Deliberate destruction of a RAMSAR Treaty natural wetlands
The last mangrove swamp in Barbados is being deliberately destroyed by the Barbados government – so that private interests (read ‘friends of the ruling party’) can benefit financially by squeezing out the foreign philanthropist / owner and then developing the area into condominiums and industrial parks. This is not an unheard of scenario in Barbados, especially with agricultural lands and natural / scrub / coastal areas. It also is common for landowners to spend decades trying to re-classify agricultural and other natural lands for development, only to be refused time and time again.
Then some person will come along and offer just a little bit over the agricultural value and the discouraged and beaten owner will sell. A few weeks later, the land is approved for development and quickly resold for a hundred times what was paid. That is the real Barbados!
The only problem with the Graeme Hall swamp is that the owner, a Canadian philanthropist named Peter Allard, doesn’t want to develop the area: he wants to preserve this precious natural resource for the Bajan people. Earlier Allard volunteered to have the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary incorporated into a National Park. That didn’t work out when the greedy hands of career politicians wanted their cut or NO DEAL! Now that political elite is determined to have it all.
It might take more twenty more years for the cabals to get hold of what is probably the most valuable land on the south coast, but the elites think in generations and they know that there are other foreign chickens to pluck until that time arrives. The elites own the courts and the government, so they have plenty of time.
Above is a photo of the broken and blocked sea door to the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary. It should be opened once in a while to allow the mangrove swamp to be refreshed and to ‘breathe’ the sea water. Normally, tarpon would come and go from the mangrove swamp, the toxins would be diluted and the mix of of salt and fresh water (brackish water) would be perfect for the mangroves, fish, birds and animals of the swamp. The government owns and controls the sea door, and for years kept it closed to deliberately kill the Graeme Hall mangrove swamp. The government has also refused to protect the natural area from sewerage discharges and industrial pollution – although all these assurances were given to the investor prior to his commitment to clean up and restore a beautiful natural resource that had been turned into a tipping dump.
Nice people, those government types!
The issue has been before the Barbados and the international courts but we don’t know the current status. We would appreciate an update from anyone who really knows.
Meanwhile, here is the Wikipedia entry about Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary.