Category Archives: Wildlife

Fallon Best takes issue with Honey Bea III sea turtles accusation

Honey Bea Fishing Barbados

 Honey Bea Charter’s crew members respect the turtles!

by Fallon Best Christ Church

by Fallon Best
Christ Church

Contrary to what BFP’s article about the Honey Bea III states, no one has ever apparently contacted the owner Mr Elson Best directly of Honey Bea III. (See BFP’s Bridgetown Careenage and Harbour beautiful… but deadly to Sea Turtles?)

The telephone number is public on brochures all over Barbados and on website HoneyBeaBarbados. Telephone 230.9936. The recently retired captain at the time has worked for Honey Bea Charters for approximately 40 years and the mate for almost 20 years.

These are experienced local fishermen in a small tourism service and have never to my knowledge ever landed nor fished for turtles, especially on Honey Bea nor in the Careenage. Many charters boats feed fish and bait scraps to turtles in the Careenage and tourists usually enjoy watching them surface. They inquire on the spot about cruises to snorkel and feed turtles on West Coast and fishing charters. You can imagine the crew would be the last people to deliberately fish, hook, land a turtle in the Careenage as they support their life’s living off the turtle feeding practise.

On the other hand, turtles bite at fishermen’s bait meant for fish regularly and if a hook was overboard during feeding, the high probability is the hook disintegrated or came out of the turtles mouth.

I wish Barbados Free Press the best with quality investigative journalism in the future, which protects the rights of the vulnerable, the working class and exposes injustice, unethical and criminal behavior in society – but of course based on facts and not any uncertain libel accusations which may neglect truth and slander hard working people and more innocent members of society.

Fallon Best (relative of the owner)

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Environment, Wildlife

Why no solution on the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary?

Barbados Graeme Hall Sluice Gate (click photo for large)

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.  Continue reading

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Filed under Agriculture, Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Environment, Nature, Offshore Investments, Political Corruption, Wildlife

Bridgetown Careenage and Harbour beautiful… but deadly to Sea Turtles

Honey Bea Fishing Barbados

Honey Bea III refuses to answer accusation of fishing for turtles

Contributed by BFP reader CJB

The Careenage and Harbour used to be a garbage strewn muddy dump. They have spent years cleaning it up and landscaping the surrounds. They have even restored the lift bridge to working order. However now that the area has been cleaned up and the water is far less murky (polluted?) turtles have started to appear, largely attracted by the free food from the deep-sea fishing boats moored there.

Unfortunately some of the deep-sea fishing vessels are now also trying to catch the turtles with rod, line and hook. The boat we saw was Honey Bee III. (Editor’s note: I think he means Honey Bea III)

They had a rope over the side with what looked like the entrails of a large fish at the end of it – two Hawksbill turtles were attempting to get bits off it. One was an adult, another a juvenile. However there was another conventional fishing rod and line with hook also dangling in the water. It was baited with fish – quite why it was there is a moot point. It was this that the adult turtle got caught on – obviously attracted to the bait on the hook. There was quite a struggle by one of the guys to ‘land’ it and the rod bent right down. Eventually the turtle surfaced and its head broke the water – my photo in hi-res clearly shows the line from the rod to the hook in its beak.

Then the line snapped and the turtles (both) swam off. The two staff carried on gutting a barracuda as though nothing had happened. The whole incident also witnessed by a number of tourists.  Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Environment, Nature, Wildlife

Life is hard for Sea Turtle hatchlings

Barbados Sea Turtle Release

We love to see the hatchling releases by the UWI Sea Turtle Project, but a photo of a Dolphin (Mahi Mahi) being cleaned reminds us that only a few turtles survive the first few days in the sea. The lucky or smart ones are few.

Sea turtle hatchling Barbados

All the more reason to immediately report anyone you see killing an adult turtle. There was a time when sea turtles were like the stars in the sky around Bim. Not anymore.

Each one of us has a responsibility to protect and grow our sea turtle population.

Thanks to Skip to Malou and the Barbados Sea Turtle Project for the photos and links.

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Filed under Barbados, Environment, Wildlife

Our lawless beaches: Turtle poachers threaten violence against witnesses

Police absent as killers raid nests, butcher hawksbill turtles right on the beach!

