Shell Oil Pollutes And Runs In Barbados. After 15 Years Government Has The Answer: Committee Of Politicians

So-Called "Clean-Up" By Shell Oil In Barbados

So-Called "Clean-Up" By Shell Oil In Barbados

UPDATE: March 26, 2010

Friends, here we are over two years since they were elected and the DLP Government of Barbados still hasn’t passed their promised Environmental Legislation.

I know it sounds absurd, but in the decades since our independence successive governments never passed even a simple law compelling pipeline owners to make daily measurements and to report any leakage to the government!

How much money in “election donations” has Shell and associated companies provided to the BLP and DLP over the years? How much did Shell or SOL contribute to Environment Minister Lowe’s last election campaign? How much to Thompson’s campaign?

“None of your business” says Prime Minister Thompson and his gang…

Have a read of this BFP article first published in April of 2009. It’s all still true…

1/ Fifteen Years Ago, Shell Spilled At Least A Half A Million Gallons Of Jet Fuel Into The Barbados Water Table. Shell Has Not Cleaned Up The Spill Or Compensated The Immediate Victims

2/Barbados South Coast Water Table Is Contaminated By Jet Fuel. Our Beaches Are At Risk.

3/ After 15 Years, It Is Now A Proven Fact That Citizens Cannot Rely Upon A BLP or DLP Government To Hold Shell Oil Accountable or Force The Company To Clean Up Their Spill

For the last 15 years, Shell oil has been avoiding responsibility for a pipeline leak that spilled at least half a million gallons of jet fuel into our water table. The cleanup effort has been laughable. This jet fuel has not gone away and even now water wells within a few hundred feet of the beach are still filled with almost pure kerosene jet fuel. Shell Oil’s response has been to offer our Barbados farmers less than one hour of Shell’s profits. Barbados farmers were offered US $2 million in total to be spread among the victims – Shell makes approximately US $3 million per hour.

This disgusting abuse could not have happened without the cooperation of our corrupt Barbados politicians from two successive governments – who continued to receive political donations from people and companies associated with Shell Oil while doing nothing for the people of Barbados.

Members of the current DLP Thompson government were happy to appear at the pollution site during the run-up to the election. Prime Minister Thompson, environment Minister Lowe and the rest of the DLP do-nothings promised us environmental legislation. They promised they would hold polluters accountable. They promised new laws and effective enforcement from a revitalized Environment Ministry.

They have done nothing – except of course to receive election funding from the very people and companies that they refuse to hold accountable.The DLP Thompson government of Barbados has not implemented any laws that would penalize polluters and make them pay to clean up their mess.

In 15 years, successive governments never even passed a simple law compelling pipeline owners to make daily measurements and to report any leakage to the government!

Lies Before The Election: Denis Lowe & David Thompson Promising Integrity Legislation

Lies During The 2007 Campaign: Denis Lowe & David Thompson Promising Integrity Legislation

Now we read in the Nation paper that the government has formed a new subcommittee “to try to find a settlement of the dispute.” More disgusting smoke and mirrors to camouflage the do-nothing impotence of Environment Minister Lowe and his government.

After two Shell oil pipeline spills and negotiations over 15 years, it is obvious to everyone that both Shell oil and the government are merely pretending. Both are engaged in an elaborate dance designed to give the appearance of activity while doing nothing to disturb the cozy relationship between the politicians and the polluters will fund them.

15 Years of Deceit and Pretense by Shell Oil and Successive Barbados Governments

The Thompson DLP government should immediately do the following:

One: Publicly declare and return political contributions that they have received over the past 15 years from Shell oil or any company or person associated with Shell oil.

Two: Pass environmental legislation that provides for retroactive and severe penalties for polluters, including seizure of assets and prohibiting new business.

Three: Immediately commence an effective cleanup of the Shell oil pipeline spill [after 15 years it’s about bloody time] with the entire cost recovered from Shell Oil through the new environment legislation.

Number four: Immediately pass the promised integrity legislation and conflict of interest rules to prevent future politicians from putting personal profits above the interests of the country.

Prime Minister Thompson, Environment Minister Lowe: stop your foolish talking and promises, subcommittees and do-nothing posturing. For once, just bloody well do something.


Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues, Corruption, Crime & Law, Disaster, Environment, Ethics, Health, Human Rights, Oil, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

20 responses to “Shell Oil Pollutes And Runs In Barbados. After 15 Years Government Has The Answer: Committee Of Politicians

  1. Nostradamus

    Maybe Dr. Lowe has been busy dealing with the closure of Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary and addressing the environmental problems and government policies that the Sanctuary says are destroying the wetland. He has not had time to deal with the Shell issue.

    Unfortunately the Sanctuary is still closed, the staff severed and not one environmental issue affecting the wetland addressed. Not a word from Dr. Lowe or his Ministry.

  2. Nostradamus

    That is a joke or he is a joke or both?

  3. Paul Barnes

    Everyone knows that Denis Lowe is a bare joker, not a joke…

  4. Douglas Newsam

    If Shell has acknowledged that they have polluted the area and I believe that they have done so, the next phase should be compensation to the farmers. In order to arrive at the settlement one has to know as far as possible the extent of the loss suffered. To determine this, the farmers should submit to Shell or some agreed independent committee, copies of their tax returns or a letter from the Commissioner of Inland Revenue for the relevant years confirming the total amount of earnings declared for those years. That would then be a basis on which calculations may be made to arrive at a fair settlement. Surely that is not a difficult task?
    Or is it that there may not be records of what the losses suffered.
    Does anyone remember when The Hon JMGM Adams wanted to hire some of the PSVs to provide transport for Carifesta? He made them an offer which the operators bluntly refused because they said it was way less than they made daily. I believe he consented to their request and paid the fee they demanded. However, in due course Mr Adams reminded them of this fact when he levied a tax on them based on what they had said was their daily earnings! Sometimes these things does come back and bite ya!

  5. Paradox

    This behaviour can happen only in a developing country. I cannot remember if Shell admitted liability but if it did it is not something a conglomerate does easily. One has to fight and fight darn hard and still it tries to avoid blame; Take a look at Black Africa, Nigeria in particular. still the Government allows it to continue work as normal. Do you think the kidnapping of the workers is due only to a country with the fifth oil reserved in the world and people not being able to obtain gasoline for their vehicles?
    The pollution is immense, the pipes are ‘crudely’, laid over the land and little money is invested in infrastructure. If this was a developed country, pipes would be buried and the countryside returned to its natural beauty and the company fined.
    Shell has the ability to corrupt a Government. Many ministers have never seen money like it before. The poor law abiding are the losers.
    Shell must be made to clean up and restore the land to its past state and compensate all those affected.
    Alternately the injured party should seek redress in a USA court of law; a lawyer could be found to fight the case for a percentage of what will be compensated.

  6. Tudor

    Doug spoken like a true member of “”TSPB”. I have said here before that Shell policy is to frustrate the Farmers, Shell has a 1000 Lawyers who will tie this issue up for years. It is time for Bajans to act, lets stop buying all Shell products including gas. Surely we must support the farmers of this Country. At this point we have to congratulate the Minister of Agriculture who is the only Minister in the last 10 years who seems to have a clue about what they are doing; and one of the few in this new Govt who actually does anything!

    I sincerely believe that a boycott is the only action which will be successful against Shell; if this is done Sir K will be on to the Govt like a flash and the situation will be delt with.

    As for Dr. Lowe, lowe by name, low on performance. He was already been moved, next time, I suspect to the back bench.

  7. Douglas Newsam

    I have no doubt that Shell is trying and will continue to frustrate the farmers to avoid paying compensation. Does anyone (company or individual) ever voluntarily pay out their funds without a clearly demonstrated reason? I don’t think so.
    However, my point simply is that the farmers may not have done all they can to demonstrate their losses. This is probably due to the fact that they have no proper records on which to base their claims. Many farmers and small businesses do not have appropriate records which makes these issues more difficult to resolve. That makes it easier for Shell to stall them. They should address this matter as well as taking whatever other steps are appropriate and within the law. Boycotting the products is a useful strategy and may help their cause. It would certainly get Kyff’s attention if it became material to his operations. But is there unity among the farmers? The difficulty usually is that there are those who disagree with the strategy and break a boycott because it suits their individual interests or they are soon offered some special “deal” by a supplier which they do not want to lose.
    BTW, the ‘red herring” about the “TSPB” is irrelevant and pointless as you well know,

  8. Nostradamus

    When taken in context the farmers losses really are a small part of the issue and I think it is the point BFP is making. Theirs is a monetary loss and can be resolved by compensation.

