Cabinet must ‘un-protect’ Yida site for development to go ahead

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The Chief Environment Officer Diann Black-Layne said that if Yida International Investment Antigua Limited wants to build a marina at its development site, the government will have to “go back to Parliament and un-protect the site”.
Having received Yida’s Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Black-Layne said the Department of Environment (DoE) will recommend to the Cabinet that the development should go ahead but without environmentally harmful aspects such as the marina.
“We don’t know what they’re going to decide. But I know that the Cabinet is really concerned about the environmental impacts so what they want us to do is quickly bring that to them. In about two weeks’ time we will take the issue to the Cabinet so they can take a decision on what they’d like to do,” she said.
Yida’s 2,138 acre site for its multi-billion dollar Special Economic Zone (SEZ) development falls in the North East Marine Management Area (NEMMA), a marine reserve protected under the Fisheries Act, 2006.
A marina would require dredging. Black-Layne said, “In the Act it says dredging is prohibited and under no circumstances could you dredge the site.”
She added, “Normally, whoever is advising the developer should have informed them that the area is protected. The proposal that was submitted doesn’t seem to include that consideration.
“So our assumption is that they didn’t know it’s protected or they know it’s protected and they want the government to revisit the idea of having the site protected.”
The Chief Environment Officer revealed that when the NEMMA site was owned by disgraced Texan billionaire R Allen Stanford, he, too, wanted to dredge the site to build “a massive marina”.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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