The establishment of too many hotels on the south coast could damage the country’s marine environment, a local advocate has warned.
Public Relations Officer of the Future Centre Trust Kammie Holder sounded the alarm and condemned developers of the Blue Horizon Project and others for failing to adequately engage members of the public before moving forward.
Delivering the weekly Astor B Watts Lecture at the Democratic Labour Party’s (DLP) George Street headquarters, he said Thursday night’s town hall meeting at the Accra Beach Hotel’s conference room did little to allay the fears of people living near the Worthing, Christ Church development.
“It is very disheartening that you would invite people to a meeting yesterday to hear on the news today that that project would be started in month’s time. It was a waste and a total insult to the people of this country and it is totally unacceptable,” said Holder who argued that ‘over-tourism’ could have a destructive impact on the cleanliness of the country’s oceans and the marine environment.
Numerous residents voiced their unhappiness over additional traffic, the removal of a key path to the sea and the proposed size of the structure and mounted an online petition on website change.org named “Keep the Sea Window at Accra/Rockley Open”.
Holder agrees with residents and is calling for Government to enhance opportunities for public participation in decisions that will affect their quality of life.
“We need effective access to judicial and administrative proceedings including redress and remedies with the aim of safeguarding rights and health and a sustainable environment for the current and future generations,” said Holder.
“We must take a stand in this country that we must preserve our beaches and access to our beaches for future generations. We will have a problem of ‘over tourism’ very shortly in Bay Street,” he added, making reference to the proposed construction of Hyatt.
In his address to DLP faithful at George Street, Holder suggested a greater tax burden be placed on cruise ship visitors to assist with the preservation of the environment.
“If you want to come and enjoy the sea and sand, pay for that,” he declared.
“It’s interesting that when the US Embassy increases the cost of a visa, we mumble and grumble but we pay, but when it comes to protecting our environment and coming together as a region to protect it we are divided.”
Holder also predicted that things would get worse as a result of pollution and over fishing and called for greater steps to curb the practices.
“People laughed at me when I said flying fish would become a scarce commodity, but dolphin is next. We have already lost sea eggs because of pollution from the land…Fishermen are also catching some very young dolphins and nobody seems to care.
“Other Caribbean countries have an ‘off-season’ where some species of fish cannot be caught for a year or so to replenish the stock. Nothing like that happens in Barbados. We are complacent and have too many people sitting in positions who have to be shaken up. The country needs to be shaken from top to bottom,” said the activist.