“Several times over the last couple of years water has run through peoples houses in the village, something that had never happened before Harlequin resort was being built, this should have been a warning…”
“The original engineering has been compromised and the government planners are fully aware of such.”
“I knew as day follows night this was a tragedy waiting to happen.”
One Man’s Opinion…
by Peter Binose
Buccament Bay Resort was built on a known flood plane and areas that were known as swamp. Flooding of this area has been happening since the very beginning of the valley, which acts like a great funnel draining into the bay itself.
Everyone knew that, certainly the locals and most certainly the planners and government surveyors knew that.
The resort area had the richest soil of the whole island, silt carried there from present day and over millions of years. The farmers that farmed the area were used to seasonal flooding, their crops grown in the ultra fertile soil were the best produce money could buy.
Then along came a series of rich developers and they were driven from their land. Most of the farmers had purchased the land from the government. But that didn’t matter, the prime minister sought to regain the land and to sell it to developers. The farmers initially refused to give up such wonderful agricultural land, fully well knowing they would never find anything like it anywhere else on the island. Prime Minister Gonsalves took to shaming them into parting with their land by telling them they were standing in the way of progress of the island, by progress he meant destroying their farming practices and replacing them with a tourist product.
It was becoming obvious that agriculture was becoming less and less important to the ULP government, who considered tourism their crowning glory as an administration.
“I knew as day follows night this was a tragedy waiting to happen.”
The company that came to Buccament was introduced by a local Vincentian and a Barbadian business man. In fact the introducers were at that time all part of the initial development company. They soon fell out because the current developers of the resort refused to account for monies being gathered from sales and divulge its whereabouts. They also wanted to cut corners in safely developing the site. So the local and Bajan took a payoff and ducked out – leaving the development to a company that had no experience whatsoever. The developers had never done such a project, and in fact they were a brand new company run by a man who was at some time a window salesman in England, who knew nothing about civil engineering or building or managing resorts whatsoever.
The government had failed to carryout proper due diligence, or perhaps just didn’t care as long as they were selling the land to them.
It was planned to widen the river and build a containment wall on both sides, then to raise the development area by some six to eight feet, including along the beach front where the property ended and the public beach began. Then the plan was to pile the bases of the villas and cabins and place the building on piled land.
All that went by the wayside. The river was not widened – it was narrowed so as the company could claim more development land. A containment and flood defence wall was built only on the development side, thus forcing any future flooding to take place on the football field and village side. Several times over the last couple of years water has run through peoples houses in the village, something that had never happened before Harlequin resort was being built, this should of been a warning, because if houses became uninhabitable during normal winter rain, what happened during a major storm could well of been foreseen.
The back filled wall along the beach never took place – the same as backfilling and piling of the site never took place. In fact, hundreds of tons of rocks were brought in from a local quarry and the bay was filled for about 120 feet to reclaim land from the sea. This was built on, the large swimming pool and a bar and restaurant appeared on it. A new beach was created with white sand, and initially the operators tried to exclude the public from the nice pristine beach.
The beach front villas are built on concrete slabs at about four or five feet above sea level. This creates an opportunity for the next tragedy to happen, it has been know for a sea surge of up to twelve feet or more to hit this area during hurricanes. The villas and cabins will simply float away on their concrete slabs, because the original engineering has been compromised and the government planners are fully aware of such. The sea front at Barrouallie, the defence built there makes it obvious that the government planners and engineers are fully aware of the sea surge threat in that area, because it has happened before, yet still they allowed Buccament Resort to work to an unsafe revised engineering plan.
Developers have built many new houses and a very nice restaurant on the opposite side of the main road at Buccament, all on the strength of the resort being a success and buyers wanting to be in close proximity to the resort. The problem is all these new buildings were once more built in an area which is a known flood plane. An area which puts the government planners within the realms of criminal negligence and dereliction of there duty, and a failure to render a duty of care that all citizens of SVG should receive as of right. All this development took place again without any protective engineering for the river in case of flooding.
Prime Minister Gonsalves has said that nothing like this has ever happened at Buccament in the living memory of man. Well yesterday I interviewed several very old men in the valley, they told me that they remember this happening before, but before there was much development, when it was all farm land. They even told me of a big club house someway before the casino which was destroyed and completely washed away during such a flood.
Now through this series of ULP government blunders there has been serious loss of life. Secondly but not as important, loss of property – cars, trucks, plant, machinery, houses, shops, restaurant, bars, all lost all gone or damaged some beyond repair.
I am waiting with fingers crossed for the next flood or a sea surge. When people try and control and cheat nature, the outcome sometimes can be tragic.
I enquire where is Julian Francis now, he is the self proclaimed friend of Buccament Resort. Remember he said if any one has a problem with the resort to come and see him, so go and see him and ask how the government negligence was allowed to affect and cause the loss of life and property. Ask him if the government will compensate the people. Also make sure you tell him that party politics should not come into play, like what has happened in the past, where ULP supporters are helped and NDP supporters get zilch.
I expect this to be the end of Harlequin at Buccament, I believe all their Christmas and New Year clients were evacuated, lets just wait and see.
As usual I will be accused of bringing doom and gloom, but I have written about this before. I predicted such happenings. Yes, I predicted this happening, and I am a layman with some limited practical experience, but oozing with common sense – something our politicians all lack.
Because I knew as day follows night this was a tragedy waiting to happen. The culprits are the government, the planners, engineers and so called technical experts. This Marxist led ULP government has turned out to be the biggest disaster that SVG has ever experienced, led by know all, know nothing people. People who should not be allowed to make such decisions again.
Self Appointed Keeper of the Whistle, and blowing hard.
Photo by I-Witness News: Death toll from extreme weather in St. Vincent rises to eight.
Also see Jerry S. George: Buccament Bay Resort should do Better!
TripAdvisor: Buccament Bay Resort after the flood