Concerned Citizens Group Responds To Statement On Access To Gros Piton Nature Trail – St. Lucia Times News

The content originally appeared on: St. Lucia Times News

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After reviewing the Aug. 18th, 2022 press statement issued by the department of Physical Development, we concerned St. Lucian citizen, are advancing a number of issues and concerns for the consideration of the public and all interested parties even within the international sphere,. Mindful of the status of this area as a world heritage site.

We are committed in our efforts to expose this ongoing controversy to the scrutiny of all including the IUCN and the World Heritage Centre.

We are perplexed by the recent press statement emanating from the Department of Physical Development. We are indeed curious as to the motivation behind the Department’s statement.

We question the credibility of some of the conclusions contained in the a.m. press statement which in our mind exposes an unfortunate lack of appreciation for historical facts and the reality on the ground in relation to Anse L’ Ivogne.

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We wish to raise the following questions and concerns for the attention of the Department of Physical Planning: was there any consultation with the environment and sustainable development unit which has overall responsibility for management of the PMA? Did the Department of Physical Planning consult with the PMA advisory committee as well as the SRDF?

Is the Department of Physical Development now going to see to it that the public vehicular right of way referred to in a.m. press statement is reinstated? This access was truncated by the new owner of Mondesir estate thus effectively cutting off the traditional access. When is this “public vehicular” right of way going to be reinstated?

It seems strange that the Gros Piton trail is not a registered public right of way as this trail has been in existence before motor cars were invented to access their lands and to commute between Fond Gens Libre and the Anse L’Ivogne coastal area for various activities such as fishing, recreation, etc as well as serving as a corridor between the communities of La Pointe and Fond Gens Libre.

One would think that such a pathway of long standing traditional use should be established as a public right of way. This anomaly needs to be addressed at soonest so as to guarantee residents of neighbouring communities continued and uninterrupted access to their lands, rivers and public resources.

Is it true that the Anse L’Ivogne developer, Jeff Robillard, has initiated legal action against the Government of St. Lucia? Is the recent statement by the Department of Physical Development an attempt to appease the developer?

Can we therefore conclude that the Government is now acting under the pressure of intimidation related to the legal proceedings initiated by the new owner of Mondesir estate (Anse L’Ivogne)?

The a.m. press statement from the Department of Physical Development ends by seeking to give assurance to the public of unfettered access to the queen’s chain at Anse L’Ivogne beach – (quote) “The Department of Physical development and Urban Renewal assures the public that access to the queen’s chain and Anse l’Ivogne beach shall remain uninterrupted public access to be enjoyed by locals and visitors alike without the fear of intimidation”. (unquote).

The fact is the public does not currently enjoy “uninterrupted “ access to the queen’s chain and the beach. We recommend that the department deploy officers to the area as a matter of urgency to ensure that the once established public right of way is reinstated.

As concerned and patriotic St. Lucians we make this request on behalf of the residents of La Point, Delcer, Fond Gens Libre, Soufriere and by extension St. Lucians all together.

We call for the spirit of the Neg Mawon to once again roam free in this area which has a history of freedom as is testimony in the name of the adjacent community Fond Gens Libre (valley of the free people).

We call on the department of physical development to act promptly to ensure that freedom of St. Lucians to enjoy our patrimony is re-established with IMMEDIATE EFFECT.

SOURCE: Concerned Citizens Group

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