Our friends over at Mullins Bay Blog have been chiding us lately for not paying enough attention to the destruction occurring on the West Coast, and after some thought we have to plead guilty. Sometimes one gets caught up in life to the point where you forget about the basics. I think it’s called “the tyranny of the urgent over the important.”
Anyway, our thanks for the gentle reminder and we promise to pay more attention to the serious situation happening at Mullins Bay. We also promise to up the environmental stories content at BFP as we’ve let that slip lately too. In our defense, we point out that Barbados Free Press has been hammering integrity and accountability issues recently because the Barbados government’s refusal to enact and truly embrace ITAL (Integrity, Transparency and Accountability Legislation) has in large measure been responsible for the continuing CLICO debacle. (Our predictions about CLICO… You ain’t seen nothin’ yet, folks!)
We’ve been primarily focused upon two environmental stories from the South Coast: the Shell Oil leaky pipeline that contaminated soil and wells in the area, and the government’s changing of the law to allow their developer friends to build upon the Graeme Hall watershed – upon land that had been protected for the previous 30 years.
Both of these stories are, on the surface, all about environmental concerns – but if you look closer, you’ll find politics and money are always a big part of environmental controversies.
You know how it is folks… money changes everything.
Mullins Bay Destruction Not Just An Environmental Issue
And so you will find that the destruction of the beaches at Mullins Bay and nearby is not just an environmental issue. The story of Mullins Bay and the disappearing West Coast beaches is not a disagreement over environmental science by well-meaning people who all have the public good in mind. No sir.
The rape of our West Coast is all about corporations with money that have been allowed to do as they please by two successive governments. The St. Peter’s Bay condo developers were allowed by government to build groins to enhance their own beach — never mind the disastrous impact upon the neighboring beaches and coastline.
How much money did the condo developers provide in “campaign donations” to our two major political parties? Don’t ask! With no campaign financing laws, integrity legislation or conflict of interest laws — Barbados citizens are effectively kept in the dark.
Did the St. Peter’s Bay condo developers ever provide gifts or consulting contracts to personnel with the Coastal Zone Management Unit or the Town Planning Department? How about gifts or consulting contracts to government family members? Don’t ask! Barbados has no integrity and conflict of interest laws that prohibit government workers or elected representatives from accepting gifts from developers.
At Mullins Bay blog, the authors cannot ask such questions openly. They can and do ask why the Barbados government has allowed one developer to cause so much damage. They ask why the Minister of the Environment, Denis Lowe, hasn’t shown his face in the area. They ask why two successive governments have cared so little about the disappearing West Coast beaches.
At Barbados Free Press we say, “Follow the Money”
The story of the environmental rape at Mullins Bay and elsewhere on the West Coast is not just an environmental issue. It is also about fat cats in government failing to protect the public interest. It is about a Prime Minister and an Environment Minister who were concerned about environmental issues like Mullins Bay, the Graeme Hall wetlands and Shell Oil spills — only until they were elected.
How much did the St. Peters Bay condo developers donate to the DLP campaign.. and how has that impacted the government decisions at Mullins Bay? How much did Shell Oil donate to the DLP campaign… and how has that impacted the government decision not to side with the farmers? How much did CLICO donate to the DLP campaign… and how has that impacted the government decision to change the laws to allow development on the Graeme Hall watershed?
Yes my friends, there is much more to environmental issues than appears at first glance.
Educate Yourself On The Mullins Bay Area Issues
(Adapted from Mullins Bay Blog story – link here)
It is important that concerned locals and visitors to the area know precisely what is going on vis-a-vis beach erosion in the area so that they can articulate the issues intelligently and are not confused by the nonsense and non-science being put out by St. Peter’s Bay and sanctioned by people who should know better from the Coastal Zone Management Unit and the Town Planning Department, as if St. Peter’s Bay is in its own little vacuum.
Over the last three years this blogger has watched and chronicled here the systematic destruction of the beach and private property from the time the groins were installed. If you look at the area map supplied here yesterday, you will notice that the devastated downdrift areas start at Kings Beach Hotel which adjoins the southernmost of the three groins. As this blog reported and documented with photos here, rows of coconut trees, guard walls, etc., were flattened at Kings Beach and the natural headland there was completely eroded particularly during storm events by powerful currents forced off the groins smashing the walls of the mouth of the canalized storm drain on the beach in the process, which drain was once several yards from the water’s edge. Once the headland was eroded it was open season on the sandy beaches further south culminating in the damage reported in the Sunday Sun article two weeks ago.
“Any coastal structure designed to trap or hold sand in one location will, without question, deprive another area of that sand. In simple terms, any structure (including terminal groins) that traps sand will cause erosion elsewhere.”
“Groins can impact nearshore circulation by directing currents offshore, especially during storms.”
Armouring the beach with rocks and boulders, while necessary as an emergency measure to prevent further loss and/or damage to private property, ultimately in and of itself does not bring back a sandy beach which is the best protection for the shoreline, as clearly reiterated in the above video. As one New Zealand coastal engineer who learned of our plight via the Internet “tweeted” recently – “if the beach is eroding in the long term. placing rocks will most likely consign your sandy beach into history.” A long term solution would therefore require: (1) the immediate removal of the offending groins at St. Peter’s Bay to give the beach a chance to recover and undo some of the damage already done; and, (2) a beach nourishment program implemented such as the one this blog suggested three years ago before we saw all of the accerated destruction in the area.
With all the ongoing erosion on the west coast, some of it no doubt probably related to climate change, government should have never given approval for three groins at St. Peter’s Bay. To put it mildly – it was a monumental environmental mistake (if indeed it was a mistake and nothing even more sinsiter). To continue to ignore the problem (where is the Minister of the Environment who promised to visit the area two weeks ago) will in the very short term mean kissing goodbye to Mullins Beach itself and tourism in the area – not to mention the total devastation and havoc it would visit on the local and adjoining communities.
Save Mullins Bay
Road View, St. Peter