Locals concern Cabot’s luxurious Caribbean golf growth threatens Indigenous graves | The Chronicle Herald

Locals fear Cabot's luxury Caribbean golf development threatens Indigenous graves | The Chronicle Herald

A golf course being constructed on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia by the identical folks behind Cape Breton’s famed Cabot Hyperlinks is threatening Indigenous graves which might be as much as 1,000 years previous, say opponents. 

The Cabot St. Lucia golf and luxurious trip growth has Laurent Jean Pierre, who claims each Black and Indigenous ancestry, frightened that a vital a part of his homeland’s historical past will likely be crushed underneath bulldozers clearing land for the 150-hectare challenge on the Cap Property part of the island’s northeast coast.   

“It’s a desecration; it’s a disrespect for the almighty greenback. There’s no regard for the stays of the unique folks of this land,” Jean Pierre, a member of the small nation’s historical past and archaeology society, stated in an interview from the island’s capital of Castries. 

“It’s a growth that’s in a really delicate space by way of the ecology, the flowers, coastal zones, and extra importantly there’s this previous Amerindian settlement with a burial web site.” 

Dutch archaeologist Corinne Hofman travelled to St. Lucia after hurricane Dean uncovered a number of Indigenous graves on the location in 2007. Hofman, a professor of Caribbean archaeology at Leiden College, helped with a rescue operation to gather and protect human stays uncovered by the huge storm. 

“We discovered the stays of an Indigenous settlement courting from roughly 1,000 A.D. to 1,300 A.D.,” Hofman stated in an interview from The Netherlands. 

“The positioning was already closely eroded.” 

The stays of Indigenous folks had been laying on the floor, she stated. 

“So what we did is impact a rescue excavation of about two months during which we solely recovered the broken a part of the location, and that was 52 burials,” Hofman stated. “It was a closely broken web site, however we tried our greatest.” 

It’s tough to say what number of Indigenous folks would have lived on the web site, she stated. “It was occupied for a number of centuries.” 

Hofman has not carried out a full archaeological dig at the location and doesn’t know what number of different Indigenous folks could be buried there. It ought to be additional explored earlier than the golf course is constructed, she stated. 

“I do know that is still are there to be discovered. The positioning was not completely excavated.”  

Luxurious developments going up on Indigenous websites is an issue all through a lot of the Caribbean, Hofman stated. “There’s not sufficient laws to counter these sorts of results, in order that’s actually unhealthy.” 

Excavation has begun with out an up-to-date archaeological or environmental evaluation, Jean Pierre stated, with Cabot as a substitute counting on these completed for a former luxurious resort proposed for the location that was by no means constructed. 

“They’re aided and abetted by our authorities. The federal government gave them the cash to do the event within the first place.”  

Cabot borrowed US$10 million from the nation’s pension fund to buy the property, stated Jean Pierre, who additionally sits on the board of the St. Lucia Nationwide Belief.  

“At one time we put it on the checklist of parks and guarded areas, however it was by no means ratified,” he stated. 

Ben Cowan-Dewar, together with Mike Keiser, are amongst principal buyers within the St. Lucia challenge. They’re additionally behind Cabot Hyperlinks and Cabot Cliffs in Cape Breton. Cowan-Dewar – who stepped down because the chair of Tourism Nova Scotia in 2017 to chair the federal Crown company Vacation spot Canada – didn’t reply this week to interview requests. Although a public relations knowledgeable from Beverley Hills, California, did acknowledge he obtained them. 

As an alternative, Cabot Saint Lucia’s newly minted CEO Kristine Thompson made herself obtainable to debate the controversial Caribbean enterprise.  

“There may be an archaeologically delicate a part of the land – there is a small half proper on the promontory the place there was an Amerindian burial web site,” Thompson stated Friday.  

“We now have no plans to principally present any disrespect to that … There may be completely no plan or need to type of bulldoze a bunch of ruins.” 

Cabot Links is building a golf course and resort on this site in St. Lucia. - Commissioned by Akim Adé Larcher - Contributed
Cabot Hyperlinks is constructing a golf course and resort on this web site in St. Lucia. – Commissioned by Akim Adé Larcher – Contributed

As a part of the environmental evaluation Cabot is about to undergo St. Lucian authorities, the corporate has to do an archaeological examine, she stated. 

Cabot is now hiring an archaeologist out of Martinique to do the work, Thompson stated. Although that course of has been slowed by the pandemic.  

