Letter: Beach and dune sand mining in St Vincent will result in loss of land and flooding

Dear Sir:

Sand mining in Saint Vincent at Diamond beach by the government will sooner than later result in the flooding of adjacent land, some of which is below sea level.

Taking of sand from this area is little more than a criminal act, and will result in destruction of people’s land and property. I have no doubt that the government are fully aware of the damage they are causing to the environment, and the problems that will undoubtedly appear in the very near future.

Our beaches are being mined for sand for a variety of uses (aggregate in concrete, fill, etc). The current practice is very destructive and poorly managed (or unmanaged), because if it was managed properly they would never have started, or stopped a long time ago.

This is a global phenomenon but in particular in the Caribbean Islands. This theft of beach and dune sand is a direct cause of erosion along the shorelines. It is very damaging to the beach fauna and flora, ruinous to beach aesthetics, and will undoubtedly cause environmental damage to other coastal ecosystems associated with the beach such as lowlands.

Beaches below the high water mark are the property of the government — crown lands. The sand dunes that have formed over the last thousand years are on land above the high-water-mark and are owned by adjacent land owners and not the government [unless the government owns the adjacent land].

Another major impact of beach sand mining is the loss of protection from storms surges associated with hurricanes and tsunamis.

Some communities affected by the 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean had higher storm surges, probably due to beach sand mining, resulting in fatalities. Sometimes it is difficult to tell that a beach has been mined. Sand extraction becomes difficult to recognize as the beach readjusts to a new profile after a few storms. But historic accounts of beaches in the Caribbean often reveal that beaches have been narrowed considerably.

Beach and dune mining is particularly senseless in a time of rising sea levels, when sand is sorely needed as a storm energy buffer. Why would you remove nature’s sea defence when the sea levels are due to rise over the next few years? We need more defence, not less.

I can well visualise the whole of the meadows behind the beach and dunes at Diamond will become sea at some time in the very near future, and the few houses built there will be consumed by the sea.

It really is time for property owners to serve notice on the government to stop such actions, putting them on notice that they will be held fully responsible for any resulting damage in the future or present due to any inundation by sea water.

I would also advise them as a group to take advice from a leading QC such as Sir Henry Ford [Barbados] on what action they may take and what payments they may expect for the current blighting of their land and property by this criminal and indiscriminate removal and selling of sand at Diamond.

It may also be possible if the government fails to act, to serve a certain type of writ on ministers and managers to cease and desist.

There is a good case for a legal beach sit in, because all beaches are reserved for public use, take your BBQs and have prolonged beach parties.

This would be a good opportunity for students to save their country from the current rape and pillage by this Marxist government, who care nothing for the people of their property.

This should be regarded as an all party action call. Action is of dire urgency in this matter.

Calling all students, save your country from this rape.