The Price Of Progress

Zuri Reid calls the luscious island of Canouan home. This young and ambitious hotel manager has big plans. He dreams of opening his own hotel one day, a place that respects the local community and can live in cooperation with the villagers on the island. So what do you think are the real highlights of this area?

Well, people really have to experience island hopping, they have to go and see the Tobago Cays. While they are here in Canouan, people should take the time to visit in the local community. It's not a very big or busy place but the people are really heart-warming.

What do you think about all the development that is happening in Canouan? Some of it is good, and some of it is a little too extreme. For instance, at the moment they are concentrating their development on one side of the island and removing a lot of the nature in the process. There should be an emphasis on keeping things green and letting people experience the natural beauty of the island. Sometimes it feels like the development is out of control. The big development happened so rapidly that everyone is doing their own thing and it isn't organized or planned.

So does the island feel busier with a resort taking up nearly half the land?

No, not really. The people who come and stay in the big resort just stay behind the big locked gates and never bother to come and see the village or see the other parts of the island. It can't be all bad?

There are some good things; they provide a lot of jobs for local people. And the water that they make in their desalination plant can be bought by locals during the dry season.

What about the impact on the environment?

Well, there are more people coming to the island now so there is more garbage. But it's not just tourists, people from St Vincent leave their garbage on the ground, construction projects leave pallets and other bits of waste - it has to go somewhere, and we don't have the space for it here. If everyone worked together this whole island could be green, but at the moment no one is working together so we have a long way to go. There is a push to change things though: the Sustainable Grenadines Project has just started to try and help hotels and businesses to become greener - which I think is a great step.

are few options for the budget traveler on Canouan - luckily this place not only fits the budget but also exceeds expectations. Rooms don't necessarily inspire long-term lounging, but the included breakfast, proximity to the beach and laid-back vibe are worth every penny. On top of all that, the staff rock!

Tamarind Beach Hotel & Yacht Club (% 458-8044; www.tamarindbeachhotel.com; s/d US$280/325) Giant thatched-roof buildings stand guard over the beach and invite you in for pure relaxation. Elegant rooms accented with white walls and chocolate-colored hardwood entice the visitor and make it hard to return to the daily grind. The beach is right out front and is a fine selection of sand. Two restaurants on site, a dive center and water sports are all thrown in too.

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