Barbados Government Confirms Plans To Develop Graeme Hall Wetlands. Thompson’s Million-Dollar Lie

“David Thompson is attempting to turn the issue into some sort of a dispute between the sanctuary owner and the DLP government when it is all about the destruction of vast areas of our last remaining green space between Bridgetown and the airport.”

Thomson Government’s Developer Friends Rub Their Hands With Evil Glee

In an obvious effort to confuse Barbadians about the issues surrounding the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary and Graeme Hall National Park, Prime Minister David Thompson yesterday announced that the Barbados government would provide $1 million in support to the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary. (Nation News story here)

Thompson also said that the Barbados government would not be dictated to by anybody in relation to pursuing what is in the best interest of Barbadians.

The statements by Thompson are deceptive. They contain and conceal many lies and we don’t intend to let him get away with it – even if the lapdog Barbados news media continues to tell Thompson’s lies to the public without question.

Firstly, the very offer of $1 million to “keep the sanctuary open” propagates the government lie that the sanctuary was closed because it was not profitable or because of money concerns by the owner, billionaire Canadian philanthropist Peter Allard.

In a number of media releases, Mr. Allard made it clear that the nature sanctuary was closed because the Barbados government policies to develop and pollute the Graeme Hall area are destroying the RAMSAR wetlands and the nature sanctuary. Under the current government policies the last mangrove wetland in Barbados will soon die and no amount of money by Peter Allard or any philanthropist can change this unless the government changes its policies.

So, as a philanthropist who can spend his money wherever he wants to, Mr. Allard has shaken the Bajan sand from his shoes and is spending his millions of charity and good works dollars elsewhere. Allard offered to give the majority of the sanctuary’s lands to the people of Barbados for FREE if the government would only follow through with the plans to preserve Graeme Hall that had been on the books for decades until David Thompson and his DLP crones changed the land-use law. If that is “dictating” to the government and its land developer friends, I wish we had a dozen more “dictators” like Allard!

None of the Barbados news media including the Barbados Advocate and the Nation have seen fit to accurately communicate to the people of Barbados the reasons the nature sanctuary was closed by Allard.

Thompson’s “million-dollar support” is a ploy is in response to a press release put out last week by the nature sanctuary, but Barbadians don’t know that because none of the so-called “professional” island media covered the release. (Barbados Free Press and other blogs covered the release. See here, here and here.)

The public lands at Graeme Hall were long ago set aside for the long term natural heritage and enjoyment of all Barbadians,  but the allure of quick money has caused the last two governments to put their developer friends before the long term good of Barbadians.

There is no dispute that the Thompson DLP Government intends to develop the lands around Graeme Hall. One of Thompson’s first acts was to pass the law that changed the permissions on the land to allow commercial and housing development.

The million-dollar ploy by the government of Barbados is designed to support a lie. David Thompson’s statements targeting owner Peter Allard are designed to conceal the actions taken by the DLP government to enable their developer friends to profit from the lands at Graeme Hall.  David Thompson is attempting to turn the issue into some sort of a dispute between the sanctuary owner and the DLP government when it is all about the destruction of vast areas of our last remaining green space between Bridgetown and the airport.

David Thompson and his cohorts intend to steal a national treasure from the people of Barbados and future generations… and the Barbados lapdog news media is, as usual, doing the massas’ will. Condo concrete wasteland here we come!

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48 Comments

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48 responses to “Barbados Government Confirms Plans To Develop Graeme Hall Wetlands. Thompson’s Million-Dollar Lie

  1. red herring

    first of all BFP its Graeme not Graham

    secondly its very extraordinary to offer a subvention or grant when none was asked for from what I can tell from the press releases?

    Maybe its hush money

    Governments idea of having a negotiation or conversation is standing in front of a mirror and talking to itself.

    Thompson needs to address the 240 acre National Park issue and stop playing games. Has he and his party sold out future generations of Barbadians or not and who has he had discussions with to develop the land?

