Environment Boss Says She’s Not To Blame For Mangrove Removal


Chief Environment Officer Ambassador Diann Black-Layne says that the Cabinet has chosen to override several recommendations made by the Department of the Environment as it pertains to the YIDA development at the Crabbs Peninsula.

Residents have reported mangroves being removed and areas of Guiana Island being backfilled.

The Environment head says the government has chosen to ignore the recommendations made in the environment impact assessments.

“For those of you who heard the Prime Minister say in Parliament years ago, that there would be no more removal of Mangroves, we all stated that there would be no more removal of mangroves and so on; that policy has changed…there will be a removal of mangroves.

The final thing that was approved base on cabinet directives and will remove a significant portion of the mangroves.

Government decision, like everyone, can decide I know they say, you know department of environment we hear you and we understand but we are willing to take that risk.

Once the government decide we are going to take that risk, what the next steps for the department are to make sure that when something happens to the development and it will that at no time will the Government be liable. 

Ambassador Black-Layne says that, at this point, all the department can do is to ensure that any potential risks associated with overriding the DoE’s recommendations would be the sole responsibility of YIDA and their prospective business partners.

“All of the risks of danger could happen from flooding and hurricanes to people who would now go and purchase property from YIDA, because what happens is if I’m coming to Antigua to purchase property; there is an assumption that investors make, that the department of environment and the physical planning department would have done all the risk assessment that would have been necessary to ensure the investment is secure. In our writing to the YIDA, we make sure that they understood all of the risks would be on them, so the government is not liable when the disasters happen,” she said.

YIDA has not provided the department with the required monitoring plan to the DoE. Though this has not been presented, Black-Layne explained that they are not in contravention of any existing laws contrary to the belief of many of those in the public.

“We made sure that they follow the laws that are there and as far. As I am aware we said we would provide them with the full approval of the plans that they have because we were at it with them since 2016. Once we give the full approval, when they begin; they have to give us a monitoring plan. Once we have that monitoring plan and they’re ready to begin, they need to give us two weeks’ notice. We do not have the monitoring plan as well as no two weeks’ notice was provided.”

The DCA has since written to the YIDA developers requesting that they submit the monitoring plan. The DCA also requests that the work be halted prior to two weeks-worth of notice being given.

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  1. GOAB should be made to give back every last penny of climate resilience money they got!. PM went to international conference to blame larger countries for causing climate change, yet he is allowing destruction in his own front yard…what a goose!!.

  2. To clarify, Dian Black Layne is saying that the people who were elected and swore to protect this country and its’ people don’t care that Chinese YIDA Zhang has destroyed the environment that serves as a huge protection for this island and supplies migratory fish to the region. The ABLP Cabinet don’t care if the island floods or the coastal waters are turned into a dead pool…None of that counts but on the other hand if a couple of us Antiguans went to the mansions that many of the Cabinet own and occupy and purposely destroyed their horticultural landscaping the police would instantly be called and we would be charged with malicious damage and serve time in jail. YIDA, however, who has contributed absolutely nothing to the country but destruction to the Northeast protected by law area is, for inexplicable reasons, allowed to do whatever he pleases. His project is cheap and looks exactly like a slum. There is absolutely no evidence of any luxury resorts with golf course etc. or ever likely to be even the slightest evidence of anything that could even resemble a luxury resort. Word on the street is saying that all there might be is a tire factory. Who in their right mind is going to buy a home (other than low end Chinese) that is located near a polluting tire factory! Only saving grace is that the Steel factory does not appear too busy doing anything other than being a warehouse so, odds are that the tires would be the same…an empty prefab warehouse standing on the dust desert YIDA has created!

    • Why are you seeking to “clarify” for her? Are you her mind? Telepathic twin?

      YIDA needs to leave Antigua. Just leave. Approx 5 years on and nothing to show after signing such a massive agreement day after election. We need our mangroves to sustain our livelihood.

      • “To clarify” was used as a manner of speech with a hint of sarcasm, because it would appear that every detrimental incident that happens in Antigua always seems to be somebody else’s fault or responsibility as far as the govt. and/or the civil service is concerned.
        I agree with you YIDA needs to leave and I am still wondering if YIDA Zhang ever even paid in full for the land. Haven’t seen any irrefutable, in writing, proof of full payment beyond an initial deposit plus pay-offs…it would not be the first time that title for that land was granted without a full payment.