“The field director noted the poachers were getting even bolder and more aggressive, to the point where they were threatening eyewitnesses against making reports to police. So afraid was one person that she only reported an incident to the project three days after the act and she could not be convinced to make a statement to police.”

… from The Nation article Turtles under attack

Editorial by BFP

The increasing reluctance of Bajans to report crimes or to testify in court is directly related to fears of retaliation. People also have an unwillingness to experience the well known abuses of the police and court system towards witnesses, but it is the witness fear factor that is the first barrier to our police when they arrive at a crime scene. There can be two hundred people in a field but nobody ever sees or hears anything – gunshots and screams included.

This lack of confidence in the ability of the police and the courts to protect witnesses from threats and harm is seriously undermining the quality of life in Barbados. There is a general realisation that the lawless elements are becoming bolder as they know too well that the police aren’t likely to come when called, and if the police do come, ordinary folks will say nothing because they are too frightened to become witnesses.

Although judges, lawyers and citizens have been vocal about this disturbing trend of threats and other intimidation tactics against witnesses, neither the government nor the police have done anything to address the problem. In the courts it is still a common occurrence for charges to be dropped with the thin explanation that “the victim no longer desires the charges to proceed”. The judges, lawyers and the DPP never make further serious enquiries as to why the victim has “changed their mind” as I once heard a lawyer tell the court.

Neither have our lawmakers in Parliament seen fit to change the laws to enable judges to force victims and witnesses to testify. This change, combined with prosecutors refusing to drop charges, has proven especially effective in reducing domestic violence in the U.K. and several American jurisdictions we’ve read about.

Epidemic of turtle killing – with no witnesses

This year the grisly turtle remains are turning up everywhere. The Nation reports that the number of known killings so far this nesting season is double that of all last year.

Darren Browne, field director of the Barbados Sea Turtle Project, says that folks are too frightened to call the police because the poachers are threatening witnesses. Mr. Browne invites witnesses to call the Sea Turtle hotline instead of the police and his organization will then call the police. This is supposed to keep the witnesses’ identities from the police, while alerting the authorities so that the police can attend at the scene and try to catch poachers in the act. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Environment, Wildlife

The ‘before’ photo: Cave Bay, Merricks, Barbados

Taken in October, 2008. Enjoy the photo folks, because it’s all changed and we can’t say for the better.

Give thanks to an old friend.

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Environment, Wildlife

Why can’t we all just get along?

An old friend sent this to me. On the surface it’s an overdose of cute. On a deeper level, well… it gets pretty deep.

Inspiration and learning is where you find it… and very often it is found where you don’t expect it.

IF you are open.

Shona

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Barbados mangrove wetland comes to Manitoba, Canada: March 25, 2012

Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Centre unveils a neotropical migratory bird exhibit.

Rare bird carvings donated by Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary in Barbados

Oak Hammock Marsh, Manitoba – Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Centre (OHMIC) will unveil its new Neotropical Migratory Bird exhibit on Sunday, March 25, 2012 at 1:30 p.m. The exhibit re-creates the sights and sounds of a tropical mangrove wetland. It features a rare collection of 22 life-size bird carvings by the Skeete family of carvers that was donated by the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary in Barbados.

This unique collection, the largest know group of its kind in the world, is ideally-suited to the new exhibit that shows familiar migratory birds from Canada sharing an exotic mangrove wetland with resident Caribbean birds. Visitors will be invited to follow Wally, the Yellow Warbler, on his annual migration from Oak Hammock Marsh to the south. Arriving at Wally’s destination, visitors will use a viewing blind, binoculars, and interpretive signs to search for Wally among the mangroves that he shares with a variety of herons, egrets, and other resident Caribbean birds.

“The Interpretive Centre was thrilled to receive the generous donation of these exquisite and unique carvings” said Michele Kading – the Head of Interpretation at OHMIC.

“We were overwhelmed when Peter Allard and the Allard Family agreed to sponsor the creation of an exhibit that would not only showcase the beauty of these carvings but would enhance the Centre’s programs for public visitors as well as school groups.”

The new exhibit will help visitors to Oak Hammock Marsh realize the critical importance of Caribbean wetlands in the conservation of Neotropical birds.

