The Barbados National Trust is toothless because that’s the way the politicians planned it
It is rather so easy and opportunistic to hurl brickbats at Karl Watson (photo above) and the Barbados National Trust (BNT). But we should be mature and politic enough to recognise that the Trust cobbled together by the late Ronald Tree, the Bajan political elite and their courtiers was never meant to be a quango of serious clout to protect Bajan heritage. The politicians meant it to be toothless. It was never to be an organisation to influence public policy on behalf of Bajans and help in the retention and care of the heritage our ancestors left us.
The trust was created no doubt with the best of intentions, but it is an insignificant sham. This is a truism that the BNT surely recognise.
Karl Watson and his worthy colleagues must by all accounts be given the highest respect for what they have been able to achieve over the past years despite the restrictions imposed upon them by the big belly third rate politricksters who populate the talking shop in Heroes Square.
With the active connivance of corrupt politicians, a dysfunctioning and incompetent Town Planning Department managed by Mark Cummings who should of been sacked and replaced years ago, we have been witness to the obscene destruction of the West Coast, demolition of slave huts, rich white property developers/landowners behaving in the most contemptuous manner eg (Bjorn Bjerkman building barricades and fencing off black families in Road View/St.Peter), and the Williams brothers exploitation and crass concreting of fertile lands.
The list of destruction of our Bajan legacy is a long one of anger, frustration and shame. Now the so called ‘three sisters’ on Bay Street and the beautiful Cove Bay in the north are under threat from those who have deep pockets and seek to make a fast buck, with no doubt corrupt politicians and greedy land agents in tow
But we Bajans can put a stop to this vandalism.
Outrage and anger have their place surely, but these must merely be the beginning. An autonomous campaign of opposition (letter writing, marches, leaflets, pressure brought to bear on constituent MP’s, social networking etc) that says to the government, Town Planning and all the politicians ENOUGH!
Let us not scapegoat the National Trust and Karl Watson because it is easy to do so, but be prepared to engage in a suggestion he made. Join them, increase the ranks, make them a stronger campaigning entity, so that in collaboration with others they can help to end the vandalism and destruction of our island home. The Trust no doubt was modeled on the British one and a surmise can be assumed that Karl wishes the Bajan one carried the political and social clout that Fiona Reynolds the Director General of the British National Trust wields. We surely would have a different landscape from Oistins to the Animal Flower Cave.
There is undoubtedly a battle to be waged for our island and we need to recognise and be cognisant that we are merely the present custodians for future generations. We dare not leave them a homeland that is no longer theirs.
BFP Editor’s Note
Our thanks to Manjack for his article and perspective. I wonder if Manjack read what Cliverton had to say about Dr. Watson and the BNT in his October 10, 2010 article The theft of two Barbados National Parks by friends of government.
On one hand, you have to recognise the limits put upon the Barbados National Trust and its leadership. On the other hand, if Dr. Watson doesn’t realize he’s being used and that the politicians have no intention of curtailing unfettered development or their personal profits from it – what purpose does the BNT really serve and whom does it really serve? Not the people of Barbados, that’s for sure.
We also question Manjack’s bringing of race into the picture. While it’s true that some of the developer and environmental offenders are white, isn’t it true that many of the warriors who battle to maintain our natural heritage are white also? Consider Dr. Watson himself, wetlands battler Peter Allard and so many others. Now consider that our black majority government wields the power and it is blacks that sell out our natural heritage to put money in their overseas accounts.
We don’t see it as a racial issue because there are so many people of all races stealing our natural heritage and on the other side trying to preserve Barbados. Manjack has his opinion though, and we respect him and ask him to reconsider.
Here’s a bit from Clive’s article about Dr. Watson and the BNT…
“Guaranteed” 2/3 of Parliament needed to switch agricultural land for development – Gone!
“The DLP promised in writing in their “Pathways to Progress” policy booklet that they would require a 2/3 free vote in Parliament to change agricultural land to allow development.
That’s the promise that Thompson and the DLP put in writing and it’s a promise that they broke with their first piece of legislation that killed the Graeme Hall National Park, and since then in many other cases.
Ha! What suckers we were to believe David Thompson and the DLP about “guaranteed” green space.
Comfort from Government promises
Dr. Watson can ask for and receive all the “guarantees” he wants. If a promise is a comfort to Dr. Watson, well, that’s his business. The rest of us learned long ago that written or verbal government promises without actual legislation aren’t worth spit on the ground.
Scotland National Park?
It never was, and it never will be, under a DLP or BLP government.”