By Makeida Antonio
Grey skies and passing showers failed to dampen the spirits of residents who are concerned about the development and preservation of artifacts and wetlands at Seaforth, as they proceeded with their planned walkthrough yesterday morning.
About 100 residents showed up in support of activist Raul Samuel who led the exercise intended to provide more information and education about the location which has become the subject of controversy since it has been pinpointed for development by the Western Imperial Special Economic Zone (WISEZ).
To the surprise of some of the participants, a spokesperson who represented the interest of WISEZ CEO Virjender Singh engaged those who presented their concerns and questions in pursuit of further clarity on how and why the development would be taking place at Seaforth Beach.
He welcomed interaction from well-known local environmentalist Martin Dudley and United Progressive Party (UPP) candidate for St John’s City South Franz deFreitas, who shared a live video of the walkthrough on Facebook yesterday morning.
According to the WISEZ spokesperson, “There is nothing wrong in the public wanting to protect the environment. We are with the public, we will get back to the public, have a public consultation and then take it forward, but it is very nice that you’ve come to take a look. We have no problem with that.”
Meanwhile, Samuel announced that plans for a second walkthrough exercise have already begun based on the feedback he received yesterday, as he believes that had it not been for the rain even more residents would have come out to support.
“I assume that the rain would have deterred some people and we are already talking about possible planning another outing. We had well over 100 people came out today and braved the weather, we went all the way down and strangely enough we were tracked by the developer all the way down and all the way in, so we had quite an event today,” he told Observer.
Samuel, who has been leading a petition to prevent WISEZ from being established in the area, added that those in attendance were amazed at what they saw.