Barbados Enviroment Minister Heading For Coastal Waters Conference

A Good-News Story 

The Barbados Free Press has been extremely critical of the government’s failure to make preservation and protection of the environment a priority for Barbados. Our criticism has not been without cause and will continue where we see the need – but today, we are pleased to be able to report what could turn out to be a good news environmental story for Barbados.

… Perhaps even a major good-news environmental story IF the government follows up it’s good intentions with action.


Barbados Minister of the Environment Elizabeth Thompson is attending a major United Nations environmental conference being held in Bejing China – and she is providing the opening address at the high level Ministers meeting. (We hope that Minister Thompson’s address is released to the media on the day she gives it. Can’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be.)

There are those who would say “It’s just another conference where the elites drink wine, eat pate and accomplish nothing but some P.R.”

That is not our position.

These international environmental conferences are important not only because they raise important issues in the public and political consciousness, but also because the lower level staff – the soldiers, the doers – get to meet and learn from each other.

This conference is so timely and important for Barbados because it is all about the health of coastal waters and how they are impacted by what happens on land.

From the United Nations Environment Programme Website (link here) …

The Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-Based Activities is the only intergovernmental programme that addresses the inter-linkages between freshwater and the coastal environment

The major threats to the health, productivity and biodiversity of the marine environment result from human activities on land – in coastal areas and further inland. Some 80% of the pollution load in the oceans originates from land-based activities. This includes municipal, industrial and agricultural wastes and run-off, as well as atmospheric deposition. These contaminants affect the most productive areas of the marine environment, including estuaries and near-shore coastal waters. The marine environment is also threatened by physical alterations of the coastal zone, including destruction of habitats of vital importance to maintain ecosystem health.

Graeme Hall National Park Would Be An International Showpiece Of Coastal Environmental Protection

Minister Thompson might want to consider that the establishment of Graeme Hall National Park would be seen internationally as a showpiece of coastal environmental protection by a small island nation – and tangible evidence of a national commitment to a clean and pleasant environment throughout Barbados.

Graeme Hall National Park would also do much to counter a growing perception in the travel industry that Barbados is becoming an over-developed destination with nothing to offer but condos and beaches.

We wish the Environment Minister and her staff well, and pray that they have a safe, productive and worthwhile trip. (And yes, for a long haul like Barbados – China, we hope that the Minister and her staff are flying business class so they can arrive in better shape than would be the case if they were suffering the 20 hours in coach.)

From the Barbados Advocate (link here)…MINISTER of the Environment, Elizabeth Thompson, will soon be heading to China to attend the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (GPA).

The five-day meeting, the second of the Intergovernmental Review Meetings (IGR) of the GPA, will be held in Beijing from Monday, October 16 to Friday, October 20. As its name suggests, the raison dêtre of the GPA is the prevention of the degradation of the marine environment from land-based activities, by facilitating the duty of states to preserve and protect the marine environment.

The GPA was first adopted by 108 governments in 1995. When the first IGR was held in 2001, the main issue was to assess the implementation of the programme. This year, the focus is on the framework that will guide the GPA Coordination Office over the next five years.

An invitation from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) led to Ms. Thompson acting as a member of the UNEP/GPA IGR-2 High Level Steering Committee, which oversees preparations for this year’s meeting. She will also give the opening address at the High Level Ministerial segment of the meeting.

Anthony Headley, Deputy Director of the Environmental Protection Department, will also attend. The Government of Barbados has also been invited to Chair the opening session on the National Implementation in Action, and to participate in the Partnership on Information Portal Waste Management for Small Island Developing States.


Filed under Barbados, Environment, Island Life

12 responses to “Barbados Enviroment Minister Heading For Coastal Waters Conference

  1. Jupiter

    B’dos Free Press

    Here’s something to sink your teeth into.While we note your article on Minister of Environment Liz Thompson going off to an Int’l Conference.I would like to draw your attention to a project (Newton Gov’t office block) which was done under Minister’s Thompson’s tenure as Minister of Housing and a related article on the Trinidadian contractor of that project.
    All I’m seeking to find out is whether this contractor was thoroughly checked out by the Gov’t before he was given the contract and the nature of financing for it because he is before the T’dian courts on corruption charges on a water desal project and had been so charged and/or was being publicly investigated before the project started.It is alleged that he was in collusion with one of the Panday’s minister on this one and there are charges of false bidding etc.
    The articles by Camini Maharaj an investigative journalist makes interesting reading.It also shows up the lack of this type of journalism here in B’dos by e.g. the Nation newspaper,Starcom Network and CBC tv.It shows that in a country right next door it can be done.
    This should also make an interesting case study for students in Company Law.


