By: Sazam Hull
(CHARLESTOWN NEVIS)- The Nevis Island Administration held a press conference on Thursday, March27, 2013 at the headquarters of the Nevis Disaster Preparedness Unit, Long Point in an effort to clamp down on rampant illegal sand mining on the island of Nevis.
The ceremony was chaired, by Mr. Ernie Stapleton Permanent Secretary in the Department of Physical Planning. In his short but forceful remarks, he took the time to welcome the press, government officials and members of the audience. He then went on to state, that the law which protects the beaches from illegal sand mining should be adhered to and anyone who chooses to go in contrary would be penalized.
Stapleton stated that once a piece of legislature is put in place to guide the actions of the populace, then it should be held sacred by all. In closing Stapleton said that he was optimistic that the general public would cooperate with the rules and regulations.
Hon. Troy Liburd, Junior Minister responsible for Physical Planning also gave some remarks. He indicated that excessive unlawful sand mining in Nevis, has posed a grave threat to the safety of the beaches. Liburd said, he attended a function prior to the one he was currently at and as he listened to a young man singing the National Anthem, he was moved that he by the opening line; ‘Oh Land of Beauty’ which he said has always been dear to him.
The minister stated that Nevis is a great tourism destination and one of the main reasons why the island is so beloved is due to the spectacular beaches. He opined that if the beaches are destroyed this would ultimately alleviate the island’s beauty. He concluded that, if we keep removing sand from the shores, the island would no longer be a sight to behold.
Hon. Alex Jeffers, Minister of Agriculture, Housing and Lands spoke subsequently after Liburd. During his comments, he claimed that a number of persons, have been involved in the removal of sand from the beaches in the past but this present government will have zero tolerance for such an act.
He noted that it happened under the previous administration as well, but it is of paramount importance that we as citizens come together regardless of political affiliations to curb and protect the lovely beaches of Nevis. Jeffers reinforced that illegal sand mining is prohibited and we as a people should show compliance with the law of the land.
Premier of Nevis, Hon. Vance Amory was the next speaker to address the gathering. He said it is recognizable that sand is a necessity in the construction industry but at the same time, the administration could not under any circumstance allow persons to continuously taking the mineral from the beaches. The Premier was of the view that extravagant profits are undoubtedly the root cause of illegal sand mining.
Premier Amory was of the perspective that the huge profits for some persons have posed ominous threats to the safety of our beaches. He stated that a person may be fined as much as ten thousand dollars ($10,000.00) for illegal sand mining. He stated that it did not make any sense to try and take short cuts when one could go through the right procedure and channel in order to obtain sand.
Premier Amory said that the government would try its best to resolve the current problems and to eliminate the root causes of unlawful sand mining.