“We’re within the course of of creating protocols as to what is going to occur if there’s an artifact discovered on web site. What I believe it will likely be is the work will likely be instantly stopped, the world will likely be cordoned off and we watch for the St. Lucian Nationwide Belief folks and the archaeologist to come back and take away the ruins and determine whether or not they retailer it in a museum. We’ve even talked about funding a museum for them to retailer these artifacts.” 

She acknowledged that work has already began on the golf course. 

“We’re underneath obligation now to principally cease work at any level the place we discover one thing – if we’re shaping a gap on the golf course and a there’s a bone that comes up, they’re obliged to cease work and take care of it.”  

Cabot plans to speculate “a number of a whole bunch of hundreds of thousands of {dollars},” within the challenge, she stated. 

“We’re planning to open the golf course in November of 2022,” Thompson stated. 

The challenge will embody a lodge in addition to townhouses and flats ranging in worth from US$1.5 million to US$2.8 million, she stated. Constructing heaps will vary from $750,000 US to “a number of million for the beachfront. Homes are in all probability one other $2-3 million.” 

The 18-hole golf course will likely be designed by Ben Crenshaw and Invoice Coore. In Nova Scotia, Cabot Cliffs was designed by Crenshaw Coore whereas Cabot Hyperlinks was deliberate out by Canadian Rod Whitman. 

Dutch archaeologist Corinne Hofman says the Cabot Saint Lucia site should be further explored for Indigenous graves before the golf course is constructed. - Contributed
Dutch archaeologist Corinne Hofman says the Cabot Saint Lucia web site ought to be additional explored for Indigenous graves earlier than the golf course is constructed. – Contributed

“The responses from them have been that this course is completely breathtaking,” Thompson stated.  

Like Cabot’s Cape Breton programs, it would wind alongside craggy cliffs, she stated. “They consider that it will likely be by far the No. 1 course within the Caribbean.” 

As soon as a spot of “immaculate magnificence” loaded with uncommon cacti, the location is within the means of being cleared, stated Jean Pierre, a botanist. “The place has simply been remodeled,” he stated. “It’s being destroyed to make a playground for the wealthy.” 

With the promise of jobs and the injection of overseas {dollars}, Jean Pierre admits opponents to the posh golf growth are within the minority on St. Lucia. “Cash talks.” 

Some concern the posh growth will hamper native entry to the world’s seashores. 

“It’s an space I used to run round as a child and might’t anymore,” stated Akim Larcher, a St. Lucian author with Canadian citizenship who grew up within the space and whose dad and mom nonetheless dwell there.  

“Highway entry is restricted. Seashore entry is being promised. However we all know how that works.” 

It’s uncommon that locals really feel snug visiting unique resorts, stated Larcher, who now lives in Montreal. “Whereas in precept, seashore entry is assured, folks don’t go anymore. So instantly what’s used for kite browsing, horseback racing, household picnics – we’ve seashores which might be going to be misplaced.” 

Cabot is promising that received’t occur.  

“There’s two very small seashores referred to as Secret Seashore and Donkey Seashore, that are very tough seashores – which means the ocean could be very tough,” Thompson stated. “It’s fairly harmful to swim there.” 

There’s additionally a large bay referred to as Cas-en-Bas that’s “most frequented by the locals,” she stated. 

Cabot is promising free golf carts rides to the primary two if locals need to get there, Thompson stated.  

“Underneath the legal guidelines of St. Lucia, no developer can deny locals entry to any seashore, which we plan to be in full compliance with,” she stated. “Seashores are public property.” 

Cabot can be planning to enhance the highway so locals can entry Cas-en-Bas extra simply, Thompson stated. “We’ll truly construct public services on that seashore which embody altering rooms, washrooms, showers, in a method that doesn’t exist proper now. The general public won’t be denied entry to Cas-en-Bas Seashore. The truth is, entry will likely be enhanced.” 

Locals won’t need to pay to make use of the seashore, she stated. “Completely not.” 

Thompson, who’s from Trinidad, simply began on the job and completes her quarantine Saturday. “Beginning subsequent week, I’m in full session with all stakeholders face-to-face.” 

The resort must be “in concord” with the local people, she stated. “We’re not going to please each single individual, however for probably the most half I feel the overwhelming majority of residents – as they’re in Nova Scotia – will likely be very pleased with the result of the challenge.” 


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