Monthly Archives: December 2006

Barbados Piggies At The Trough Awards 2006 – WINNING STORY SELECTED

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Winning Story Has Everything: Big Names, Huge Money and Corrupt Cooperation Between Politicians, Government Services & Private Sector!

The Judging Panel for the 2006 Annual Barbados Piggies At The Trough Awards has selected the winning story from among the dozens of serious submissions received since the contest was announced on September 25, 2006.

The “Piggy” as the award is affectionately known, is presented annually to the Barbados politician or civil servant who best exemplifies the “chow down and climb right into the trough” spirit of Bajan corruption. The winner will be the Barbados politician or civil servant who, in the opinion of the judges, best misuses position, political contacts or internal knowledge to benefit self, family or friends. (See BFP Announces 1st Annual Barbados Piggies At The Trough Awards)

Only One Problem… Who Gets The US$1000 Cash Prize?

The person nominating this year’s winner is to take home a cash prize of one thousand US dollars, but when Barbados Free Press established the contest rules, we never contemplated that the winning story would end up being a collaborative effort between many entrants – each with a valuable piece of the same sordid tale of intrigue and corruption.

It is truly amazing what can happen when different people – each with a few pieces of the same puzzle – place those pieces on a single table. Barbados Free Press was that table and the picture that came together was stunning. For all those who submitted pieces of the story, we’ll have to make a decision as to how to apportion the prize.

Tune In Later This Week – We Know THEY Will Be!

At Barbados Free Press, we’re going to enjoy New Year’s Eve and start the year off on a positive note tomorrow morning. Later this week when we’re all back to reality (and sober – Cliverton this mean you! 🙂 ) we will detail the winning story and announce how the prize money will be awarded.

We’ll Sleep Well Tonight – How About You?

As Auntie Moses says “De theef never sleep well in de night. Always worryin ’bout who comin to get him. Be a good boy an always sleep well.”

We always sleep well, Auntie.

… But there are a few who shouldn’t this week!

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Politics & Corruption

Caribbean Communications War Heats Up – Cariaccess Files Second Lawsuit

We Wonder Who Is Funding This Series Of Lawsuits

Cariaccess Communications (website here) has filed a second lawsuit against Cable & Wireless and the Telecom Regulators; this time in St. Lucia. BFP’s previous article on this subject can be found here. Following is the latest press release from Cariaccess…

December 29th 2006:

Cariaccess Communications (St. Lucia) Ltd. would like to announce that we have filed a second lawsuit against Cable & Wireless (West Indies) Ltd. (C&W) and now the National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (NTRC) of St. Lucia, asking for interconnection and claiming damages and losses amounting to over EC$68 million and counting (US$25 million).

Almost 4 years after being awarded its St. Lucian telecom license, Cariaccess remains unable to interconnect to the (PSTN) public-switched telephone, Internet and other networks, in St. Lucia or anywhere else in the OECS.

As in the case announced recently in St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Cariaccess looks forward to a speedy resolution to this ongoing problem and to being able to soon offer a comprehensive suite of high-quality, cost-effective telecom services to our fellow Caribbean consumer.

Cariaccess also reserves all legal rights and is exploring every legal option in each Caricom island market.

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Filed under Barbados, Business, Offshore Investments, Politics & Corruption

OK To Shed A Tear For Bwee – But Watch Your Wallet!

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“Let us hope we learn meaningful lessons from the hundreds of millions of taxpayers and private investor’s dollars written off and that history is not repeated in the not too distance future.”

… Adrian Loveridge in this article.

Adrian Loveridge Says Goodbye To Bwee – But He Has One Hand On His Wallet

I am sure that I am not alone in feeling a tinge of sadness with the demise of BWIA today ( 31st December 2006).

66 years of operation with a safety record the envy of most airlines and perhaps the closest the region has ever been to having an air carrier servicing international routes that truly represents the Caribbean.

Even those that hoped and prayed one day that BWIA would not only survive but flourish and purchased shares into the airline, have seen the value of their investment reduced to nothing. This in itself is almost certainly going to make potential future investors in any replacement regional carrier extremely cautious, if at all willing to gamble hard earned savings in any entity they seemingly have no influence in.

