Outrage As Deceitful Nation News Censors Letter From National Park Donor Peter Allard

“A Barbadian friend told me, “There are few safe places to walk, or enjoy simple tranquility on the South Coast. It’s already urbanised, with busy roads and heavy traffic, and the highest urban density on the island. Shouldn’t we make a commitment to park lands first, to improve our quality of life in this area, before we start talking about more development?”

The Friends of Graeme Hall convinced me that this area needs to be saved for adults, families and children who live and work on the South Coast. The Friends have promised that they are willing to be partners with Government to help develop fundraising to pay for recreational amenities, as well as assistance funding for various government-directed improvements to the area, including Ministry of Agriculture facilities.”

According to our source at The Nation News, the above two paragraphs were deliberately censored out of a Letter to the Editor – from National Park donor and Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary founder Peter Allard. Source says “space had nothing to do with it” – editor considered words “too strong”.

Nation Letters Editor Had An Agenda Of Deceiving Barbados Public & Leadership – But Why?

We totally missed the story that Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary founder and National Park donor Peter Allard sent a letter to the editor of The Nation News that was published on February 28, 2007 as a “Guest Column” – or we would have covered it immediately.

Yesterday we received an email from one of our friends at The Nation News who asked “Why haven’t you covered this?” and alerted us that Peter Allard’s letter had been deliberately censored as “too strong” – rather than shortened due to any space issues. (Hey – I guess the letters editor will now claim she wanted to conserve space on the internet! 😉 )

Our friend also sent us a copy of the original letter as received by The Nation News so we could compare the two versions.

Two Deleted Paragraphs

The first deleted paragraph hardly seems to be the stuff of controversy, to me anyway. It makes a good point that the south coast is highly urbanised and that we should improve the quality of life in the area before we proceed with any further development.

Sounds reasonable to me, but once again, hardly controversial. Although the letter doesn’t directly say so, it makes an important point about putting a National Park at Graeme Hall – it will be highly accessible and near to the majority of our population. While National Park in Scotland district would be nice, it would be remote and a long journey for most Bajans – especially via public transit.

For a hundred thousand Bajans, a National Park at Graeme Hall would be minutes away via transit. You could practically have your lunch there and then return to work. Fabulous!

The second deleted paragraph is interesting. I guess I hadn’t read the original Friends of Graeme Hall (FGH) proposal for a National Park that closely because I missed the important point that the FGH will be helping to develop funding to pay for recreational amenities as well as assistance funding for government-directed improvements to the area including Ministry of Agriculture facilities.

That is quite an offer. In conjunction with the nature sanctuary land being given towards the National Park the value must be in the millions of dollars – as a gift to the people of Barbados. Money even going towards Ministry of Agriculture facilities!

Again – that is quite an offer and one that is certainly worthy of serious consideration by all.

Vital Information Deliberately Withheld By The Nation News

I find it highly disturbing that the letters editor at The Nation News should deliberately withhold this information from consideration by citizens and their elected and appointed representatives. Highly disturbing.

It also leads me to consider how we are being manipulated by the media on a number of issues – through the regular withholding of information from the public. (Immediately coming to mind is the recent story of the two lawyers who were castigated by the court for unethical behaviour during land deals. Although the reporter was in court when the judge was addressing the lawyers – when the Nation News published the story, it withheld the names of the lawyers from the public. Who’s interest was being served there? Certainly not the public interest! See BFP’s story Buying Land In Barbados?)

When Friends Of Barbados Want To Help, Shouldn’t We At Least Pay Attention?

A few weeks ago, we wrote about the charitable work being done in Barbados by Moody Blues’ bassist John Lodge.

