There is a big uproar in Grenada to save Camerhoghne Park, which is located in the popular Grand Anse tourist area in St George’s. Some citizens are saying they are concerned that the government has plans ahead to sell the land where the park is located to a foreign developer, based on the comments made by some top government officials just recently.
However, if it is proven that the government intends to sell the park to the developer, who is also building a large hotel in the same area, the issue will remain a hot political topic for those citizens who support the main opposition party
As the outcry to save the park escalates, we have to ask ourselves this question: Should we as Grenadians save the park, or should we allow the government to sell the lands to the foreign developer, so that the new investment can create more job opportunities?
No one can deny that Grenada has a problem of high unemployment. It is a known fact that the majority of young Grenadians need jobs. In addition, it is an everyday complaint to hear most them saying that they need jobs and there are no big business industries to create employment for them.
However, is obvious that some of them will be more interested getting a full time job, rather than focusing on preserving the park. But then again there are some other Grenadians who are more interested in regime change. They are not happy with this present government for various reasons.
However, as a Grenadian myself, I know that we cannot develop the country with just political talk and national pride. From since slavery abolished in 1838, our fore parents put all their emphasis on agriculture as the biggest industry and yet Grenada still remains a poor country.
In addition, with the decline of the agriculture in the rural areas in the last four decades, there is a population shift in the tri-island state. Some citizens moved from the rural communities into the urban areas of the capital city St George’s, where there are more employment opportunities for them.
In the 1970s, St Andrew, which is the biggest parish, had the largest population. Presently, St George parish has the largest population because the capital city St George’s is in St George.
Another factor is that political leadership also plays a role in the population shift. After the People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG) deposed Eric Gairy in 1979, all the major development was in St George’s. Maurice Bishop was looking after his people in his parish.
After the demise of the revolution and the US invasion in 1983, some rural politicians were elected to govern the country in free and fair elections. Unfortunately, they failed to address the rural people problem. In fact, their attitude was like a duplicate of the old colonial masters.
They had no vision for rural people and rural development. Their minds were trapped in the same old agriculture based economy that never betters the life of poor working Grenadians.
The failure of all our rural political leaders left us with a maximum political leader and he is Dr Keith Mitchell from St George parish. However, it appears as though Dr Mitchell is looking to develop the southern parts of Grenada by enhancing the tourist industry. He has a vision for his parish people and that is one of the reasons why Camerhoghne Park has become a big political issue.
However, if I were living in Grenada, I would not join any protest to save Camerhoghne Park because my people in the rural parishes are far away from all the developments taking place in the St George‘s.
As for those rural folks who are interested in saving the park for whatever reason or the other, I think they should look around within the rural communities and see how many heritage sites that are neglected and never get any attention from politicians and political activists.
Presently, it seems as though St George parish is getting all the political pie. In addition, whatever happens to Camerhoghne Park in the future, it is up to the present government to decide. They can relocate the park and sell the lands to the foreign investor and we cannot really do much about it. Maybe in the future, those who are against the relocating the park might be the ones enjoying the new development and the happiness that comes with it.
I have learnt my political lesson from Maurice Bishop and his PRG government. Politics in Grenada is like a puzzle game sometimes. Those of us with experience will understand the political players in the game.