New IADB coastal environment loan: Will Barbados now repair the Graeme Hall sluice gate?

Graeme Hall wetlands being destroyed for want of a sluice gate

Congratulations, folks… we got another loan! I’ve lost track of how many hundreds of millions of dollars our grandchildren owe to the IADB and other global bodies. Does anybody know?

According to Prime Minister Stuart, this new loan makes Barbados “a champion of coastal best practices”. Wow! All you have to do is borrow the money for a study (yes, a study), make an announcement and you’re a “champion”. Once again in Barbados it is words that matter, not achieved results. (See Caribbean 360 Prime Minister touts coastal management project)

The amazing thing about these loans is that without many exceptions the money is always for “studies” and “initiatives” that never seem to have a tangible result or quantifiable success. Smart guys, these politicians (for they are 99% men) – they never set themselves up for failure by announcing projects where the results can be measured and compared against pre-established benchmarks for success.

Even when they are supposed to establish a hard infrastructure component, the record is terrible. One example: We borrowed the money for a waste treatment plant then spent the money on something else. We now have no money and no waste treatment plant. Gotta love those politicians!

Also missing from the Prime Minister’s analysis that Barbados is an environmental “champion” is his government’s abysmal record on the environment. We don’t even have an Environmental Protection Act. That’s right folks… Barbados has no environmental laws pertaining to the land, air or inland water. We have no environmental regulations about the storage, use or disposal of deadly chemicals. No environmental regulations requiring pipeline operators to monitor and report leakage. We’re still pulling up jetfuel from coastal wells around the Shell airport pipeline and there’s nothing the government will do about it because there is no law against it and zero enforcement. Not to forget the government itself dumping raw sewerage into the RAMSAR protected Graeme Hall wetlands! Unbelievable.

And, one of the first acts of the new DLP Government when elected four years ago was to remove the environmental protections to allow development on the coastal watershed surrounding the last remaining mangrove swamp. Freundel Stuart and his DLP kissed goodbye to the Graeme Hall National Park so they and their developer friends could make money.

True to form, our new loan is for a study: “a comprehensive evaluation of the risks and vulnerabilities of Barbados to storm surges and tsunamis.”

In and of itself, this study is probably a good and necessary project – but in our hearts we know that it would never be happening without the loan. And who will do the studies (for their will be many components)? That’s another whole issue and it’s a valid one because it is common practice for the ruling party of the day to hand off some of the work to friends of government. That’s a given and with the sad state of our and the world’s economy don’t ignore how studies like this one are a tool for funneling money into the local economy. Aside from the central reason behind the study, we’re borrowing the money to help keep the wolves away from the door.

Back to managing perception compared to the reality of actions:

The last remaining mangrove forest on the island is slowly being killed off for want of an operating sluice gate. The canal leading to the gate is breaking down more and more every time the government machines come near to dredge the sand from the channel. The sluice gate has been broken for 15 years or more, but the government won’t repair it because they and their developer friends want to kill the Graeme Hall wetlands

… so they can build on it and make money.

That is the truth about Prime Minister Stuart and his “environmental champions”.


Filed under Barbados, Environment, Nature

6 responses to “New IADB coastal environment loan: Will Barbados now repair the Graeme Hall sluice gate?

  1. West Side Davie

    Please correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t we recently get a thirty million dollar IADB loan for the coast? Is this loan on top of that or re-announcing the same loan six months later? What are we doing with the money? Are any of the consultants related in any way to government members? Are any of the consultants offshore or DLP financial supporters?

    All the usual questions and the usual silence in return.

  2. robert ross

    This post raises many valuable insights…one is the issue of raising money for “studies” often conducted by outside consultants who, as West Side has just said, may not be quite as outside as we suppose. It all speaks to the poverty, no bankruptcy, apparently, of ideas and intellects of our people here. It happened some years ago in relation to legal aid reform though in that case there were ‘experts’ here who, in the event, were ignored. The ‘study’ when it came said absolutely nothing which was not already known. We import legislation as our own with no regard to our local circumstances. That was done nine years ago with the Canadian Occupational Pensions Benefits Act which came into force here exactly a year ago.
    It is abundantly clear that our political masters simply don’t understand it and, certainly in relation to certain kinds of pension schemes, are in fact infringing our constitutional protections. NOW this is not about a sluice gate – it is something which directly and immediately affects all our lives NOW. .
    Yet as West Side says – ‘all the usual questions’ and the rest (even here) is silence.

  3. Mac

    As it stands close to $4billion BSD has been borrowed by the the DLP since 2008. With very little to show for it except the expanding waistlines of many Ministers.

  4. Wily Coyote

    LOOK, Barbadian Politicians could not survive without these HANDOUTS, local taxpayers cannot afford the Mercedes, BMW’s, Foreign Trips, Lavish Meals, Outside Women and especially Newspaper announcements promoting one’s worth, We should all be thankful the IMF, USAID, IADB etc. keep giving our politicians money or else our fragile economy would surely have collapsed already.

  5. 72.64/11C

    You mean it hasn’t already collapsed??

  6. Red Lake Lassie

    I saw the gate on saturday all rusted. The sides of the channel are collapsing where the construction machinery has broken the concrete. This is an assault against all Bajans. You can picture the highrise condos beyond the treeline because that is surely where we are being taken. Give it 5 years and they will start building.