The residents of Layou have declared “war” on a proposed project to develop a jetty in Jackson Bay, Layou – a development which, if it comes to fruition, would be the third jetty established in the seaside town.
“We don’t want another wharf. We don’t want no ship to come in here and make it look as though we are clustering the damn place. So let them go to hell where they have to go and don’t come here for anything because we don’t want them here, we don’t need them here,” resident, Cornelius Barbour concluded, speaking on Wednesday, March 23 from Jackson Bay where many gathered on the beach to openly and vigorously express their displeasure over the proposal.
Today Friday, March 25 is the final day for individuals to visit the offices of the Physical Planning Division in Kingstown to peruse the application submitted by SVG Aggregate Inc to erect a rock fill jetty in Layou (In-Principle).
According to an Environmental Impact Scoping report prepared by civil and environmental engineer, Brian George of Bra Nage Consulting Services, SVG Aggregate Inc proposes to purchase a parcel of land in Layou, with the intention of developing a rock fill jetty that extends approximately 150ft from the shoreline. The jetty is apparently “required” for the loading onto barges of aggregate products from Palmiste in the Layou mountains.
While this is ongoing, a parcel of land is being negotiated, according to the document, and a letter signed by one Raffique Dunbar is attached, showing that permission is being sought from the Chief Surveyor, Keith Francis, for the lease of an area of seabed.
The total project site is estimated to be approximately 15,000 sq ft.
Barbour said that he thinks it is “out of order” for any private enterprise or Government to erect another jetty at Layou.
“We’ve already had two here which … [are] not even being used. Let them come and go and do that – there’s one incomplete, they can do that,” he said, but, “They don’t want to create another one.”
Retired educator, Everard Young noted that as a boy he used to swim the length of the Bay.
“Swimming is very important and this beach here is where people come from [places] like Vermont to do their therapy here. We got lots of people who come from Vermont on Sundays, bring their family. We picnic here,” he said, wondering where they would picnic if a jetty is built at that location.
“We must stand up as a community and make sure that wharf never build. Just like how we stop the water project – the water that they were trying to sell here – we gonna even do better to stop this wharf. Cause we all gonna lie down on the beach every single day. Night and day.”
He estimated that the majority of the community feels similarly.
“Because from what I been hearing more than eight out of every 10 people are saying straight up they don’t want it
and they gonna protest. It’s yesterday I first got the news and I talk to people and just about everyone I speak to say straight up,” he said, in response to questions.
“I even told my cousin who has a shop ‘Listen you gonna shut down the shop when the day for protest come and go down there’ and he say, ‘Definitely’” Young disclosed.
Nathan Exeter has spent some time in Trinidad and Tobago and he spoke of the Carenage beach there.
“…People was bathing there all the time. As soon as you put wharf there the water get so dirty that you cannot bathe and things will be happening like that here,” he projected, “and we don’t want it.”
“If you want the wharf it would be war. No wharf as long as we in Layou alive,” he stated.
“Every time they start it – mash down. No wharf!” resident Margaret Smith said, as she stood on the beach area of Jackson Bay, “Where they want arwe bathe? No wharf! No wharf!”
Smith has been in a serious accident and the scars from the injury that broke her leg are visible down the length of the limb.
She said that every morning and evening she takes a seabath as therapy for this wound.
There are also a number of older persons who are known to spend a prolonged period “soaking” in the ocean in the morning and evening.
“People play sports, they little soccer, play cricket and all those things on the beach so why you gonna destroy that? If you put a wharf there it’s nothing gonna happen, nobody go can’t play no sports no more, especially on a Sunday. It’s an area where people relax themselves,” a resident called Dougald Jack said.
Nollie Henson proclaimed, “This is the onliest piece of land we get! Onliest piece of land we get …[to] bathe. Where they want send me go bathe? Where? I getting old, I getting a back problem. The doctor tell me I’m supposed to bathe in the sea.”
He stood on the beach on Wednesday chanting “No wharf” intermittently with a sign written “Not Layou Beach.”
Henson confessed that he was worried about what his children and grandchildren will have left.
He revealed that they want to protest.
“This is not politics no, this is Layou! and we everyday life. We everyday life of bathing on the beach. This is the onliest piece … we get! When I get older I can’t walk go Bambareaux go bathe- get a sea bath. So we have to protect this. We have to protect this,” Henson explained.
Another female resident protested that, “We want we only beach …[to] bathe with!”, adding that there was already a jetty, including a stone jetty where barges dock.
Laverne Adams-McKenzie is running one of the petitions that have been triggered around the town, and on Wednesday had four pages of names listed.
“This is the only recreation the kids have. The old people come here every morning for a swim and now the jetty is just going to ruin the beach. We’re not interested in ruining our beach, or the pollution that comes with all this,” she said, adding that they need help from the powers that be to stop it.
“These people in Layou they have nothing, they have nothing! You’re gonna take the beach away? These people got nothing. They have their beach and they’re gonna take that? No way,” she said.
They intend to gather at the beach this weekend to demonstrate against the proposed jetty project.