As to Bwee’s replacement, Caribbean Airlines!

Effectively, it appears just to be the airline of Trinidad and Tobago and somehow is under the illusion that it can operate profitably without the full involvement of its neighbours.

Time of course will tell.

One of the rationales put forward is that a new leaner airline will be able to offer cheaper fares, but after visiting their website, we are still being asked to pay an incredible US$335 for a return ticket to St. Maarten from Barbados. Higher in some cases, than available airfares from the United States and Canada to/from the region, which involve considerably higher mileage!

Let us hope we learn meaningful lessons from the hundreds of millions of taxpayers and private investor’s dollars written off and that history is not repeated in the not too distance future.

Adrian Loveridge

Previous BFP Articles on BWIA / Bwee

Bye Bye Bwee

BWIA – Bwee Airlines Flight From Hell

BWIA Lockheed TriStar photo courtesy of JetPhotos.net

Memories Of Bwee’s Lockheed TriStars

Although the L1011 TriStar became a second-string orphan rather quickly because of a few early incidents and the fact that the Douglas DC10 outsold it – the L1011 (“L ten eleven”) was at the time of its introduction, the most sophisticated airliner in the world. I’ve been told that when BWIA received its first aircraft in (I think) early 1980, both the passengers and flight crews raved about the smoothness of the approach and landing phases. This was due to the computerized “DLC” direct lift control system that automatically compensated for the ups and downs of an approach during gusty winds.

Alas, like the Boeing 727, the L1011 required a flight engineer as well as the two pilots. When the regs changed to allow a flight deck of only two, that was the beginning of the end for the L1011. Unlike the Boeing 727 though, there were few cargo conversions done and the aircraft soon became too expensive to maintain for secondary carriers who normally provide another ten years of life to a retired aircraft. While the engines and systems became troublesome and expensive in later years (four… count ’em, four separate hydraulic systems!), the airframe was golden – due to the extensive use of rivetless metal-to-metal bonding construction by Lockheed. Many L1011 airframe components are essentially glued together instead of being riveted or welded. Bonding transfers the loads far more evenly than rivets and eliminates millions of fatigue points created by rivet holes. (There’s your aero-engineering lesson for today, folks!)

Very few L1011s remain in service – perhaps a few dozen – so once again in comparison with the Boeing 727 (an earlier and less sophisticated aircraft) there are few sons flying the same aircraft that their fathers did.

More than a few young cargo pilots working their way up have experienced that special moment when they realize that the old clapped-out bird was once a factory-fresh pride of the fleet – flown by their father twenty years before.

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Business, History, Offshore Investments, Politics & Corruption

Greenland Fiasco Dooms Barbados – Professor Machel Replies to Comments

Editor’s Note

After Barbados Free Press published Greenland Fiasco Dooms Barbados by University of Alberta Professor Hans G. Machel, the hit-o-meter went crazy and the article ended up at #80 on the WordPress.com Top Posts list. To put this in perspective, on December 21, 2006 the article was the 80th most popular post out of the millions of posts online at 545,489 WordPress.com blogs!

Obviously Professor Machel’s article struck a chord with the thousands of people who read it. Today, Professor Machel has taken the time to reply to some of the issues and questions raised by BFP readers who commented on the original post.

Barbados Free Press has published Professor Machel’s reply exactly as he sent it to us this morning, with not one word changed. For readability, we have divided some of the larger sections into paragraphs – specifically inserting the breaks now seen after paragraphs 5, 6, 12, and 15. Similarly, where bold style appears, this was done by Barbados Free Press – again to enhance readability.

BFP inserted Liz Thompson’s photo to provide a visual break from the text and to illustrate the article The other two photos were supplied by Professor Machel.

Take it away, Professor Machel…

Greenland Fiasco Dooms Barbados – Reply to Comments

Kudos to those many thousands of readers that propelled the Greenland landfill issue to #80 on WordPress.com Top Posts List on December 21. Finally this issue has received worldwide attention.

A very considerable number of people has made comments to my article directly on-line, and in e-mails directly to me. I should like to reply to some of these comments, specifically to those posted on-line.

