Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary Closing – World-Class Eco-Tourism Attraction, 85+ Jobs Gone – Canadian Philanthropist Gives Up On Barbados

Click On The Photo To See The New Graeme Hall Video

Click On The Photo To See The New Graeme Hall Video

Goodbye To The National Park & The Last Mangrove Wetlands In Barbados

We’ll have more to say about this tomorrow. We can hardly cope right now. Anger. Sorrow. Despair at what our country has become. There is so much corruption on this island that foreign philanthropists can’t even give it away without a dozen people wanting a piece of the action.

So much for the National Park. So much for all the fine words of two successive governments of Owen Arthur and David Thompson.

Oh well, don’t worry kiddies… they’ll be another sucker of a foreign philanthropist along shortly. Some other factory or joint venture will open and we’ll get those jobs back.

Kiss the National Park and all that green space goodbye though. Too much money to be made so the political elites will have it paved over soon. That is why both the DLP and the BLP just couldn’t let us have a national park on the south coast. Too much money to be made.

Here’s the press release from Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary. Read it and weep…


GRAEME HALL NATURE SANCTUARY, INC.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Bridgetown, Barbados
Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Contact:                Harry Roberts, General Manager
Telephone:            (246)  426-3610
Email:                    hroberts@graemehall.com
Backup Letters, Art and Archives:    http://www.graemehall.com/press.htm

Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary in Barbados to Close

[Vancouver, Canada]   Environmental philanthropist Peter Allard announced that the 35-acre Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary in Barbados will close on December 15, 2008.

Saying that “no one individual can stand longer than a generation in the wilderness of environmental preservation,” Allard despaired that to preserve the environmental heritage at Graeme Hall for future generations of Barbadians would require “a government-led consciousness.”

“I thank the the citizens of Barbados who came to the Sanctuary to visit, and thank those who signed the petition with the Friends of Graeme Hall for a National Park,” said Allard.   “I believe the Sanctuary would not have been possible without the support of the many eco-visitors, school children and the hard-working employees who put their heart and soul into making the Sanctuary a first class visitor experience.”

Allard went on to say that the Sanctuary would not exist if it had not been for special individuals who helped make it happen  such as Dame Billie Miller and her kind and capable Permanent Secretary, the late Brie St. John, Dr. Lorna Inniss, Dr. Trevor Carmichael, Dr. Karl Watson and many, many others.

Approximately 85 employees and contractors will be negatively affected by the closing.   It is expected that tour companies, taxis and local businesses will lose bookings as well.

In 2007, over 6,000 Barbadians signed a Friends of Graeme Hall petition in favor of preserving the approximately 240 acre green area at Graeme Hall as a National Park.    As the largest green space on the South Coast between the Airport and Bridgetown, the proposed National Park would include the designated 91-acre RAMSAR wetland approved under the international Convention on Wetlands, the 35-acre Sanctuary, and recreational lands.

Saying that that the future of the Sanctuary and the National Park is in the hands of the people of Barbados, Allard believes that the Friends of Graeme Hall and the citizens of Barbados must decide what their priorities are.

“We have great affection and regard for the people of Barbados, and the Sanctuary effort has always been a philanthropic mission.   This has been an incredibly painful and saddening decision, but ultimately it is not for us to initiate or set national goals and long term legacies for the nation.”

More information about the Sanctuary and the proposed Graeme Hall National Park can be found at www.graemehall.com/press.htm and www.graemehallnationalpark.org .

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64 Comments

Filed under Agriculture, Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Corruption, Disaster, Environment, Ethics, Offshore Investments, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption, Tourism, Travel, Traveling and Tourism, Wildlife

64 responses to “Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary Closing – World-Class Eco-Tourism Attraction, 85+ Jobs Gone – Canadian Philanthropist Gives Up On Barbados

  1. For Merv

    Let this be a lesson to all white foreign do-gooders! We’re beyond help.

  2. Hants

    BFP you say

    “There is so much corruption on this island that foreign philanthropists can’t even give it away without a dozen people wanting a piece of the action.”

    There must be a way for Mr.Allard to return this property to the people of Barbados and for the Government to pass legislation to preserve and upkeep said property.

    Mr.Allard should be compensated and the property renamed the Peter Allard Nature Sanctuary in recognition of his contribution to Education and the Environment.

    BFP how about a new petition to save the Environment starting with Graeme Hall.

  3. For Merv

    Allard offered to GIVE the f’ing wetlands to Barbados if government declare a National Park. Otherwise he gives it to Barbados and a few years down the road the government pigs sell it for condos. the park would protect it.

