Dr. Leo Brewster: “Inattention… irresponsibility” Threatens Wetlands, Recreational Areas, Reefs, Fisheries…
Here at Barbados Free Press, we really don’t know how to take the words of Dr. Leo Brewster, director of the Coastal Zone Management Unit for Barbados, as quoted in the current issue of The Nation.
“…a national ocean policy should be based on, and guided by, fundamental principles, including: sustainability, stewardship, ocean-land-atmosphere connections; eco-system-based management; multiple use management; preservation of marine biodiversity; participatory governance; timeliness; accountability; and international responsibility.”
“Through inattention, lack of information and irresponsibility, we have indirectly depleted local reef and commercial fisheries, despoiled recreational areas, degraded water quality, drained wetlands, and on occasion endangered our own health…”
Contrast the words of Dr. Brewster with the actions of the Government of Barbados for the past year and – dare we say it – the inaction and impotence of his own agency, the Coastal Zone Management Unit. Let’s talk about the Graeme Hall wetlands, shall we?
Almost immediately after being elected in 2008, the Thompson DLP government changed the law to allow commercial development and building upon the Graeme Hall watershed — an area that had been protected in law for almost three decades. This was done so Prime Minister Thompson’s developer friends could profit from the sale of government lands at Graeme Hall and their own lands that border the nature sanctuary.
Dr. Brewster remained silent when the government committed this heinous act.
Now let us consider the fact that both the Owen Arthur and David Thompson governments have deliberately neglected to repair the sea gate at Graham Hall. As a result, the last mangrove forest on the island is slowly being poisoned as it is denied the natural ebb and flow of sea water into the mangroves. The government’s intent, of course, is to destroy the wetlands while avoiding the responsibility for doing so. When it is all done the swamp will be dead and the condo highrises will sprout in an area that should have been declared a national park.
Dr. Brewster, like so many frightened Barbadians who work in government service, speaks only in generalities. It is as if his sister is being raped within his sight, yet he does not come to her aid. He merely speaks of the general problem of abuse of women while his sister’s screams pierce the night.
So we ask Dr. Brewster: Which specific abuses were you talking about? Were you talking about the Graeme Hall wetlands? And what do you intend to do to save the last mangrove forest in Barbados from a government intent on profiting from our children’s future?