The latest issue of Tracks features a rapturous travel story on a trip to a Kirra-like right in the Caribbean Islands. For decades the location of the wave has been kept quiet by travelling surfers and photographers. However, the announcement of plans to build a luxury resort on the island, which threatens both the wave and the ecosystem of the Codrington Lagoon National Park, prompted one photographer to speak out. Below Al Mackinnon broadly outlines the complex nature of the development on the island of Barbuda that may ruin one of the best waves in the world. Whether you intend to surf it one day or not, simply knowing such a wave exists is important. Perfect waves are a striking example of the existence of symmetry and proportion in nature. Those elements can be appreciated by everyone, not just surfers, and should never be destroyed.

Aerial view of the proposed site for a luxury resort where land clearing has already begun. Photo: Global Legal Action Network

The area from Palmetto Point in the SW to Cedar Tree Point in the NW, which includes Codrington Lagoon, is a national park. It is threatened by a 700+ acre exclusive luxury development of over 400 units and a golf course. The developers have already started building a new international airport to service the site and have been clearing great swathes of bush at Palmetto. 

The three key elements are:

  1. There has been what locals and NGO lawyers describe as a land grab from the Barbudans. The island has been communally owned since the abolition of slavery, which is perhaps the main reason why the island hasn’t seen the rampant development that other Caribbean islands have suffered. It appears politicians from sister island Antigua and multi-billionaire US developers went behind Barbudan’s backs, under the cover of Hurricane Irma and Covid, struck an agreement on leases that they had no right to and proceeded with developing (destroying) the landscape. This only became clear to many Barbudans after they returned to their island home (Barbuda was evacuated during Irma and the destruction was so sweeping that many were unable to initially return because their homes and amenities/services were destroyed (no electricity or drinking water).  *See the GLAN law piece for further explanation.
It would be a travesty to see tubes like this completely disappear. Photo: Al Mackinnon
  1. This proposed development, which is sadly already underway (see aerial pics from GLAN, showing lakes for golf course, plus screenshots from Barbuda Ocean Club website attached), is on a national park, protected since 2005 by a RAMSAR designation. Two endangered species of turtle nest on these shores and the mangrove-lined lagoon is home to numerous key species, including an internationally significant colony of frigate birds. As such, there should be no major building in the area and arguably - given it’s such an ecologically significant part of the Caribbean - no development at all.

 

  1. This development, which CGI / schematics shows to be right up to the beach, may well affect / destroy the world class wave through changing sediment transport and coastal morphology. Also, given the resort is billed as ‘exclusive’ and ‘private’ there may also be issues of access. It is absurd to be developing this low lying area, which floods during storm / swell events. 
The heavy machinery has already made its presence felt. See the links below to voice your opposition. Photo: Global Legal Action Network

Why, in 2021, when we should know better are we “repeating the same things, expecting different results?” Us humans find something beautiful and we have to have it. Ironically, through ownership, we destroy the untouched beauty, the very thing that attracted us in the first place. It is the very definition of madness. Osho said it best: “If you love a flower, don’t pick it up.Because if you pick it up it dies and it ceases to be what you love. So, if you love a flower, let it be. Love is not about possession. Love is about appreciation.”

Here’s the link to the crowd funder, please donate what you can there and also check the ‘Case Updates’ section:

 

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/save-barbudas-land-and-forest/


Please bombard the following social media channels with messages objecting to the project, both publicly in the comments box below pictures and in DMs. We need to make noise and crucially to keep it sustained:

https://www.instagram.com/seashepherd/

 

https://www.instagram.com/barbudaoceanclub/?hl=en

 

https://www.instagram.com/discoverylandcompany/?hl=en

 

https://www.instagram.com/paulmitchell/

 

https://www.instagram.com/mvjohnpauldejoria/

 

Here’re some important links:

 

https://theintercept.com/2020/12/09/barbuda-resorts-dejoria-de-niro/

 

https://www.independent.co.uk/climate-change/news/barbuda-climate-luxury-resort-robert-deniro-hurricane-irma-b1769559.html

 

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/dec/14/barbuda-luxury-resort-project-dispute

 

https://www.glanlaw.org/single-post/call-for-international-mission-over-us-developers-luxury-residences-golf-course-on-barbud-wetland

 

https://www.planet.com/stories/coastal-development-at-palmetto-point-barbuda-LxMos-1Gg