    Ther is life after death. Now ther seems to be life after “double death”!
    Liz seems to be on a mission lately to prove this.
    BFP I agree that these conferences are necessary…rather compulsory, and I hope the minister takes the “correct”, competent people .
    Too often these days friends and lackies get taken on these trips as a form of compensation (e.g the wife who went with a team of CONsultants to Brazil because she spoke the language…the lady spoke SPANISH…seems no one told the fuel-cane “expert” that Brasil is a PORTUGUESE- speaking country).
    I also worry that with all the environmental long-talk . The beaches are in a mess and eroding daily-the new agricultural products seeem to be shak-shak, miamossi, river tamarind,and cow itch among other assorted types of “wild bush”.

  3. Jumbie

    I wonder if Liz will tell the conference about how her Government has built a landfill on probably the worst possible place on our fragile island, where toxic sludge will inevitabley find its way to the ocean a short distance away. I wonder if she will tell the conference how her government allowed engineers to run sewerage lines across Sandy beach, by the Carib Beach Bar when it is well known by residents that the beach there comes and goes in 20 year cycles, and that they are now desperately trying to avert environmental disaster by pelting big rock into the sea with a backhoe. These things are NOT a showpiece of coastal environmental protection by a small island nation and it is tangible evidence of a high level of ignorance, not to mention a monumental waste of the people’s hard earned money. It is sad that she would have to showcase a project that does not yet, and may not ever exist as her only chance of proving a good ‘environmental protection policy’ It would be wonderful if they gave us the National Park at Graham Hall to start to make amends for the gross insult of Greenland and other environmental debacles.

  4. Green!

    GRAB these little islands-of-green while you still can,Barbados!
    We have few parks and parklands.

    Only when it’s coast-to-coast concrete will we then think..hmmm… maybe we shoulda designated a few off-limits park areas in our “Planning”.

  5. John

    The exerpt from the UNEP website puts into sharp focus how our so called development may well turn out to be characterised by the story of the goose that laid the golden egg.

    All along the South coast and West coast the problem exists. Its creation and growth has been slavishly compounded by Town Planning and its various ministers who seem hell bent on following the maxim that tourism is we business.

    They forget that tourists are our guests.

    We are like any householder with guests. We don’t want too many because we can’t entertain and show courtesy and respect beyond the resources we have.

    How do we allow our guests to bathe in some areas along the coast without making clear what the water quality is like? It may be perfectly fine but information on it should also be available to the public.

    The uncomfortable but real issue of a guest overstaying his/her welcome is also present.

    How do we say we have had enough of watching our country sold to the higest bidder who are really not our guests and have nothing in common with us? The sustainability of our water supply is threatened with each lavish residence built requiring irrigation.

    I am not sure that Tourism is we business at all. It has the ability to destroy us.

    Heresy I am told, but the more I look at the problem of water we face the more I feel this way!!

  6. Pingback: Global Voices Online » Blog Archive » Barbados: Environment Minister to address conference

  7. Pingback: UPDATE: Barbados Environment Minister Liz Thompson At China Conference « Barbados Free Press

  8. F. H. Williams

    Will this group look favourable towards a company that can help with the enviroment waste water etc. at about half their present cost and at the same time free up valuable real estate properties? If any one would I would be glad to assist.

  9. BFP

    Of course we are interested. Tell us more, Mr. Williams.

    Please email us at

    or simply post the information here for all to see. Your choice!



  10. F. H. Williams

    send us you e-mail reply no job too large.

  11. F. H. Williams

    Will this group look favourable towards a company that can help with the enviroment waste water etc. at about half their present cost and at the same time free up valuable real estate properties? If any one would I would be glad to assist.
    Mr. Marcus, Our associates have developed a complete new approach to purifying wastewater from either municipal or industrial sources.
    For the past 23 years our System produces sterilized, resuable water and sludge.
    Every unit is customized to fit the situation.Tell us your need and we would solve it.

  12. F. H. Williams

    Whatsoever we do the result is odorless, we use fraction of the space of conventional system and is profitable . contact me via e-mail for further information.