My first visit to the seaside was Carenage; and in particular, Williams Bay. We travelled by bus and eventually I would ‘borrow’ my father’s Raleigh bicycle—put the seat to its lowest position and ride there.
I remember that Pier 1 was not even a thing. Today, its building is imposing and it is home to several boats spewing sewage into Williams Bay. If you look closely, there is a slight shimmer on the water around the boats providing further evidence that ‘stuff’ is being disposed of in the water. This is the same location where families frolic in the sun oblivious of the sewage and pollutants.
Heading further west into the peninsula is depressing. You pass the dilapidated hoardings through which you catch glimpses of concrete structures at different stages of completion, the remnants of a dream of a museum, and, on the right, the O2 Park where the hill is being or has been raped.
If you turn north and head to Macqueripe, you see a welcome sign saying ‘U Pick’ which used to be a small business where you were able to pick your vegetables from the stem before buying them—this very area was the home to recent Carnival Fetes. Other locations in Chaguaramas have also been used to host fetes including one constituency’s ‘Bush Party’.
Astonishingly, a geologist is presiding over this destruction of the Chaguaramas Peninsula and that is troubling. We may say that it is all in the interest of development, but I disagree. There are many instances in other countries where development was done in concert with nature. We cannot continue destroying the natural beauty with which this country has been blessed.
They tell me that Chaguaramas has some of the most arable agricultural lands in the country and I believe them because of what I have experienced. I have seen howler monkeys swinging in the trees, butterflies flitting amongst the shrubs, parrots screeching atop bamboo clumps and the morning mist blanketing the golf course.
These experiences are precious and available freely to any citizen; but they will disappear if we continue to abuse nature in the way that we are doing. Indeed, the monkeys are not as plentiful and the fauna and flora not as rich as when I first started exercising in Chaguaramas.
We have a collective responsibility to ensure that our employees—the politicians—act in our collective interest and in this case, it means that they must declare and protect Chaguaramas as a National Park. It means stopping the continued destruction of the hills at O2, discontinuing the annual Carnival Fetes and J’Ouvert Parties which chase away all animal life and ensuring that the status of Chaguaramas as a National Park is attained.
Who would have thought that a geologist would do otherwise?