OAS/GNT Sustainable Heritage Endorsement Programme

PHOTOVOICE PROMPT #6: Grenada's Future

What do you see here? (Addressed to the whole group)

An unfinished house  –  Broken road  –  Grey galvanize

A tractor  –  Hazy  –  sky Glass

Palm tree  –  Vetiver grass  –  Orange coconut leaves

Green grass  –  Red soil  –  Bamboo

Electrical poles/wires  –  Loose mud  –  Dragon Blood

Water tank  –  Louvres  –  Two men sitting in tractor

Why did you take this photo? (Addressed to the photographer)

This image was shot to highlight the infrastructural development in Clozier, St. John’s on behalf of Grenada. I believe this new development shares the same local, economic, cultural and social benefits as the previous “Crossing the Pit: Bridges Not Walls” photograph with the building of the bridge to provide better roads and easier access. Likewise, this new construction might become a new (local) hotspot.

What is really happening here? (Addressed to the whole group—alternatively what does the photograph represent?)

In the language of infrastructural development, a construction site is symbolic of humans smiling upon the land while exploring its hidden worth. In this new age of information and consumption, this economic exploration personifies the lands’ thirst for geographic and historical identities, which is in tandem with the business industry’s hunger for self-identity and unique branding, which can be either beneficial or detrimental to certain areas. The good news is that the support that local communities like Clozier, St. John’s, receives from either the Grenadian government or from local, regional or international businesses arouses a certain sense of communal intimacy. Furthermore, the wide variety of plants in the photo refers to Clozier as a fertile community that is now widening its road to attract more consumers. Generally, construction preparation signals progress. However, in this “Breaking to Build” photo, one cannot help but to scream: “Stop!” As you can see, the construction workers are digging into the land of a local resident. What is worse is that this set-up suggests a social invasion without permission. This is what America refers to as imminent domain, where the government can seizure private land for public use. Even so, this is a prime example of how Grenada has comfortably acclimatized to certain parts of the American culture. Thus, this new development comes at a cost to the local residents who have lost not just their lands, but also their property values. Somehow, corporate responsibility is loss on this new development and its absence connotes negligence or cultural exploitation of less assertive persons, which speaks to Grenada’s passive culture that whispers that we are not in control of our lives, our culture, or our properties. Moreover, the lack of corporate accountability expresses the idea that globalization is grappling with its dual nature of simultaneously gaining new territories while causing its conquered areas to become fragmented due to globalization’s excessive external influences as are evident in the loss of voice, land, and property value in this photograph. As a final point, structural development like reality is, almost, always under construction, which is to say that growth or new formation is always imminent in both of these arenas (except for times when growth slows down and profit is lost); and, as an extension of this dynamic outgrowth, one is forced to question the validity of the self and of reality itself.

PHOTO Title: Breaking To Build

Photograph Location: Clozier, St. John’s

Photographer: Horace George