The Global Village Notices If A Country Abuses Their Natural Heritage
The World Bank has stopped a loan to a French / Ugandan company over its plans to mine in and NEAR a RAMSAR-designated national park site.
The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, signed in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971, is an intergovernmental treaty which provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. There are presently 151 Contracting Parties to the Convention, with 1593 wetland sites, totaling 134.7 million hectares, designated for inclusion in the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance.
The French Lafarge cement company is coming under scrutiny in Uganda for mining limestone near a RAMSAR site. It is feared that the mining operations which are not actually on the site but only near – will interfere with wildlife in and near the designated RAMSAR area. The World Bank has responded by holding a loan.
Excerpt from a story at eTurbo News…
In fact, latest information received now suggests that a major US$50 million loan application by the company through the World Bank private sector lending arm IFC has already been put on hold, as the World Bank has been a major source of funding for the rehabilitation, upgrading and sustainable management of Uganda’s national parks.
The World Bank has in the more recent past been more vigorous in regard of the environmental impact of such projects and has been listening more keenly to the conservation fraternity, before approving any funding.
… from the eTurboNews story French Company Under Scrutiny Over Park Exploitation
World Bank Decision Could Have Implications For Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary & National Park
The Barbados Labour Party’s plan to allow a water park to be built on the Graeme Hall watershed has many similarities with the Uganda situation. In each case a RAMSAR-designated wetland is threatened by government-approved activities outside the actual site.
The Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary and a portion of the adjacent wetlands were designated as a Ramsar area in 2006, so it will be interesting to see what the reaction of the international community will be should the government continue to support the building of the Caribbean Splash Water Park on the Graeme Hall watershed.
Bribes Consulting Fees Have Already Been Paid To Government Agents
Caribbean Splash Water Park developer Matthew Kerins is on record saying that he has spent some US$2 million dollars in “consulting fees” to support his project.
“Consulting Fees”… yup, we all know what that means on Barbados.
Kerins is also on record stating that “the (Barbados) government cannot back out” and that he was told to place the water park in the Graeme Hall watershed by none other than Prime Minister Owen Arthur himself.
Sources also indicate that Kerins has been told to “wait until after the election” as the BLP does not want the water park or Graeme Hall National Park to become an election issue.
The DLP has adopted a Weasel Words position on Graeme Hall National Park as they try to play both sides of the fence without actually committing to anything.
Much like the rest of the DLP policies all we see is weaseling but no real leadership or anything to significantly differentiate the DLP from the ruling BLP.
What a shame for Barbados!
But no matter who is elected, the next government had better know that things are changing regarding the willingness of the international community to fund governments that do not look after their country’s natural heritage.
Now that the World Bank has started to yank financing over RAMSAR violations, it can truly be said that the international rules for governments have changed.
Graeme Hall National Park (website here)
Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary (website here)
BFP Article: Weasel Words By DLP Over Graeme Hall National Park