December 1st Last Chance To See Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary For Free

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.

barbados-lizard-graeme-hall-nature.jpgI 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?

Condos & Quick Cash Trump The Environment & The Future

DLP Government: Will Condos & Quick Cash Trump The Environment & The Future?

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.

Yours truly,

Marcus, Shona, George, Robert, Cliverton, Auntie Moses…

… and the eight thousand people who attended on the previous free day!


Filed under Barbados

21 responses to “December 1st Last Chance To See Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary For Free

  1. permres

    December 1st is Monday! If this is when GHNS is open for free, there is a clash with other Independance Day activities. Hope that does not spoil the effort.

  2. West Side Davie

    It is a nice gesture on the part of the Nature Sanctuary. There probably won’t be the great crowds there were last time it was for free but that is fine with me!

    A nature walk will be much more pleasurable than milling about with some of the drunken louts that will be in the city.

  3. 197

    Meeeeee tooo! I’d rather spend the day feeling the cool grass in my toes than dealing with the hot pavement and rowdy behaviours of Bridgetown.

    On the matter of the abuse of this Allard by the last government, how does the current government think this looks to those prospective philanthropists that Barbados is courting? The world does not know that it was the old government that mistreated Allard. They think “Barbados” and that’s all.

  4. 197

    West Side, don’t underestimate the draw of the sanctuary on Monday. It will be peaceful but I think there will be many young families there instead of the city.

  5. Equilibrium

    wow i definitely have to go see this sanctuary, I’ve been hearing sooooooo many positive comments about the last free day they had, saddening to see it closing.

  6. Barbados the Beautiful

    We have DLP loudly asking for more philanthropists to help in Barbados and meanwhile we disrespect one who has done so much?

    This not adding up. If DLP mean business this man deserve a special thank you.

  7. permres

    I am beginning to think that something is going to happen before the impending closure on December 15th. How about an announcement from PM David Thompson on Independence Day?!!

  8. Proud Bajan

    Nonsense and lies.

    There were never 8,000 people there on ANY single day in the history of that place.

    You must think that Bajans are fools that you can bamboozle with such unfounded crap.

    BFP is too full of lies.

  9. Embarrassed Bajan

    more sabotage from the BLP and bureaucrats

    the last blogger was obviously not part of the 8,000 plus proud Bajans who jammed into the Sanctuary on Novemebr 9th, particularly in the afternoon.

    Makes you kind of wonder what makes these people tick?

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  11. Sundowner

    Embarrassed Bajan,
    I doubt they’ll be part on the thousands that go tomorrow either! we couldn’t go last time, but rain or shine we’re going tomorrow, a guest book for people to sign might be a good idea.

  12. Sundowner

    We went first thing as it opened and had a really nice hour or so, a lot of people, what a shame that there wasn’t a petition to sign or guest book or something, neither was the shop open when we left, so no refreshments either. Opportunity missed.

  13. Jukecheckedeyskirt

    Rather there were 8 or 8000 people at the sanctuary, the point is, the Graemehall swamp needs to be preserved for all time and for all Bajans and visiting persons alike. Any government who so thinks to hide behind the cloak and dagger of investment, in the name of furthering the developmental cause in this island, when we all know that investment in this country comes with alot of under-handing, draw backs, hand overs, and lies, to which politicians and their circle of friends are the only beneficiaries, will be rudely awaken by protest and actions that will make them think twice again.

    Mr. Prime Minister, it is time, prime time, for you to show that you are a leader with a difference and not one with a hidden and personal agenda.

  14. Hants

    Just like public Zoos in Canada are run by the Government along with private donations, Government should purchase the Sanctuary from Mr.Allard and keep it functioning.

    I believe it is not a profit making venture on its own but the benefit derived as an attraction is worth the investment.

    The entire Graeme Hall swamp should be preserved and the Sanctuary should be maintained as it currently exists.

  15. I finally went and glad I did so – was there from 8:30 to 11:30 am and will have a full update, took over 100 pix so should have something intriguing…

    Pox on all who want water parks instead, there were folks parked all down by Xtreme and still streaming in by fives when I left

  16. permres

    No mention on CBCTV 7.00pm news. St Philip carnival got a big coverage, and some event in Christ Church, can’t remember what it was!

  17. To quote Iago the parrot from Disney’s Aladdin; “Why am I not surprised?”

  18. I respect and support your call for the Nature Sanctuary and surrounding lands to be made a National Park.

    However, in addition access to beaches, including parking, MUST BE A PRIORITY of every average bajan to DEMAND of their representatives.

    I was at the beach the other morning and thought just how blessed we are to have the sea.

    It is immoral, disgusting and wrong that such access has been eroded during the last ten years, further with the acceptance of Parliamentary representatives who had either no forethought or no care as to outcome.

    Time for this to be addressed.

    Peace & Live Strong

  19. Sundowner

    I was not surprised that it wasn’t on the news last night, (I hope St Philip Carnival was more exciting than it looked on TV!) I’ll be interested to see if its in either of the papers today.

  20. Sloppy News

    The Nation News and the writer Phillippe Aimey doesn’t get it. The title says “hundreds” came to the Sanctuary, but the first paragraph says “thousands” came. Which is it, Phillippe?

    Fact: Nearly 10,000 showed up. And they didn’t show up just because it was free. Everyone I talked to said they were happy to be there and that they worried about the closing.

    Maybe the Nation thinks that the reason why everyone showed up to protest the Water Park last year did so because it was “free.”

    Sloppy reporting, Mr. Aimey. If you were so unclear about the motivation behind the people who came, why didn’t you ask?

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