The broken sluice gate the Barbados Government refuses to repair – killing our Ramsar wetlands

This broken sluice gate is the weapon being used to destroy our last mangrove wetlands

The government-owned and controlled sluice gate should regulate the flow of water in and out of the Graeme Hall mangrove wetlands. When operating properly, it lets the wetlands “breathe” and refresh itself from the sea. It keeps the brackish water (brackish = salt and fresh water mix) at the correct salinity to allow the mangroves, plants and all creatures great and small to thrive.

Without a properly operating sluice gate, the mangrove wetlands die as do many plant and animal species that inhabit the Ramsar-designated Graeme Hall wetlands.

Successive Barbados governments have refused to repair or replace the broken sluice gate for at least 15 years that I know of. Successive Barbados governments have refused offers from the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary to repair or replace the sluice gate at the Sanctuary’s cost and operate it under government supervision.

Why would that be?

Why would the Barbados government deliberately refuse to repair or replace the sluice gate for 15 years?

Barbados Free Press suspects that the long term goal of certain persons is to destroy the wetlands so they can then be developed. Graeme Hall would be worth a huge pile of money if developed.

The Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary launched an international complaint about the government’s actions. Read about the background here, here and…

Investor files international complaint – says Barbados government violated agreement with Canada, failed to protect Canadian investment in Barbados and…

Major Environmental Engineering study slams Barbados Government over imminent death of last Mangrove wetland.

Flood Control

Besides controlling the environmental health of the mangrove wetlands, the sluice gate is also used for flood control – to lower the level of the water during times of heavy rains when the wetlands act as a giant reservoir to prevent flooding of the surrounding area.

Because our government deliberately refuses to repair the sluice gate, the folks responsible for flood control use construction equipment to block the channel with sand – or remove the sand – as needed to control the water level in the wetlands.

As we reported yesterday, the government dug out the sand two days ago for a time to lower the water level and then filled the channel again. (See BFP’s Potential flooding forces Barbados Government to unblock Graeme Hall Wetlands sluice gate)

The photos of the broken sluice gate to the sea and the channel were taken on Wednesday morning and afternoon, May 19, 2010 after the government blocked the channel again with sand. (Big Thanks to three readers who responded to our request for photos!)

Does that sluice gate look high-tech to you? Does it look like there’s a technical reason why it couldn’t have been repaired or replaced 15 years ago? Does it look like rocket science with the latest alloys? Is it made of gold?

I think readers will find it as obvious as we do: the non-repair and non-operational state of the government-owned sluice gate is deliberate.

Once you see the simple truth of these photos, the question becomes Why is our government doing this to OUR last remaining mangrove wetlands?

Click on each photo to view full size (800 x 600).


Filed under Barbados, Environment, Nature, Offshore Investments, Politics, Wildlife

15 responses to “The broken sluice gate the Barbados Government refuses to repair – killing our Ramsar wetlands

  1. I don’t understand the reason for not fixing the sluice gate, other than that maintenance in general seems to be not in the local dictionary.
    Who benefits from the closure? I have an idea but would like to hear more comments.

  2. Donald Duck Esq

    Post this story on the globe and mail and see what response is received. perhaps government will then act

  3. BFP

    TO THE ANONYMOUS PERSON who posted from proxies under various names…

    1/ Barbados Free Press totally forbids any comments that even remotely could be misunderstood as discussion to do illegal acts.

    2/ Persons posting such comments are banned for life. If you want to have such discussions, go to other blogs with lower standards.

    3/ BFP as with the larger Barbados community in general relies upon good citizens to report any suspicious or prohibited behaviour. In your home or village if you see something you call the police. On the blog you address a comment to the editor or send us an email to alert us to questionable user comments.

    4/ We believe that the questionable comments we have now removed were placed there by a person or persons in an attempt to discredit BFP. Good friends of BFP, please be vigilant!

    Thank you.

  4. whistling frog

    Not repairing the slice gate,or even showing any intrerest is just about the same as leaving buildings that are perfectly capable of being renovated,refurbished for future use in a state of disrepair until it is branded for demolition.
    Somewhere along the line sombody who is responsible for these decisions is rewarded handsomly….and on and on it goes.

  5. whistling frog

    If the sluice gate is constantly kept in an unworkable condition then eventually so called Engineers,,,Specfically appointed theoreticals,,,know just about alll there is”s,,will deem that the area could be a threat to the Environment,,,the Tourist etc ,,,etc,,,, and Decree that the swamp be Filled and made into whatever TOWN AND PLANNING ALLOWS………………MOOOREE COOONCRETE!!!!!!!

