HOURS after environmental activist Stephen Broadbridge highlighted the fact that land was being cleared at Covigne Road in Tucker Valley, Chaguaramas, the Chaguaramas Development Authority (CDA) said in a media release yesterday that an investigation has been launched.
Newsday tried to reach the CDA to find out if the investigation was a direct result of Broadbridge’s posts but was unable to make contact. The authority said permission had not been granted to the tenant, Landscape Designs (Arboretum), to do any such work. It said the authority’s estate police had stopped the company from continuing the work and warned it to remove the equipment.
The CDA has launched a complete investigation into the matter, it said. Broadbridge posted pictures yesterday of cleared land at Tucker Valley to his Facebook page. His public post, which was shared several hundred times, read, “RIP Tucker Valley. They are going to destroy you soon. The CDA seems to be up to more mischief. They just cannot leave Tucker Valley alone. J’Ouvert parties and fetes with blasting music were not enough.
“One attempt to build a large hotel in a protected area of the valley was foiled, but it seems yet another attempt to destroy the flora and fauna is quietly being made. Chaguaramas is in real danger in the hands of people who do not see the eco-tourism potential and have no appreciation for nature. Transparency does not exist because they feel the public have no say on any issues in this area.
“I will miss Tucker Valley when the destruction is complete.” It showed pictures of the cleared land with questions asked such as “Land cleared opposite the Arboretum. Car park?” and commented, “Inside of the Arboretum leading to the western side of the bunkers where land was cleared.”
When Newsday contacted Broadbridge he described the CDA’s investigation as comical. In a phone interview with Newsday, he said, “You have a clearing of a road right under their nose, and they are not managing their property? Do not tell me they did not see what was going on? How could they not see major work happening like that?”
Broadbridge also felt that the authority was not transparent. Asked if he felt that the authority’s investigation came about as a result of him highlighting it on his Facebook page, Broadbridge said this was a possibility.
Having worked as an honorary game warden in that area and as a director of environmental NGO Papa Bois conservation, Broadbridge said he maintained networks and contacts which drew his attention to what was happening. “When something is going on there we know about it immediately,” he said. Broadbridge said he found out about the clearing on October 14.