In the past, I have been an advisor for managing the presence of multiple hospitality clients.
For the most part, I use what I learned working with hospitality clients with our other clients.
There are many things the hospitality industry is great at and one of them being customer service. Another is never saying, “No”, to the person making the request and looking for other options. The other is taking ownership of any situation that was created by the establishment.
Marriott Environmental Enemy #1
For the past 10+ years the Courtyard Marriott has done the opposite of what their own policies dictate.
The developer Desarrollos Hoteleros de Carolina, Inc. which at the moment does not appear as an active corporation by the Puerto Rico Department of State’s website, was given a 99 year lease by “Corporación de Fomento Recreativo” a government agency. The process where the land belongs to the citizens was handled in a secretive way and the following happened:
- Not approved by “Junta de Planificación”
- The public was not notified
- No public hearings were held
- No environmental impact assessment was done
- many other laws and procedures were bypassed making this agreement null.
In 2005 CH properties started to develop the land taking down trees and vegetation. That is where Coalicíon De Playas Para el Pueblo stepped in and decided to stop the development.
Since that time, there has not been any resolution with the municipality of Carolina. But just recently CH properties requested permission from the courts to remove the activists from the 5 acres of land.
Ghost Corporation who will develop the land
The problem is that this corporation did not follow the legal process to acquire the land. As of right now the corporation no longer exists.
So how does a non-existing corporation reach an agreement with the municipality and get a court order to remove those who are protecting the land and the environment?
The documentary “Compañeros de Lucha” by Filmmaker Juan C. Davila covers the first 6 years of the effort and goes into even more detail.
Marriott’s “Commitment” Towards the Environment
You can read the rest of the policies here. Below are a few points that were interesting to me:
- Further reduce energy and water consumption 20% by 2020
- Empower our hotel development partners to build green hotels;
- Green our multi-billion dollar supply chain;
- Educate associates, guests and partners to support the environment;
- Invest in innovative conservation initiatives including rainforest protection and water conservation
The Courtyard Marriott of Isla Verde is doing the opposite of many industry principles and going against their own corporate commitments. Even more ironic, are the fourth and fifth points that focus on the protection of the environment . In Isla Verde, they have said, “No”, to the request of protecting the environment.
The 5 acres of land which they will replace with concrete is the habitat of many endangered species. Sea Turtles like the Carey and Peje Blanco need to lay eggs in an area with grass. The only area that has grass left in Isla Verde is that of the “Bosque Costero”.
The removal of that will impact the entire eco-system.
A Threat to the Environment
The Courtyard Marriott wants to hurt the environment by doing the following:
- Taking down indigenous trees that are critical for the habitat. There are more than 8 ceiba trees in the adjacent coastal habitat.
- Taking away the habitat of certain species. This will directly impact the Arrecifes de Isla Verde Reserve which is protected by law.
- Placing cement in an area that will provoke even more erosion of our lands. This is an issue I have written about over the years in collaboration with other media agencies.
- Restricting access to the beach.This means if you plan to enjoy the beach you might have to find another place to use it. The are will be restricted to the public.
These are 4 things that the Marriott will do if they get to develop on the land.
Putting People’s Lives at Risk
The problem the local environmental protesters are having is that the Courtyard Isla Verde is using violence and intimidation tactics in order to cast them out of the land adjacent to the courtyard. Last week one of their employees ran over a group of activists that were protesting in front of the hotel.
Here are various videos from different perspectives of people who were witnesses to the incident. The videos will allow you to judge for yourself what happened and contradicts what the hotel is saying that happened.
Evidencia de como el empleado del Marriott rebasa a los vehículos para pasarle por encima a los manifestantes. No estábamos impidiendo el acceso, pero la policía estaba dirigiendo el tránsito para precisamente evitar cualquier incidente. Pero vemos como el Toyota Yaris negro, no sigue las directrices de la policía.
Posted by Mariposa Rahe Bagua on Friday, November 20, 2015
— Yarim Correa (@YarimCorrea) November 19, 2015
All this violence to build another resort in an area that is over developed.
Killing Wildlife Habitats
Especies nativas y en peligro de extinción vs. un hotel más… ¿Qué tiene más valor para nuestros hijos? Solo se puede defender lo que se se conoce, por eso conozcamos lo que en realidad es nuestro patrimonio como pueblo. No podemos respirar cemento, defendamos este oasis necesario para todos, DEFIENDE EL BOSQUE COSTERO
Posted by Isa Idepunto on Sunday, November 22, 2015
The area serves as vegetation and a refuge for many species of birds, crabs, amphibians, and even sea turtles.
The endangered Tinglar uses the area to nest. Once the developers kill off that little piece of land, what will be next? Why do we need to keep building with cement? Why not protect the natural habitat of animals and educate people about the flora and fauna many in the diaspora dream about constantly.
Benito les tiene un mensaje.¡Las playas pa’l pueblo!
Posted by Nace Li on Friday, November 20, 2015
Safety for the Environmental Guardians
I am asking for your help to keep my fellow brothers and sisters safe. Most of these activists are professionals such as biologists, dentists, lawyers, farmers, and electricians fighting for a common cause. As a community we need to ensure the safety of these individuals that have been fighting for this cause a long time.
Their commitment to the environment has had an impact in preserving the “Reef Reserve” in Isla Verde.
Many surfers will be able enjoy the waves with easy access to the beach. Every family, tourist, or local gets to enjoy the flora and fauna of the island.
If you are on the Island I invite you to stop by the camp. They have donated their time to protect the environment for years.
We Need Your Help
Can you donate a few minutes and do the following:
- Sign the on-going change.org petition.
- Send a message on Facebook to Marriott International and the Courtyard Isla Verde that you don’t agree with the violence. Ask them why they are not following their corporate guidelines.
- Send a tweet out to @courtyardpr using #StayCourtyardPR. If you want to use a message we have written feel free to click here.
Thank you for your help!
We are going to continue to share the latest on the Dogs of Isla Verde blog.