Last night, we received the following press release from the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary…
No Word on the Future of Graeme Hall
An official at Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary confirmed Monday that there was still no agreement with the Government of Barbados to negotiate the means to transfer the Sanctuary and create the 240-acre National Park at Graeme Hall.
“I have been available to them, but have not heard or received any indication of what they (government) will do,” said Stuart Heaslet who represents Peter Allard, owner of the Sanctuary.
In the last two months Heaslet has made two trips to Barbados from his home in Oregon in an attempt to reach a formal agreement to negotiate with government, but with no success.
Employees who were laid off in mid December will be formally severed from the Sanctuary in early March if no agreement is reached to re-open the nature facility.
The Sanctuary closed on December 15th last year, after years of providing educational and environmental programmes to tens of thousands of children and adults. A small maintenance and security staff is now maintaining the bird aviaries and providing minimal ecosystem services at the Sanctuary.
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 in accordance with the 1988 Barbados National Physical Development Plan. This would protect its RAMSAR wetland and wildlife reserve with low-density open and recreational upland buffers.
Much of the information needed by government to develop a “Master Action Plan” for creating the 240-acre Graeme Hall National Park has already been produced and consolidated by Coastal Zone Management Unit staff.
The More Things Change…
We find it so interesting that Prime Minister David Thompson inserted himself into the LIME – Cable & Wireless mess to try and save 130 call center jobs… not to mention the gift of almost $20 million for his rich horse-racing friends at the Barbados Turf Club.
But with 85 to 100 direct jobs gone at the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary and that last major green space on the south about to slide away into development by CLICO and other land owners in the watershed, the government hasn’t bothered to lift a finger. And even worse, the DLP government approved the BLP’s “Development Corridors” within the Graeme Hall watershed. Why do you think that is?
Notice the careful wording of the press release… it seems to us like the Barbados Government has Mr. Allard on “ignore” as they watch yet another abused foreign investor make his exit – much wiser into the ways of Barbados where the rule of law is whatever the government elites and their ex-Attorney-General-and-Master-Politician-turned-Chief-Justice say it is at any given moment.
Meanwhile, the greedy developers and their shiftless political friends are licking their chops at the thought of developing the Graeme Hall watershed.
… The More That Things Stay The Same!
Philanthropist Peter Allard had volunteered to give the majority of the nature sanctuary lands to the people of Barbados if the government would finally declare the National Park at Graeme Hall so the wetlands and mangrove forest would be protected for future generations. Two successive Prime Ministers and their governments wouldn’t give Peter Allard the time of day because his generous offer made it difficult for certain folks to profit from public lands.
What about that Integrity and Transparency Legislation that was supposed to be in declared within 100 days of the DLP being elected? What about those Ministerial Conflict of Interest rules that were supposed to be put in place “immediately” upon the DLP forming the government?
What about all those rules that were supposed to make it illegal for elected and appointed government officials to profit from their insider knowledge and authority? The rules that would have made it illegal for government officials to receive “gifts” from land developers?
Give your head a shake, friend…
Same old, same old ’bout hey.