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Grenada's ‘crown jewels’ up for sale

Cash KO’s conservation

The Grenadian government has passed an amendment to the Grenada National Parks and Protected Areas Act, giving the Governor General the right to sell national parks land (and other protected areas) to private developers. The amendment to the National Parks Act allows the sale of the Mount Hartman National Park – the last stronghold of the Critically Endangered Grenada Dove Leptotila wellsi – for a massive hotel and villa complex. Half the global population of Grenada Dove –just 120 individual birds- are found within the Mount Hartman Estate, with the majority currently finding safe haven inside the Mount Hartman National Park.

"By paving the way for the sale of the Mount Hartman National Park, the Grenada government seems to have gone back on its word that the park would remain intact," commented David Wege, BirdLife's Caribbean Programme Manager.

As recently as the end of February, the Hon. Ann David-Antoine, Minister of Health, Social Security and the Environment stated in a letter that “the Government has not abolished the sanctuary [Mount Hartman National Park] nor will it do so”.

"With foreign investors and developers apparently driving the development process in Grenada, the loosening of the National Parks Act is potentially devastating for the protection of Grenada’s rich natural heritage." said Wege.Conservationists have also expressed concern over recent claims from the Grenadian government that the developer responsible for the proposed Four Seasons development has been given time to undertake a full Environmental Impact Assessment, and that “no final decision on the development has yet been made” on the hotel development. Photographic evidence suggests otherwise. Approximately half of Hog Island – a critical part of the Four Seasons project – has been cleared ready for building work to commence. Since news of the potential sale of the park was announced, a number of ornithologists, conservation organisations and high-profile supporters have lent their voice to the campaign to ensure the Grenada Dove is adequately protected. Noted author Graeme Gibson, who alongside Margaret Atwood is a co-patron of BirdLife’s Rare Bird Club, has created a website offering advice and information to those who are interested in supporting the campaign and lobbying both Grenada and Four Seasons. The website can be found at: http://www.grenadadovecampaign.com

4th July 2014