‘oh it’s an Antiguan thing’. We are so cosmopolitan now; I want them to realise that it goes beyond that.
“We are all here and I want all of us to be able to use Seaforth and be aware of the issues there and to want to have a part in protecting it,” Seaforth explained.
Plans for another two-fold fundraiser are already underway. Samuel explained that there will be a $10 day where residents can contribute $10 or more in an effort to save Seaforth. Following this event, a GoFundMe will be launched so persons overseas can also contribute to fundraising activities.
Samuel said the funds will go towards legal fees if the fight has to be taken to the courts.
“If the authorities insist on destroying Seaforth, I am of the view that legal action will have to be taken and I am prepared to take such legal action,” he pledged.
Meanwhile, he is also calling on various environmental groups across the country to join efforts and resources.
“There are a lot of environmental groups and environmentally conscious persons out there fighting individual battles. The little one here over by this pond, one here by this forest, another by Seaforth, another one by McKinnons Pond, and the Barbudans.
“I think that we need to come together, pool our resources together and fight as one instead of being all over the place,” Samuel added.
The T-shirt competition was launched yesterday and will end on May 11 at 4pm. For more information, email [email protected] or call 775-7420.
The winning design will be used on the official T-shirt for the campaign and will be sold as a fundraising effort. The successful designer will be given recognition in all official ‘Save Seaforth’ publications.