  2. Sing-a-song

    Giving PUBLIC money to a private entity without clear reasoning as to how the public interest is served and without clear accounting guidelines and controls is not only unwise, it is corrupt. What is to stop Allard from taking the money, keeping the Sanctuary shut (or reopening for short period and then shutting down again) and selling the place? According to the statements attributed to the PM as reported in the Nation newspaper, there is nothing to stop this from happening yet he proposes to give the Sanctuary $1 million – a text book case of squander mania.

  3. paul sealy

    next election the electorate will not be nice.

  4. West Side Davie

    My guess is that Allard will not be bribed. Anyone who builds that kind of a magnificent place as a philanthropic project will not be swayed from his cause for money. Money he has enough of and as he said it is not about money, it is about him not wasting money when the government is dedicated to destroying Graeme Hall wetlands.

    Thompson gave $19 million of our tax dollars to rich race horse owners without any controls. He could buy the nature sanctuary if he wanted to keep it open, but allard probably won’t sell it to Barbados now because CLICO wants to put up condos next door.

    What a mess! The whole area was protected until Thompson changed the law.

  5. BFP

    Oops… never rely upon automatic spelingg cheqers!

  6. Chicago

    I didn’t realize that the DLP changed the law to allow development of the protected Graeme Hall area, but I read about it in BFP and at the Nature park’s website.

    Thoses guvmnt bastards!

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  8. Green Monkey

    I thought I heard Thompy being quoted during the CBC TV evening news on a recent speech he gave in Parliament saying that he was aiming f0r Barbados to be the most environmentally conscious country in the Caribbean and even the Americas (or words to that effect).

    When I heard that I could only laugh. Thompy is trying to make us believe, like most politicians today (not just those in Bim), that we can have our cake and eat it too, i.e. we can continue to have infinite economic growth and still have in the long term a sustainable environment for our children, grandchildren and even great grandchildren to enjoy.

    See this Youtube video in which Professor Brian Czech explains the basic conflict between economic growth and environmental protection.

  9. Christ Church Man

    They are trying to buy Allard’s silence.

    They want Allard to keep working to keep the Sanctuary open and they want him to be a partner and they want him to keep quiet about it.

    They don’t want people talking about the 1988 government plan to have a 300 acre green park at Graeme Hall all the way up to the highway.

    They don’t want people to know how they got Allard to make the swamp beautiful so they could build right next to it.

  10. Georgie Porgie

    Christ Church Man
    When you write “ They don’t want people to know how they got Allard to make the swamp beautiful so they could build right next to it,” you might just be hitting the nail right on the head.

    Those of us who grew up near the swamp, and took short cuts there through to get to the beach or to the St Lawrence area in the 60’s and 70’s know that the swamp was fairly ordinary. During the 70’s some of the main ponds of the swamp were filled in.

    I took some tourists through the revamped swamp in 1997, and was surprised at the development that was going on, and quite pleased to see that the general area where the gun club used to be was being beutified.

    I can imagine that what ever that beautification and development escalated to be, that it would be appealing to now want to build condos or whatever in that area.

    Christ Church Man you might just be hitting the nail right on the head.

  11. Hants

    How about Graeme Hall swamp without a Sanctuary?

    How about repatriating the non native species currently in the Sanctuary?

    We should have a 100% Swamp.

    Ask Doc Burke what he thinks?

  12. Hants

    Everyone should read page 8 of today’s Advocate.
    Titled.

    “Saving Graeme Hall Sanctuary.”

    There is a lot of support for the saving of Graeme Hall. Bajans mobilizing.

  13. Nostradamus

    @Hants
    Graeme hall without the Sanctuary? You mean like the Government owned side? Garbage, clogged waterways, mosquitos, zero management?

  14. Nostradamus

    @Sing-a-song
    Giving PUBLIC money to a private entity without clear reasoning as to how the public interest is served and without clear accounting guidelines and controls is not only unwise, it is corrupt. ”

    You are quite correct but didn’t the last government give millions to GEMS? Where de money gone? When were the last financials produced?

    CBC, when were the last financial statements produced? What about NIS?

    We could go on and on. The song you are now singing is accountability, transparency, clear controls and accounting guidelines?

