Category Archives: Disaster

Grenville Phillips II: Thousands of new Barbados houses vulnerable to collapse due to lack of building standards

barbados-substandard-housing

“It is a national disgrace that strains the limits of irresponsibility that the Government of Barbados, against all expert advice, allowed an entirely unregulated 14-year building boom with respect to building standards. Of the thousands of houses built, almost all of them are vulnerable to collapse in a major earthquake. It is to Barbados’ tragic misfortune that it would not have cost any additional money to have constructed the life-saving shear walls that the Building Code specified.”

Grenville Phillips II

Every Bajan or foreigner living in Barbados should attend at Grenville’s Weighed in the Balance website and have a read of Put Your House in Order.

Do it now.

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Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues, Disaster

Remembering Campus Trendz and Arch Cot – years later Barbados still doesn’t have a building code

Passersby heard the screams from Campus Trendz store: no back door and bars on the windows.

“The criminals threw the firebombs, but it was an irresponsible government, building owner and shop owner that made the firebombs inescapable death.”

Barbados Free Press, September 5, 2012 Campus Trendz deaths: What criminals allowed bars on the windows, no fire exits?

by Cliverton

Almost five years after the Campus Trendz slaughter, sleep does not come easily for my friend. In her mind she still sees the weeping desperate men in the smoke at the rear of Campus Trendz – cursing and yelling as they used hand sledges to break through the brick wall all too slowly. She couldn’t watch any longer, she couldn’t listen to the screams any longer and there was nothing the girl could do so she walked away. That haunts her to this day.

Pearl Amanda Cornelius, 18, Kelly Ann Welch, 24, Shanna Griffith, 18, Nikita Belgrave, 23, Tiffany Harding, 23 and Kellisha Ovivierre, 24, burned to death because two evil men robbed the store and smashed flaming bottles of petrol. That is one of the causes of their deaths.

The other cause of their deaths is that Barbados has no enforceable building code. Folks just build as they want to, with no standards as to amount of steel or how rebar is connected. No standards as to fire exits or alternate fire exits through windows. Campus Trendz was a deathtrap from the moment it was constructed, and six young women died because Barbados had no building code to protect them.

Similarly an entire family died at ArchCot when a powerful family (BLP leader Mia Mottley’s family) invested in land over a known cave. How the prohibition against building over the known cave was lifted was never really explained to the public. Just another of those magical Bajan processes very similar to how a BLP Government Minister came to live in a house built on private land that had been expropriated for government purposes.

That Barbados has no building code makes it easier for the corruption and the corrupt to thrive and profit.

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Filed under Barbados, Building Collapse, Corruption, Crime & Law, Disaster, Politics & Corruption

DeBajan on the latest ZR crash

barbados-zr-van-bus.jpg

“You might think it unfathomable that the Ministry of Transport would license (for a fee) a random group of people intended to take care of the crucial mass transit sector without first ensuring the content, the level or the frequency of their training. Unfortunately this is the case in Barbados.”

More well worth reading at DeBajan Public Transport Matters

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Barbados Transportation, Disaster

BREAKING EXCLUSIVE: Boyceterous Catamaran crew member says Barbados Coast Guard caused capsize by pulling too fast, too hard

Barbados Catamaran CruisesBarbados Disaster

In the small hours of Sunday morning, the Boyceterous Catamaran Cruises vessel capsized and sank while under tow by the Barbados Coast Guard. Fortunately none of the 45 to 50 passengers and crew drowned, although we hear that some were injured. One of the tour boat’s engines failed and the boat had been drifting for an hour off the harbour until the arrival of the Coast Guard.

Today a person associated with Boyceterous is telling BFP and anyone who will listen that the boat was not taking on water or sinking until the Coast Guard vessel HMBS Excellence started to tow the boat to the harbour. Our source says the boat was towed too fast and too hard for the sea condition, and that the crew tried to tell the rescue boat to slow down but it was too late. It happened quickly, but not suddenly. The crew and passengers could see what was about to happen. (Bear in mind that BFP is an anonymous blog, getting information from someone who won’t give their name to print.)

50 people on this small boat is too many!

