Daily Archives: April 22, 2010

Earth Day 2010: Astro-turfing, email & press campaigns push controversial Elizabeth Thompson UNFCCC nomination by Barbados

Despite 14 years in power, Elizabeth Thompson & her government DID NOT bring environmental legislation to Barbados… They didn’t even try!

On Thursday April 15, 2010 Barbados held a press conference at the United Nations to formally announce the nomination of Senator Elizabeth Thompson for the position of Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change). The UN report of this conference appears at the end of this article.

The Barbados government and associated political elites believe that former Energy and Environment Minister Elizabeth Thompson has a real shot at being selected for this prestigious United Nations position – and they are pulling out all the stops in lobbying at the UN and with environmental action groups worldwide. That lobbying includes press releases and conferences, emails to environmental action groups from Elizabeth Thompson’s own law firm and on the blogs – at least at BFP – a campaign of “astroturfing”…

“Astroturfing denotes political, advertising, or public relations campaigns that are formally planned by an organization, but are disguised as spontaneous, popular “grassroots” behavior. The term refers to AstroTurf, a brand of synthetic carpeting designed to look like natural grass.”

… from Wikipedia Astroturfing

Why would a credible candidate need Astro-turfing?

At Barbados Free Press we’ve seen some “Astro-turfing” going on as some of Liz Thompson’s supporters make supporting comments using multiple names and identities in an attempt to make it appear that Senator Thompson has a large number of supporters among Bajans. This campaign seems to be in response to our article Concerned Barbados citizens oppose Liz Thompson’s nomination to United Nations UNFCCC position.

Barbados Free Press will reveal the true identity of at least one of the ‘astroturfers’ tomorrow in a separate article.

Can any Liz Thompson supporter provide a list of her actual environmental accomplishments?

The darnedest thing is happening with the governmental elites who support Elizabeth Thompson for the UNFCCC position: the only reason they can provide for supporting her nomination is that she is “passionate about the environment and climate change” when she speaks and writes magazine articles. They point out that she received a “Champion of the Earth” award a couple of years ago, but when you read the citation it describes how Liz Thompson received the award for how she talks about climate change and the environment.

Talking… as in “a substitute for real actions and capabilities.”

Ah, okay. Other than talk and write magazine articles, what has Liz Thompson done? What has she even attempted to do? What has she accomplished or tried to accomplish for the environment in Barbados?

Has Elizabeth Thompson managed to achieve any real change or accomplishment by bringing people together to actually do something in Barbados? If she was a failure in her role as Minister of the Environment in Barbados, what makes anyone think she could succeed in bringing the world together at the United Nations?

We can’t think of any environmental accomplishments or changes that Elizabeth Thompson has delivered or even attempted to deliver on the island. We can’t even think of one failed initiative of hers – because she did nothing.

None of Elizabeth Thompson’s supporters have taken up our challenge to provide a list of her actual accomplishments for the environment in Barbados.

Okay, folks… we’re listening! Hello???

We can, however, list several environmental activities and initiatives that Liz Thompson should have attempted to make happen during her time in government – but she didn’t even try.

* Environmental legislation? Ha! Nothing. Not even a draft in 14 years. Liz Thompson didn’t even propose simple regulations about the disposal of chemicals or making it mandatory for pipeline and storage tank owners to measure quantities each day to spot leakage!

* Environmental Standards? None! We have none in law or practice after 14 years of Liz Thompson as a Minister of Government. We have no regulations or standards for the use or disposal of hazardous chemicals and waste. UNBELIEVABLE!

* Mandatory recycling on this relatively small island? Nothing. We are awash in garbage.

* Linking climate change and the environment to sustainable, responsible development? Elizabeth Thompson and her government have a clear record of wholesale, uncontrolled development without respect to the environment. Liz Thompson and her government developed any piece of coastline they could get their hands on. They ignored the water and sewage infrastructure and failed to think of the future. (All of that has been said time and time again by Prime Minister David Thompson and his DLP government members up until as recently as a few weeks ago when it became politically convenient to nominate Liz Thompson for the UN position. No wonder Bajans just laugh and shake their heads over this nomination.)

* Protecting the RAMSAR designated Graeme Hall watershed? A sick joke: Liz Thompson and her government were responsible for dumping raw sewerage into the only remaining mangrove forest on the island. Liz Thompson and her government modified the land use plan to permit residential and commercial development on the RAMSAR watershed – depriving future generations of green space and putting the wetlands at risk. Not to mention the decade-long failure to repair and maintain the government controlled sluice gate into the wetlands.

The concept of promoting someone to the UNFCCC because they have actual results in their previous endeavors seems foreign to Liz Thompson’s supporters.

Oppose Elizabeth Thompson’s nomination and save the Barbados environment!

It is our hope that homegrown opposition by many environmentally conscious Bajan citizens to Liz Thompson’s nomination may impact the choice of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and his selection committee. The loss of this nomination might cause the Barbados government and political leaders to do more than talk about the environment and climate change. It may save our island. It may result in environmental legislation and standards that will protect our children.

“If the United Nations focuses not on Elizabeth Thompson’s ability as an orator, but on the level of her actual performance as Environment Minister and the environmental and corruption issues that dogged her BLP government and her personally there is no way that Thompson will be selected.”

Here is a copy of the recent UN Press Conference report as it appears on the United Nations Press Conference website… Read it and you’ll see that there is nothing of substance – it’s all about what a great talker Liz Thompson is. That’s all her supporters can say about her… Continue reading

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