The clearing of an area of the mangrove on Guiana Island, yesterday morning, has raised questions about the multi-million dollar Yida investment deal that’s scheduled to break ground there shortly.
Reports reaching OBSERVER media indicated that bulldozers had begun removing sections of mangroves on the offshore island. There was also said to be a barge from which other heavy-duty equipment was being offloaded.
The island was handed over to the Yida Investment Group as part of a $200 million development deal signed by the Antigua Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) government shortly after it won the June 2014 elections.
On the island, Yida proposes constructing a 5-star luxury resort, internationally branded villa communities, a casino and gaming complex, multi-purpose conference center, a 27-hole golf course, marina and landing facilities, as well as commercial, retail, sports and other auxillary facilities.
President of the Environmental Awareness Group (EAG), Tahamby Smith, speaking on OBSERVER media’s Voice of the People on Friday, expressed grave concern over the developer’s alleged actions.
“People who are just out there benefitting themselves financially, or whatever, it has to stop, and it has to stop now, because we cannot afford to have these things developed to our detriment,” he said.
“Climate change is upon us. What if 10 years from now the development is rendered non-viable because climate change has led to rising sea levels or something?”
(More in today’s Daily Observer)