The local population in Canouan has been complaining about infrastructure and access to secondary education, lands and beaches, among other problems. (iWN photo)

Prime Minister, Ralph Gonsalves says that the development of the “village” in Canouan should keep pace with tourism developments on the island, where an EC$250 million marina opened on Monday.

The indigenous communities in Canouan are sandwiched between high-end resorts in the north of the island, and in the south, where the marina is located.

“… we can’t be having these extraordinarily top of the line facilities in the south and in the north without the village being further improved,” Gonsalves told the opening ceremony for Glossy Bay Marina.

The ceremony was attended by Irish billionaire, Dermot Desmond, who part funded the marina, and Andrea Pignatorio, an Italian who is the main investor in the north of Canouan.

“We have made significant improvement but we need to improve those further.  And I see that as an obligation of the investors to work very much with the government to develop the village. I think that is a very important thing. We have to make it a community.”

Some residents of the island have complained about the lack of access by land to the beaches in the north of the island.

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves speaks at the opening ceremony on Monday. (iWN photo)

Without referring to the ongoing saga, Gonsalves noted the changes that have taken place in Canouan since 1991, when foreign investors began taking notice of the island.

He pointed out that before then, Canouan was a community wedded, historically, to small scale fishing, small scale farming and other kinds of traditional economic activities.

“When you have modern economic enterprises coming in like what we have in the north and in the south, there is going to be the need for attitudes to be altered, to be changed, for traditional living to come to terms more efficaciously with modernity,” he said.

“And I want to say to the investors that they must be sensitive to these matters, including the values of the traditional community and certain sets of rights. Our people are very good-natured people and in this small geographical space, we have to live and let live. I want to urge that. It is not, again, a complicated business. It requires an understanding and compromises on all our parts,” the prime minister said.

The marina contains 120 berths, including 24 “super yacht” berths capable of accommodating yachts between 100 and 300 feet in length. Depth available exceeds 18 feet.

Over the last two years, EC$250 million was disbursed to construct the marina and over EC$100 million will be spent to complete the marina plaza.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aaDb3bwIDbE

7 replies on “PM wants Canouan’s ‘village’ to develop apace with resorts”

  1. C. ben-David says:

    Don’t kill me for saying so, but why doesn’t the government use its legislative powers to relocate the 1,700 residents of Canouan to other destinations in the Grenadines or mainland of their choice, offering fair market value for their dwellings, a household $EC 100,000 relocation allowance, and free education and/or training, all to paid for by the two developers.

    The same could be done for the much smaller population of Mayreau.

    Again, I offer this only as a topic for discussion. So please don’t beat me up.

    1. I hope you are not serious. The locals were there first. No matter what, it is theirs and the PM does not have the right to cheat the people out of their own birthright.. Sure, it is the locals that abuse the island and the country as a whole. On Canouan the locals litter the beaches, kill sea turtles and other such disrespectful things but nevertheless they should not be kicked out. Maybe just educate them to respect their country? Maybe that can work on the mainland too. Foreigners are less-likely to do much development on the mainland because it is far more difficult to educate many more locals to respect the land they live on and from. Richmond Vale is not even having much success.

      1. C. ben-David says:

        I am only trying to stimulate debate based on the notion that in a state society like our own, people occupy their property only with the consent of the government. If the homeowners at Argyle could be forced to relocate — the reason given being that the greater good of the nation would be served if they were forced out — so can the people of Canouan.

        Still, I am glad that you acknowledge that our own people rather than foreign investors are the greatest threat to the environment.

  2. I hope that plans for this modern monument to the Government’s selling out its people include a good system to handle waste, and to avoid pollution of the area. It is unfortunate that so many of the people of Canouan have had their rights trampled on. I am sure there is more in store for them. The powers that be are just waiting for the people to lose their focus.

    1. C. ben-David says:

      1. Exactly how has the government sold out its people by helping to create hundreds of new jobs for them?

      2. The system for handling waste on Caouan is much better than anywhere on the mainland where there is no system at all except the new airport.

      3. Exactly how have the rights of the people of Caouan been trampled on when they still have access to the beaches plus jobs for anyone with the requisite skills and motivation?

      4. For someone so keen on the new airport, you sure are anti tourist development. Or did you only want Argyle for your own selfish convenience and warped sense of pride even though its construction will end up bankrupting our beloved country?

      1. I really don’t know where you get the idea that I am so keen on the new airport. Argyle serves no particular purpose for me except that I have no choice if/when I travel to and from SVG. I take no particular pride in what may go down in history as Gonsalves’ folly.
        I am not anti tourism, but I firmly believe that the people’s rights must be protected; lest we regress back to prior to 1763 and have the modern day tourists throw the natives out when they can’t enslave them.
        As for waste management., it is a fair question. Where there is development, there is a great possibility of pollution. I am glad to know that they have a waste management second only to Argyle Airport. Thanks for doing the research for me.
        One more thing C.Ben, how did you manage to stretch my comment to invoke the airport? Your response seems somewhat erratic. Not judging, just observing.

  3. Someone should inform our PM that changing life for the better for the locals needs leadership and that is not just going out and talking, he actually has to do something other than just giving all the financial incentives to wealth foreigners. In the beginning of his being in office he showed hope, but now he is primarily concerned with TAKING as much money from the economy and giving less back in return. The wealthy of Canouan paid for that airport but the people of today and future generations will have to pay for the airport on the mainland. I suggest Gonsalves ease the tax burden on the people and businesses and stop overspending and making things worse. If he spends, he should fix the roads (the most important infrastructure) that he lets go further into ruin.

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