January 31, 2023

Peter Binose: Canouan – Raped Jewel of the Grenadines.

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Canouan-2By Peter Binose

The ULP Manifesto of 2010 on page 71 referred to the development of Canouan “[the ULP Government] purchased back the Canouan Beach Hotel and placed the property as government equity in a Development Company and the Canouan Developers and other Equity Partners to build a modern marina and real estate and development project on the south of Canouan”.

What I would like to know who is the Development Company, who are the Canouan Developers and who are the other Equity Partners, who are they? Surely we should be told who the government has put us in partnership with, if not why not?

Are any of those parties anything to do with the current problem that the Canouan islanders are having the problems with over the right of way to the beach? Are they having problems with a group who the government has entered into a partnership with?

Of course I am assuming that what was in the ULP 2010 election Manifesto is true and not another concocted set of lies.

Swiss-Italian banker Saladino and CRD were given a 99-year lease to develop an international resort on a major part of the tiny island – located between Barbados and St Lucia – in 1990, under the Sir James Mitchell NDP government.

The CRD Company turned ancient right of way tracks into roads and closed them to the islanders. According to Terry Bynoe despite signing an agreement 16 years ago a wall was erected across the road the very night the agreement was signed. According to Terry Bynoe the agreement was never honored to this very day.

Owner of Sandy Lane Resort in Barbados Irish Billionaire Dermot Desmond an investor developer with Saladino in the Pink Sands Club had a serious falling out after Desmond had completed the Pink Sands Project. The whole resort stood finished but firmly closed for a year whilst these big men argued. Eventually they struck some sort of deal to end the costly delays to the opening of his Caribbean resort the Pink Sands Club at Canouan.

The Hoops powerbroker’s luxury Pink Sands Club was due to open in 2014 with guests expected to pay up to £13,000 a night.

But the £79million development – on Canouan Island in St Vincent and the Grenadines – was left sitting empty amid reports of a disagreement between Desmond, 64, and co-investor Antonio Saladino.

Even Saint Vincent and the Grenadines [of which Canouan is part] prime minister Ralph Gonsalves’s attempts to settle the dispute flying to London and Switzerland and Canouan were unsuccessful. Desmond and Saladino came to a settlement with Desmond stepping out of the Pink Sands projects and I am told but have not confirmed into the Marina and real estate development side.

Pink Sands Manager Jeff Morgan said: “The project for the continuous development of the beautiful island of Canouan to be the best resort, hotel and marina in the Caribbean is progressing well with the full support of all the ­stakeholders involved.”

Remember the past stories regarding sale of the recent Canouan 65 acres and my comments to that.

“Very nice that CRD are working with the Canouan people, more than the government has ever done”. “Now if they are paying $30 million for the comfort of the people, what are they proposing taking from the people in return, what kind of dodgy deal has the government done that is not yet being told”. “It would appear that only 9 people were invited to the meeting”. “As they say business is business, therefore the people must expect some kind of trade off, coming from CDC it will probably come as the truth, if it comes from the government it will probably contain a whole load of crap and an element of untruth”. “The only thing that worries me is that the government has decided to treat what the final trade off once again, as a state secret”. “In attendance were Head of the Grenadines Directorate Department, Edwin Snagg, Permanent Secretary, in the Ministry of National Security, Godfred Pompey, and Joseph “Burns” Bonadie, the adviser to the government on labour relations”. “Where was the peoples elected representative, it’s ok sending all that nasty ULP crap to Canouan but how about the elected Member of Parliament”. “What kind of cheap political game is the ULP scum brigade playing, trying to corrupt the minds of the Canouan people, and in doing so unable to help themselves in rendering disrespect”. “We must remember the ULP government has just sold off 25 acres and 40 acres of prime Canouan coastal land to developers, where is that in the equation of things?” “Sorry but I just cannot trust the government, because as Gonsalves told us, show me a liar and I will show you a thief”.

“It’s my contention that with-holding relevant information is akin to telling lies”. “CRD I would imagine that you are funding this project, because our government is stone broke. The only thing I implore of you is that your are truthful with the people and make public knowledge of whatever else is being done, but is currently being hidden by the government. If you do have some project in mind that is not currently being voiced, bring it forward, least you counter the wrath of the Canouan people. Because offering them something with one hand and taking something with the other will be seen as dishonest, even sleight of hand”.

“Please tell the whole story, it’s not possible development, as mentioned in the article, its definite development, let’s get straight to the honest truth”. “These people have suffered over the years with dust and grime with the initial building of the Canouan Resort. They have also suffered hatred, spite and malice from the government, they do not need more suffering from either of you. They already feel aggrieved by the recent selling of 65 acres, land that will exclude family expansion in the future, or no land for returning islanders after a lifetime of work abroad”. “The people have also been shafted regarding their promised school, their children suffering lodging and a long sea journey to the Capital”.

So even at that time I was suspicious of Ralph Gonsalves and the ULP Government.

At a Press Conference at Kingstown on Monday the 8th of Feb 2016 Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said “I appeal to all nationals throughout St. Vincent and the Grenadines and especially in Canouan to be mature in their reflections on this matter and not to do anything which would jeopardize the development of our country. Nobody is not taking away anybody’s rights; it’s just a regulatory regime to run things better”.

At that time I found that statement extremely insulting. Anything that takes away or limits the ancient rights, the common law and constitutional law rights by way of calling such an action as “just a regulatory regime” is in fact doing just that taking away or limiting the islanders established and irrevocable rights.

Here are some questions I would like the prime minister to answer.

1/ is the statement in the ULP 2010 election manifesto true “[the ULP Government] purchased back the Canouan Beach Hotel and placed the property as government equity in a Development Company and the Canouan Developers and other Equity Partners to build a modern marina and real estate and development project on the south of Canouan”?
2/ is the Government or any subsidiary or state owned corporation a partner in the said development at Canouan?
3/ did any of the developers new or established contribute a large sum of money to the ULP election fund last year?
4/ why has the prime minister failed to demand from the developers that the people of Canouan have uninhibited and unlimited access to the roads and beaches on all the developments, both old and new?
5/ why have the police not been ordered to escort the islanders and to stop the developers from illegally barring the way of the public right of way/s?

I am so sorry that I have to ask the PM those questions; I do so because I just cannot bring myself to believe anything that he says since he admitted that he sometimes tells lies.

I was told today on what I would usually regard as good authority how Terry Bynoe some 15 years ago was almost beaten to death by two Israeli resort guards. Within hours the two guards were whisked away never to be seen again in Canouan. Terry is that true?

I am trying my best to be diplomatic and not accusing anyone of anything illegal, asking the questions which I doubt we will ever get answers to. But please people if you have any knowledge on these matters throw your hats in the ring. The people of Canouan deserve your help and support.



DISCLAIMER: The opinion, belief and viewpoint expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinion, belief and viewpoint of iNews Cayman/ieyenews.com or official policies of iNews Cayman/ieyenews.com.

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