    The bigger issue is what has the Government of Barbados done to force Shell to clean up the area and return it to its original state. The government should have been, and should be, at the forefront of holding Shell accountable. Compensation for the farmers would have been just one of the matters to be resolved. If the farmer’s don’t have records to back up their claim it has nothing to do with the responsibility of Shell to do the right thing.

    What is the government of Barbados doing after 15 years?

  9. Green Monkey

    Dem Shell fellas like dey does play rough, bo.

    Shell in court over alleged role in Nigeria executions

    Ken Saro-Wiwa swore that one day Shell, the oil giant, would answer for his death in a court of law. Next month, 14 years after his execution, the Nigerian environmental activist’s dying wish is to be fulfilled.

    In a New York federal court, Shell and one of its senior executives are to face charges that in the early 1990s in Nigeria they were complicit in human rights abuses, including summary execution and torture.


    Lawyers in New York will allege that Shell actively subsidised a campaign of terror by security forces in the Niger Delta and attempted to influence the trial that led to Saro-Wiwa’s execution. The lawsuit alleges that the company attempted to bribe two witnesses in his trial to testify against him. Members of Saro-Wiwa’s family will take the stand for the first time to give their version of events, among them his brother Owens, who will allege that Brian Anderson, managing director of Shell’s Nigerian subsidiary, told him: “It would not be impossible to get charges dropped if protests were called off.” Anderson is fighting the action.

    Witnesses who were shot by military police in the Niger Delta principally to protect the building of Shell’s oil pipeline will allege that Shell, by paying the police to protect its interests, was complicit in acts of violence.


    “Part of the reason for the original protest was the way Shell behaved. Ogoni people made their living farming and fishing, but Shell was using open waste pits and oil pipelines criss-crossed the land. These polluting activities were put on top of a delicate ecosystem. It destroyed people’s ability to sustain themselves. That’s the impact of Shell and, when people tried to protest, they were brutally repressed.”

  10. Zip dee da doo day

    Nothing. Please! After 15 years nothing is what they have been doing and nothing is what they will do.

    It is all a sham. 15 years and nothing, absolutely nothing, accomplished. Prime Minister Arthur and Prime Minister Thompson both deserve Academy Awards for best actor. 15 years!

    They must take us for fools. We are powerless, but we are not fools.

  11. Douglas Newsam

    We are not powerless, we can and do vote; but we must not be fooled into thinking that there will ever be real change in the way any Government will function without constant pressure from the people. Promises mean nothing. Action is the only true guide.

  12. Tudor

    Doug, absolutely correct we the people have got to start realising that we have power. We elect MP’s to serve us and end up serving them!
    If we do not let these jokers know and understand that we intend to change things then change will never happen

  13. I offered to file a WRIT at the Old Bailey in Her Majesty’s High Court in London against SHELL and the Barbados Government on behalf of the 30 something farmers at Gibbons Boggs in Christ Church.

    Here is a copy of the letter to SHELL:-

    Christ church

    Attn: Managing Director
    P. O. Box 846E

    Dear Sir

    This letter is part of the continuing uncompromising state of affairs which still beats heavily between your company and Southern Farmers as no negotiated settlement, amelioration or consensus appears in sight.

    This letter is another attempt at gaining compliance from Shell regarding the proposed drilling of several bore holes at specific geographical sites around the environmentally damaged and impacted areas within the 186 acre radius from Oistin’s to Gibbons.

    Up to this moment in time, Shell has been less than transparent in its dealings with Southern Farmers. But this has been a global practice of a multinational corporation whose predatory behavior has been nothing short of diabolical. Shell has continued on its pathway of doing everything possible to try to vindicate itself although it has admitted liability in this case.

    We the farmers, have been grossly disaffected by [13] years of wrangling, face-saving and duplicity on the part of dodgy corporate lawyers and executives as well as government officials who have been participatory in this process resulting in us having to take the actions we are about to undertake to resolve this dilemma.

    Firstly, we are demanding that any analysis of the underground water or geology through a series of bore holes be handled not only with the highest degree of health and safety due to possible incidences of bio-terror but that there must be a “tri-party” assessment of the analytical process where the government’s scientists, Shell’s people and our own independent scientists be allowed full access to measure and ascertain the full affects of what this leakage has caused to our underground water-table infrastructure.

