Although the YIDA Special Economic Zone lies within the NEMMA – a marine protected area, they have been allowed to do heavy construction which poses irreversible damage to the marine life. The Sustainable Island Resource Management Zoning Plan lists Guiana Island as an environmentally protected area as well as identifying wetlands on The Crabbs Peninsula which are to be preserved by 2030. The Mangroves that surround the area are being irreparably damaged and are necessary not only for the preservation of our biodiversity but to protect coastal communities from rising sea levels and the impact of storms.
When it comes to livelihoods, Fishermen, especially those who use the Parham Fisheries facilities, will be adversely affected by this project when they begin their deep-sea harvesting where the government will only receive 10% of the profits. We cannot reasonably expect them to make a liveable wage when faced with such an unfair disadvantage.
Development at all costs is not only harmful to a country’s economy but to people, resources, and safety. The controversial YIDA project has presented risks to our livelihoods and environment and we must use our platforms to bring awareness to this and other issues that will have lasting effects on our twin-island nation.
(Photos Courtesy Antigua Observer)