Categorized | Letters

Facts Mean Nothing if We Don’t Consider Them

Letter to the Editor for Montserrat Reporter

Bulldozer already at work on roads in Belham

Rumors are flying. We’ve all heard them. But, what about the facts. Facts are funny things, and often depend on our personal point of view. One mans economic development is another mans economic disaster. Taking this into account, I would like to point out both sides and also the reality of the situation with sand mining in the Belham Valley.

We ALL have the best interests of Montserrat at heart. I think we can call this a fact.

We care about the preservation of our beaches and quality of life. Apparently this is not true. The mining industry wants to build a jetty at Isles Bay beach and turn the Belham Valley into an industrial area. They call this economic development.

Everyone else wants the jetty built in Foxes Bay to preserve our residential areas, tourism and the beach for the economic benefits to the island. The residents are absolutely, positively in favor of sand mining and economic development it will bring. No one should believe the rumor that residents are against mining.  It is simply not true.  They don’t want the jetty in the Belham Valley because it will greatly damage the economic recovery of Montserrat.   The Foxes Bay site is a better option for a variety of reasons, including protection of jobs across the island.

The reality is that, right now, plans are going full steam ahead to build the jetty at Isles Bay. Why? Apparently, the sand mining companies feel that the cost to reclaim a road to Fox’s Bay is too high. One has to wonder, after seeing the destruction of the road to Jack Boy Hill, how high the standards need to be. One also has to wonder how difficult it would be for the multiple mining companies with all their heavy equipment and free stone and sand to build this road. Surely they can’t be thinking of a concrete or asphalt road. Or could they?

The sand miners seem to believe that a study, commissioned by William Wall, saying the Foxes Bay site is unsuitable for building a jetty gives them permission to build a jetty at Isles Bay. Others believe that an engineering study of the feasibility of Isles Bay for a jetty hasn’t been done, and must be.

The reality is that, right now, plans are going full steam ahead to construct the jetty at Isles Bay based on an unpublished study by a principal in the mining industry. Studies tend to reflect the desired outcome for the people paying for the study. Even now, as construction is going ahead, there has not been a study of the engineering feasibility at Isles Bay. What we do know is that a study done by Halcrow and commissioned by DFID clearly states that Foxes Bay is the preferred site for a carefully studied variety of criteria. This study does not include engineering data. The Wall study, which is clearly a conflict of interest, does not compare the two sites. At least that is what people think because no one has seen it

The sandmining companies say they will bring tons of money to the island. The property owners say it will destroy their home values and cost jobs. They believe that businesses all over the island will suffer from the demise of tourism. If they must abandon the Old Towne and Isles Bay areas the job losses will reverberate island wide and affect the stores, restauants, petrol stations, insurance and banking. They also say the money from the sand mining will only benefit a few families while the money from the property owners will benefit the whole island.

The reality is that with a little compromise we can have BOTH. Building the jetty at Foxes Bay will preserve the Belham and our beach. Instead of money from one sector of the economy or the other, Montserrat could have real economic development from both sources. If the long yearned for development of geothermal becomes a reality, a jetty would probably need to be built at Foxes Bay regardless.

Another consideration is the anticipated road re-building money promised by DFID once the trucks are off our rapidly deteriorating roads. Surely, by working together, we can convince DFID to give us enough time to study this further.

The reality is the damage is being done right now. While one side is seeking legal remedies, the other is going ahead. If we get involved with injunctions and court hearings, the United Nations and other remedies available to the property owners, the Isles Bay project can be delayed for years. The sand mining companies are spending money right now for things they will ultimately be unable to use, instead of spending it on the Foxes Bay site. We need the economic development sooner than that. We need our roads fixed sooner than that.

Whichever side you are on, you need to speak out. That’s reality.

Nancy

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

Letter to the Editor for Montserrat Reporter

Bulldozer already at work on roads in Belham

Rumors are flying. We’ve all heard them. But, what about the facts. Facts are funny things, and often depend on our personal point of view. One mans economic development is another mans economic disaster. Taking this into account, I would like to point out both sides and also the reality of the situation with sand mining in the Belham Valley.

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We ALL have the best interests of Montserrat at heart. I think we can call this a fact.

We care about the preservation of our beaches and quality of life. Apparently this is not true. The mining industry wants to build a jetty at Isles Bay beach and turn the Belham Valley into an industrial area. They call this economic development.

Everyone else wants the jetty built in Foxes Bay to preserve our residential areas, tourism and the beach for the economic benefits to the island. The residents are absolutely, positively in favor of sand mining and economic development it will bring. No one should believe the rumor that residents are against mining.  It is simply not true.  They don’t want the jetty in the Belham Valley because it will greatly damage the economic recovery of Montserrat.   The Foxes Bay site is a better option for a variety of reasons, including protection of jobs across the island.

The reality is that, right now, plans are going full steam ahead to build the jetty at Isles Bay. Why? Apparently, the sand mining companies feel that the cost to reclaim a road to Fox’s Bay is too high. One has to wonder, after seeing the destruction of the road to Jack Boy Hill, how high the standards need to be. One also has to wonder how difficult it would be for the multiple mining companies with all their heavy equipment and free stone and sand to build this road. Surely they can’t be thinking of a concrete or asphalt road. Or could they?

The sand miners seem to believe that a study, commissioned by William Wall, saying the Foxes Bay site is unsuitable for building a jetty gives them permission to build a jetty at Isles Bay. Others believe that an engineering study of the feasibility of Isles Bay for a jetty hasn’t been done, and must be.

The reality is that, right now, plans are going full steam ahead to construct the jetty at Isles Bay based on an unpublished study by a principal in the mining industry. Studies tend to reflect the desired outcome for the people paying for the study. Even now, as construction is going ahead, there has not been a study of the engineering feasibility at Isles Bay. What we do know is that a study done by Halcrow and commissioned by DFID clearly states that Foxes Bay is the preferred site for a carefully studied variety of criteria. This study does not include engineering data. The Wall study, which is clearly a conflict of interest, does not compare the two sites. At least that is what people think because no one has seen it

The sandmining companies say they will bring tons of money to the island. The property owners say it will destroy their home values and cost jobs. They believe that businesses all over the island will suffer from the demise of tourism. If they must abandon the Old Towne and Isles Bay areas the job losses will reverberate island wide and affect the stores, restauants, petrol stations, insurance and banking. They also say the money from the sand mining will only benefit a few families while the money from the property owners will benefit the whole island.

The reality is that with a little compromise we can have BOTH. Building the jetty at Foxes Bay will preserve the Belham and our beach. Instead of money from one sector of the economy or the other, Montserrat could have real economic development from both sources. If the long yearned for development of geothermal becomes a reality, a jetty would probably need to be built at Foxes Bay regardless.

Another consideration is the anticipated road re-building money promised by DFID once the trucks are off our rapidly deteriorating roads. Surely, by working together, we can convince DFID to give us enough time to study this further.

The reality is the damage is being done right now. While one side is seeking legal remedies, the other is going ahead. If we get involved with injunctions and court hearings, the United Nations and other remedies available to the property owners, the Isles Bay project can be delayed for years. The sand mining companies are spending money right now for things they will ultimately be unable to use, instead of spending it on the Foxes Bay site. We need the economic development sooner than that. We need our roads fixed sooner than that.

Whichever side you are on, you need to speak out. That’s reality.

Nancy