Another agency responsible for monitoring development projects has denied having any knowledge of dredging activity taking place within the Special Economic Zone’s (SEZ) at Crabb’s Peninsula.
On Sunday, video footage showed dredging equipment in operation, prompting renewed queries about who authorized this activity.
The Port Authority is among three agencies responsible for supervising dredging work on the island, however, Port Manager Darwin Telemaque told Observer he was unaware that any permission had been given to the developer, Yida Zhang, to dredge the area.
On the weekend, Chief Environment Officer Diann Black-Layne and Senior Fisheries Officer Tricia Lovell also denied having knowledge of any recent authorized dredging work taking place.
The Development Control Authority (DCA) which is the ultimate decision maker for these types of activities made no comment on the matter since video footage emerged on Sunday.
As part of the SEZ master plan, the developer was given permission to create two artificial beaches at Crabb’s Peninsula, however, specific procedures must be followed before any type of dredging can take place.
For example, the developer must apply for permission to dredge and would likely have to present a study of the area where the activity will be carried out. That activity must then be monitored by the Fisheries Division, the DCA, or the Port Authority.
To date, all except the DCA have commented on the matter and on Thursday the Chief Environment Officer called on that agency to take up its reporting responsibility but Observer has been unsuccessful in its quest to obtain any formal response from the DCA about the recent dredging activity .
Activists fear that this may be yet another instance of developer Yida Zhang ignoring the procedures outlined in law to push forward with the $2 billion development.
The developer has been flagged numerous times since 2015 for starting work without lawful authorization. No fines or penalties have ever been levied against him and the government on occasion have made arrangements to override environmental and physical planning laws to allow the project to continue.