We said… “We see many of the rich and famous in Barbados. Mostly they just sun themselves and relax, and even those who have second homes on the island seldom contribute much more to the country than an ordinary tourist… If only more of the rich and famous took an interest in Barbados the way that Mr. & Mrs. Lodge do.” (BFP story link here)

GHNS_Bird.jpg

Which brings us to Mr. Peter Allard

I wouldn’t know Peter Allard if he sat next to me at Chefette. I couldn’t even find a photo of him online to include in this story… but I can see the man’s character every day on my way to work, through his gifts to the people of Barbados. He is obviously a man who enjoys doing good works because he has (I understand) put some 20 million dollars into the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary. He helped to build artificial reefs through the Barbados Marine Trust and we also hear of other, quiet generosity by Mr. Allard.

Some people might say that Peter Allard has “invested” 20 million dollars into the nature sanctuary – but that would be inaccurate. If he “invested” the money in the nature sanctuary in the traditional meaning of the word, then he is a fool indeed!

You could say that he has “invested” the money for the people of Barbados because it is us, not Peter Allard, who benefits from his work today and in the future. And now, he has offered to FREELY GIVE 25 acres of prime land to a National Park for Barbados – and the Friends of Graeme Hall have offered to FREELY GIVE funding and effort so that our future generations will have a National Treasure instead of more concrete.

Shabby Treatment For A Person Who Loves Barbados And Has Given So Much To Bajans

So Mr. Allard wrote a letter to the people of Barbados to tell them directly about his gift to our children and our children’s children and into the future. He trusted The Nation News to bring that message to Bajans and their leaders – an important message that should be of interest to every citizen.

Mr. Allard has been treated shabbily by The Nation News – and perhaps by some others. But it is Barbados and her future generations that will be the worse off and the losers if sincere folks like Mr. Allard can’t even expect common courtesy when they selflessly give millions of dollars to our people – simply because they love Barbados and Bajans.

If you want to see Mr. Allard’s letter as disgustingly censored by The Nation News, click here. Otherwise, here is Mr. Allard’s full letter as originally received by The Nation News. I’ve put the deleted paragraphs in italics…

23 February 2007

Letter to the Editor
The Nation
Fontabelle
St. Michael
Barbados

LETTER FOR PUBLICATION

Subject: Proposed Graeme Hall National Park

Dear Editor,

In December, 2006, I made an offer through the Friends of Graeme Hall to donate 25 acres of Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary lands to the proposed 244-acre Graeme Hall National Park.

To ensure long-term success of the proposed National Park, the land donation proposal is integrated with an offer for additional financial and technical support for fundraising, development and management services provided by the Friends of Graeme Hall and the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary to the new National Park and the Government of Barbados. Combined with the land donation, these proposed services by the Sanctuary and the Friends would be in close cooperation with Government, and would make Graeme Hall National Park one of the finest multi-use parks in the world.

I have great respect for the efforts being made by the Friends of Graeme Hall to bring attention and support to the fact that the proposed Park is the last remaining green space on the South Coast between the airport and Bridgetown.

It is my understanding that various government ministries/departments are now evaluating the feasibility of the proposed Graeme Hall National Park, as well as the offer of private-sector support for the Park.

I write to publicly commit to this offer, and to the proposal that the lands and facilities of the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary be within the boundaries of the proposed National Park.

With its bird migration ponds and white and red mangrove woodland, and surrounded by agricultural buffer lands maintained by the Ministry of Agriculture, Graeme Hall is regarded by scientists, teachers, bird watchers and environmentalists as one of the last significant wildlife habitats on Barbados.

The lower area of the proposed Park is protected under the Convention on Wetlands RAMSAR Treaty, but many believe ultimate the protection of this area and its surrounding upland buffers should be within a designated, multi-use National Park.

The Friends of Graeme Hall have collected over 6000 signatures to date from citizens who want the area preserved as a wildlife habitat, agricultural area, and low-density recreational activities. If it is agreed to establish the the National Park, more recreational opportunities could be available in and around the agricultural lands at Graeme Hall (www.graemehallnationalpark.org).

At a recent gathering at the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary, one mother told me, “My daughter wants a bicycle, but I can’t give one to her because there is no place safe to ride. If the the National Park were established, and a bicycle trail was put in, she would get her bicycle.”

