Our Readers' Opinions
June 16, 2024

Cane Grove and Penniston residents pen open letter to PM and other government officials

Dear Prime Minister Gonsalves, Hon. Minister Orando Brewster & Madam Town Planner Ms Hull Re: Objection to the Land Use Next to the Penniston/Cane Grove Cemetery

We, the concerned residents of the Cane Grove community, write to you to express our deep objection and profound concern regarding the use of land by Radioactive Ltd or related corporation or person, for hosting parties and secular events near the Penniston Cemetery, between Cane Grove and Penniston. The parties & events will host up to or more than 10,000 people. This matter strikes at the heart of our community’s values, particularly given the proximity to a site of immense spiritual and cultural significance.
The consultation meeting did not expressly state that H2O parties would be held next to the cemetery, nor were a lot of individuals aware or present at the Town Planning meeting.
The Penniston Cemetery is not just a burial ground; it is a sacred place for the Christian community, including Catholics, Spiritual Baptists, Rastafarians, Seventh Day Adventists,
Anglicans, Methodists, Pentecostals, and many others. It represents a sanctuary of peace and reverence, where we honour the memories of our loved ones who have passed on. To allow boisterous events such as H2O Soca and other similar gatherings in such close proximity is to desecrate this hallowed ground, the bodies that rest in peace and disregard the sanctity we attribute to it. The noise pollution to be generated by these events is a legal issue under section 20 of the
Noise Control Act. However, the heart of our protest lies in the profound disrespect this represents to the families who visit the graves of their relatives and friends to clean and decorate their graves. The thought of revelry and secular celebrations occurring within earshot and sight of this sacred space is deeply disturbing and hurtful to the grieving families who seek solace and tranquillity.
Our community holds annual memorial services, like the light-up at the graveyard, which are solemn and respectful. These events honour the dead and allow us to reflect on their lives and legacies. To juxtapose this with scenes of revelry and celebration mere yards away is to introduce a jarring and irreverent element that undermines our cultural and religious practices. Moreover, every religion on this island, even those outside the Christian faith, respects the dead. Atheists, too, observe moments of silence to honour those who have passed. This universal respect for the deceased transcends religious and cultural boundaries. It is a fundamental aspect of human decency and communal harmony.
We fear that the approval of such events near the cemetery could alienate a significant portion of your constituency,who see this as a direct affront to their values and beliefs. The potential political ramifications are clear, as those who feel disrespected and marginalized by this decision may reconsider their support. The living relatives of those buried at Penniston Cemetery are voters whose voices deserve to be heard and respected.
Furthermore, we are deeply concerned about the broader impact this land use will have on the nearby resort. The reverberating noise in the Buccament Valley will undoubtedly disturb the peaceful environment that visitors to the resort expect. Additionally, the garbage generated by these events will likely end up in the nearby river, which leads directly to the Sandals Resort and beach, causing environmental degradation over time and potential health hazards.
We urge you to consider the profound emotional and spiritual impact this decision has on our community. We ask that you intervene to prevent Radioactive Ltd or its agents and contractors from using this land for events that are incompatible with the solemnity of the cemetery. Let us work together to find a solution that honours our traditions and respects the sanctity of our sacred spaces.
We implore you to act with compassion and sensitivity to preserve the dignity of our community and its cherished traditions to have the proposed site relocated.
By presenting our concerns in this manner, we hope to appeal to your sense of justice and respect for the cultural and spiritual fabric of our community. Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter.

Concerned Residents of Cane Grove & Penniston