  3. Unbelievable. Truly remarkable except that we don’t really expect anything less from this government.

  4. YIDA made a campaign contribution. End of story. Getting elected and staying in power is all that counts for ABLP to keep the gravy train wagons rolling on. Dogs are starting to bark real loud and the howling will become deafening if these idiots keep making deals like YIDA.

  5. The reason you are in the top position, Diane Black-Lane is to make sure everything is being followed. You need to push back against the cabinet and state the case why this should not be done. If you can’t do or not willing to do the job then let someone else take that position. At the moment, you are nothing but a figure head and a puppet for the party in power. I am not for any one party but for the person(s) in key positions who will do what is right regardless of party affiliation. Also if someone is doing their job well, they should stay there and not be removed because of party alliances.

    All those persons who voted certain members of the current party in and accepted their blatant bribes in the form of driver’s licenses, ham, turkey, microwaves etc., you are also part of this country’s problems. Every one of you needs to see the bigger picture. When these mangroves are destroyed, your families and descendants will be struggling to eat and quite possibly even saving your properties all for the greed of money and immediate gratification.

    We Antiguan citizens are not allowed to fish or do anything detrimental to that area, but because of money, Yida, a Chinese foreigner is allowed to do just about anything they want to at will is this delicate area. This is a huge slap in our faces by the current party in power. Are certain people in this govt getting paid under the table and fattening up their bank accounts? How much will you continue allowing the current party to destroy our home? All for the sake of annual freebies? Forget the dog and pony show. If we don’t save the mangroves now, no amount of money will ever be able to fix this impending disaster.

    Look at the negative impact that happened to Runaway Bay as well as Dickenson Bay when they dug up the coastline to create Marina Bay. The long stretch of beach is no more. People have lost beach front property as a result as well as Dickenson Bay. All for money. Will our govt spend money to fix it? That’s a rhetorical question.

    Then there’s the beach on the east side of Made Island, that was formally sold to Standford. He didn’t like the fact there was a reef in front of his beautiful beach. Money being no object to him, he had the reef removed. Now look the complete damage by erosion that was the direct result of the removal of the reef. Now Standford had to spend even more money to create an artificial reef to hopefully curb the erosion. How is that looking today and did money on the attempted repair help bring the beach back? Another rhetorical question.

    All this for the sake of money and “development”. I am all for development NOT over development. There are other areas, that can be developed but do not disturb the fragile ecosystem of NEMA. Once the damage has been done, there is no reversing it and no amount of money will ever fix that and we all know the govt will never spend any money trying to fix the damage.

    The govt, (and I don’t care which party is in power) is supposed to work for the people of Antigua and this country but it is not that way. The govt thinks Antigua and its people work for them. This needs to stop and now.

    On a side note, I was sent a clip of Gaston threatening Barbuda and Barbudans saying his party is in power and “Barbuda won the consolation prize”. Then he threatens them saying nothing they want will happen as he will see to it because his party controls the govt and the council. Is this the type of person that is good for Antigua and Barbuda? If you think dictator Brown is the right person for the job, then continue voting for him but don’t complain when the demise of Antigua and Barbuda happens.

    We need to save our lands and fragile ecosystems before it’s too late. No amount of money is ever worth that price. Go and develop on another part of Antigua. Diane Black-Lane, either s@!t or get off the pot.

  6. You know these so called environmentalists are so hypocritical. Do you know how much damage is done to the mangroves buy us throwing all sort of pollution in the sea. Do you know how much damage is done to the mangroves by hurricanes. By the way a mangrove is a plant. You can remove it today and replant it tomorrow. I would suggest to YIDA to start a nursery for the mangrove, So that when construction is finished they can replant those that go damage during the construction. It is not the end of the world to lose some mangroves. Nature knows how to heal itself. Go to Barbuda and see how the lagoon has come back after a devastating storm.
    I’m looking at Runneway Beach and see that since hurricane LUIS it is slowly coming back. Same things is happening at Fort James. Actually the road leaning straight to Beach Limerz is not accessible anymore. The sand has come back. And if you do not put watchmen those contractors will back up their pickup and take loads of it for construction.
    It is all political. Nothing sincere.

  7. I went to primary and secondary school with Diane Black-Layne, and I can’t believed this is the Diane I once knew. I am so shame of you girl. Diane, please do your job according to your knowledge and experience in the environment field. Do it for the people and county not for the ABLP government.

    • You sound like an undercover hater? What has become of your life since primary school? Have you contributed to the development of Antigua and Barbuda?

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