|Grenada’s national parks may be up for sale|
|Published on Wednesday, May 9, 2007||Email To Friend Print Version|
|ST GEORGE’S, Grenada: The Grenadian government has passed an amendment to the Grenada National Parks and Protected Areas Act, giving the governor general the right to sell national parks land (and other protected areas) to private developers.
This move has been precipitated by the proposed Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts development at Mount Hartman — Hog Island. The amendment to the National Parks Act allows the sale of the Mount Hartman National Park — the last stronghold of the Critically Endangered Grenada Dove (Leptotila wellsi) — for a massive hotel and villa complex.
Half the global population of Grenada Dove — just 120 individual birds — are found within the Mount Hartman Estate, with the majority currently finding safe haven inside the Mount Hartman National Park.
By paving the way for the sale of the Mount Hartman National Park, the Grenada government seems to have gone back on its word that the park would remain intact. As recently as the end of February, Ann David-Antoine, Minister of Health, Social Security and the Environment stated in a letter that “the government has not abolished the sanctuary [Mount Hartman National Park] nor will it do so”.
The government also claims that the developer has been given time to undertake a full Environmental Impact Assessment, and that “no final decision on the development has yet been made”. However, photographic evidence suggests otherwise. Approximately half of Hog Island – a critical part of the Four Seasons development – has been cleared ready for building work to commence.
With foreign investors and developers apparently driving the development process in Grenada, the loosening of the National Parks Act is seen as potentially devastating for the protection of Grenada’s rich natural heritage – according to observers, the government have effectively advertised their crown jewels as “up for sale”.