    No park for us. South coast about to become west coast.

    F$#@ !

  4. Red Lake Lassie

    “petition” Hants? You mek sport!

  5. passin thru

    must find a way to save the sanctuary and the jobs. Why not a national park?

    Prime Minister Thompson I hope your reading this.

  6. Rohan

    This is a sad day for Barbados.

  7. PiedPiper

    When you think that Mr. Allard has already incurred the major expense of making Graeme Hall Sanctuary what it is today and now it is just a matter of operating costs and maintenance, one would think that the Barbados Government would welcome the opportunity to have this as a focal point of tourism. However, I do think that Mr. Allard has made the only decision he could by cutting his losses and putting the ball squarely in government’s court to either continue on by finding the funding to maintain Graeme Hall Sanctuary or sell out like previous administrations to those who would put up more condos or gated communities.
    It is a sad day indeed when someone who has devoted so much of his time and money to preserve what little is left of a natural Barbados

  8. Jason

    Owen Arthur turned down another gift from the Allard family too: a multi-million dollar HIV and Cancer clinic.

    Belive it or not!

    https://barbadosfreepress.wordpress.com/2007/07/07/scandal-barbados-war-on-aids-how-owen-arthurs-government-refused-the-donation-of-a-free-aids-cancer-hospice/

  9. Jason

    Bye the way. Go to that AIDS article I posted above and read the comments from Wishing In Vain and other DLP supporters. WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

  10. passin thru

    I just read that HIV Aids hospice link Jason. Unbelieveable! (But true.)!

  11. joe

    f@ck david thompson!

    misspelled in rage, sorry

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

    BFP says,

    Joe… that will be enough of that kind of language please.

  12. Sundowner

    I’m devastated by this news, we’re losing a jewel, I can’t believe the government can stand by and let this happen. I hope they come to their senses very quickly, I for one am rapidly losing faith in them.

  13. Avatar Gurl

    Why, BFP?

    Joe is VERY right! Neither david nor owen has done much about this! Honestly, I think that you might be apologising for them, now!

  14. crossroads

    This really sucks. I signed on that petition and to think that it is being ignored by the Gov is amazing.
    When and where do we MARCH!. I suggest in Bridgetown at the opening of the Sagicor lighting show. I am calling on all 6000 persons who signed that petition to come out. BFP please send out print edition of this article for all to see.

  15. Jason

    Time for a print edition BFP. Time to go back to work just like before the election.

    (Bye the way, you said Arthur and David Thompy they were both the same. You were right. I was wrong.)

  16. MichiganTourist

    Barbados has become so busy in the last five years since our first visit. We visited the sanctuary last year for the first time and were looking forward to spending one of our evenings there again. This is a shame.

  17. akabozik

    Peter Allard said “ultimately it is not for us to initiate or set national goals and long term legacies for the nation.”

    That is a much deserved backhand across the face of every bajan politician. Which of them intends to profit from “the last mangrove forest” on Barbados?

  18. Jukecheckedeyskirt

    I think the Prime Minister will do the right thing. Let’s not be too hasty in dishing out to much superlatives to the Thompson Administration.

  19. Tell me Why

    Barbados was given acres of forestation by The Turners with firm directives that the area must be preserved and not be destroyed. That is why we have the massive area called Turners Hall Woods. Mr. Allard don’t have to wait on any Prime Minister to come forward and accept any gift. He can call in the media The Barbados National Trust and tell the people of Barbados that he will bereaved the entire Graeme Hall area to the People of Barbados and it must remain as a National Park for the enjoyment of Barbadians and Tourist alike.

    This action will uphold the area for Eco-tourism purpose before the construction of condos and golf courses.

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

    BFP says,

    Allard already tried to give it away. Our governments don’t want it if they can’t build on it.

  20. reluctant nonbeliever

    This is terrible news.

    I feel a sense of despair, and yearn like the poster above for a national outcry, a public demonstration against the loss of something so good and precious.

    But you know what? The majority of Bajans will shrug, say nothing and do nothing: because the majority just don’t care about this kind of thing…

  21. I agree with reluctant, sad to say.
    Even if they care, they will still shrug their shoulders.
    Access to beaches has become nearly impossible.
    Will Barbados become an island with all inclusive resorts and condos?
    What was once a beautiful island of coral and lime stone is becoming a block of cement.
    Is that what Bajans want, is that what tourists want?