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First off, several individuals asked, directly or indirectly, for more information on the technical issue. In a nutshell, Greenland is the worst possible site for a new landfill in Barbados, and there is a large area infinitely better suited – albeit not ideal – for the new landfill. This area is in the parish of St. Lucy, which has several locations that would meet 6, 7 or 8 of the 9 qualifying criteria. By contrast, Greenland fails 7 of the 9 qualifying criteria, and it is totally unsuitable for a landfill. Most importantly, Greenland is in an area of torrential rainfalls, prone to regular flooding and washouts, subject to land slippage and constant soil creep. Furthermore, its base cannot be sealed permanently, which results in constant groundwater seeping into the site, as well as toxic leachate leaving the site. A landfill at Greenland will be an environmental disaster. Any country that places even a minimum of value on environmental protection should not even consider a site such as Greenland for a landfill, let alone develop it.

Comment by “Hants”: Yes, garbage disposal in Barbados should be, and in fact is, an easy problem to solve, at least in principle. I, as well as several other scientists and engineers before me, have recommended an integrated waste management system with the following main components and features: incineration; recycling; composting; closing of the Mangrove landfill as soon as possible, and opening of a new site in the parish of St. Lucy. Incineration alone, if the most advanced technology is used, would reduce the total garbage for dumping to a very small amount. A new landfill thus would be much smaller in capacity and/or would last much longer. It seems that the Government of Barbados and its appointees in waste management have turned a deaf ear to all this, i.e., to sound scientific advice and to common sense.

Comment by “God Bless David”: Ricardo Marshall is a government appointee and Project Manager of Governments Solid Waste Management Programme. He was at my public lecture in Queens College on February 22 2006, during which I demonstrated the unsuitability of Greenland as a landfill in considerable detail and beyond any reasonable doubt. Marshall heckled me repeatedly during my presentation by shouting remarks. In the discussion period after the presentation, he went way off-topic, misquoted facts repeatedly, in a glaring attempt to mislead the audience. His rant became so unbearable that the chairman of the meeting, Leonard St. Hill, felt compelled to cut him off.

Marshall delivered a similar performance a few days later when I was debating the Greenland issue with Leslie Barker, retired chief geologist for the Barbados government, on the radio call-in show Brass Tacks. Marshall was on the phone for the entire 2 hour show, monopolizing the phone line that was supposed to be dedicated to all Bajans. [This appeared to be a ploy orchestrated by Government to provide Barker with support: I was not informed ahead of the show that I would effectively have to discuss both Marshall and Barker all the time.] Marshall again proved his ignorance and/or incompetence. Among other things, he did not know and/or denied that there are springs flowing in the Greenland area, even after Edward Cumberbatch, one of the callers, who had worked the area as a soil conservation officer for many years, had set the record straight. These springs had been known for decades.

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In fact, these springs are partly to blame for the fact that Greenland has never been officially opened as a landfill. For example, the Daily Nation reported on June 11 1997 that “A landslip was occurring at Greenland, St. Andrew, at a rate of five centimetres per day as a result of an underground spring.” Marshall also did not know or denied that there are leaks at Greenland. Yet, in the Daily Nation from August 18 1999, then Minister of Health Phillip Goddard admitted that there are leaks at the proposed site, after about a year of Government denials. We are forced to conclude that Marshall is blissfully unaware of some of the most elemental facts pertaining to his job, or he knows but denies them.

All this is a matter of public record, including Marshall’s self-incriminating statements. My lecture at Queens College, including the subsequent discussion period, was taped by a television crew, as was the entire Brass Tacks show from February 26 2006. Both are available on DVD.

Comment by “Environmentalist”: I am not a lawyer and defer a definitive call on this issue to legal experts, but I can say this: I read the relevant legislation and concluded that it is illegal to put a landfill into the Scotland District National Park. Thus, Leonard St. Hill appears to be correct in stating that there have been breaches of law, especially with respect to placing a landfill into a National Park. The government of Barbados could change the law, of course, but to date this has not happened. Furthermore, one would have to wonder which government would even contemplate putting a landfill into a national park. This contradicts the spirit of a national park in the first place, and is unthinkable just about anywhere in the world.

