I am told by Physical Planning dat if ah developer wants to operate ah Quarry in SVG, s/he has to mek an application providing all de technical information like Survey Plans and Maps of de area and so on. Planning will circulate dat Application to de relevant State Agencies represented on de Physical Planning Board: CWSA; Min of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, Beach and Rivers etc. Housing, Public Works and Lands and Surveys Dept. Wid these sensitive projects it is always imperative to hold discussions, consultations wid all parties concerned before approval is granted. So One’s application could therefore take 12 weeks or more to be approved.
Ah overs dat in 2009, approval was given to an Application from ah Far-reign company, to operate ah Quarry in de Richmond area.
Luckily dat 2009 Applicaton never materialized. But while all ah dis “ Sell-Out” under de guise of Development of Quarry and Licenses was going on, de particular area in question was already occupied foh twenty-plus years at dat time, by some 25 of our own Red Zone Vin-Sin-Shun Farmers. Dey had already developed those lands wid acres of valuable bearing fruit trees: Citrus, Cocoa, Avocado, Passion fruits, ground provision, Banana and of course Marry-Warner! Illegal den, but Legal now! Ha Ha!; Say what yuh like dey were providing a valuable social service helping to feed dem-selves and de community.
When de 2021 eruption was declared over, de Red Zone farmers who had to evacuate, returned to dey lands, to pick up what’s left, cut dey heavy losses and cleaned up dey fields. Ah also overs dat already restoration of dem fields looking good.
But unfortunately Eruption ULP strikes in February 2022, 13 years after de 2009 Sell-Out. Unknown to even de farmers in de area, we are hearing dat ah new company out ah Sin-loose-her was granted Approval last month January, to operate ah Quarry in de same Richmond Red Zone area dat our local Red Zone Vincy Farmers occupying. Not only was dis new Company’s Application kept ah top secret, but dey was no Private, Public or even Virtual discussion among de Farmers and Developers; It was like “Shock and Awe” or Rapid Dominance!” When de Farmers turn up to wuk like any normal day, only to meet de Sin-Lou-shun’s developers trespassing wid Bull-dozer, all lined up to cut roads and clear de very lands dey occupying for so many years.
Lie-Za said everything was deliberately planned. She reminded me dat whenever ah “Break-in News” is about to happen, if ah doh notice de PM is never around. Den she explained dat once dis project was made public and opened foh Discussion and Consultation; de farmers, residents in de area, and de Nay-shun as well, would object. Questions would be asked why is dis project not offered to ah Local company, someone like Bigger Biggs? Already People up in arms, bluntly saying: “No Way” when de hear de Developer himself, mis-spoke and say dat 99 percent of de Aggregates will be foh export. Crazy! we have at least one big project in Bottom Town to start soon. So to get around dat, de developers got de green light to go ahead, let de farmers complain or object, when dey do, dey would be invited to negotiate and promised to be compensated hand-sumly. Story done. Ole people say: “Bucket ah go ah Well every day, One day he bottom go drop out!” One day Come Red!. And wid dat is gone ah gone again.
One Love Bassy
Bassy Alexander is a land surveyor, folklorist and social commentator.