Cove Bay, The Three Sisters and the Barbados National Trust

The Barbados National Trust is toothless because that’s the way the politicians planned it

by Manjack

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.”


Filed under Barbados, Culture & Race Issues, Environment, History, Nature, Politics

12 responses to “Cove Bay, The Three Sisters and the Barbados National Trust

  1. Kismardin

    What happened to the BTI Tourism Coastal Master Plan which was tendered in 2009?

  2. tough but true comments

    Manjack is harsh but accurate on his target.

    The BNT and its supporters of all backgrounds, have within their grasp, the ability to politically mobilize its forces and become a major force in an environmental activism that could significantly benefit future generations.

    Instead it dithers while “Rome burns”.

  3. yatinkiteasy

    A $500 fine if a BNT designated building is destroyed…what a joke! Thats why the beautiful Ocean View Hotel is no more, as well as several other classical Barbadian homes in the Worthing and Hastings area.

  4. Thewhiterabbit

    Well, folks, not everything is as it seems. In the last BLP administration an effort was made to pass into law an antiquities bill that would have provided serious protection to all heritage and antiquities in Barbados. Dr. Karl Watson wrote a letter to the newspaper opposing that bill. The Barbados National Trust wrote a letter in opposisiton to the antiquities bill, as did, finally, one of the departments at UWI, all three letters being strangely similar. The public “reasons” given for the opposition to the bill were based on erroneous interpretations of the contents of the bill. The real reasons were that personalistic activities on the part of those opposed would have been curtailed. Further, there is a set in the “preservation business” that want to believe that the power of their oratory will sway politicians. Giant egos versus giant egos. The antiquities bill is still there. It can still be resurrected, but it will, indeed, curtail the personalistic activities of a few whose personalistic activities probably ought to be curtailed in the interest of true conservation of the national heritage. Any time a new law comes into force somebody’s activities are in some way curtailed. It only remains to be seen whether those in opposition to the antiquities bill can put the national interest ahead of their own personal interests.

  5. Theredqueen

    off with their short term opportunistic heads

  6. Laws? LOL at our low standards...

    Laws are a collection of words, written in ink, on paper.

    Without enforcement they can and will remain toothless -on paper!

    “We are not an enforcement society”
    Thompson’s words still burn my ears to this day!
    I CANNOT believe he even thought that –far less actually said it!

  7. altman

    I saw that Paul Altman is supposed to speak at a BNT event. Altman is one of the main persons that bears responsibility for the concretisation of Barbados and the sale of so much land and property to overseas interests. What credibility can the Trust have when a man of Altman’s ilk is so closely associated with the organisation?


    Thank you for reminding me of the article you carried October/2010 with regard to the theft of Graeme Hall and the Scotland District National Parks. I may very well have missed it or forgotten . Kismardin was kind enough to remind one of the BTI Coastal Master Plan that appears to have gone the way of so many other ill thought out propositions from the political clowns who masquerade as MP’s and government in the House of Varieties in Bridgetown.
    You disagreed with my raising of race in the context of environmental/heritage/ancestral destruction that has visited Barbados in the past years. I raise race not in any not in any abstract or salacious manner for effect but because it is an integral and significant aspect when we speak of land and property ownership in Barbados.
    The four century legacy of slavery/colonialism and post colonialism is imprinted and embedded deep into the soil of my island home. In the wake of such we have to the present a small white elite (increasingly in collaboration with foreign interests) that owns and controls the majority of of land, business, finance and industry and subsequently wields enormous power out of all relation to its size.
    To deny this and not recognise that white and brown skins are still major currency in Barbados is to delude oneself and to do a disservice to those who seek to understand the rotteness and putridity of race, power, shadism and class in this post colonial statelet.
    I would be the last to disavow or would wish to do so the role that white Bajans (some adopted) who have made and are making tremendous and valued contribution to the betterment of Barbados and its society.
    May I cite a few. Of course the extraordinary T.T. Lewis a white Bajan man who cleaved not to his ethnicity but fought for and represented black working class Bajans. Mrs. Florence Daysh Federal MP, Richard Goddard farmer, environmentalist and warrier on behalf of our heritage the ‘whiteish’ Karl Watson (his description not mine) and of course our resident tourism expert.
    There are of others. But please lets not be blinkered to a reality that slaps us across the face. Land and big property is owned and sold overwhelmingly by white interests, individually and corporately in Barbados. I do not deny that blacks too are engaged in selling of their little bits of choice lands for their thirty pieces of silver. Greed is not colour-blind as any fule knos.
    Only recently the historian Trevour Marshall raised the issue of the scam of work permits, a situation that has been operational for years seemingly with looking askance and a connivance of the Immigration Department. Almond Beach Hotels not withstanding the overwhelming majority of these businesses are white owned. They are concentrated in the lucrative hotel and property management sector. So what one is trying to say in this discourse is that money, ownership of land, property and power is intimately connected to race in a place like Barbados. It is a cauldron that we would wish to deny at our peril.
    We need not be the Bajan green monkey with hands over our ears because the message we are hearing is not one that we care to. It does not and will not go away

    PS. It appears that there may be some celebration to be had as a victory at Warrens Roundabout maybe in the offing. The silk cotton and baobab trees may be saved. A huge thanks to be said to the young Brent Parris, Ms. Onway St. John, Karl Watson (as ever) and the Future Centre Trust.
    Pity one’s enjoyment of this moment was spoilt by the idiotic and sexist claptrap uttered by one Dr.Nigel Jones comparing the silk cotton tree to an ‘old woman who has all her senses’, and the lickspittle duo of Mia Mottley and Cynthia Forde self publicising themselves.

  9. Smellie

    Let the developers build at Cove Bay. Let them. You never look at Cove Bay good? What you think it is such a deep Cove?

    You dont think there are caves under there? I wonder what jackass of a project engineer told them that he could make the design safe.

  10. Smellie

    If the developers build there, aside from the risk to workmen, it will be good, because the buildings will fall in the sea and will have to be rebuilt, say every thirty years. It will fuel its own existence and constantly call for more foreign money to rebuild.

    A great idea.

  11. whitey


    you must realise that the editors see race issues from a very myopic and white centric vantage point. the racial realities of barbados whereby a white minority wield extremely disproportionate economic influence is lost on bfp because of their blinkered outlook.

  12. Pingback: Race a significant aspect of property ownership in Barbados | Barbados Free Press