Protest escalates on Canouan as residents block resort entrances
Residents using a vehicle to block entrance to the resort
Front Page
September 5, 2023
Protest escalates on Canouan as residents block resort entrances

Protest action on Canouan escalated over the weekend as residents used vehicles to block the north and east entrances of the resort which is being operated by the Canouan Resorts Development (CRD).

In an interview with SEARCHLIGHT yesterday, Debra Foyle-Snagg, the main organizer of the protests said on Sunday, a group of protesters were on site at the north entrance and while there, they observed two vehicles drive up to the entrance where a boom is located and block the road.

“We find it strange…we said this wasn’t looking good, so I went home and got a truck and I took the truck and blocked the back (east) gate,” Foyle-Snagg explained, while noting that police officers came to the area she had blocked and asked her to move.

“So I said I not moving until they moved (from the north gate) because they blocked the (north gate) first,” Foyle-Snagg said, adding that the north entrance was cleared by the developers so she later cleared the east entrance.

The headstrong resident said that at around 4 am yesterday morning (Monday), the developers once again used vehicles to block the north entrance, so in response protestors blocked several areas, which has resulted in vehicles from CRD being unable to enter or leave the resort.

“… And we blocked Grand Bay Hill so they had to walk. So no fuel, no nothing can enter the resort,” Foyle-Snagg said.

Protests broke out on Canouan two weeks ago when residents observed that a gate was being constructed by CRD at the north entrance to the resort which also provides public access to several of the island’s beaches including Godahl and L’Ance Guyac.

Access to the beaches is controlled by CRD and those wishing to visit the beaches must inform security personnel where they are going. At present, traffic wishing to go past the check point is controlled with the use of a hand operated boom.

Members of the public are usually asked to park their vehicles in the resort and are given rides to the beach in the resort’s golf carts.

Following days of protests, land surveyors from the Government’s Land and Survey Department visited the area on August 30 and determined that the gate construction had been taking place outside the resort’s boundaries.

Chief Surveyor Keith Francis told SEARCHLIGHT that the work being undertaken by CRD had gone beyond the resort’s boundaries by two feet on one side and 10 feet on the other. He said a decision on what will happen now will be made by Cabinet.

But according to Foyle-Snagg, despite being told that they were not allowed to construct a gate where they were attempting to, construction appears to be ongoing.

“The owners are disrespectful to the people and the government. The police was asking the person in charge and she saying she can’t move the vehicles until she gets permission… I mean, the government stopped you, the people stop you, you should wait to see what they (government) doing…the developers have nasty intentions,” Foyle-Snagg stated.

She said that on Monday, about 15 persons were keeping watch at the north entrance and they were only allowing homeowners’ vehicles to exit and enter the resort, but not CRD vehicles.

“They have to come to a solution,” Foyle-Snagg stated, while adding that they want the developers to take down the boom that is used to control the flow of traffic into and out of the resort. She is also against the erection of a gate at the north entrance to the resort and suggests that a speed bump be built instead.

Prime Minister and Minister of National Security Dr Ralph Gonsalves said last week that all that is required is for the developers to have “a sensible conversation” with the people.

He said that while you may have a legal right to do something in relation to your property, any sensible investor has to be sensitive to peoples’ concerns and the environment in which that investor is doing business.

Calls to CRD, which has a 99-year lease on 1,200 acres of the 1,800 acre island were not returned up to press time.