  15. Sing-a-song

    Nostradamus
    I have always sang that song! That a previous Gov’t did not act properly is no reason for the present Gov’t to follow suit. One year has passed since being elected, has the mentioned statements been produced? So what do we have – six o’one and half-dozen of the other?

    Let’s keep Graeme Hall in sight for the moment. So should I interpret you comment to suggest that as the Sanctuary finds favour with you, it is not necessary to have “accountability, transparency, clear controls and accounting guidelines”?

    Oh what a tangled web we (would) weave….!

  16. Bajans mobilizing………I pray they will.

  17. Nostradamus

    Sing-a-song,

    The wetland finds favour with me and the Sanctuary is but a part. Like the BLP before the DLP has not changed government policy. By their actions and inaction the wetland continues to be destroyed.

    I do not have any idea what went on in the discussions between Government and the Sanctuary so all I can go by is the releases put out and available on the Sanctuary website.

    Those releases basically asked for a change in government policies. If those government policies do not change and the wetland continues to be destroyed then I do not support one red cent of taxpayer funds being put in the Sanctuary.

    Anyone told the PM that the employees were already severed earlier this month?

  18. Hants

    The Nation Group of companies has put 23 members of staff on the breadline.
    CEO, Vivianne-Anne Gittens confirmed the lay-offs, citing market forces and the prevailing economic environment for the move.

    Recessionnnnnnnnnn!

  19. reality check

    Hants

    what percentage of the total employees is that?

    If the journalists are not permitted to responsibly investigate issues that concern all Barbadians including corruption because of fear from government reprisals, then maybe they should have no employees and just close shop?

    Print media has been shrinking for over a generation now and has been and is being replaced by the internet.

    If Owen, President for Life, and Mia had their way we would be back to smoke signals and drums with them being in charge of the signalers and drummers.

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  21. Hants

    Potential Tourists diminishing?

    Canada lost 82,600 jobs in February — all full-time positions — pushing the unemployment rate to a six-year high of 7.7 per cent.

  22. Tell me Why

    They don’t want people talking about the 1988 government plan to have a 300 acre green park at Graeme Hall all the way up to the highway.
    ………………………………………………………………………………….
    Your statement is ever so correct, partisan bloggers refuse to discuss this known fact, probably it would proof once and for all that successive governments especially the the present party in power have a mind set to develop this area into condos etc. I made this point way back in 2007 and again in 2008, but as you can see my favourite`terminology “what an eerie silence” What say you BFP.

  23. reality check

    The amendment to the Physical Development Plan to change the space from open space to Urban and residential was started in 2003 or before, so both parties and their friends had this change in mind. They just weren’t going to tell the citizens that their open spsce was being stolen from them for short term greed.

    Don’t forget the developer of the Water Psrk said he had a deal with government even though Owen denied knowing anything about it and Town and Country accepted the applcation. Who do you think was telling the truth?

  24. bingo

    WSD

    “My guess is that Allard will not be bribed”

    They probably guess that so the offer for a grant which was never asked for was a safe sincere insincere gesture just to pretend that they were really doing something to preserve the area.

  25. Anon

    Hants!! What recession? Have you seen property prices down here? Economic forces present in other countries don’t exist down here……. or so they would have you believe.

    Sargeant

  26. Hants

    Sargeant I hope you holding on to piece of the rock.

    Land and houses in Barbados is very expensive compared to Toronto.

  27. From what I can gather the recession is starting to bite real hard in Barbados and the chances of anybody wanting to build houses on any of the Graeham Hall land isn’t going to happen for a long time. I know for a fact countless developments have ceased and that new houses just aint selling. The government can deny that for as long as they want, just go and have a look around the island!

    Quite possible the world recession could save Graeham Hall from the destruction of the property magnets and the greed of David Thomson and his cronies. David Thomson seems to forget that he and his bunch of crooks got voted in because the people of Barbados were sick and tired of the lies and self-interest and greed showing by Owen and his crooked party.

  28. Mike Ashby

    Great going guys.