  6. Quantum

    Look how the channel itself is being damaged by the back-hoe used to dredge and fill. The top of the sides are broken, worn and chipped allowing more sand to come in along the length of the channel. The sides are crumbling too from where the bucket hits. This can’t be helped no matter how good or careful the operator is.

    It is not only the sluice gate that needs repair or replacement. Thanks to years of abuse by the backhoes because of an inoperable sluice gate, the channel itself needs major work.

  7. Nostradamus

    Quantum, you are correct, the softstone block sides of the canal are falling into the canal from repeated use of the backhoe and zero maintenance over the years.

    In fact the backhow driver uses some of the same blocks to drop in the canal and then places the sand on top to create the dam shown in the photo.

  8. X

    Seems I have not been banned, so perhaps my comments yesterday set off a firestorm of controversial comments which I can now not see on this blog.

    My apologies for seemingly misunderstanding your comment which appears not to have been directed at me.

    I believe that civil disobedience can sometimes yield positive results (think Tank Man in Tiananmen Square or Rosa Parks).

    In any case, if my comment sparked controvertial responses aimed at discrediting BFP, I sincerely apologise, but I stand by my original suggestion which I will now not repeat.

  9. BFP

    Hello X

    I confirm that you were not the person who left many controversial comments under various names – all from one computer.

    Your apology is accepted and you will not be banned if your comment is not repeated. You are, I think, newer around BFP and might not remember the thousands – yes, thousands – of violent, threatening and obscene comments that were posted on various blogs including BFP in the run-up to the election. There were threats to murder, rape and commit arson against named individuals including local business people and witnesses in court cases. One victim, Adrian Loveridge, even had two fires at his hotel after the threats were made online to burn it.

    Mr. Loveridge collected all the information necessary for the police to arrest one of the criminals who was threatening his family and his business. The Royal Barbados Police Force famously did nothing and ignored Mr. Loveridge when it was admitted by Member of Parliament Dr. Duguid that some of the threats originated at a computer in the Parliamentary lounge.

    We take such talk very seriously around here because we have seen that a portion of the talk and threats are acted upon by very evil people.

    Give me a moment and I’ll dig up some of the stories so you can see where we’re coming from.

    As to civil disobedience, neither Rosa Parks nor Tankman engaged in any violence or property destruction.

  10. BFP I am all for law and order and not civil disobedience. However, can you please send this information to the Minister of Tourism, Minister of Environment and the parliamentary representative Mr John Boyce.

  11. Years ago, spending much time at Sandy Beach, people (tourists) would ask about the funny coloured water. I don’t think anyone had the right answer. If the sluice gate including the channel were fixed and in proper working order, signs could be put up explaining the connections with the environment and the swamp.
    I betcha, most tourists would be impressed by the efforts.

  12. BFP

    Now Kammie…

    You are a very decent person of good heart and good intent, and maybe because you tend to see the good in everything you are being incredibly naive with your suggestion that we bloggers approach the government with information about the discussion on the internet about civil disobedience.

    OK, first of all the current objectionable talk came through proxy servers in Russia and Germany. Probably through Anonymouse, the world’s most widely used free anonymous internet browser proxy. With millions of anonymous users a day and the German laws regarding the release of information – good luck even if you or somebody wanted to find them. Secondly, the comments were cleverly worded to be discussions of the philosophy of using destruction to further civil disobedience – so no harm, no foul legally. We don’t permit it but the commenter is very slippery.

    But let’s get to the real issues about what is said on the internet, ok?

    The DLP government will not investigate threats made on the internet or elsewhere – or even real arson – unless it suits their political agenda.

    Earlier during 2006 to mid 2008 and even later people making threats on the Barbados internet weren’t so knowledgeable as to use anonymous proxies. They made direct threats of violence by posting comments on various public blogs including this one. They used their own computers or computers at work in Barbados to make real threats against real named people including Adrian Loveridge, Ian Bourne and the old lady and witnesses involved in the Kingsland case. These were real threats to kill, to rape, to burn, to kill pets, stalk and injure loved ones.

    The IP information was delivered to the Barbados authorities in many official ways by many victims who requested and then demanded action. Court actions were launched, formal complaints were made in writing directly to the Internet providers, to Prime Minister Owen Arthur, and then to Prime Minister David Thompson and to Commissioner of Police Dottin.

    All this is documented at various websites BFP, BU, Keltruth and others including copies of some of the court documents and letters to the Royal Barbados Police Force and Prime Ministers. (I’ll put some of the links at the bottom of this comment.)

