When Compton had dared to tamper with “sacred” ground between the Pitons to allow for the development of the Jalousie project, from out of nowhere sprung Saint Lucia’s first environmental group. Perhaps inspired by Walcott’s angst in poetry about the development, the Saint Lucia Environment Action Council SLEDAC included painter Llyewellyn Xavier, Len Ishmael then a lecturer at UWI, and aspiring politician Kenny Anthony. “May the next generation curse a government so blind, it handed over a nation sealed, delivered and signed,” Walcott wrote in Litany to the Pitons first published in the STAR.
Will those who now lead the country heed the words of Walcott and avoid the full wrath of the next generation, by not selling out the country’s patrimony and the few remaining beaches to foreign developers? The residents of Trouya are hoping so and are calling for wisdom to prevail as they seek the intervention of Government to save one of the few remaining public beaches on the island. Of major concern to residents of Trouya Point is the negative environmental impact this will have on the small beach in the area, one utilized by many locals from near and far.
The residents fear that a recent proposed development will bar locals from proper access to the beach. The proposal by a French developer is for a touristic development to be built on two sets of lots – one part is just a queen’s chain lot which will house an actual hotel and a villa, with the other unit duplexes of 2 and 3 bedrooms spread around the bay. Effectively a sixty-six room establishment will be put on the tiny bay that is less than a hundred yards, residents say.
Given less than three weeks to respond to the DCA’s notice for a change of use of Trouya Point from residential to commercial, Lincoln Weekes and other concerned residents immediately raised objection to the development. With a December 12 deadline to respond, they have received the support of 85 percent of residents who have signed a petition voicing their disapproval. Through a Facebook page they have also commanded the nation’s attention to save the Trouya beach and have received widespread support.
On Wednesday December 10, the community members called a press conference ahead of submitting their petitions and findings on the project to government. “As we prepare to celebrate National Day and what is ours, we thought it was imperitive for us to speak to the nation about this issue which indeed is a national one,” Weekes, the spokesperson for the concerned residents said Wednesday. He gave the press an overview of the project and how it will impact the residents and the area in general. Weekes is also questioning the demarking of the some of the areas on the queens chain in pursuit of the development. “Today it’s the Trouya beach; tomorrow somewhere else,” he added. According to residents, following the submission of the petition to government and the relevant agencies they will continue their advocacy of, and rally support for, the Trouya beach and adjoining queen’s chain to remain for public use. The group has also found support from a number of schoolteachers and principals who have used the beach for recreation and school projects. A number of Gros Islet fishermen who sometimes land sardines on the Trouya beach are also in support.
On Wednesday afternoon the Trouya residents submitted their petition along with a cover letter raising their objection to the proposed hotel development entitled Trouya Cove.
“So now we await the government’s decision as to whether we keep the beach for public use or we sell out to private gain,” Weekes said. “But we will stop at nothing within our legal options to see to it that the Trouya beach remains for free use by Saint Lucians,” he emphasized.