ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada (eTN) – The government of Grenada is to amend its sand mining legislation by increasing the fine and imprisonment for person who continue to violate the law by engaging in the illegal practice that is resulting the slow destruction of many beaches.
Leader of Government Business in the Senate, Minister George Prime, said that the move is aimed at stopping the practice of using sand in the construction industry for commercial and residential buildings. “Sand mining is an environmental hazard that is destroying our beaches…we are not going to facilitate the practice as was encouraged by the previous administration,” said Prime in response to concerns from residents of a sand mining community who complained that the decision taken by the government to enforce the law against sand mining will jeopardize their ability to earn an income.
“We are not go back to the old days, we cannot allow the whole country to suffer because of a few…there is an alternative in place and we are going to put an end to sand mining,” he stressed.
Prime said that among the amendment is increasing the fees and prison terms for offenders. “As it stands now the old law provides for violators to be charge EC$500 (US$190)or three to four months imprisonment, we are going to increase the fee to EC$15,000 (US$572) or imprisonment of two years,” he announced during a news conference on Monday.
“Not only are we going to increase the fees but we will make its illegal for persons to stockpiling sea sand and vehicles found in the act will be seize by the police,” he said while explaining that these stringent measures are necessary to stop the practice.
“Scientists working in the environment have shown that we are losing one meter of land per year to the practice and we need to stop it in order to save our island, there is an alternative available and people need to understand that even though the initial cost of purchasing sand from the quarry will be a little more expensive it a better long term investment because the salt will not damage the steel and weaken the concrete mixture,” he elaborated.