Daily Archives: October 9, 2007

National Botanical Garden: Come-Lately Election Balloon, Or A Total Rethink of Government’s Environmental Neglect?

So Difficult To Determine The Truth Of Anything The Government Says Anymore

The Barbados government says it will turn a 254 acre Zone 1 area in Waterford, St. Michael into a “National Botanical Garden” to turn the water catchment area into a tourist attraction.

Hmmmmmm. Maybe. I guess. If it is real.

What is the budget? When is it scheduled?

And, if this is a real project and not some election promise, the question is (of course): who has already cheaply secured or bought up all the land around project because they had the inside track on this development?

As the Nation News says, “…a botanical garden which would not only protect the aquifers but bring environmental and economic value to the area.” (Nation News story link here)

“bring economic value to the area.” Yes, indeed.

So again, we ask… When was this plan first publicly announced, and are there any suspect land purchase offers or transfers in the adjacent areas that predate the announcement?

We all know how tings be ’round hey!

GHNS_Aerial.jpg

The Government’s Problem With Graeme Hall National Park

In Graeme Hall – an area the is arguably even more at risk than Waterford – the government has behaved far differently than it pretends to behave in promising to create the botanical garden.

Prime Minister Arthur already approved the building of the Caribbean Splash Waterpark in the sensitive Graeme Hall watershed. Prime Minister Arthur turned down an offer of land for the Graeme Hall National Park.

Sanctuary owner Peter Allard offered to donate the majority of the sanctuary lands to the people of Barbados as part of a National Park, but the government won’t have any part of that. A National Park would mean that the government piggies couldn’t sell off pieces of land to their friends to build condos on.

The Prime Minister didn’t even have the courtesy to reply to Mr. Allard’s offer, so unsurprisingly Allard has put the sanctuary up for sale.

The loser in all this is not Mr. Allard or even the folks who support the formation of the Graeme Hall National Park. The losers are our children and generations to come who will enjoy the Owen Arthur legacy of high rise condos, pavement and decades of crushing national debt for which Barbados received little if any value and benefit.

If Owen Arthur would create a national park at Graeme Hall I wouldn’t disagree if it were called “Arthur National Park”. I’d bite my tongue and applaud.

At least then there would be one positive legacy for a man who could have done so much with 13 years of majority government, but in the end only squandered my children’s future and natural heritage.

photo: Area of Graeme Hall National Park. Under Owen Arthur, the green will disappear.

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Filed under Barbados, Environment, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

Barbados Association Of Professional Engineers’ Report Part Of A New Cultural Demand For Accountability, Transparency

A media release and a damning report by the Barbados Association of Professional Engineers would not have happened a year ago.

That is the assessment of two of the professional engineers who spoke with Barbados Free Press and provided BFP with two different draft reports last week – well before the “official” media release yesterday.

As mentioned in BFP’s October 6, 2007 story Secret Report: Barbados Association Of Professional Engineers “Grave Concern About Public Safety Of Flyovers And ABC Highway Expansion”, the association yesterday released a statement that, while focusing on the project, is in fact as hard-hitting a condemnation of the Barbados government’s mismanagement, incompetence and corruption as we have seen from a non-partisan professional association.

Here are the final words of the statement…

These queries simply serve to underscore the primary concern BAPE has held from the inception of this project, namely the absence of a technical and economic feasibility study preceding the project.

Perhaps the time has arrived when designs for significant public project be made easily accessible (e.g. via the Internet) for critical review prior to their construction. The environmental and social impact studies for these projects should be made similarly available.

BAPE is mindful of its obligation to highlight issues which it believes present a potential threat to public safety. The design of all projects, particularly large, public infrastructure projects, should be critically reviewed before construction starts.

One likely outcome of the failure to ensure the project has been planned using sound technical and financial principles is an increase in cost beyond the planned budget, when deficiencies must be corrected, or additional work is forced to be added to the scope.

Roger Blackman
President – BAPE
http://www.bape.org

BAPE Executive Are National Heroes

Every citizen of Barbados knows what courage, determination and sense of duty that it took for the BAPE to produce such a public statement. From our sources we are aware of the incredible pressures that the BAPE was under as government attempted all weekend to have the media release gutted.

In our oppressive culture where there is a well-founded fear of reprisal from the government, more and more citizens are speaking out with the best interests of our country and our fellow citizens in mind.

While there is no doubt that the recent rise of citizen journalism on the internet has accelerated this process, the simple truth is that the vast majority of Bajans are so sick and tired of government corruption that the floodgates are cracking. Our culture is changing. Citizens always knew there was corruption, but they are now finding the courage and the outrage to demand transparency and accountability of public officials.

Make no mistake: this is a huge cultural change. Elected and appointed public officials ignore it at their peril.

The Nation News reported on the BAPE’s statement with the article BAPE Fear. The article has been (of course) toned down somewhat and is short on detail.

You really owe it to Barbados, yourself and the courageous folks at the Barbados Association of Professional Engineers to go to their website, download the PDF and to read their report in full. (BAPE website link here. PDF Report link here)

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Filed under Barbados, Freedom Of The Press, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption