• Today
    November 21

  • 03:38 PM

Weighing the benefits of projects

SEAN ST CLAIR FIELDS,

Added 17 February 2017

hyatt-renderings

AN artist’s impressions of the Hyatt hotel on Lower Bay Street, The City. (GP)

I AM ASKING Barbadians to take cognisance of the optical illusiveness of a cloak and dagger strategy in relation to various issues.

What is playing out in the current unrest between the Minister of Finance and the Governor of the Central Bank is nothing more than a strategic distraction, in my opinion.

If the Governor is fired, or if he is retained, based on former Prime Minister Arthur’s recent comments, the Central Bank of Barbados can no longer finance government expenditure through the printing of money without grave consequences. Essentially therefore, it does not matter if the Governor is terminated or if he keeps his job.

Now, concerning the Hyatt Hotel, in what seems to be a stark deviation from established best practices, protocols and conventions, we are being told that there is no need for an environmental impact assessment (EIA) to be conducted, given the requirements as contained in the Town Planning Act of Barbados.

Now if this is the case, would it be unreasonable for us to ask why have we done EIAs in the past for other large scale or similar projects? I think as a nation we need to be very careful with the perceptions we transmit to the wider world.

Back to a substantive point: I am still awaiting a response to my previous queries relating to the Hyatt project. In my opinion, the authorities are reasonably required to inform the public about the nuts and bolts of any project that is likely to impact us, certainly as it relates to sewage treatment and the supply of water, in particular.

Given the challenges that our Bridgetown sewage treatment plant is facing and certainly our water woes of late, I would really like to know if this project is going to further exacerbate those challenges or not.

Clearly, the impact that a project of this magnitude will have if connected to our ageing sewage treatment plant and scarce water resources cannot be underestimated or ignored. This goes beyond the boundaries of our world heritage site.

As we develop and as we expand, we have to be very mindful to maintain holistic synergies between development, our environment, our culture and our future prosperity.

– SEAN ST CLAIR FIELDS

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