    PM Thompson is right, Barbados is a sovereign state, and no outside entity should be allowed to ‘threatened’, dictate to or hold the Barbados leadership hostage on matters of importance to the Barbados populace. However, that does not apply to Barbadians. The Government can be dictated to by Bajans. A fact they seem to forget and while it is great that they are willing to provide $1 million to ‘assist’ the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary, that is not the main issue here.

    Much of the space historically occupied by the wetlands has already been lost. The main concern here is the rezoning of the remaining green space, most of it public (meaning Barbadian owned) land on the south side of the ABC H’way. There is nothing ‘controversial’ about the GHNS, the only thing controversial about this issue is the underhanded manner in which the previous Administration went about the rezoning of the GH area in the first place. A practice boldly continued by the current Government. Had the leadership behave like a responsible Government and informed the Community about what was taking place so it could have given its input, there would have been none of the accusations made. For example, the principle reason the Sanctuary was closed is not money (GHNR), but the policies of Government outside the park that threatened its viability as a natural environment.

    Even at this stage, Mr. Thompson states “whatever assistance Government provided must be based on a clear understanding of the positions of Government and the owners”. He is willing to give a million in tax payers money but unwilling to inform the community about any talks, agreements or ‘threats’ made to or by Mr. Peter Allard or any other representative of GHNR or any other private land owners (Clico) in the area. Arthur is gone, Thompson can explain this now or he can wait two years.

    I hope that when he hands over the check, that he also fix the slough gate, GH swamp is a brackish tidal wetlands, that means for it to survive as such, it must be able interact with the sea.

  29. Bajanbat

    “Thompson also said that the Barbados government would not be dictated to by anybody in relation to pursuing what is in the best interest of Barbadians.” No one, that is, other than Leroy who got $10m for Clico just by standing by Thompy’s side.
    Folks, this $1.0m is a red herring to distract Bajans from the real issue. Mr Allard does not need $1.0m for the sanctuary. That is a drop in the bucket as far as the sanctuary is concerned. For whatever their reason the BLP ignored Mr Allard’s efforts and the DLP has their own agenda for Clico to develop the wetlands so Thompy wants attention away from the topic while those plans are put firmly into action. The DLPites want their share at the trough now.
    Of course we only have Thompy’s “word” that in some way Mr Allard threatened or tried to dictate to him. All that rhetoric sounds great and is guaranteed to stir up animosity in some areas of society against Mr Allard. That would suit Thompy’s plans just perfectly. There is no end to the conniving that takes place when there is a specific agenda afoot.

  30. Hants

    Squeeze play?????

    Nationnews
    “GRAEME HALL NATURE SANCTUARY officials are pleased about Government’s allocation of $1 million in the 2009-2010 Estimates to keep the park open, but say they do not need money.

    “There are serious environmental problems outside of the sanctuary that endanger the wetland and hence the US$35 million private capital investment at Graeme Hall,” he said.

    So they laid off the workers but they don’t need money.
    only in Canada eh! opps! sorry this happening in Barbados.

  31. Jeppa

    Can somebody please explain to me what is going on?
    You bitch about no Government support and shut down the place. Now the Government ups and give you a million dollars and you tell them to shove it cause you don’t need it?!?!?!?! WTF!

  32. Christ Church Man

    A scenario:

    Allard takes the money and opens the Sanctuary. Schoolchildren are happy. Government is happy. Everybody is happy.

    Allard keeps doing what he has done for the last 15 years. People don’t like him, but they wash their hands and look the other way so that they can still play on the grass at Graeme Hall.

    More raw sewage gets dumped into the wetland and his property. No working sluice gate. Polluted runoff from development and pesticides and other bad stuff increases year after year. Wetland can’t flush it so it keeps piling up.

    People say it is okay to do these bad things to Allard’s sanctuary but it would not be okay to do it to anyone else.

    The wetland keeps dying. Fewer birds every year. Fewer fish. It happens very slowly, then faster and faster.

    The wetland dies. Nothing left to see.

    No wetland, no sanctuary.