Another comment by “Environmentalist” laments that local experts, most notably at UWI, “do not come out and give their professional opinion”, and “We need more people with backbone who are not afraid to deal with issues of national concern”. I agree. But this is not easy for certain people. I have met several Bajans with valuable advice and knowledge but who are afraid to speak up for fear of losing their jobs. This is one of the reasons why I am speaking up. I cannot be fired by the Barbados government. I do not hold any paid or unpaid position in Barbados.

Comments by “John”and “Andy Knight” deal with the role of the politicians. “John” states that “Bajan politicians don’t do resigning”, and “Andy Knight” states that “someone within the government ought to be held responsible for this fiasco. Barbadians should be up-in-arms over this decision and let the government know in no uncertain terms that no more taxpayers dollars should be wasted on this venture.” I could not agree more.

Take the role played by Liz Thompson. She was the government minister responsible for the implementation of the Greenland landfill fiasco from the beginning in 1995. For several years she pushed the issue at every opportunity, thereby repeatedly maligning dissenting voices (the local press, which was critical at the time, as well as environmentalists such as Richard Goddard), and arguing against sensible alternatives, including incineration. Yet after she lost her ministerial position, she went on public record in the House of Assembly, as quoted in a Daily Nation article dated December 17 2000 entitled “Liz: I never wanted landfill”. She stated: “A country as small as Barbados cannot keep picking up 25 acres of land and turning them into landfills”; and “It was my view then, and it is my view now, that incineration is the method of waste disposal for Barbados, and this is what we should do”.

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Hence, for several years Liz Thompson was misleading the public, speaking out of both sides of her mouth when she pushed Greenland as the best option of garbage disposal. Later in the same article, in an attempt to justify her actions, she is quoted as saying that “…all local and international studies confirmed that Greenland was the best location for the landfill”. This is a blatant falsehood. In all the years that Greenland has been an issue, there has not been one scientist or engineer of any repute who has recommended Greenland as the best location, and most did not recommend Greenland at all. The only comprehensive environmental impact study that was ever done on the Greenland landfill site was by Stanley Associates in 1995, who clearly advised against Greenland, and had included Greenland only because of the demands by the Barbados Government. The various other consulting reports are largely technical (installation of cells, pipes, etc.) and do not deal with the suitability of the site. All this can easily be verified by anyone who bothers to read these reports, most of which can be purchased.

Incineration, which works highly efficiently if the latest technology is implemented, has near zero emissions and produces electricity. It works wonderfully in a number of countries, most notably small island countries. Yet, as recently as February 13 2006 in the Daily Nation, Minister of Health Jerome Walcott is on record as stating that “Incineration is not to be seen as an option in waste management in a small country like Barbados”. In the same article, he cited statistics from other countries on incineration plants, which he doctored in order to support his point of view. His is another example of a government minister who appears to be misleading the public by not knowing and/or not presenting all the relevant facts. This conclusion was reinforced by the chairman of Williams Industries Ralph “Bizzy” Williams in the Daily Nation from February 27 2006. Williams, who had spent about $1 million researching incineration around the world, appears considerably better informed than the minister, outlining various technological advantages and cost alternatives. Williams had made a proposal to Government for an incineration plant, but was just “pooh- poohed”. Williams also stated that it is “madness to use Greenland in St. Andrew as a landfill”.

So, in reply to “John” and “Andy Knight”, I should say that people like Ricardo Marshall, Liz Thompson, and Jerome Walcott should be held responsible, among others. Barbados surely has much more qualified people to run its waste management than Ricardo Marshall. Also, had Liz Thompson shown the integrity that one would expect from a government minister, she should have resigned from her portfolio right at the beginning of the Greenland fiasco, rather than misleading the public for several years by pushing an ill-conceived project that she did not believe in. Today she is a high government minister again, albeit in a different portfolio. Also, Minister Walcott should get himself properly informed and stop misleading the public on matters relating to incineration.

If I had it my way, these people would lose their jobs tomorrow and would never again be allowed to work in or for Government. These people do not work for the benefit of the people. Yet, this is what working in or for the government should be all about.

