Guest Commentary: Guiana Island – our last sanctuary for our fish!

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1968
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Guiana Island and the surrounding islands have for many years been a protected zone for ecology and particularly fisheries, but is now seriously threatened by political parties and this has been happening over three different administrative terms! 
First the Lester Bird administration got the ball rolling by selling the islands and mainland property to an Indonesian investor for EC $1.5M. A recession in Indonesia caused the development to derail, only to be bought by Stanford (it is alleged) for US $34M. A global recession exposed the Stanford Ponzi scheme and the islands development again got derailed. Enter the Chinese YIDA who purchases the property for a reported US $65M. 
The Indonesian developer planned a densely populated paradise for South Asian Middle Class which was challenged by the Baldwin Spencer Opposition in Court. So when the Spencer administration jumped on the Stanford band-wagon Spencer’s demands for ecological and environmental protection of the area became almost an obsession.  Fortunately, the developer of the time was Alan Stanford, whom, in spite of his deficiencies demanded excellence, and as an obsessive diver he was more than willing to agree with the demands of the Environmental Division, the DCA, and the EAG accepted his mitigating proposals. Even his sworn enemies had to agree with his slogan for the Two Island Club, “I believe!”
 
The basis for the trust which persuaded the “purists” to accept the Stanford plan had more to do with the guarantees enshrined in the project development whereby all effluent, all waste, would be channelled directly to the mainland.
Further, two universities were attached to the development whose job it was to maintain the ecological balance of the protected zone. Now, if we have found the solution with a previous developer, why should we consider overturning our protective laws to serve the reduced pockets of a developer with our lands which he cannot develop at the required level?
 
Fast forward to the current developer, the Chinese Yida, whose first words to the people of Antigua was to condemn all those who opposed him and HIS government to the ‘dustbins of history!’ Like Stanford he was permitted to write his agreements leaving only the signature page for the Government execution. The Yida Ecomomic zone in Parham is a State within a State, and will reduce our first town Parham to ‘the dustbins of history’ as it is turned into a Chinese owned and operated foreign and gated ‘place’ where only card-carrying Antiguans will have access. The fact that none of those concerned with the Yida development (and that includes the black faces) realized how fearful we Antiguans are of GUN SCANDALS is frightening! Had they known anything about us, they would never have even thought of proposing a gun factory. Clearly none of them care about Antiguans and the name of Antigua. 
Further, the current plan for Guiana Island is to build a seven star(?) hotel and a state-of-the-art golf course, and as many villas as possible. This will ensure the demise of the last protected fisheries zone on Antigua, and one that serves as spawning grounds for islands all the way down to Grenada. A high-end hotel will generate more waste on a constant basis than the individually owned estates planned by Stanford; The high end golf course will require so much fertilizer and chemicals to qualify for the status that the chemical drainage into the waters around the islands will kill or genetically modify our fish for miles around. It is also important to note that the new inundation of sargasso weed which threatens the Caribbean islands Tourism, is new growth sargasso encouraged and fertilized by the generous acres of golf  courses which fringe Florida. 
Finally without wanting to point fingers, it is known globally that China is not celebrated for environmental sensitivity (my kindest words)! We know that there is some truth to that as we have had a small but growing Chinese colony in our midst for a few decades. It is therefor very important that we consider our future generations, not just the fast-food that is now being brought to fill our hungry bellies. Let us think of Antigua or worse, a Caribbean without parrot fish, red snapper, grouper, grey snapper, doctor fish, mullet, tuna, mahi-mahi, eel, shark, and even lobster, sea crab, so sad…. 
Let us remember EXTINCTION IS FOREVER!
ONLY ANTIGUANS CAN PROTECT ANTIGUA FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS!

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