Yida agreement deemed a sign of desperation

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The Executive Director at Grenada Fund for Conservation has warned against the approach the government is taking to the YIDA International Special Economic Zone development.
Tyrone Buckmire’s remarks come after the government signalled its intention to use legal overrides to facilitate beach creation on Guiana Island which lies in the North East Marine Management Area (NEMMA).
The conservationist said the approach in Antigua & Barbuda is mirrored in St Lucia and Grenada which are both set for multi-billion dollar Chinese led projects in environmentally sensitive areas of the country.
“The governments don’t necessarily approach this having gotten the science and the local experts to weigh in in the beginning … there is very little public ventilation on any of this before the deal is signed,” Buckmire said.
He commended the Department of Environment in Antigua & Barbuda for warning that planned beach creation is “neither sustainable nor practical” and encouraged the government to listen to the advice.
“When you hear about it generally the government has already agreed that they are going to go ahead and so your local technocrats … are now left to scramble to either do what this department in Antigua is doing bringing forward information that is saying guys we need to sort of put the brakes on this…or as is more often the case these departments realise that they have already been castrated because the politicians have already determined that these projects are going to go ahead anyway,” Buckmire said.
The conservationist said while he fully supports development, the government needs to consider the implications for natural resources, public use, traditional use and the long-term implications of diminishing local legislation and creating parallel structures.
“A lot of these things our governments get into are ill advised and they are ill advised because there is not enough public ventilation of these proposals because people can in fact provide good guidance to the government in some of these things,” Buckmire said.
“Our governments are being caught over and over again because of this desperation to create jobs, to  fulfill the promises they made while in opposition and to be different than the governments before,” he added.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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