    Government decides it doesn’t want to spend money to keep the place open anymore.

    Allard left holding the bag.

  33. island gal

    read the press releases
    it is NOT about money
    it is about what is being allowed to happen which will end up destroying the eco system there
    it is disregard for future generations
    it is lack of long sightedness on healing this ‘lung’ of precious wetlands that we have

  34. Nostradamus

    Christ Church Man,I think Allard already realised that he has been left holding the bag.

    BLP / DLP just a lot of long talk. Latest thing the new PM says is Babados is going to be the most advanced green economy etc etc. What exactly does that mean. Just a bunch of platitudinous bullshit.

    Take a look at the National Strategic Plan and even the the latest Physical Plan. Full of talk about increasing green spaces and the environment but in fact moving in the opposite direction. Graeme Hall lands being a prime example.

    Jeppa, just read the release above and understand. According to the release it is Government policies that are killing the wetland and those policies need to be changed. It is support in changing those policies that is required. A million dollars for wages and operations is not going to fix that. I certainly don’t want my taxpayer money going into something that our own government polices are degrading.

    Hants, you need to read the release as well. Would you keep putting money into an endeavour that the policies of another party are destroying? I think not. You would probably divert the resources to other worthwhile philanthropic projects.

  35. Anonymous

    Hants,
    Please understand that the issue has never been about money, Allard never asked the Govt to subsidize GHNS, in fact he always knew that the Sanctuary as a “business’ could never be profitable in the normal sense. He is rightly concerned about the bigger issue, the need to protect the wetlands. The BLP Govt changed the PDP to allow building at Graeme Hall when the previous one recommended to keep GH as a green area between the airport and bridgetown.
    Allard has always felt that the Sanctuary should be owned by the Govt & people of Barbados, he cannot pick it up and take to Canada with him. If the Prime Minister is serious about making Barbados, as he stated in Parliment, into the “greenest country” in the Caribbean & Latin America then he now has a golden opportunity to do so, the Sanctuary is the only one of its kind in the caribbean all of the work has been done for the Govt all it has to do is to get serious about the environment and put it money where its mouth is.

    You live away from this country and so may not be aware of the “developement’ which has gone in the in country. Look at the four Seasons project now suspended due the economic meltdown, the entire Paradise & Batts Rock area raped, all top soil removed trees over 200 hundred years bulldozed gone for ever all in the name of progress, the only bajan who can go there are maids etc. Must we turn this island into a concrete jungle just so a few can make a lot of money. Next time you come home take a drive over to the West Coast, now referred to by the English as ” Newcastle on Sea” , see if you do not feel like a stranger in your own land.

  36. Bajanbat

    @Hants – So they laid off the workers but they don’t need money.
    only in Canada eh! opps! sorry this happening in Barbados.

    Hants you can do better than this comment. You know as well as any of us that Allard did not close the Sanctuary for want of $$. It was the contemptuous disregard shown by both Govts that finally made him call it quits. And Thompy playing powerful that “no one is going to dictate to him”. Stuuuuppppse! That is really a ridiculous remark, sounds like a little boy playing marbles.

    Unless the Govt is serious and protects the sanctuary from pollution we can all kiss it goodbye. Go and take your last photos of the area as we see it now for it will not be like that for much longer. Our children will only hear about what used to be but they will see the nice development that has replaced it and watch the new millionaires driving around in the cars bought with the proceeds or maybe the money will have purchased houses over and away.

  37. Jeppa

    Island Gal,

    If it’s not about the money. Take the money, re-open and work things out while you have a million dollars to play with..

    At least meet (can’t say 1/2 way here so lets try) 1/24 way. Put the people back to work and let the park make some money rather than let it fall apart.

    Maybe the PM should do a Chavez and say it now belongs to the GOB and done with all this confusion.. But that would only cause more money to fly out to Canada for the lawyers up there. LOL

  38. Hants

    Wrong. I am in Barbados 3 to 4 times a year and am well aware of the “development”.

    Hopefully the swamp will remain a swamp.
    Nature may make that decision.