  22. Red

    There is not a single reason why Allard should give anything to Barbados now. The bureaucrats have shown they don’t care about the environment or the Sanctuary or the national park. Everybody else has opinions and we all know what they are worth. If Thompson doesn’t lead, Allard cashes out. If Thompson does lead, Allard cashes out. People like Allard know how to survive. Is Thompson thinking about the big picture and what is best for Barbados?

  23. Brutus

    When Allard offered to give the property to Barbados, do we know what he asked for in return?

  24. permres

    There has to be a case here for a peaceful demonstration. If Friends of Graeme Hall, and/or others, could get it together and give us all the time and place, 6000+ could turn out. If every Barbadian really cares about their nation, we ought to get half the population out at least!!?

    If only 500 turn out, I think we will all get the message as to where this beautiful island is heading.

  25. Anon

    Will I be getting my Water Park now?

  26. Might be too late now

    “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot ….”
    “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you got til it’s gone”

    Joni Mitchell

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  28. X

    A non-response from the new Govenment is the only thing that would be more embarrasing to me as a Barbadian than the fact that someone with such a selfless and benevolent offer was ignored.

  29. rumboy

    Has to be a way to save this, just has to be.

  30. Jeppastud

    Brutus
    October 30, 2008 at 10:47 am

    When Allard offered to give the property to Barbados, do we know what he asked for in return?

    Kingsland???? ROGLMAO

  31. Anon

    What about my water Park no one is answering that.

  32. Tudor

    Allard offered to donate 25 of his 35 acres to the Govt & people of Barbados if Govt declared a National Park at Graeme Hall thats all he wanted. Its attitudes like yours that has helped to run Allard from Barbados

  33. Anonymous

    Thank God that nasty place is closing

  34. akabozik

    The government refused Allard’s offer of a AIDS and cancer hospice too. It was a multimillion dollar facility and the health community and churches were all ready to staff if.

    It would have been a wonderful thing for the last-stage patients and their families. Someplace where there was proper 24/7 medical care and counseling. It would take the burden from the families and friends and from the QEHospital.

    The Owen ARthur government and white-hating Health Minister Liz Thompson weren’t about to take anything from a foreign whitey. They hated whites so bad they took that AIDS and cancer clinic from the people. They hated whites so bad and want the Graeme Hall land so bad they took it from the people.

    Don’t kid yourself about how this thing went down. Back in the mid 90’s it were all about race and hate whitey for Arthur and Liz Thompson.

  35. Tell me Why

    BFP in your opening submission you said:
    “Kiss the National Park and all that green space goodbye though. Too much money to be made so the political elites will have it paved over soon. That is why both the DLP and the BLP just couldn’t let us have a national park on the south coast. Too much money to be made”.

    TmW is stating that:
    If Allard is interested in Graeme Hall Swamp as an Environmental area he can accomplish it without all the hot air. As I said earlier, the area can be vested to the Government and People of Barbados to continue the area for Eco-Tourism only and this Government or future Governments will not be able to tamper with the land. Check Turners Hall Woods and you will see it can work even though that area has one of the best scenic views in the island.

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

    BFP says…

    Oh Yes… he could just put the whole thing into the hands of the very people who have wanted to build water parks on the wetlands all these years!

    Allard is no fool and neither are the people of Barbados. Without a buffer zone that is now agricultural land but would become part of a National Park, the mangrove forest will perish. Not to mention that the lack of normal sea access that any mangrove forest needs – because the government piggies want to kill the mangrove forest. That is why they have not fixed the sea gate or allowed private funds to be used to fix it.

    Government never even replied to Allard’s offer and never replied to the thousands of Bajans who signed the petition. You make it seem like Allard and the citizens who want the mangrove forest preserved have been dealing all these years with a caring and supporting government. Get one thing straight… the personal profit-making agendas of government officials and the financial and political elites have taken this park from the people of Barbados.

    You talk such foolishness.

  36. Canuck Bajan

    This news leaves me heart-broken and spitting mad! My mom was Bajan and I have spent many wonderful visits there over the years. The rampant commercial development I’ve seen in the past 10-15 years may be great for jobs and pockets of those in positions of power but it does nothing for the long-term good of the people of B’dos or the small allotment of precious land that can be passed on to our children. I hope that something will be done at the 11th hour to save this wonderful gift that Peter Allard created – come together now!!

  37. Hants

    According to a study conducted this year by Caribbean-based macro-economist Dr Allan Williams entitled: The Wetlands Of Graeme Hall – An Initial Assessment Of Value, the wetlands and adjoining lands are worth more than $1.1 billion.

