Budget 2017: Feedback Re Quarantine Point and Debt Swap

In response to its statement on Budget 2017, Quarantine Point and Debt Swap[1], the Grouping of CSOs, has received feedback from a young Caribbean environmental professional who sought to correct and enhance our understanding of the concept of “debt for nature swap”.

The statement put out by the Grouping noted: “Debt Swap means that in exchange for paying off part of Grenada’s public debt, a natural or heritage asset will be given over to the control and/or ownership of the entity that pays off the debt.”

As someone who has being doing work in the area of debt for nature swaps, the individual has kindly provided the following correction/clarification:

  • “The debt for nature swap, swaps out the debt Grenada owes to creditors and pays it back into a conservation trust fund.”
  • A potential partner will offer “to BUY BACK THE DEBT ON GRENADA’S BEHALF and GRENADA IN TURN WILL PAY BACK THAT DEBT into a conservation trust meant only to implement conservation activities”
  • (Observation:  So it would appear that Grenada will now owe the partner who has bought the debt.    But, instead of having to make a debt repayment, Grenada will instead allocate that “debt” money to a Conservation Trust.)
  • The Blue Innovation Institute will work to ensure that funding for the sustainable development of Grenada’s marine and coastal space (its Blue space) will be channeled to the Trust.
  • The buyer of the debt   “will not manage or own any natural asset in Grenada. The idea is to ensure that money goes to a separate trust to support conservation activities  rather than into government’s coffers”.

The individual also suggests that the Blue Innovation Institute will not be a Government entity.  Instead, it would be a separate operating entity working to supplement Grenada’s “blue activities” and would be a research station that is meant to be inviting to the public.

We thank the knowledgeable   individual for sharing these further explanations/clarifications to enhance understanding of the debt for nature swap, concept.  However, this explanation/clarification does not alleviate nor negate the  observation/concern  noted in the Grouping’s statement.  Very much like the treatment of Camerhogne Park in the Budget Speech of 2016, in Budget Statement 2017, an intention has been expressed by the Executive which will impact Quarantine Point. This intention will cause to be alienated   another  PUBLIC GREEN SPACE, without any apparent regard for the owners and users of this space.

Quarantine Point has been identified by the Blue Growth Master Plan as the site of  a Blue Innovation Institute and a Coral Restoration Institute.  This Plan which was presented at the Blue Investment Conference in May 2016 was developed by one Raymond Moldhauer WITHOUT any input from communities and stakeholders to be affected.    It is also noteworthy that developments and activities undertaken to support the declaration of  the Grand Anse Marine Protected Area from Point Salines in the South to Port Louis  in the North.

It should be also be noted that a dive  grouping, with the blessings of Fisheries Division, has undertaken activities to  establish  an artificial reef just off the Journey’s End Bay, southern Grand Anse.  Contained in the draft document re the Grand Anse MPA are the proposed regulations to be enforced.  Among these  is the prohibition  of SCUBA diving, unless the person is under the supervision of a Diver Master or Dive Instructor.

The relationship, if any, between the  proposed establishment of a Marine Protected Area, a Blue Innovation Institute and Coral Restoration Institute , will be revealed in due course.  For more information on the Blue Growth Coastal Master Plan and Blue Investment Conference, the Grouping encourages citizens to check the following links:-

Grouping of CSOs

December 19th, 2016

[1]  Can be accessed  at  http://www.grenadabroadcast.com/news/all-news/21636-camerhogne-park-now-quarantine-point  

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