Last week I attended a screening of the documentary, Jamaica for Sale, presented by co-producer, Diana McCaulay.

The film investigates how the explosion of mega resorts gobbling up Jamaica’s coastline has affected the country. Here’s the low-down:  

  • Citizens are booted off land they’ve lived on for decades
  • They’re no longer allowed access to beaches they’ve swam at all their life
  • The coral reefs and fish are dying from the run-off of a bulldozed landscape
  • Resort sewage isn’t properly processed
  • Tourists consume ten times more water than locals and create more trash
  • Workers are often treated and compensated poorly by their employers
  • Tourists are dissauded from leaving the resorts, putting greater financial hardship on local businesses. 

St. Vincent has little in the way of big development except for one 350+ room resort reported to be opening this summer at Buccament Bay, just north of Petit Byahaut where our guests made their land/sea connection. 

This is what Buccament Bay looked like when we were there.

This is Buccament Bay now.

Many of the downsides of the development happening in Jamaica have happened in St. Vincent at this single resort that hasn’t even opened yet. Farmers were expelled, a locally-owned restaurant was bulldozed, construction was halted and workers were left without monies owed them, but the most unbelievable action of the developer? White sand was imported from Guyana to cover up the black volcanic sand. How many ways is this wrong and how will this non-native sand affect sea life when it’s washed back into the sea?

Will what’s happened to Jamaica happen to St. Vincent? Some Vincentians are for this, many are against it, but what is the cost? Will development really improve lives? The case study of Jamaica says no.   

What to do? Educate yourself and make conscious choices every single day in the way you live. See Jamaica for Sale. When you travel, choose smaller hotels and spend your dollars at locally owned businesses. And get to know the people of the country you’re visiting. It has always enriched my experience.

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