Hans G. Machel
Professor
University of Alberta

Photos Supplied By Prof. Machel…

Road Damage From Landslide

Ground Water Intrusion

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Filed under Barbados, Environment, Politics & Corruption

Best Wishes To Barbados Minister Of Labour Rawle Eastmond

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Barbados Minister of Labour Rawle Eastmond was acting a bit odd yesterday and he made some unusual statements on the Brass Tacks radio show and in a fax to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Housing. Whether due to a minor stroke, hypoglycaemia or some other cause, he’s now been admitted to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for a couple of weeks.

Our message to Rawle Eastmond – don’t worry about a thing. Let your family, friends and the good people at the QEH look after you. Prayer is always good and there are many praying for your speedy recovery right now – including our own family at the breakfast table this morning.

Best wishes, Rawle, and we look forward to hearing from you just as soon as you are able.

Marcus, Shona, Robert, Cliverton & Auntie Moses

The Nation News: Eastmond In QEH

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Filed under Barbados, Politics & Corruption

Nicholas Cage and Magnet Man Together – The Girls Are Happy!

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Talented & Hardworking Bajan Guy Is Doing OK!

Barbados’ son Magnet Man is doing just fine these days. How can you tell? Well – when was the last time you chatted with Nicholas Cage or Sean Connery or signed any movie contracts? (Thought so… Yup, me too!)

Never mind that girlfriends and wives get a sort of look in their eyes when they see him perform, we guys at BFP are still happy to see a decent chap like Magnet Man doing so well and attracting so much international attention. He just signed another movie contract, this time for a project to be filmed in England. From what we hear, there are two things that characterize Magnet Man: raw talent and a capacity to work 20 hours a day for weeks on end. No doubt the world is going to see much more of his work in music and film.

Here’s a publicity release we received along with the above photo. (Shhhhhhh! Don’t tell Shona that this was sent out to everybody. Shona thinks MM sent the photo specially for her!)

Magnet Man met with Nicholas Cage at the recent “Bahamas International Film Festival where Magnet Man performed twice as well as attending the premiere to the movie ‘From Barbados With Love’. (He wrote the movie sound track as well as acted in the film.) Magnet Man was also a panelist on the ‘Film & Music’ Panel at the 4 day long festival, from the 7th to
10th December, that was also attended by Sir Sean Connery.

Magnet Man flew from the Bahamas to Barbados for one day only before heading out with his full band to Grenada for a concert he headlined there on 22nd December. R n B singer Ronnie Morris flew to Grenada to open for Magnet Man at the Show.

Magnet flew back to Barbados on Christmas Eve, but had to fly straight out again the same day to Europe to fit in performances there up until January 1st when he returns to Barbados ready to perform at the Barbados Music Awards.

Magnet Man, the 2006 Barbados Music Awards winner of The Best Music Video Award is shooting another international music video on the island from the 6th to the 9th January, immediately after the BMAs.

He has been nominated again for Best Music Video at the BMAs 2007, and he also received a nomination for one of the Artiste of the Year Categories. Magnet Man will be releasing a new multi-genre album in 2007 and will also be futhering his acting career as he has landed a part in his first UK film. The film is being shot in central London, and is directed by an award winning Brazilian Director.

Magnet Man’s Website: MagnetManOnline.Com

Click on the photo to visit Magnet Man online…

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Government And Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary – We Can All Work Together For Barbados

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Here at Barbados Free Press, we sometimes become so wrapped up in criticizing the government’s mistakes, actions and omissions, that we neglect to make note of the many positive efforts and achievements by government folks and by well-executed joint government & private sector projects. That’s our fault and we promise to try and maintain a more positive and balanced outlook in 2007.

Our mea culpa is a result of our receiving the following letter from the Friends Of Graeme Hall, concerning a visit by Health Authorities to the Graeme Hall Swamp. We missed the newspaper article that the letter speaks about, but from the sound of the letter, some very knowledgable people at the Ministry of Health and the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary are working together for the common good of all Bajans.