Others have told me that a national park on the South Coast would be like having Central Park in New York, with bicycle and running trails, picnic areas, and the like.

As a businessman, I fully understand those who ask how it is possible to justify the economic cost of a national park at Graeme Hall, because some perceive it would be more valuable to the public, and to Barbados, if a substantial portion of the agricultural land at Graeme Hall was approved for change of use, and developed commercially as a high-density tourist or other project.

But, as an environmentalist, I also understand that preserving our environment and our irreplaceable natural resources preserves the legacy of a nation, and that parks and open space make adults and children happy and healthy.

Business is one thing, but good neighborhood quality of life must include open space to ensure long-term social health.

A Barbadian friend told me, “There are few safe places to walk, or enjoy simple tranquility on the South Coast. It’s already urbanised, with busy roads and heavy traffic, and the highest urban density on the island. Shouldn’t we make a commitment to park lands first, to improve our quality of life in this area, before we start talking about more development?”

The Friends of Graeme Hall convinced me that this area needs to be saved for adults, families and children who live and work on the South Coast. The Friends have promised that they are willing to be partners with Government to help develop fundraising to pay for recreational amenities, as well as assistance funding for various government-directed improvements to the area, including Ministry of Agriculture facilities.

It is clear to me that the Friends have an admirable altruistic mission, and are interested in coordinating private resources with Government so that Graeme Hall National Park can serve the citizens of Barbados and visitors for the next 200 years.

I am pleased to be able to state publicly my commitment to assist in bringing the Graeme Hall National Park to fruition. It would be a wonderful thing for the people of Barbados, but it is not up to me to decide.

I respect the will of the people of Barbados, and if they, and their government, do not want a Park, then I will respect that. But if they do, and the Government of Barbados is willing to carry forward this initiative on their behalf, then I stand ready to assist in every way possible.

Yours truly,

Peter A Allard
Chairman
Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary

Link Added – Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary

Oops!

It is with some embarrassment that we realize we have never put up a sidebar link to the website of Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary – although we have linked in various stories. That’s corrected now.

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26 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Environment, News Media, Politics & Corruption

26 responses to “Outrage As Deceitful Nation News Censors Letter From National Park Donor Peter Allard

  1. concerned

    I can see no reason for the Nation to censor this letter. One can only wonder what it is that causes the Nation to treat the people of Barbados with such contempt.
    Who was responsible for censoring the letter and why was it censored?

    This is a very disturbing development. What causes the Nation to treat the people of Barbados with such contempt and disrespect?

  2. RRRicky

    I second that, concerned.

    What the @#$! is the agenda? I can’t figure it out. Why wouldn’t we want a National Park in the south?

  3. Pogo

    A true philanthropist is Mr. Peter Allard. He gives to Barbados and asks nothing back. Why is the Nation, among others, not praising him? We need more like him to make our country great.

    Barbados should give him, and others like him, a medal. People like him can spend their money anywhere and we are honoured by their largesse.

    Also why do I get the idea that our newspapers have to run their copy past the government before they get the ok to print. What kind of press is that?

  4. Straight talk

    Could the reason for The Nation’s duplicity and GoB’s antipathy towards Mr Allard be the fact that he is assisting Ms Knox in her case against the government re:the Kingsland Affair ?
    See the details http://www.keltruth.com/

  5. Straight Talk- A few months back there was a comment that the Peter Allard who had gone to Mrs Knox’s aid over Kinglsland, was the same person who had created the Nature Sanctuary.

    Another commenter challenged why this had been raised, with the response that the commenter feared O$A might be less disposed to throw out Caribbean Splash Water Park and oppose the Graeme Hall National Park initiative because it was being backed by his adversary on the Kingsland issue.