    The IP information proved where the threats came from sufficiently for the Royal Barbados Police Force to investigate and make arrests. (It later came to light that the police had been provided with the names of the people making the threats.)

    Then it was shown that one of the computers being used to make the threats was in the lounge at our Parliament. Member of Parliament Dr. Duguid publicly confirmed that fact in writing.

    The end result? The Royal Barbados Police Force refused to investigate any of the complaints. It went so far that Commissioner Dottin wouldn’t even speak with one of the victims – hotel owner Adrian Loveridge – when they would meet at public functions as was usual.

    It is highly likely that the current comments “discussing” the use of criminal acts in civil disobedience in relation to Graeme Hall were posted by operatives of the Government of Barbados or the DLP in order to discredit BFP or see if we would allow such talk. If we did, you can bet there would be an active investigation launched – not to protect the sluice gate (laugh laugh) but to stop Barbados Free Press.

    You see, the DLP supporters were an active part of the early years of Barbados Free Press. The DLP saw BFP and the integrity legislation and environmental issues as useful tools for gaining power. They also thought we (BFP) were more loyal to the party than we were to Barbados.

    That all changed after the DLP gained power and Barbados Free Press continued to call for ITAL. When we started really giving it to Prime Minister Thompson and the DLP after a year in power they – the DLP – realised to their horror that Barbados Free Press was independent and therefore no longer an asset to the Democratic Labour Party.

    That is the story Kammie. The Tourism Minister, the Minister of the Environment and DLP Government want the sluice gate destroyed or in disrepair. That should be obvious to you and everyone at this point.

    But Hey… if you want to confront the government with IP numbers and demand an investigation into who says what at Barbados Free Press, why not demand that the government start with arresting the people who threatened to murder Adrian Loveridge, rape his wife and burn down his hotel? After all… the Royal Barbados Police Force, the government and the internet companies already KNOW who made the threats. (Yes, they really know. Read the supporting articles at the bottom.)

    And in case you forget, there were TWO FIRES at Adrian’s hotel after the threats were made to burn it. Real threats of arson against Adrian’s hotel made on the internet, followed by real fires at his hotel – and the police refused to investigate. (That is a real lesson for foreigners intending to invest in Barbados, isn’t it?)

    Rule of law in Barbados is whatever the ruling elites say it is at the time. They protect their own.

    Here are the links to the Adrian Loveridge murder, rape and arson threats. Kammie, let us know when the police and the DLP government have made arrests ok? Oh… but they would have to interview the victims and witnesses first and they haven’t bothered to do that yet in 2 years. (laugh laugh)


    Remember during the 2007 election campaign when David Thompson held up that $75,000 “campaign donation” cheque that Owen Arthur corruptly deposited into his own personal bank account?

    Then a few months after being elected, David Thompson appointed Owen Arthur to head a Commonwealth team in the Maldives tasked with ensuring that the elections were conducted legally!

    What did that really mean?

    It meant that Prime Minister David Thompson had no intention of fully investigating Owen Arthur or any of the BLP’s millionaire politicians for corruption.

    There is only one political party in Barbados, and you’re either in or out. Thompson and Arthur are two of the members of the party of the elites and they sure look after each other.

    Stories about threats against Adrian Loveridge

    Sept 27, 2008: Threats Against Adrian Loveridge Continue – Barbados Police Continue To Do NOTHING

    June 22, 2008: COVER-UP: Royal Barbados Police Force Ignores Violent Threats To Businessman

    May 25, 2008: Barbados Police Continue To Cover-Up Threats Against Adrian Loveridge, Court Witnesses, Bloggers

    March 31, 2008: Barbados Labour Party Blog Removes Link To Website Threatening Murder Of Adrian Loveridge

    March 21, 2008: BLP Supporter Commits Arson Again At Adrian Loveridge’s Hotel – Help Needed

    December 31, 2007: Barbados Death Threats: Copy Of Letter From Adrian Loveridge To Prime Minister Owen Arthur

    June 1, 2007: Arson, Burglary, Bedroom Spying – Three Separate Incidents Make A Bad Day For Fired Barbados Journalist Who Is Critical Of Government

  13. Environmental Planner

    same ole same ole bout hey!

  14. Pingback: Relocation of Endangered Parrots Delayed by Barbados Ministry of Environment « Barbados Free Press

  15. Pingback: One day’s work on Graeme Hall sluice gate proves 15 years of neglect by Barbados Government « Barbados Free Press