World Bank Pulls Uganda Loan Over RAMSAR Site Violation – A Taste Of The Future In Barbados?

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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.

Millions in 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.

Further Reading

Graeme Hall National Park (website here)

Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary (website here)

BFP Article: OUTRAGE! Town Hall Meeting Learns Barbados PM Arthur Ordered Waterpark Built On Sensitive Watershed!

BFP Article: Weasel Words By DLP Over Graeme Hall National Park

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3 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Environment, Traveling and Tourism

3 responses to “World Bank Pulls Uganda Loan Over RAMSAR Site Violation – A Taste Of The Future In Barbados?

  1. pogo

    We don’t think Bajans yet fully understand that once you build up or ruin all your lands you can never get them back.

    Great men as strong leaders in first class countries have realized that dedication to parklands, green and ecology will pay great dividends in the future when we are long gone and all of the profits the developers and politicians raked off today for greed or so called good times, are spent and forgotten.

    Thank goodness the World Bank is delivering that message because Bajan so called leaders seem to be missing it.

    The question remains asked but not answered do we have any great men here in Barbados?

  2. Paradox

    It is a comfort to learn that the World Bank is watching; is prepared to take action when governments fail to take the necessary steps to protect the environment, especially where that country is a recipient of a loan from the W.B..
    The W.B.is truely aware government officials can be bribed , a country with no laws on integrity,accountability; must protect its interest and not government’s.
    If I am not mistaken, I read somewhere,there is an official from the W.B. in this country. It is hoped he/she pays close attention to all ventures led by this and other administrations, especially when loans are provided by the same W.B.

  3. Paradox

    pogo:
    “The question remains asked but not answered do we have any great men here in Barbados?”
    My answer to the above Q. is this:
    Great men are ‘ordinary men/women who set out to achieve good for the benefit of all and not just for themselves.