    However it is clear to me that The Nation, realising that Graeme Hall National Park is a contentious issue so long as Matthew Kerins’ Caribbean Splash Water Park proposal is still lurking around, deliberately chose to water down the outstanding generosity of Mr Allard’s letter in case the Powers That Be might feel he was backing Friends of GHNP against Government. Mealymouthed cowardice and journalistic perfidy at its worst!

    What is more, BFP, I swear there was at least one comment about the fact that news of Allard’s offer had been muzzled in the press, asking why. I am now going to check back on this.

  6. BFP- No wonder it rang a bell! I commented on Jan 12 as follows on the Stunning Development post of Jan 11.

    “BFP- This is a stunning development for you and me. but not, apparently for the two daily newspapers.

    “The graeme Hall folks sent out this press release on Jan 7th & neither newspaper has given it the coverage it deserves. What is going on?”

    So how on earth can you say “We totally missed the story?” It was right there!

    ***************************

    Hi Naive

    We meant the story of Peter Allard’s letter to The Nation News on February 28th. We have been following the entire National Park/ Graeme Hall / Water Park story for over a year.

    George

  7. For some reason a partial part of this submission went to BFP for print before I was finished.

    I want to leave politics out of these comments and focus on what I think is a no brainer when it comes to how Graeme Hall should be used.

    All nations recognize the importance of setting aside millions of hectares of park land for the enjoyment of their peoples, overseas visitors and to offer protection to animals, birds and other wildlife so that they can be enjoyed in their natural habitat. It is called having respect for our environment and the creatures who share it with us!

    Barbados with it’s limited and fast disappearing land has a National Treasure in the case of Graeme Hall and the potential for developing this rare and ageless jewel into a park should be grasped and embraced by all right thinking Bajans. To entertain the idea of developing this environmental asset into a water park is nothing short of Environmental genocide and will deny our generations to come a wonderful opportunity of seeing and enjoying the many rare plants, aquatic vegetation, birds, animals etc that have made Graeme Hall their home and a National landmark.

    I recall as a youngster in Barbados what a joy it was to go to Queens Park to see the caged monkeys, Parrots and the small Alligator. Back then that was all the exposure youngsters had to viewing some form of wildlife in Barbados. In Graeme Hall much of this panorama of nature, plant life and more can be viewed and enjoyed today in a natural setting. I am sure the Green monkey is present in Graeme Hall too, because this creature is ever spreading to built up areas because its habitat is disappearing because of development and no where to go but in the sea.

    Since that era Barbados has become wealthy but greedy and no one seems to think that it is of paramount importance that some land no matter how valuable it is, must be protected and in the case of Graeme Hall this is even more true and necessary, because it is a natural for being turned into a conservation/park facility where children, adults, visitors etc can visit to relax and enjoy the splendour of nature. The possibilities of this facility is awsesome.

    I certainly hope that sanity will prevail and that Barbadians of all stripes will do everything they need to do to see that this natural jewel is not allowed to fall to the bulldozer.

    As was done with the devlopment at Harrisons Caves, if competent overseas naturalists are consulted about how and what best should be done to develop Graeme Hall to its greatest potential as a Nature environment I am sure the advice would be donated as so many people today recognize the importance of protecting the environment and the creatures that share it with us.

    May I also suggest that the wealthy, Industrial culture, BTA and other such groups fully support and help finance the project as a gesture of giving back to a Nation and its peoples for much of the prosperity they are enjoying.

  8. BFP- OK, OK- the penny now drop. I am confusing the Press Release of Friends of Graeme Hall which the Nation sat of from Jan 7 to Jan 11th with the LETTER Peter Allard wrote which was published on Feb 28. Presumably it had been written not long before.

    The deceitfulness of the Nation is thus compounded by being repeated, despite BFP having highlighted in January that it was gross ingratitude, and a lot more not to have given the news and the offer the headlines it deserved- and still deserves.

