(PRESS RELEASE) – Parliamentary Representative for Vieux Fort South, Dr Kenny D. Anthony, has called on the Chastanet Government to end the excessive mining of sand at the mouth of the Vieux Fort river.
For the second time in four weeks, excavators have been digging into the sand bar at the mouth of the Vieux-Fort River and emptying their content of beach sand into a fleet of huge dump trucks which subsequently conveyed their loads to the DSH Horse-racing Track at Beausejour. On both occasions the sand was scraped until bare soil was exposed while the dump trucks moved rapidly to and from the racing-track apparently to record as many trips as possible.
According to Dr Anthony,
“I am reliably informed that the requisite clearance from the relevant authorities has been obtained and the amount of sand to be removed has been specified.
Let it be clear that I am not suggesting for one moment that sand should never be extracted from the river mouth. Indeed, the periodic and controlled removal of sand from a river mouth has certain benefits, among them, the prevention of clogging, improved water quality and the maintaining of connectivity between the river and sea so as to allow for the free movement of fish and other aquatic life forms.”
However, the high volume of sand being extracted at such a rapid pace is cause for grave concern. Additionally, the eyesore resulting from such an operation is both disturbing and distressing. Apparently, we have not learned our lesson that beaches can be destroyed from excessive sand removal . To reduce such a possibility from happening along the Coco Dan to Il Pirata beach, some of the extracted sand should instead be deposited there to replenish that area, maintain its healthy state and create more beach space for beach goers.”
It has been noticed that the stretch of beach from which the sand is extracted has become quite rough lately with constant, higher than usual wave action. This stretch of beach has been maintained for many years by the NCA for the recreational benefit of locals and visitors alike. It cannot have escaped the authorities that Bois Chadon Beach, Black Bay Beach, Sandy Beach have all been negatively affected or are under threat due to sand mining, both authorized and unauthorized. The compromising or destruction of beaches in the Vieux-Fort Constituency cannot be allowed to continue. The excessive sand extraction operation taking place at the mouth of the Vieux-Fort River is not being carried out in a sustainable manner and the actions of the Government clearly deprives the beach from Coco Dan to the mouth of the Vieux-Fort River of its long-term protection, beauty and appeal.
Dr Anthony added: “The people of Vieux Fort are paying a heavy price for this horse racing investment by Teo Ah Khing and Allen Chastanet. The Beausajour Farm is no more; the workers, many of them drawn from La Ressource in Vieux Fort South are now scattered all over the place. The meat processing plant is closed supposedly awaiting re-location. Cattle farmers have lost over one hundred and twenty heads of cattle. Some of them have lost their livelihoods. Now, one of our beaches is being destroyed by excessive and unconscionable sand mining. This is too heavy a price to pay for the pleasures of Teo Khing and Allen Chastanet.”