    This contemptible paradox which has continued unabated for the last [13] years still shows the level of blatant callousness and scant disregard Shell shows toward those countries, groups and persons which come up against them seeking compensation for crimes against the environment, not to mention, crimes against the human person. Now in a further escalation, they want to bore holes around the affected areas without due consultation or dialogue with Southern Farmers. This is unacceptable practice.

    Shell has a long documented history of insidious pollution issues around the world. The impact on the Caribbean but notably here in Barbados has not come into the international limelight as yet. However, we are taking step to change that situation immediately.

    We have asked FRIENDS OF THE EARTH to assist us with analytical work as our independent advisers. Additional we know that Shell has in the past used their high-paid teams of international lawyers to halt, stall and even pervert due process and so we have undertaken to up the ante in this regards and are willing to file separate injunctions both in the High Court in Barbados and The High Court in London Old Bailey to halt the process of bore holes being drilled without our preconditions being met and for compensation redress after almost a decade and a half.

    Shell must recognize that serious dialogue is needed in this case and that information dissemination is critical to the process of open and transparent dealings. The malicious tactics of the past and even the current malevolence must stop.

    We will be mandating the government to allow access to the ERM (Environmental Resource Management) to come in to do the research needed, so a fair and balanced scientific risk assessment can be done.

    The government has a serious responsibility to its citizens who are for all intents and purposes, “the government”. Politicians cannot allow multinational corporations like Shell to ride roughshod over the rights of its citizens in any countries regardless of their contribution to the economic fabric of that society.

    We are therefore demanding a speedy and expeditious resolution to this entire process immediately. Shell has shown its reluctance in the past to observe the just tenets of due process, however, we the farmers shall not in any way be obfuscating our responsibility to what we know is right and just for ourselves, our families and our society.

    Thank you for your acknowledgment of this letter and we look forward expectantly to a prompt response forthwith.

    Yours sincerely


    For those seeking legal premise and case law rulings for any suits against SHELL – here is a valuable 4 part link:

  14. Green Monkey

    New website set up to follow the ongoing court case against Shell for its role in polluting the lands of the Ogoni people in Nigeria and for being complicit in the death of the Nigerian activist Ken Saro-Wiwa and others:

    The multinational corporation Shell financed, armed, and otherwise colluded with the Nigerian military forces that used deadly force and conducted massive, brutal raids against the Ogoni people of the Niger Delta. Shell was also involved in a strategy that resulted in the executions of nine Ogoni leaders who were working for environmental justice and human rights, including internationally-acclaimed writer and activist Ken Saro-Wiwa. The Center for Constitutional Rights, EarthRights International and other human rights attorneys sued Shell for their role in the repression of the Ogoni and the executions of the “Ogoni Nine”. The case will go to trial on May 26th, 2009 in New York City.

  15. The world’s boardrooms have watched this case (with bated breath) because it is seen as a test of whether transnational companies owned or operating in the US can be held responsible for human rights abuses committed abroad.

    Which bring me to my point of contention:-

    Will Southern Farmers et al join with me in serving a class action writ either here in the High Court of London or have the Center for Constitutional Rights, the same New York law firm specializing in human rights which represented Sawa Wiwa’s son bring SHELL to answer to what has happened in BARBADOS?

  16. Pingback: Shell Pays Up In Nigerian Human Rights & Ken Saro-Wiwa Execution Case « Barbados Free Press

  17. yatinkiteasy

    Will the Authorities clean up and remove the horrible eyesore of a burnt out rumshop in Oistins, BEFORE Easter and the wonderful “Fish Festival”
    ..Surely it can be considered a Health Hazzard, and MOH can do their job quickly. Its disgusting, and Shell has nothing to do with it. This is a homegrown Bajan problem the MOH can deal with.. Do we have any politicians in the area?
    Also, a few years ago someone removed the nice fish shaped lights that went across the highway in Oistins. They were put back, but have never worked again,

  18. Pingback: Concerned Barbados citizens oppose Liz Thompson’s nomination to United Nations UNFCCC position « Barbados Free Press

  19. Pingback: Mega-Disaster oil spill hits Southern USA – Lessons for Caribbean small island nations « Barbados Free Press