Graeme Hall National Park Would Be A Legacy We Could All Be Proud Of

The letter from the Friends Of Graeme Hall again reminds us about how little this island is, and how we must all work together to ensure that Barbados remains a good place to live, work and visit in the future. Aside from the environmental benefits of creating a National Park at Graeme Hall, a well done national park would be a showpiece legacy that would distinguish Barbados from a host of other sand/sun/sea destinations.

We know that there is much support for Graeme Hall National Park by the public and also within the government. With a little work, and some funding (which the Friends of Graeme Hall say is possible from the private sector), perhaps 2007 could be the year that sees the formal establishment of a national treasure that will still be appreciated hundreds of years from now.

There are worse legacies for any person to leave behind than to say they had a part in creating Graeme Hall National Park.


26 December 2006

No. 3 Warners Terrace
Christ Church

The Editor
Barbados Free Press

Dear Sir,

In a page three story in the Saturday December 03 issue of The Nation Newspaper reporting on the visit by health officials to The Graeme Hall Swamp to look at ways to reduce the presence of the Anopheles mosquito, officials were quoted as saying that they “are calling on the other partners in Government and the private sector to work together to resolve the issues raised including that the appropriate levels of water are maintained”.

The Friends of Graeme Hall, as well as biologists, engineers and various members of government believe the long term solution for drainage and mosquito control in the Graeme Hall wetland must go beyond simple repair or relocation of the Sluice Gate, and be an engineered solution for the entire Graeme Hall area.

Furthermore, the Friends of Graeme Hall urge the Government of Barbados to consider that the solutions for Graeme Hall can be financed and engineered as part of the development of Graeme Hall National Park, and stand ready to assist Government finance these objectives.

The Graeme Hall National Park Initiative (www.graemehallnationalpark.org) proposes a four point technical approach, combined with public/private funding mechanisms. The primary basis for these solutions incorporate the most comprehensive environmental, health and economic study that has ever been done for the Graeme Hall natural area, namely the US$800,000 Inter-American Development Bank financed 1998 ARA Study, Subprogramme C, which is embodied in the http://www.graemehallnationalpark.org site.

The civil engineering solutions for the Graeme Hall area to improve the health and welfare of the natural lands and neighborhoods around it would include specific direction from the ARA Study, and the following:

* The entire proposed 240-acre National Park area at Graeme Hall should utilize assistance from professional consultants who are familiar with multi-use, tropical wetland management systems.

* The entire area proposed as the Graeme Hall National Park should have a master detention/retention drainage plan that maximizes percolation of drainage water, to substantially reduce or eliminate contaminated storm water onto Worthing Beach when it rains.

* The existing Sluice Gate should be abandoned, and a new, preferably passive, weir system put in place to control water levels, similar in scope to Stormwater Treatment Areas within the South Florida Water Management System in the United States.

* Provision for an alternate South Coast Sewage Facility emergency sewage discharge should be engineered to replace the current emergency outfall that empties into the Sluice Gate Canal.

To control mosquitoes, the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary and the Ministry of Health have had a very progressive relationship over the years. The mission and objectives of both the Sanctuary and the Ministry are exactly the same: Maintaining clear canal channels and optimum water levels prevents stagnation, and promotes healthy fish populations which control mosquito larvae.

Both the Ministry of Health and the Sanctuary have relied upon one another to ensure healthy fish conditions to control mosquito infestations naturally and in fact there have been no major insecticide spray operations in the Western Swamp area in nearly 5 years as a result of this holistic approach.

However, when water levels in the Swamp get too low, such as when the Sluice Gate is not operated properly, canals tend to dry up and “pool” stagnant ponds, which kill fish and increase mosquito larvae.

We believe that if the relevant authorities embrace the recommendations summarised above and detailed in the reference guide for The Graeme Hall National Park at http://www.graemehallnationalpark.org, this private/public partnership can meet the objectives mentioned by the government officials in (the story in The Nation News).

Together we can protect the health of citizens and visitors while preserving the last green space between Bridgetown and the Airport, the last remaining mangrove forest, the last major wetland, the largest inland lake, and the most concentrated biodiversity in the island.

Sincerely,

Allan Marshall
Friends of Graeme Hall Committee

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Environment, Politics & Corruption, Traveling and Tourism