50 people on this small boat is too many!

News accounts and the Barbados Coast Guard are directing the attention and responsibility for the sinking to the crew, and not mentioning that the cause was the faulty towing procedure by the Coast Guard.

Seeing as nobody died there probably won’t be any public inquest or public inquiry, but Barbados should learn what it can and take all steps to prevent it happening again. Because if five or twenty tourists drown next time, that will be a national economic disaster.

We’ve said before (and so did Prime Minister Arthur) that we are not an “enforcement society”. That’s all fine when we are talking about nitpicking folks to death with government regulations – but not so good when we’re talking about having no Building Code, no enforcement of vehicle insurance regulations, and training, standards and equipment for emergency personnel that falls way short of international standards.

Here’s a list of factors that any real inquiry should look at. (MORE SINKING PHOTOS BELOW)  Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Disaster

The Bridges of St. Vincent: Unnecessary deaths and destruction likely to continue.

Christmas 2013: Body bags are the natural result of building on flood plains and failing to clear bridge obstructions.

Christmas 2013: Body bags are the natural result of building on flood plains and failing to clear bridge obstructions.

The future is as dark as the silt-laden waters

by Peter Binose

(Photo courtesy of I-Witness News)

The 3rd Duke of Bridgewater and perhaps even Isambard Kingdom Brunel would turn in their graves if they could see how the Unity Labour Party have neglected our little island’s waterways and bridges to the extent that bridges are destroyed on a regular basis.

It’s ever so simple to comprehend really – streams, rivers and tributaries have to be kept clear of obstructions and siltation on a very regular basis. If this procedure is neglected even for one season,  flooding will ensue which will cause river bank and bridge damage, if not total loss of bridges. Everyone with half a brain knows that, but obviously not the ULP leadership.

Over the last fourteen years just about every bridge on our tiny island of Saint Vincent has suffered serious damage. The rivers are allowed to collect tree trunks and roots and other debris and rubbish without regular round the year maintenance and clearance by teams of work men clearing and burning such vegetation waste. When it rains heavy this debris floats down river and blocks under bridges.

Of course the silt level under bridges is allowed to grow to such an extent that between the debris and the silt, an effective dam is created.

When the silt and debris effectively blocks the water flow under the bridge the water builds up to an enormous pressure that damages the bridge and attached road. The sudden release of a large volume of water rushes down river taking with it the next bridge, if there is one, where the bridge dam sequence and sudden release is repeated on a magnified basis, also taking river banks on its way. Eventually this torrent overflows into the ancient flood plains as has happened for hundreds of thousands of years.  Continue reading

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Filed under Building Collapse, Disaster, St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Almost one year since Forbes called Barbados ‘Cyprus West’ – have we changed for the better?

Barbados Finance Minister Sinckler

Has Finance Minister Sinckler done the right thing… or is the situation so far out of hand that no government could be effective now?

Barbados, “the Jewel of the Caribbean,” the tiny easternmost island in the Lesser Antilles with 288,000 year-around inhabitants and lots of very rich foreign visitors and investors, is in the throes of a financial meltdown.

While its entire GDP is now only worth about $4.2 billion, and its population is smaller than that of Duluth Minnesota, this crisis is worth examining closely. For here we have a very precise example of the “finance curse,” where excessive dependence on high debt, an aggressive offshore haven industry, very low tax rates for high-net worth investors, foreign companies, and banks, and high tax rates for everyone else, have essentially brought this little country to its knees.

… from the December 2013 Forbes online article Postcard From Barbados — a.k.a. ‘Cyprus West’

See BFP’s January 2014 article Happy New Year 2014: Forbes announces that Barbados is on its knees, in a financial meltdown.

 

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Filed under Barbados, Disaster, Economy, Offshore Investments

Barbados mother says “I’ll breed ’em. YOU feed ’em!”

“Government is shortly to ask Parliament for a supplementary, around $100 000, to ease the distress of mothers who trek daily to the courts for child maintenance only to be disappointed because a special account was overdrawn.

