Natural Heritage Barbados Says Environment Is A Top Priority – Just Don’t Look Too Closely At What The Government Is Really Doing…

Click to read the deceptive Barbados Natural Heritage Advert

Click to read the deceptive Barbados Natural Heritage Advert

Fine Words Hide Destructive Actions Taken By Government

As the last mangrove swamp on the island (Graeme Hall) suffocates to death because the Barbados government refuses to maintain the sea gate, the Natural Heritage Department published a full page advert in Friday’s Barbados Advocate to tell the people that the government is taking excellent care of the “biosphere” and “ecosystem”.

Yes, the full colour layout just gushes with “green” terminology that the politicians and bureaucrats picked up on their latest junket high-level climate-change conference across the pond in Norway. We do words and promises very well in Barbados and this advert doesn’t fall short on either. Why, better than half the words in each sentence can be found in the “cool environmental phrases” handbook. Lookie here at this dandy…

“The Natural Heritage Department will spearhead the legislative, regulatory and institutional framework for sustainable management of all protected areas in Barbados, including the proposed Barbados National Park.”

We’ve read all the words on the page but we’re still trying to find where it describes what the Thompson DLP government has ACTUALLY DONE or ACCOMPLISHED in relation to the environment and related legislation. You know – a REAL ACTION that produced an ACTUAL OUTCOME or a MEASURABLE POSITIVE RESULT.

What we did find in the advert was yet another promise that environmental legislation is being… spearheaded.

Yes sir… we’re all going to have environmental legislation ’bout hey someday. We know that because they – both BLP and DLP – keep promising it to us. I believe the first promised date for environmental legislation was 1972 and last promised date for its introduction was this past April, but as with the Freedom of Information and Integrity Legislation, promises are easy – it is real action that is difficult. In Barbados mostly we get the promises but the action just doesn’t happen.

Do you know that in the fifteen years since the first big Shell pipeline jetfuel spill on the south coast, no Barbados government passed a law requiring pipeline and gas tank owners to check for leakage each day, keep records and report spills? Isn’t that incredible?

Do you know that there are absolutely no environmental standards and laws in Barbados regulating the use, handling, storage and disposal of toxic chemicals? Isn’t that incredible?

But at least now we know that the promised environmental, sustainable, green, ecosystem, biosphere legislation is being spearheaded. Whew! That’s great, ’cause for a minute there I thought that no real action was taking place.

Graeme Hall Wetlands To Be Developed By DLP Campaign Funder CLICO & Leroy Paris

Graeme Hall Wetlands To Be Developed By DLP Campaign Funder CLICO & Leroy Parris

Parks, Promises And Reality

The Natural Heritage advertisement is extremely deceptive when it comes to the Graeme Hall Mangrove Swamp and RAMSAR wetlands. Consider the DLP government’s actions since their election…

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. As an example, the adjoining land immediately to the west of the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary is owned by (surprise, surprise) CLICO!

Now let us consider the fact that both the Owen Arthur and David Thompson governments have for a decade deliberately neglected to repair the sea gate at Graham Hall. As a result, the last mangrove forest on the island (a RAMSAR site) 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. And the last major greenspace between the airport and the city will be more houses and commercial developments.

My friends, please take the time to sit back and read the Natural Heritage advertisement (above) that appeared in the Barbados Advocate and really think about the disconnect between what the words say, and the reality of the government’s actions and inaction.

Then answer this question for yourself: What do you intend to do to save the last mangrove forest in Barbados from a government that is so intent on profiting from our children’s future?

Further Reading

How The Barbados Government Is Stealing Graeme Hall National Park From Our Children

Graeme Hall National Park website

Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary website


Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Environment, Nature, Tourism, Travel, Traveling and Tourism, Wildlife

10 responses to “Natural Heritage Barbados Says Environment Is A Top Priority – Just Don’t Look Too Closely At What The Government Is Really Doing…

  1. 155

    To save my life I can’t fathom the why of this government advertisement. It says nothing that hasn’t been said in a dozen newspaper stories and little pieces on CBC. Is the purpose to convince people that the environmental rapes on the west coast and graeme hall area aren’t happening? That government failures in the south and west aren’t happening? This business of changing the plan to allow building on the Graeme Hall watershed is madness.

  2. Jack Dempsey

    This is a good article with a good edge to it BFP. I like it when you cut through the bullshi* and make me realise that there is no action and nothing done. 99% of the newspaper stories are what the government is promising to do.

    If the papers only reported what the government accomplished they would have nothing to print!

  3. Nostradamus

    What you may notice is that all if not most of this type of advertising / informational government propoganda is published in the Advocate. Most are full colour.

  4. reality check

    Just think where the money for all these full coloured page ads of complete fiction could go to repair the sluice gate and maintain the watershed?

    There appears to be absolutely no shame in burning the taxpayers money or telling blatant untruths for the sole purpose of maintaining power.

    How much of peoples money has gone from the Central Bank by way of direct funding or guarantees to Clico whose property at Graeme Hall was deliberately excluded from the Ramsar Treaty so it could be developed in the future?

    Look carefully at your or your neighbours children and grandchildren this weekend and ask yourself if their long term interests have been served by destroying these wetlands and open green space.

  5. rhubarb

    Why cannot the two daily newspapers get together even once for the better good of the country, and agree together on a list of questions to be put to the PM at his next news conference. The government can’t deny to both papers the bonus of government ads! And what an interesting TV viewing that would make for the long suffering public.. The papers could make a start by soliciting suggestions from the public for suitable avenues that they would like explored, the most popular then to be the chosen for the event.

  6. Jason

    Excellent article. I wish you guys were a real newspaper with a printing press.

  7. Hants

    Sustainable Barbados Recycling Centre at Vaucluse.

  8. Back in the old days we used to call it government propaganda – not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  9. Mike Ashby

    The Clico property does not have to be a part of the RAMSAR zone. it is the G’vt responsibility to return that area to the GHNR. they gave it away, they are the ones to get it back. G’vt idea of sustainable development is to build a 3.5 acre sewage treatment facility in the middle of an environmentally fragile nature preserve.

  10. Rev

    I was surfing around BFP and found this article from a year ago. Nothing has changed! No environmental legislation has appeared as promised a year ago. Everything is worse and the magical environmental words and BS are still flying fast and furious as our leaders attend “environmental” conferences in Barbados, the USA and Europe.