Lowe out, Kellman in as Barbados Environment Minister: Still no laws or standards

The shared DLP and BLP legacy continues

Denis Kellman, MP for St. Lucy, was sworn in on Tuesday, January 4th as the new Environment Minister. The post was previously occupied by Denis Lowe, who was hospitalized a few days ago in critical condition with respiratory problems.

Barbados does not have any Environmental Protection Act or standards for the handling, use and disposal of hazardous substances because successive DLP and BLP governments haven’t bothered to enact any in 44 years of independence.

Each year for the past 20 years successive Environment Ministers promised to implement an Environmental Protection Act but did not do so. Minister Denis Lowe promised the act would be made law in 2009 and again in 2010. BLP Environment Minister Liz Thompson told the same stories throughout her tenure and then wasted some 200 million dollars on a doomed-from-the-start foolish project to build a landfill on shifting soil in the Scotland District.

This lack of environmental laws, coupled with government policies that do not recognise the importance of green space and environmental planning has led to wholesale development on the west and south coasts. The blockage and destruction of much of the natural watershed has resulted in serious and continuing flooding in many areas at the slightest rain.

We have no mandatory recycling or local pickup. There is jet fuel contamination of wells on the south coast and we’re dumping raw sewerage into the RAMSAR wetlands while selling off green space to politicians’ developer friends. Previously protected environmentally sensitive land at Graeme Hall has already been re-zoned by the DLP to allow development.

Policy for an ongoing Environmental Disaster: More Cars and More Roads

Barbados has an effective public transportation policy of more cars on more roads and there’s always lots of money for new highways, but none for mass transit. That’s not environmentally sound, but it is profitable for the companies that fund the two big political parties.

As our new Environment Minister, Denis Kellman will undoubtedly make some wonderful speeches as soon as he learns all the necessary buzz-words that result in non-accountable international grants and loans for “environmental projects”. As an example, one of Denis Lowe’s finest moments was when he participated in handing out United Nations funded environmental comic books to school children.

We’re sure that Minister Kellman will get the hang of it.

Deadly Asbestos “a concern” as Fairchild Street Market about to be demolished

It’s a bit ironic that on the same day our new Minister of Environmental Destruction is sworn in, we see a story in the paper that local residents surrounding the about to be demolished Fairchild Street Market are worried about the health impact of asbestos.

We understand their worry because exposure to asbestos has been shown to cause various lung diseases, cancers and warts. Worst of all, you can’t even see the fibres that kill:

“Most respirable asbestos fibers are invisible to the unaided human eye because their size is about 3.0–20.0 µm wide and can be as slim as 0.01 µm. Human hair ranges in size from 17 to 181 µm in breadth.

As asbestos fibers get smaller and lighter, they more easily become airborne and human respiratory exposures can result. Fibers will eventually settle but may be re-suspended by air currents or other movement.”

… from Wikipedia Asbestos

And so the nearby residents should be worried, but perhaps not as much as the poor untrained workers who will take the demolition job because they need the money. They’ll work without proper protective equipment, without proper training and with zero government regulations or oversight. And where and how will the asbestos be disposed of? With no regulations or Environmental Protection Laws, your guess is as good as the government’s.

But doan worry: everyting gin be fine, fine, so fine!


Filed under Barbados, Business, Disaster, Environment, Health, Nature, Politics, Wildlife

13 responses to “Lowe out, Kellman in as Barbados Environment Minister: Still no laws or standards

  1. bigguy

    Why do we think tourists fly thousands of kilometres to holiday in Barbados? To see the garbage blowing in the wind? To see the strange coloured fluids seeping onto the beach at the Soup Bowl? To take two hours in traffic to get from the airport to the hotel because the flight arrived at 3pm?

    We are losing it BADLY.

  2. Proud Bajan

    Our glorious leaders have not realised that tourists no longer rely upon newspaper articles and advertisements when deciding where to book their two weeks off. They go to travel websites and get the real story from people who came back from Barbados a few weeks ago. They see flickr photos of where they are considering to spend their time. They read the reports of rude staff and toilets that don’t flush. Then they go somewheres else. Read about “Time Out at the Gap” for some horror stories and you will have no wonder why some people read that and book a cruise or visit an enclave in Jamaica or Bahamas.

  3. Adrian Loveridge

    Proud Bajan,

    Gosh! have you hit it on the head!
    Do you remember that famous mission statement frequently quoted by the then Chairman of Hotels and Resorts Ltd (GEMS) – ‘Raising the standards of hotels on the South Coast’.

    However many hundreds of MILLIONS of taxpayer monies later, what sort of example are they setting for our tourism industry?

    Well, lets take the world’s most visited travel reference website with 40 million unique visits per MONTH, across every single one of our main markets.

    Time Out at the Gap – 53%
    would NOT recommend the hotel to a friend.
    Blue Horizon – 37% would NOT recommend the hotel to a friend.
    and the flagship
    Savannah – 35% would NOT recommend the hotel to a friend.

    Of course, when you have people on the BTA board that consider TripAdvisor a ‘MENACE’ and states this to the world’s leading travel trade publication, then I doubt anything will change. Perhaps that is why the Minister has been so reluctant to implement
    the planned seperation of the BTA to have a marketing and PRODUCT division.

  4. travler

    Bigguy,the Government thinks the tourists come to

    1) watch and breath in all that black smoke coming from racing ZR’s

    2) drive down the coast roads to look at concrete structures

    3) pay 17.5% VAT

    4) pay road tolls

    5) feel insecure walking around

    It used to be they came for the beauty, the safety, the tranquility which are getting harder and harder to find.

  5. Tweedle Dumb Tweedle Dee

    So far these cabinet ministers don’t have “action plan” and “delivery” in their vocabulary.
    Its all about the appearance of a position and collecting a check.
    What legacy will Kellman deliver?

  6. fully aware of dangers

    Eisenhauer knew and warned of the dangers of the military complex built up
    to fight WW II.

    Only a free press can expose these unwarranted concentraion of military interests and lobbyists —oops thats classified?

  7. what will they think of next

    How many decades has Kellman been Minister of Environment ?

  8. Green Monkey

    It used to be they came for the beauty, the safety, the tranquility which are getting harder and harder to find.

    Every time I pass by a hotel and hear somebody with a guitar crooning to the tourisses the words to Beautiful Barbados that go, “You’ll find rest, you’ll find peace in Barbados”, I have to give a little sardonic laugh to myself – maybe in 1961 or even 1971, but in 2011 not so much.

  9. compartmentalization

    “What will they think of next”

    Are you saying that a Minister is only responsible for his portfolio and nothing more?

    The DLP has been in power nearly three years now. Do members of cabinet not have input and demand performance from their other ministers?Are these portfolios a team effort for greater good or personal rudderless fiefdoms, simply to chow down on?

  10. ru4real

    Nah they come to see the scowling faces at the airport when they land and
    in shops when they interupt the assistants conversation to buy something .
    they come to take their lives in their hands when they walk down the roads which have no sidewalks or on the beach where a crack head can kill you at 4,30 in the afternoon.

  11. ru4real

    Why do we think tourists fly thousands of kilometres to holiday in To take two hours in traffic to get from the airport to the hotel because the flight arrived at 3pm?
    Well there was a soution to that wasnt there?
    Could have flown over this problem but the present government put the mockers on Free Flow and looka what we ended up with – Go Slow!

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