Sanctuary Admission is FREE on MONDAY, December 1st
Eight thousand people showed up on the previous Free Day at the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary.
Yup… eight thousand folks who value the natural heritage of our country and want to preserve it for our children’s future took a walk on November 9th to see the mangroves, birds and wildlife that don’t exist in such a natural state anywhere else on Barbados.
Monday, December 1, 2008 is your last chance to see Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary for free because…
Graeme Hall Will Close December 15th As Canadian Philanthropist Driven From Barbados
Over the years thousands upon thousands of Bajans and tourists alike enjoyed the peace and learning experience of the last remaining mangrove wetlands on the island. Thousands of school children on learning tours encountered Graeme Hall in a way that their parents never could in the days when they were in school.
A generation ago, the last mangrove wetland at Graeme Hall was an abandoned, difficult-to-access, polluted garbage strewn mess. One man decided to rescue this precious piece of natural heritage for Bajans, Barbados and the world. One man and he wasn’t even a Barbadian!
Peter Allard, a philanthropist from Canada, poured some US$35 million into cleaning up the wetlands and creating the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary. He asked for nothing in return, and in fact received less than nothing.
I tried to find a photo of Mr. Allard for this article, but you know, I can’t find even one on the internet. There are, however, many references to his philanthropy towards social and environmental projects, medical research, universities and helping the poorest of the poor in some other countries that can best be described as hell on earth.
Barbados was not the first or only country that has benefited from his kindness, but we are apparently the only country where a government (the Owen Arthur BLP Government) refused Allard’s offer of a free no-strings-attached, multi-million dollar Cancer and Aids Hospice! (See BFP’s article SCANDAL! – Barbados “War On AIDS” – How Owen Arthur And His Government Refused The Donation Of A Free AIDS & Cancer Hospice)
Why Did The Barbados Government Target A Canadian Philanthropist For Harassment?
My best sense is that in rehabilitating “the swamp” and making it into a world-class tourist attraction and achieving status under the Ramsar Wetlands Treaty, Mr. Allard incurred the wrath of a group of elites who had other more profitable plans for that land like golf courses and condos. The problem may have also been his reluctance to hire the proper island “consultants” to get things done. “Consultants” was the way the previous BLP government worked. You can read about “consultants” in BFP’s article Fish Flocking To Barbados Reef Balls – Thanks In Part To An Abused Canadian Philanthropist.
So the BLP refused his offer of the Cancer & Aids Hospice. They harassed Allard and let the sea gate that controls the water into the wetlands deteriorate. Even when he offered to pay for a new gate and sponsored an engineering study, the BLP government wouldn’t repair it. Owen Arthur and his BLP wanted to punish Peter Allard for ruining their plan to profit from building on the Graeme Hall watershed.
The BLP refused his offer to donate the wetlands to the people of Barbados if they would declare a national park at Graeme Hall. Mr. Allard asked that a National Park be declared because he knows that without that, some government people someday will yield to the temptation and start selling off pieces of the wetlands.
According to a letter published over at Barbados Underground, the Nature Sanctuary has been waiting for years for our fearless government civil servants to process some paperwork to do with VAT or something. Years! More harassment by BLP-directed civil servants.
And now the same bunch is starting a cheerleading section on the blogs aimed at pushing the current government to expropriate the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary from Allard’s private ownership.
Because if the BLP had accepted his offer and declared a National Park, the wetlands couldn’t be built on. So the BLP wanted to steal the sanctuary from private ownership – and some still want this to happen.
Who Didn’t Visit Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary On The Previous Free Day?
Will The New DLP Government Decide To Do Something or Decide To Do Nothing?
As my grandfather used to say “Doing nothing requires the same decision-making process as doing something. A person who does nothing has decided to do nothing.”
Shona, the two boys and I were at the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary on the November 9th Free Day along with eight thousand other folks.
Prime Minister Thompson didn’t attend. Neither did the Minister of the Environment… nor the Tourism Minister… nor any Government Minister. I didn’t see any sitting member of the government at all.
Many people noticed and we wondered if that was the new government sending the same message to the voters as the last government did… That message being “Condos, buildings and water park on Graeme Hall the minute you look the other way.”
The entire Barbados Free Press crew will be joining the thousands of other folks this MONDAY December 1st to enjoy FREE ADMISSION to the nature sanctuary.
Dear Prime Minister Thompson:
Eight thousand attended at the sanctuary on the previous free day, and the Save The Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary FaceBook group is heading for five thousand members. The international community has noticed and is paying close attention to what your decision will be regarding Graeme Hall National Park and the last mangrove forest on Barbados.
Please come to the sanctuary this Free Day and listen to your people. Walk around and see the trees, water, birds and fish. You will see thousands of us there and by the time you leave, you’ll know how important this is to ordinary folks.
Marcus, Shona, George, Robert, Cliverton, Auntie Moses…
… and the eight thousand people who attended on the previous free day!