The move comes against the backdrop of angry cries by frustrated women earlier this month that some had not received the child support for September, while others claimed they had not received any payments since July. Some called for a return to the cash payment system instead of the current cheque mechanism.”

… October 30, 2014 Nation News Child Money

Barbados makes single motherhood a viable career choice and then we wonder why we have so many young women, girls really, popping ’em out like Marcia does grill fish, peas & rice, and beer at Oistins.

Half the time it’s a guess to name the father… make that fathers. Plural.

This free ride, this “guvment look after everyting” is coming to an end, as it must.

The cupboard is bare, and as BFP’s Shona said back in 2006

“Government child maintenance payments empowers young uneducated women to perpetuate further generations of young unwed mothers and young men who lack the steady hand of a father.

The current trend towards making unwed motherhood a societally sponsored career choice marginalizes the role of fathers and men in general – and can do no long-term good.”

Barbados Free Press

Story #1,243 in a continuing Nation Cultural Series…

by BFP reader Passin thru

Jacqueline Blunt is 40 years old and has five children (by how many different men we’re not told). She’s long-term unemployed and lives with her mother; who has served notice on Miss Blunt that she and her five children are out on the street as of Tuesday.

According to the newspaper article, Mother of 5 needs house Miss Blunt contributes nothing to household expenses and keeps such hours and personal habits that her long-suffering mother sought to impose an 8pm curfew on the 40 year old. That really says it all when an unemployed and unemployable mother can’t be bothered to tuck her children in each night. It’s not as if she’s out working or looking for work – she’s partying.

Miss Blunt is featured in The Nation newspaper looking for her next meal ticket. She doesn’t…

View original post 285 more words

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Filed under Barbados, Culture & Race Issues, Disaster, Economy

Harlequin’s H Hotel: Latest photos of an eyesore that spoils Barbados

Harlequin Barbados Disaster 39

Harlequin Barbados Disaster 500

by St George’s Dragon

As promised I went to take a few photos of the Harlequin H Hotel today.

The site has obviously suffered less than Merricks, presumably because it is in a more populated area. It looks as though it was secure until fairly recently, although when I went it was possible to walk straight in from the boardwalk side of the site as someone has ripped the site hoarding door off its hinges.

There are still a few items of plant and materials on site, although nothing of any great value.

Such a shame. So many people have lost money just to create an eyesore that spoils Barbados.

A lovely view for the tourists from the beach boardwalk!

A lovely view for the tourists from the beach and boardwalk! Click photo for larger view.

Editor’s Note: The exposed rebar is salt-drenched and rusted, with salt-laden water dripping down into the concrete. How long before no self-respecting structural engineer would approve further work? Has that time already arrived? Do we have an architects or engineers out there to comment?

More Photos… 
Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Disaster, Economy, Environment, Offshore Investments

Cubana Flight 455 – How the USA excused, ignored and covered up the terrorist bombing of an airliner

Cubana bomb Kissinger

It has been 38 years since the CIA terror bombing of Cubana Flight 455 on October 6, 2975 just a few minutes after takeoff from Barbados Seawell Airport. The ex-Air Canada Douglas DC8 was crippled and set on fire by the first bomb, but the second bomb in one of the washrooms brought it down in the Atlantic – killing all 78 people on board.

What did the CIA and US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger know about it? Lots, according to recently released documents.

See BFP’s earlier article What Henry Kissenger and the FBI knew about Cubana Flight 455 Bombing

Barbados Today: Remembering victims of Cubana Airline crash

 

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Cuba, Disaster

House collapse disaster in St. Vincent a predictable result of Government negligence and corruption

st vincent house collapse disaster

The ULP’s  Electioneering Housing Scheme Hits a Slippery Slope.

Homes at Clare Valley are now blighted and worthless.

by Peter Binose

When you have evil in your heart you can almost be certain things will inevitably go wrong – the Karma will get you. That’s what has happened, and that’s the basis of the ULP housing schemes. The ULP like to describe them as a “government” housing schemes, but that is not true. They are schemes designed by a political party that is in a position of power – to build houses for their own supporters in areas where the party needs to boost their voting electorate. It is no more and no less than that.

