WORD has been making the rounds that Choiseul is getting a hotel. Saw it in the news now, so it must be true. And so we all need to clap for Lorne. Not so fast! Even I have been lamenting, “Lorne is Minister of Tourism but how has he used this ministry to uplift the people of Choiseul?” I have passed by Sab Wisha and enquired, “Why don’t they do something with that land, like a hotel?” But even in my own thoughts, I have had some concerns. Top of which was placement and displacement. More on that in a while.
Having read the article, not sure if it was a press release or a media-house compiled report, I have more concerns. What I sensed from the article is a rush. They seem really in a hurry to get this started. And I think I understand why. “Sod turning ceremony by next week”? Hol’ it dere. Hold it there! Is it because election is coming? Is there something they are not telling us? Who are the nameless investors? Have we learned anything from Rochamel, Les Paradis and the like?
I have heard that there are some people who have some concerns and objections over the project as they rightly should. I remember crying literal tears over the development of Les Paradis. It hurts my heart up to this day. The destruction, the theft, the pilferage. Today it stands a white elephant. No more Frigate Island to take our children to. A lot of betrayed, poor civilians, who were sold out for a mere buck; some rich environmentalists and opportunistic conservationists. What a clog in its development tunnel, much like the administration that gave the green light to this project! Was the developmental company overseeing the project, cooking the books as I am made to believe? There is a need for supervision of investors eating at our green slice of paradise. We continue to sell the best of our lands to foreigners, we grant strangers a whole load of incentives to come and invest but they take more than they give. I have had major opposition to Sir Arthur Lewis’ Industrialisation by Invitation theory but that’s for another show.
Back to Sunset Bay Resort. I did mention that one of my major issues was that of placement and displacement, hoping that the residents were consulted and due environmental and social impact studies have been done. I have never been one to believe that all hotels should be placed by the beach. Reminds me of that Bajan calypso, ‘Jack don’t want me to bathe on my beach.’ I do not think that that hotel should be anywhere near the beach. Not even on the agricultural land on the other side of the traversing main road. I think that the agricultural undertakings should work in tandem with this major development which Choiseul so needs. Then, SabWisha is a major outlet for social and island engagement. Do we sacrifice that to please the tourists who are just passers-by? I think we have prostituted enough of our patrimony, culture and traditions at the altar of tourism and the quick dollar. Don’t you?