Protect Chaguaramas! CDA’s interest in new hotel meets lack of public interest

EPL Infrafred Sauna

Vicki Assevero, founder of the Green Market, Santa Cruz, makes an important distinction between different types of interest in her Letter to the Editor about the Chaguaramas peninsula:

The Chaguaramas Development Authority (CDA) has requested expressions of interest for “planning, design, construction and commissioning of a full service hotel at the old tracking station, Macqueripe, Chaguaramas.” This letter is just such an expression of public interest in NOT constructing a hotel at the historic tracking station.

Photo: It's not a hotel. It's history. Courtesy: Georgia Popplewell
Photo: It’s not a hotel. It’s history.
Courtesy: Georgia Popplewell

The Chaguaramas peninsula is a magical place, filled with splendid and awesome biodiversity: from the red howler monkeys and the white fronted and tufted capuchins to the four different types of forest which are protecting an important watershed from erosion, to the seabed grasses which still manage to support bream and snapper, grouper and lobsters, not to mention the now infrequently seen dolphins which used to play in the wake of power boats and surf the waves of the Gulf of Paria.

The Bamboo Cathedral silences us as we tread on ancient Amerindian, Spanish and British archaeological sites. The actual anti-ballistic missile tracking site guards the memory of the very first intercontinental voice message relayed via the earth satellite Echo from Chaguaramas to New York. We should preserve, explain and restore its worldwide legacy.


As the Amazon is to Brazil, Chaguaramas is the green lungs of Trinidad. The Chaguaramas peninsula and the offshore islands were declared a national park in 1974 and designated a National Heritage Park in 1975 with specific objectives to protect the biodiversity and the preservation of ecological, historical and archaeological resources.

Photo: Bamboo arches on the way to the tracking station. Courtesy: Anu Lakhan
Photo: Bamboo arches on the way to the tracking station.
Courtesy: Anu Lakhan

So how now brown cow, as we prepare to celebrate another year of Independence, do we continue to import outdated notions of development as bricks and buildings? How is it that our minds remain so colonized that we flout the very laws we actually passed to protect our precious ecosystems from the devastation that our wanton carelessness and negligence has wrought elsewhere on this island?

The Western Main Road is in tatters and barely supports the existing traffic. Infrastructure must necessarily precede building plans even in ordinary circumstances.

Nobel laureate, Amartya Sen’s seminal work Development as Freedom states:

Development consists of the removal of various types of unfreedoms that leave people with little choice and little opportunity of exercising their reasoned agency.

sen2 (1)

We are unfree when we no longer have a choice to speak openly about who is planning for us and why. We are unfree when we no longer have a dark star-filled night sky to whisper to us through the poui and the wild guava and tamarind that we too are stardust.

The very best present Trinidad and Tobago could give itself on this anniversary is an acknowledgement of our deep ecological inter-dependence and an honest exercise in listening to and building trust with the entire citizenry, who are the ultimate beneficiaries of a beautiful bountiful nationally protected Chaguaramas park.

More from Wired868
Vaneisa: The republic of subterfuge—TSTT sacking, Tobago taxi no-shows par for the course

From the time I heard the news reports about the 300 cruise-ship passengers being stranded without tour transport in Tobago Read more

Daly Bread: Saturday morning serenade at the Green Market

Upon arrival at the Green Market in Santa Cruz, two Saturdays ago, I bumped into a professional couple—each highly placed Read more

Brinsley Samaroo: A Historian of the People who saw potential all around him

I first met UWI Professor Emeritus Dr Brinsley Samaroo many years ago on a radio programme, where I brought up Read more

Noble: Indian Arrival Day provides opportunity to reflect on persistent struggle to control immigrants

I am sure you would remember this truism: “Beauty is in the eye of the Beholder!” I accepted this aphorism Read more

Dear Editor: The African legacy of Tobago’s Davidsons and Denoons

“[…] With a family tree consisting of thousands of relatives, this important aspect of our history—which was researched and confirmed Read more

Noble: The Pimping of East Port of Spain; how T&T abused “Eastmoorings” for decades

Our national anthem urges us to have “boundless faith in our destiny”. It affirms that “here every creed and race Read more

About Letters to the Editor

Want to share your thoughts with Wired868? Email us at editor@wired868.com. Please keep your letter between 300 to 600 words and be sure to read it over first for typos and punctuation. We don't publish anonymously unless there is a good reason, such as an obvious threat of harassment or job loss.

Check Also

Vaneisa: The republic of subterfuge—TSTT sacking, Tobago taxi no-shows par for the course

From the time I heard the news reports about the 300 cruise-ship passengers being stranded …

5 comments

  1. But excellent letter by the way

  2. They had a hotel and lease it out for pittance
    A hotel opposite a Water Park
    Strange how it was given away
    Anyway that’s how “Solomon the wise ” fix it up

  3. I believe that the CDA will construct this hotel on the proposed site no matter what the public expressions. This is just a formality to show that the public was invited to voice their opinions. Prove me wrong when that time reaches.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.