It’s an attempt to move whole swathes of supporters into areas where the ULP have low support. It’s the old British Labour Party style of increasing votes where the party needs votes to get elected. This is a practice invented by the British Labour Party government in the early days when nasty Marxist types and other little red devils ruled the country.

“The ULP had the brilliant idea of acquiring rock-bottom priced land and giving it to political supporters.

Of course these lands had no value because they were problem lands – extreme slopes with soil problems that made construction a dangerous proposition…”

In 1951 the British Labour Party established a scientific socialist revolution and planned to build council houses in the UK for rent and sale in areas that traditionally had low socialist support. They went to pretty little towns and villages of a few hundred or a few thousand people and supplanted a populace that greatly exceeded that of the original people count – sometimes by more than double.

Clare-Valley-houses disaster St Vincent

That is exactly what the ULP government wants to do: plant and install large numbers of people in housing projects in areas where they previously could not get elected. But to do that they must ensure that those who take the houses are grateful to the party and will vote for them come hell or high water. This cannot be a fair government policy; it can only be a party political policy dressed as a government giveaway scheme that benefits a certain section of the populace and excludes others. Continue reading

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Filed under Building Collapse, Disaster, Political Corruption

United Nations says a moderate earthquake or hurricane would destroy 80% of Barbados schools, homes. St. Lucia would lose only 20%.

What makes you think Barbados would fare better than Haiti did in 2010?

What makes you think Barbados would fare better than Haiti did in 2010? 80% of Bajan houses, schools, hotels and public buildings are expected to collapse during a MODERATE hurricane or earthquake! (Source: UN)

Grenville Phillips II sounds the alarm…

… and offers a low cost retro-fit solution for home-owners and government

The Government has indicated that a significant amount of the planned $2.5B new debt is to be used to build new infrastructure. Before spending any of this money on new infrastructure, let me suggest that the Government meaningfully regulate the construction industry.

Having trained over 500 construction personnel around the Caribbean, I can confirm that much of our infrastructure is indeed substandard.  I have spent the past 15 years providing explicit evidence supporting the accurateness of this claim, and while some countries have heeded and improved, Barbados has gone backwards.

The United Nations recently assessed Barbados’ infrastructure and concluded in its Global Assessment Report (2013) that Barbados is expected to suffer probable maximum losses of over 80% of its gross fixed capital formation (buildings, equipment and infrastructure) if we are impacted by a moderate earthquake, or hurricane.  This is the UN’s worst possible assessment category.  For comparison, the UN predicts that neighbouring St Lucia is only expected to suffer probable maximum losses of 10% to 20%.

When will we wake up and realise that we are doing something terribly wrong?  Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Building Collapse, Consumer Issues, Disaster, Haiti

Stop building on Buccament Bay flood plain – Death is coming again

Ricky Small cries for his dear wife Joselle, who was taken by the raging waters at Buccament Bay Resort.

Ricky Small cries for his dear wife Joselle, who was taken by the raging waters at Buccament Bay Resort.

by Peter Binose

The private housing development along the Buccament River, in fact beside the Buccament river in the flood plain, was going full speed when I visited last week. Express work is taking place on finishing about a dozen further units, with all stages in progress from start up on.

I walked with a family member of the land owners and builders, who told me the family is worried that they may be stopped from building. But he thought perhaps because of the relationship between them and the ULP leadership they had some considerable protection.

Considering the devastation caused by the December 2013 flooding it is unbelievable, perhaps even criminal, that the government has not stopped further building in an area which has been recorded as a disaster zone for centuries. The area is an ancient and modern floodplain, as shown by the follow records going back to 1876!  Continue reading

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Filed under Building Collapse, Disaster, Environment, Offshore Investments, Real Estate

Tennyson Joseph: DeLisle Worrell’s folly

delisle worrell Barbados

Tin-pot dictator, Insecure, drunk on power…

“To issue a ban and to accuse the Nation of “lack of professional integrity” is burning a house to kill an ant. Banning a media house for a misleading headline is the kind of action associated with backward tin-pot dictators, rather than very intelligent, highly placed civil servants.

