10 July, 2007

Environmental Impact

Island Development Threshold. The Land Development Control Committee recently asked the Anguilla National Trust to provide comments on an application for outline planning permission by the proprietors of the Conch Bay Development. They intend to build a golf course, resort and residences on Block 78913B Parcel 100 and Block 79013 Parcel 126. The Trust replied in writing on 30 June 2007. It is an interesting document to read. It contains many revelations. These particularly relate to weaknesses in government’s processes and procedures. There are some ominous warnings in the document. Under the heading Additional Questions and Concerns we read:

While the GoA has not yet carried out an assessment to determine what is the development threshold of the island or whether or not the island has reached this point, the LDCC has an obligation to ensure that such an action be taken from the perspective of managing and pacing the development of the island. The ANT has serious concerns about the rate and pace of the island’s development and urges the LDCC to request the relevant agencies in collaboration with the EXCO to conduct an assessment to determine the development saturation point of the island. Such a tool will only serve to protect the island and justify the LDCC’s actions as we continue to grow at extremely rapid paces.

What to make of this warning? Has our island reached its development threshold? Will further unrestrained construction of mega-resorts stretch the island’s infrastructure beyond the breaking point? Will the Land Development Control Committee take the hint, and carry out the needed studies? Will we see any positive reaction to this warning from the Trust?

Your guess is as good as mine.


  1. The only use an environmental impact assessment ever had in Anguilla was to give someone a chance to get a payment under the table. No EIA has ever resulted in any aspect of any project proposed by a deep-pocket investor being altered to protect the environment. Loud protests from members of the public has been the only assessment that our government has listened to. The environment only wins when the political cost exceeds the financial pay out.

  2. Mr. Mitchell:

    Why does the LDCC no longer list applications for land use? Physical planning used to post all applications and actions taken. It has not been updated since June 2006.

    It provided a little transparency.

    Thanks, as ever, for your efforts.

  3. The excellent ANT report on the Conch Bay project admits that an EIA would be largely a waste of time:

    "2.The performance of an EIA almost seems like a process in futility since the Memorandum of Agreement, as signed between the GoA and the developer restricts the application of the results in as far as the recommendations contravene what the developer deems to be significant alterations."

  4. Take a look across the channel at what unplanned free for all development can do for you. Develop according to your peoples needs, not those of the developers.

    Just my 2 cents.


  5. Just to remind readers and persons posting comments, there is no evidence or reason to believe that anyone in government has ever received a payment under the table to set aside an EIA. There can be good policy reasons to overrule a recommendation from an environmentalist. The most usual is that the economic advantages of the proposed project outweigh the environmental damage. Please bear that in mind when making extreme accusations.

  6. How written in stone are those memo's of agreement between GoA and developers? We don't know what GoA agrees to: Import cheap labor, ruin beaches, mess up roads, duty free consessions on every thing. You name it, we don't know about it.

    If the memo's are not changable once signed by GoA, why would any department bother: Labour, Immigration, Planning and National Trust all become empty vessels.
    How frustrating for the well- intended, staight thinking Civil Servants that must be!

    'The environment only wins when the political cost exceeds the financial gain.'(Not impying anything bribe-ish.)

    Right! Aha. So off we go: Lets make public, by any means, the Memo's of agreement and protest loudly when items seem fishy.
    Let's help the GoA stay staight.
    Civil Servants, secretaries, everybody: E-Mail, snail-mail, by any means, get these memo's to Don. He'll deal with it. He is already, whether he wants it or not, Our National Ombudsman.


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