Community Against Building New BHS On Basseterre Valley Aquifer

Many continue to lobby the Timothy Harris-led government to reconsider their plans to erect a new structure for the Basseterre High School, on the Basseterre Valley Aquifer in Ponds Site.

The PAM/CCM/PLP government continues to neglect the importance of such a space and the disadvantages of a structure of this magnitude being built above a source that equips thousands of businesses and homes with a steady supply of fresh water.

Discussions of a new site for the school first came about after the government, led by Timothy Harris, refused to acknowledge numerous reports prepared by highly credible scientific agencies, all of whom declared the school’s original site on Victoria Road safe and suitable to conduct classes.

Harris, along with his henchmen, peddled false information regarding the school’s compound in efforts of gaining political mileage. As a result of this deceitful act, the government continues down a path of destruction.

On the matter of destruction, devastation and contamination are guaranteed if the frantic government follows through with their plans of building on the above-mentioned aquifer.

i.e- An Aquifer is a body of permeable rocks that contain or transmit groundwater.

The Basseterre Valley Aquifer supplies nearly 60% of water to homes and businesses across Basseterre, Bird Rock, Frigate Bay and South East Peninsula.

As carefully outlined by the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP), along with other professionals around the Federation, such a project will see the destruction of the fresh water source which is critically vital to the livelihood of the surrounding residents and citizens.

Professionals including local architect and entrepreneur Victor Williams, former Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr. Patrick Martin, along with former government Minister and Unity supporter, Mr. Dwyer Astaphan, were all perturbed by the government’s proposed site for the school.

The professionals have also advised the government to seek out other suitable locations for such a structure.

It is important to note the extent of impairment such a project would bring to the Basseterre Valley Aquifer, and by extension the many homes and businesses it caters to.

A number of issues and structures that may affect the steady supply of fresh water are:

  • · Storage Tanks that may contain gasoline, oil chemicals or other types of similar liquid. (this includes spillage from vehicles etc.”
  • · Septic Systems that are designed to slowly drain away human waste underground at a slow, harmless rate.
  • · Uncontrolled Hazardous Waste
  • · Chemicals used for agricultural purposes

Above all the before mentioned potential issues, one that stands inevitable with the construction of the new school on the capital’s aquifer, is the fact that the development will include impervious materials such as concrete and asphalt. These materials do not allow rainfall to infiltrate through the soil and down into the aquifer.

This is detrimental to the longevity of the aquifer, for replenishment reasons.

As you would recall, in 2014, former Minister of Public Utilities, Hon. Dr. Earl Asim Martin erected a berm for the purpose of trapping more water to replenish the aquifer, as well as to decrease the amount of water that runs off into the road and other areas.

i.e: A Berm is an artificial embankment.

Following the construction of the berm in 2014, the then Hon. Martin assured the public that there will be no construction of homes or businesses on the structure, in effort of avoiding contamination of the aquifer and to sustain the provision of potable water.

Regardless of the known disadvantages, now Minister of Public Utilities and representative for East Basseterre, Hon. Ian Liburd, along with the Deputy Prime Minister Shawn Richards and their other counterparts in the Unity construct continues to push forward with their plans.

What is important to note, is that your very own Hon. Liburd led a project back in 2010 which sought to protect and preserve the very same Basseterre Valley Aquifer.

Hon. Liburd was also instrumental in charging the implementation of a legislation which speaks to the protection of the area, as well as the introduction of the St. Kitts-Nevis Protected Area System and the St. Kitts-Nevis Protected Area Trust; additional analysis for a revenue generation strategy; a landscape plan for the National Park and detailed implementation planning to establish a conservation service as well as public education.

It is safe to say that the Minister has taken a complete 360-degree turn on his views of preserving the site, to now one of being submissive to a dictator who is caught up in hurriedly addressing problems of his creation while on the campaign trail prior the 2015 general elections.

It is important for persons of the community to stand up against the government and their plans on building the new Basseterre High School on the Basseterre Valley Aquifer.

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