In a context of authoritarian political leadership, our leading public servants must lift the political culture above the paranoid vindictiveness we associate with insecure politicians, drunk on power…”

Good reading at the Trinidad Express – Tennyson Joseph: DeLisle Worrell’s folly

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Government, Disaster, Economy, Freedom Of Information, Freedom Of The Press

Devaluation of the dollar may only be the beginning of the end

sinking ship barbados flag DLP

“In the Caribbean most of the leaders are old time Marxist-Leninists, who now like to describe themselves simply as socialists – because it hides the failure of those school boy idiotic idealist beliefs still held by a bundle of old rambling communists.”

Communist idiots!

by Peter Binose

We may all wake up one morning soon and find our EC dollars worth less, or even worthless – our savings and our buying power reduced. Our local pensions worth so much less, and our food bills and everything we buy costing so much more. They won’t tell you in advance in case it causes a run on the EC dollar, with people withdrawing and buying other currencies such as the US dollar etc.

The reason for devaluation will be because of the damage inflicted on the monetary system by Caribbean states that over-borrow and can’t afford to pay back those borrowings. If you consider Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, they borrowed so much money from their national bank and could not repay it that they had to sell the bank. If that bank had collapsed it would of caused the EC dollar to be damaged and would of certainly triggered the devaluation of the EC dollar.

Root causes will remain with us – because too much debt, vast regional financial imbalances, and high energy prices have actually grown worse because of fiscal ignorance, even fiscal duncemanship by the Prime Ministers.  Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, CARICOM, Disaster, Economy, Offshore Investments, Political Corruption

Canadian banks unhappy with Caribbean investments and loans

Caribbean-bank-money_laundering

“Last year unemployment in Barbados stood at nearly 12%, but it the rate is forecast to rise to 15.6% in 2015, according to the IMF.”

According to the International Monetary Fund, RBC, CIBC and Bank of Nova Scotia are dominant players across the region with about 60% of total banking assets, almost as strong as their position in Canada. But are those players starting to question their enthusiasm in the face of the regions worrying economic malaise?

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce warned last week that it will take a $420-million charge to goodwill related to its subsidiary CIBC FirstCaribbean, which it blamed on “persistently challenging economic conditions and our current expectations for conditions going forward.”

With unemployment in the U.S. still stubbornly high, the middle class seems to be taking more modest holidays, with far fewer traveling to the Caribbean. The developed world is starting to recover from the turmoil but the numbers suggest that’s not the case in countries like Barbados and Jamaica.

… much more in the Financial Post: How the Caribbean is not so sunny anymore for Canadian banks

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Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Disaster, Economy, Offshore Investments

Barbados Finance Minister says redundant public employees should work for Trinidad & Tobago government

“We’re encouraging people to look for opportunities beyond Barbados and there are Caribbean territories that require that skilled labour. A lot of skilled labour from Barbados come here (to T&T). They go back and forth, and we are encouraging them to look for those opportunities.”

Barbados Finance Minister Christopher Sinckler speaking to T&T bankers

Leroy Parris and good friend Finance Minister Chris Sinckler share champagne

Leroy Parris and good friend Finance Minister Chris Sinckler share champagne – file photo

We’ve seen the cycle repeated for a long, long time. Barbados has way more people than this little rock can accommodate in space, resources and economy – so anytime in our history when there is a pull-back in the economy (as there is now), thousands of Bajans leave for better circumstances.

That happened when the Panama Canal was being carved from the jungle at the cost of 500 dead Bajans per mile, and it happened in the 1950’s and 1960’s when the lure of working in the UK took thousands of our best and brightest people away – most never to return.

Who leaves Barbados during these migrations?       Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Disaster, Economy, History, Immigration, Island Life, Trinidad and Tobago

Harlequin Buccament Bay flood deaths caused by neglect, dereliction of duty?

Harlequin Buccament-floods-deaths

“Seeing as the government knew about the need to carry out river flood protection, why did they give Harlequin’s Buccament Bay Resort permission to build in a known flood plain on a river that required river bank flood defences installed?

Why did they approve of building private houses in a flood plain, next to a dangerous river requiring bank and river base restructuring and defences?

