CORAL Members Work to Halt Destructive Development in the Turks and Caicos Islands
|Photo: Rick MacPherson|
Thank you to all of our members who joined CORAL last month in signing a petition opposing the construction of a 95-acre artificial island in the heart of Princess Alexandria National Park in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI). More than 2,000 people signed the petition against “Star Island,” and a temporary injunction has been placed on the project banning further work on the island. But the fight is not over yet. Developers are expected to appeal the injunction, and although work has stopped, dredging and construction equipment remains in place.
If the project continues, Star Island would be home to a large commercial development consisting of a marina, a luxury hotel, and exclusive private homes. The removal of sand from a national park is a criminal offense under the TCI National Park Ordinance and no public notice of the project was given, nor was any “open consultation with interested parties” given, as is expressly required under the TCI Environmental Charter of 2001. The project was kept confidential until dredging began.
Despite various research efforts, the full impacts from massive sand dredging on or near coral reef ecosystems is complex and far from fully understood. Yet, in a time when Caribbean reefs are already facing the threats of extinction from coral bleaching, disease, coastal pollution, and unsustainable development, CORAL feels it is an unacceptable risk for the government of TCI to push this project through.
To follow this unfolding story, look for updates from the Turks and Caicos Weekly News http://tcweeklynews.com/.