  9. abcc

    “I can’t figure it out.” he sez
    “Why wouldn’t we want a National Park in the south?” he sez..
    —————
    who cares what “we” want.
    The ppl whose land it is, need the MONEY from that land, and parkland is all very cute and for the public good,
    but it doan’ get the politicians or developers the kinda $$$ that housing/industrial DEVELOPMENT gets.

    This is not about idealistic recreational grounds this is about wringing every developmental profit-making cent and dollar from every sq. inch of Bajan Rock, while still available!
    Sooner or later this entire island, all 166 sq.mi. of it, has to be converted into something like a Manhattan Island.
    Just give it a hundred years or so,
    but coast-to-coast concrete, steel and glass
    is coming soon, to a parish near you!

  10. Bajan George

    Manhattan has a big park. Central Park. Somebody had some foresight 130 years ago. I don’t know who it was who advocated this “no development” scheme, and would guess that they got some heat from quick-buck developers, but I can’t imagine New York without it.

  11. Travel Guy

    Politics of greed, abuse and vengeance

    How many more ways will Peter Allard be silenced and punished for not turning a blind eye? On the larger screen those being punished are the citizens of Barbados. It is my understanding that the editing, and silencing of Peter Allard stems from his association with Marjorie Knox and the Kingsland shareholder rights. I have learned from associates close to the power base that Peter Allard filed an affidavit several years ago to assist Marjorie Knox in maintaining her minority shareholders rights and in furtherance of assisting her in an oppression action in The Supreme Court of Barbados.

    This affidavit is apparently a real eye opener of how things are done in Barbados and it is a registered public document that gives names and players. Can anyone pull it from the registry and put it up on the site so we can all read it? Let everyone see exactly how the elected work their magic to help themselves.

    This may shed some light on why the PM and Lionel Nurse directed Matthew Kierans Water Park to be developed on Graeme Hall land, and not where it should have gone in the first place. Now the Water Park is going to Ocean Park.

    Travel Guy

  12. BFP

    Hi Travel Guy

    You heard that the water park is going to Ocean Park?

    We hadn’t heard that.. but we’ve been thinking that the water park is dead dead dead because nothing been heard of it.

    Any comments, folks?

  13. Rumplestilskin

    Firstly, as abcc says above, apart from being ingratitude, which it is, it seems to be about a deliberate attempt to downplay the downplay the nature park and reserve, in order to protect the potentially lucrative condo development area around Grame Hall, and interests therein.

    Money, money, money.

    By the way, I suspect that the Ocean Park waterpark is not connected to Kerrins, but a separate venture.

  14. Rumplestilskin

    Finally, with a possible waterpark being developed elsewhere, Kerrins reported comments of taking his investment elsewhere if he is not allowed to construct in Graeme Hall is looking rather thin now, no?

    Someone else has seen the value in placing elsewhere, without bitterness. We will have such a development without Kerrins anyway.

    So, back to an original question. Why was Kerrins so keen on Grame Hall only?

    Could not have been the cheap Government land.

    No. I mean what else could have been done with cheap Government land. Would never have had a change of use anyway, would it. Would never have given permission for residential, condo lots, would we.

    So why was he so fixed on Graeme Hall?

  15. Get in The Action

    What the hell is going on at the Nation. BFP, maybe it’s time you guys get into newsprint and ink. We certainly need someone to “keep them honest”.

  16. West Side Davie

    I have not been able to determine the “why” behind the Nation’s censoring Mr. Allard.

    That doesn’t matter anymore to me. I only know it smells. It stinks and how!