Why? Why? Can they tell us Why?

Why did they fail to install those defences?”

by Peter Binose

(Photo courtesy of I-Witness News)

Whilst researching the Christmas Buccament floods I discovered that both Ralph Gonsalves and Julian Francis as government ministers were both informed as early as 2001 that Buccament was likely to flood. They were instructed to carry out urgent river defenses but almost every year for about 13 years just got more and more reports on the matter. They had the reports done because the World Bank was paying for the reports, they cost us nothing. But after getting the reports they failed to act – and that failure to act proved to be fatal  for a number of people.

In some of the reports it is even quoted that Buccament is in a flood plain. As such they allowed new building in a flood plain next to a river that was almost certainly going to flood, and it did.

PM Ralph Gonsalves

PM Ralph Gonsalves

Remember the videos of Gonsalves walking through Buccament with tears in his eyes? Was that all an act? He must of been terrified that the people would find out that he was pre-warned and failed to act, thus being a direct contributor to the loss of all those poor people.

The piece below is something I have submitted to all the newspapers and online publications. We will have see if the SVG newspapers have the courage to publish what I have written, regardless of the fact that its all verifiable as the truth.

Buccament Bay flood deaths neglect, dereliction of duty or something worse?

On December 24 and 25, 2013, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines was hit by a low-level, high-impact trough system which caused severe infrastructure damage to the country. The trough brought high winds, torrential rains and floods. Local rainfall stations reported between 200mm and 310mm on the windward side of the island and 153.3mm in the leeward side of the island.

As a result of the disaster event, there were 11 confirmed deaths and 3 persons were never found. The final disaster assessment concluded: 77 homes were completely destroyed or severely damaged; approximately another 300 homes were damaged; and 500 people were displaced and housed in temporary shelters.

Since their first year in power there is unequivocal evidence that the Unity Labour Party [ULP] government have been fully aware of the vulnerability to serious flooding at Buccament and in other places. They were aware that Buccament is generally a flood plain area.  Their studies from 2001 to 2014 show just that. They have had thirteen years to put river defenses in at Buccament, but failed to do so. The Christmas 2013 Buccament flood tragedy occurred and lives were lost.

For thirteen years the government had dragged their feet and carried out numerous studies for Social Assessment Disaster Vulnerability Reduction Projects, at Buccament and elsewhere.

Here are some of the official references to studies regarding the flooding danger from Buccament river. From them it is most obvious that the government were fully aware of the dangers of doing nothing.  Continue reading

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Filed under Disaster, Government, Offshore Investments, Politics

Daughters of the Niger Delta “The oil has spoiled everything for us…”

BFP has been invited to see this documentary on Saturday March 8th. We’ll let you know what we think. Here is a description from the film’s website:

Daughters of the Niger Delta
Documentary (55:30 min)

Daughters of the Niger Delta is an intimate film portrait of three everyday heroines who manage to make ends meet against all odds. As their personal stories unfold, we come to see that the widely ignored environmental pollution in their backyard is not the only human rights issue affecting their lives.

The Stories

The film radically differs from the usual media reports about oil outputs, conflict, and kidnapping. It gives a taste of everyday life in the Niger Delta through the eyes of three ordinary women: Hannah, Naomi & Rebecca. Their struggle to survive in the delta’s beautiful but pollution-marred wetlands confronts us with the human impact of corporate irresponsibility, gender injustice, and failing government service delivery.

The stories of Hannah, Naomi, and Rebecca are sobering as well as uplifting. They shed light on day-to-day injustices that we rarely hear about in the news. But they also highlight women’s strength and resilience. Despite the hardship affecting their lives, the filmed women are determined to give their children a better future. Women may be the best captains to navigate the Niger Delta out of its troubled waters – if only they were given the chance.

Women’s Voices

It’s time to listen to women’s voices. Their priorities are relevant not only for the Niger Delta, but also for other parts of Nigeria that currently are marred by violence and social unrest. Women’s experiences can enrich the policy discourse – if only we are willing to listen.

Film website: Daughters of the Niger Delta

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Filed under Africa, Disaster, Environment, Human Rights