Construction at Shell Beach ordered stopped

Stabroek News
November 6, 2002

Related Links: Articles on environment
Letters Menu Archival Menu

Four government and state agencies have issued cease orders to two residents of Georgetown to stop the construction of a building at Almond Beach, Shell Beach in Region One.

Shell Beach is the name given to the several beaches found along a 90-mile stretch of land from the mouth of the Pomeroon River to the Waini River. Four species of endangered marine turtles nest on the beaches which have been earmarked as a protected area under the country's national protected areas system.

The government and state agencies which issued the cease orders to the persons, David and Susan Narine of Brickdam, Georgetown are: the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which issued its orders on October 29; the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) which issued its orders on October 28; the Lands and Surveys Department, October 29; and the Sea and River Defence Unit in the Public Works Ministry, October 30.

The Narines had been issued with the cease orders at their Georgetown address. However, Stabroek News was unable to contact them in the city yesterday.

The Narines had cut a road from the Waini Point to Almond Beach. To do this they felled a number of mangroves. Once the mangroves were serving a sea-defence purpose along the Atlantic seashore, permission had to be granted by the authorised bodies.

Under the GFC Forestry Mangrove Management Plan some removal of the mangrove bark for tanning is permitted.

Executive Director of the EPA Bal Parsaud yesterday told Stabroek News that the EPA received a formal complaint from a resident of Shell Beach that David Narine had begun the construction of a benab at Shell Beach and had cut a road from Waini Point to Almond Beach.

Parsaud said the EPA wrote to the Lands and Surveys Department to verify whether permission had been granted to occupy the land. The department replied that the Narines had applied for the lease of 50 acres of land for tourism and agricultural purposes at the beach but permission had been held in abeyance pending their application being reviewed by the EPA.

The Lands and Surveys Department advised the applicants to forward their application to the EPA because of the nature of their venture and the fact that the beach had been earmarked as a protected area but they never did this.

In another twist to the story, Parsaud said the application was one seeking a transfer of a lease from one Fred Narine to the Narines. He noted that earlier on, Fred Narine had applied for a smaller acreage at Almond Beach but withdrew the application even before permission was granted. He did not say why the application was withdrawn. Fred Narine had applied for the land for residential and agricultural purposes.

Following the complaint by the Almond Beach resident, the EPA sent in a two-member team led by the director of the Environmental Monitoring Division, Dr David Singh and another staffer Khalil Abdool who in their report recommended that work stop immediately.

Meanwhile the Lands and Surveys division at Mabaruma, the administrative centre for Region One, was informed and advised to visit the area. Stabroek News could not ascertain yesterday whether the Narines had ceased their activities in the area or not. However, Parsaud said the EPA would be monitoring the area. Parsaud said David Narine had applied for permission to develop a piece of land at Kumaka on the Aruka River, Mabaruma for which an environmental monitoring assessment was done and permission was granted. (Miranda La Rose)