    Maybe I will visit it this weekend.

  39. Mike Ashby

    Hants, Jeppa and other like-minded

    You make it very, VERY difficult to have a clear and lucid discussion on this issue. I’m not sure about Jeppa, but Hants, I know you have been following this for a while, the primary discussion we are trying to have here is not about funding, never has, it is about the preservation of natural resources in a small island that is being sold out to developers/builders (many of them foreign) without the interest or input from the people it affects the most. CURRENT AND FUTURE BAJANS!!!!
    Do you know how many rich people in the ‘developed’ countries avoid their tax burden? They simply donate to charitable organizations or NPO. Again, representatives of the GHNS stated that it is the actions of the Barbados Government OUTSIDE if the sanctuary (NOT MONEY) that places its continued existence at risk and therefore it would be futile to put more money into its operation. The BLP or the DLP have not informed Bajans what agreements were made up to now. Thompson took it upon himself without the benefit of an explanation to appropriate $1,000,000 Barbadian tax payer dollars “to help them out”. I would like to know from you, WHY?

  40. Jeppa

    Mike,

    Do you really think this whole thing has anything is only about “wetlands”. Maybe as much about “wetlands” as the “argument” with T&T had to do with flying fish. This is all about Kingsland at the end of the day.
    Do some research and see what you find out about the parties involved..TOO MUCH IN COMMON!
    But since this is not an issue of money.. Re-open the park and stop all the posturing then. What can it hurt having a few more people visiting and signing a petition to protect the wetlands? Submit a petition of signatures to the powers that be every month and make it a press event. With lots of media coverage I’m sure that it will not be allowed to get concreted over. But what are we gaining right now???

  41. Nostradamus

    Jeppa said “But since this is not an issue of money. Re-open the park and stop all the posturing then. What can it hurt having a few more people visiting and signing a petition to protect the wetlands? Submit a petition of signatures to the powers that be every month and make it a press event. With lots of media coverage I’m sure that it will not be allowed to get concreted over. But what are we gaining right now???”

    Jeppa, a six thousand signature petition has already been submitted to government in support of preserving the wetlands and the surrounding green space. Politicians are ignoring that petition at their peril. What person in their right mind would continue to bear the cost , year after year, of keeping the Sanctuary open when government policies are destroying it?

  42. Nostradamus

    Hants, swamps and the Graeme Hall swamp and wetland are characterised by a rich biodiversity and a very valuable ecological habitat. If government policies destroy that habitat you won’t be left with a swamp but a fetid dead body of water.

    The Sanctuary is closed but you could visit the government owned eastern side and see how well that’s managed and report back.

  43. Jeppa

    Nostrodamus,

    “Submit a petition of signatures to the powers that be every month and make it a press event. With lots of media coverage I’m sure that it will not be allowed to get concreted over.”

    Not 1 petition. 1 Every month with media coverage, the wonderful coverage the Canadian Media gave the Long Beach Murder seemed to have lit a fire under certain people.. DO IT WITH THE PARK!

  44. Nostradamus

    Jeppa, you may be on to something.However it was not a petition a week that “lit a fire under certain people” with regard to the murder. It was the negative publicity in the Canadian Press. Maybe if the Graeme Hall story hits the Canadian press that will “light a fire under certain people”!

  45. Jeppa

    Nostradamus,

    “the wonderful coverage the Canadian Media gave the Long Beach Murder seemed to have lit a fire under certain people” is what I said.

    Jeppa

  46. Christ Church Man

    Mr. Prime Minister:

    Allard is the one being held over a barrel.

    So are the people who were promised a park in the 1988 physical development plan.

    I hear that even the police don’t care about the sanctuary anymore. Just last week people came in through the back way and took wildlife and fish.

    I was told the police did not respond and did nothing.

    People come to see these animals and wildlife, if the sanctuary doesn’t have them anymore it will mean the place is dead.

    No animals, no sanctuary.

    Just like if there was no inventory at Big B, there would be no Big B.

    Maybe those Amity Lodge people won’t steal from Big B because they know the police will come if they do.

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