  38. Tell me Why

    I was closing down my computer and I saw this reply from you, and I will make it my going away statement.
    ” Get one thing straight… the personal profit-making agendas of government officials and the financial and political elites have taken this park from the people of Barbados.

    You talk such foolishness.
    ………………………………………………………………………………
    BFP, I always say that you respond without reading. I am not interested which Government it was given to and which Government refused it. All I am saying is if Allard bequest the land to Government and states that the land be used specifically for a National Park and should not be subjected to any change of use, then the Government must accede to the request since it would be illegal to do otherwise. If you have any queries, check with the archives pertaining to
    Barbados being given acres of forestation by The Turners who owned Turners Hall Plantation with firm directives that Turners Hall Woods area must be preserved and not be destroyed. All these years, don’t you still see the vast woodland.

    Ah dunn wid dis bloggin’

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

    BFP says,

    Not trying to get the final word, TMW, and we hope to see you again… but Allard does not control the agricultural and wetlands that border the ponds and the Nature Sanctuary. These are necessary for the health of the wetlands and ponds. Unless they are protected, the mangrove forest will fail, so just giving the forest to Barbados will eventually see condos ringing the dying forest… then more condos after the wetlands die.

    You are the one who doesn’t get it, TMW. Those who want to profit from the agricultural lands and wetlands surrounding the RAMSAR site get it very well!

  39. Write & Rong

    GRAME HALL SWAMP Going……Going…Going?..TOURISM Going…Going….Going? FORIEGN INVESTORS….Going…Going …Going?..The only thing that is not going are the POLITICIANS …They Coming Coming Coming

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  41. TMW

    TMW, what you suggest is impractical. The Sanctuary needs care and feeding and protection. It is not just a question of land use. Look at the eastern lands of the Graeme Hall wetland owned by government and designated as a RAMSAR site. It is poorly maintained, poorly administered. Your idea does nothing to address where funds would come from, or how it should be managed.

  42. Matt

    Action is required to preserve our island.

    The idea of it being built on is peverse!

    Someone somewhere please find it in them to do something before it is ruined!

    thank you

  43. political whoredom

    turners hall was bequeathed to the people of barbados, some legal mummbo jumbo bequeathed in perpetuity and cant be touched. is most beautiful especially at night. you can see the milky way on a clear night

  44. bajanarchitect

    let we march to parliament all dressed as mangrove trees….who in??

  45. MichiganTourist

    After reading the racist diatribe at Barbados Underground it is unlikely that my family will return to Barbados. They are celebrating the demise of the nature park because a white person created it.

    Nice advertising for Barbados tourism.

  46. SAD

    There are no parks on this island to take your kids and enjoy the natural beauty, this island is soon going to have nothing to offer as when tourist come here they are going to discover that there is nothing special about this island actually you could be anywhere in the world.

  47. permres

    Michigan Tourist, the fault lies with the moderators of Barbados Underground, not the vast majority of the people of Barbados. I am sure you must know that blogging is infamous for giving a platform to ignorant people.

    I too was put off this BU thread by its nonsense, but we ignore and move on.

  48. Hants

    Education,Education,Education.

    Barbadians must be educated to understand the value of a “swamp”.

    To a lot of people it is just “nasty,stinking, bilgy water”.

  49. Adrian Loveridge

    Everybody, please to the BTA’s weekly newsletter with special thanks to Minister Sealy, Friends at Graeme Hall and all of you that have supported keeping this amazing facility open.

  50. Hants

    Adrian where is the BTA weekly newsletter?

  51. Straight talk

    You seem to have to sign up to receive it.

    Adrian, can you cut, paste and post the relevant section?

  52. @Adrian Loveridge: with appropriate prejudice…

    You said “Everybody, please to the BTA’s weekly newsletter”

    *Where* is this language available to the common person?

    Either provide a URL, or provide the language.

  53. Hants

    Moves are underway to prevent the closure of the Graeme Hall Sanctuary in Christ Church very soon.

    According to reliable sources at the Ministry of Tourism talks are being conducted behind the scene to keep the attraction open for locals and visitors.

    CBC understands that following the recent announcement by owner environmental philanthropist Canadian Peter Allard that the facility is to be closed on December 15, officials of the Ministry held some informal talks with the party.

  54. pt

    I see a letter over at Barbados Underground where Allard wrote PM Thompson weeks ago and let him know he is shutting down the place. Apparently he couldn’t get some papers from the government in 13 years! It is a wonder he lasted as long as he did.

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