  17. Tudor

    Travel Guy some time ago I posted that a certain gentleman had been to a meeting with Kerins when he approached Ocean park about a joint venture. I did not call his name but another contributor indentified this person. He, if rumour is to be believed, is close to o$a and has been identified as a member of the inner circle, along with Shorey Cox etc. It was him who told kerins to go to Graeme Hall, guess anyone should able to deduce who must have told him so!
    This latest issue censoring Peter Allard’s letter is but another example of what happens in this country. Peter allard has made significant contributions to barbados, but because of his strong views has been targeted

  18. ivan taylor

    I am in shock to read these comments and to think that government does not even feel that backing its people would be worthwhile. I commented a while ago about the TDI and its efforts around Bridgetown to uplift the general surroundings of Bridgetown and to clean up the debris that rests so easy around our streets. Are we really interested or is this just for show, because I always feel as my dad would say prevention is better than cure. Hail the TDI but is this all an image trip for the heads of that organization because trying to get any of them for comment on what next has proven futile on several occasions. Graeme hall is a proven fact that one mans vision in another’s mans country works, the fact remains that certain people weather it be government or otherwise do not share those same beliefs. The Island is being sold from under our feet and in 50 years time no young Barbadian will ever be able to buy anything here because we have become a nation or greed so I take my hat off to Mr Allard as he has vision and its long term unlike our friends at the TDI.

  19. Travel Guy

    When you look into the future you have to look into the past. Now I would not want to ruin a probable future election announcement, but in government this is an old election recipe to look as if you have been working hard at something:
    ” First you create the problem by directing one developer to build a water park at Graeme Hall.
    Second you appear to solve the problem by allowing someone who has been asking for sometime, to put a Water Park in at Ocean Park. Essentially you take credit for your own misdeeds and inaction.”

    Travel Guy

  20. Pogo

    Forget about the personalities involved and it is obvious that everyone else sees the benefit of a beautiful park that will be there at Graeme Hall hundreds of years from now.

    What is there not to like about this idea? Who would lose if it is successful?

    Surely we are better than letting small or greedy minded people here undermine a good idea that the people of Barbados want.

  21. Laughable.

    Oh Pogo, you’re so naive and idealistic.
    ‘The Common Good’ and all that.
    Admirable to be sure..
    but it doan mek me nah MONEY, muh brather!
    …………
    And for those of you who sooo feel that The Newspapers of this country play some big deal..
    YOU ARE ADDICTS.

    Please stop buying the product, and hanging on their every word, like if daily newspapers are one’s only source of current info.
    THAT IS 1960s THINKING, and the time is now to break the bad habit of contributing to trees being cut down somewhere to make the newsprint for NATION Publ. to print bare-poo ON IT.
    (you never even thought of the environmental consequences of your newspaper-buying, didja?)

    Cease and desist from your daily consumption habit of stopping to buy the rag/s!
    Can you do this?

    CAN you control yourself of this daily acquisition, that is nothing more than a feel-good factor?
    Are you MAN ENOUGH to stop buying the Nation and the Advocate?

    I suspect you are NOT. but please prove me wrong.
    Hit them where it hurts, and encourage others to do so, as I am now encouraging you!

  22. Jupiter

    As for me I have long since decided that the nation isn’t worth the 50 cents it was charging back then far less the $1.00,$1.25,$1.50, and $2.00 they are now charging.

    My prayer for barbadians is that they will finally mature and become ‘thinking people’ and not take everything influential persons or organisations say at face value.

    Politicians generally,but in particular this administration prove to us every day how little they regard our views or convictions.

    Why not then give them and media organisations like the Nation newspapers a shock?

    For a start:

    Boycott their newspapers until they provide something worthwhile,confront the politicians when they refuse to listen to us or give us political rhethoric.

    Prove to one and all that you are not like sheep:just willing to be led.

  23. Wishing in Vain

    If you want to get anything done legally or illegally ask COW and others if Nicholls is not the best link to getting it done with the PM blessings obviously with a commission built in for he and Owing, hence the Kerins / Johnson / Nicholls connection regarding the Water Park, this place is rife with open corruption.

  24. Wishing in Vain

    If you want to get anything done legally or illegally ask COW and others if Nicholls is not the best link to getting it done with the PM blessings obviously with a commission built in for he and Owing, hence the Kerins / Johnson / Nicholls connection regarding the Water Park.
    This place is rife with open corruption.

  25. Wishing in Vain

    sorry about the duplication

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