Another Conference for our all-talk no action Environment Minister
Oh dear! Where to start? It seems like we keep writing the same article over and over again in response to reading the same press release over and over again.
The simple truth is that every few months our Ministry of the Environment holds some conference, gets a loan for “the environment” and issues the same tired old self-congratulatory press release talking about the importance of the environment. There are different flavours of the press release, but it’s all the same hollow PR nonsense with no real content.
Dem folks at the Environment Ministry and the Coastal Zone Management Unit sure can talk, and they have a way of talking to make it sound like talking and meetings are the equivalent of actually doing something, actually taking action to protect the environment.
But it’s all meetings and talk and press releases. You understand?
This current “Aren’t we wonderful and we’re really looking good!” press release quotes Environment Minister Denis Kellman as saying we need to look at old solutions like planting hedge rows and Cus Cus grass along road verges to retain top soil.
Wonderful. Meanwhile his Ministry is deliberately killing a RAMSAR wetlands and the last mangrove forest on the island so it can be developed into condos and industrial units. Meanwhile we have raw sewerage contaminating beaches on the West Coast because we borrowed millions to build a proper sewage treatment plant and then spent the money on cricket festivals.
Barbados hasn’t bothered with an Environmental Protection Act because the international “environment” loans and grant money just keeps rolling in anyway.
Message to the Inter-American Development Bank: For God’s sake, PLEASE don’t give these international-aid addicts any more money until they pass an Environmental Protection Act!
Sometimes I do despair.
Folks, please read two things today and I won’t ask you to read anything else. It’s really important that Barbadians are able to look at these government press releases and tear them to pieces for the garbage they are.
First, please read our recent article: Barbados don’t need no stinkin’ Environmental Legislation because we got another loan!
Then read the new Barbodos government press release below, and really think about the difference in what the press release says and the reality of what you see in Barbados.
Thanks ever so much.
Barbados Government Press Release: March 17, 2011
BARBADOS: Coastal Zone Management Unit Hosts ICZM Workshop
Bridgetown – March 17, 2011 – Regional states must do everything in their power to protect their coastlines.
This was underscored by Acting Minister of Environment, Denis Kellman, as he delivered the feature address at the Coastal Zone Management Unit’s (CZMU) Caribbean Regional Workshop on Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM), which was held today, at the Court by Marriott, Hastings, Christ Church.
“What we have to actively work on as Caribbean states is socio-economic resilience – our capability as a society to either prevent or cope with the impacts of climate change and sea-level rise, by addressing our technical, institutional, economic and cultural capability. These capabilities are the elements of an Integrated Coastal Zone Management Approach,” the Minister said.
Mr. Kellman also suggested that to move forward we perhaps needed to re-introduce more traditional modes for protecting the environment.
“It is my firm belief that indigenous technologies should be considered as an option to increase resilience. These technologies may often be the best suited to address the impact being experienced… The use of hedge rows and Cus Cus grass along road verges to retain top soil in sugar cane fields were innovations implemented at low costs…unfortunately, we have abandoned many of these indigenous technologies in an attempt to be branded as modern. We need to change some of these mindsets,” he stressed.
With tourism accounting for 39 per cent of Gross Domestic Product in 2008, the Environment Minister made it clear that, whether traditional or modern, steps have to be taken to preserve nature. While the island does face its challenges, such as beach erosion, removal of protective vegetation and environmental degradation, Mr. Kellman assured the audience that conservation has been and will continue to be a priority.
“The Coastal Conservation Programme for Barbados is approaching 30 years of active shoreline management. It has been a long road that has been ably assisted by the Inter-American Development Bank throughout all of its five project stages….under the most recently concluded US$25 million Coastal Infrastructure Programme, [we benefitted from the] construction of the south coast boardwalk and west coast access way and the re-development of the Welches beach in Christ Church…
“In February, the Prime Minister signed a loan agreement with the Inter-American Development Bank for US$30 million with a counterpart Barbados contribution of US$12 million for a Coastal Risk Assessment and Management Programme which will commence in the next fiscal year…the overall objective is to build capacity in integrating coastal risk management in Barbados, incorporating disaster risk reduction and climate change adaption…,” the Environment Minister revealed.
In his remarks, Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) Secretary for IOC of UNESCO Subcommission for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions (IOCARIBE), Cesar Toro, said assistance with such programmes was important for Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
“The increasing impacts of climate change, coupled with the fact that these SIDS have very little or no access to the means to adapt to climate change, places an enormous burden on their limited human and financial resources…,” Mr. Toro explained. However, he emphasised that these limitations could not be allowed to hinder SIDS from developing and implementing ICZMs, as such programmes were essential to the protection of an island’s natural assets, he explained.
The three-day meeting, is co-sponsored by the IOC and the UN Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). It will focus on the concepts of ICZM and improving regional capacity to use ICZM for the protection of one of Barbados’ most valuable resources – its coastline.
The workshop ends Friday.