Barbados migratory birds

Carved by Geoff Skeete and his son John Skeete, each of the 22 carvings is a life-sized replica of a bird living in the Caribbean that can be seen on the island of Barbados. Geoff Skeete, the elder artist, has had a keen interest in migratory shorebirds of North America that visit the island of Barbados annually in large numbers. Geoff’s wife Joan, who encouraged Geoff to get into this art form, paints each of her husband’s carvings with the colours and details of the living birds they represent. Continue reading

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Filed under Art, Barbados, Canada, Wildlife

Uganda: Thrilling morning visit from gorillas

One of our regular readers sent us the above video shot last December. I don’t know if I would have the courage to film as these tourists did.

I once said I would trade my house for a low orbit flight on Sir Richard Branson’s new space line. Forget that… I’d trade my house to be the guy who got the kiss and grooming from the troop.

Unbelievable!

Thanks so much to an old friend.

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Filed under Africa, Barbados, Wildlife

Green Antilles – Excellent Caribbean environmental website

We’ve added Green Antillies blog to our sidebar links and we hope you enjoy the news, stories and links as much as we do. Our friend Thérèse Yarde takes a little bit of Caribbean environmental news, mixes in some alternative energy features and stories about wildlife, reefs and agriculture to create a superb daily read.

If you are interested in Caribbean environment, nature conservation and energy, Green Antillies.com is for you!

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Filed under Agriculture, Barbados, Energy, Environment, Nature, Wildlife

Prince of Barbados: Save our East Coast from development!

Government promises are empty: National Catastrophe instead of a National Park

Bajan Prince here once again to inform you that yet another nail has been put in the coffin on the East Coast of Barbados, as yet another developer plans to develop 95 acres of beachfront in Boscobelle into some “massive upscale residential development.”

This news is heart wrenching to me. Like most Bajans who are not part of the government, I have always been against the destruction of our beautiful country by indiscriminate development. Although the developer, Candelisa Resorts, boasts that this project will be “environmentally friendly” we all know that this development will surely begin the “condo-zation” of the whole Eastern coastline, one of Barbados’ last unspoiled stretches of  coast.

A call to action for all Bajans!

Fortunately, with immediate and relentless civil action, this development will not go down! We as a people NOW need to wake up and realize that government promises are empty and that our MPs who  represent us in Parliament are willing to go through with, NOT a national park, but actually a national catastrophe, that being the destruction of our beautiful isle. This island is too precious to be robbed of her captivating natural assets.

From east to west our island Barbados is de best and we MUST, ABSOLUTELY MUST safeguard her until the end of time.

Barbados has lived long and she will continue to live long even after we are gone. Let’s respect her and show her our undying love by treasuring her. I see Barbados as my island mother, one that I look to for comfort, one that I turn to for confidence and one that I rely on for joy. I will FIGHT long and hard to protect her, my mother, my island, my Barbados!

LONG LIVE BARBADOS!

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Filed under Agriculture, Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Environment, Nature, Wildlife

Environmental Protection Department’s 40th Anniversary Sham

Environmental Tour to avoid Graeme Hall sluice gate (above photo), West Coast beach disaster, Mount Stinkeroo

Don’t ask why Barbados lacks environmental protection legislation or off the bus you go!

Barbados is celebrating 40 years of no environmental protection legislation with a carefully staged bus tour this Saturday. A press release from the BGIS says,

EPD rides to visit wetlands, mangroves

A glimpse into the wetlands and mangroves of Barbados will be given when the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) hosts a bus tour as part of its 40th Anniversary Celebrations.

The free tour, which also falls during Environment Month, will be held on Saturday, June 18.  It will offer the public the opportunity to see some of the island’s greener locales and ecosystems first hand, while learning more about what and where they are and how they develop.

It all sounds so environmentally positive, doesn’t it? Just the use of the words “mangroves”, “wetlands” and “ecosystems” has me seeing green and feeling good about our island home. That is, if I ignore the abandoned refrigerators just west of Grape Hall, forget about the Shell jet fuel in the south coast water wells and don’t look at the the green/brown effluent at Bathsheba that flows into the sea.

In one sense, we can’t blame the Environmental Protection Department workers for wanting to celebrate the very existence and survival of their abused and underfunded department. It’s not their fault that for over 40 years successive governments deliberately failed to pass Environmental Protection Legislation or give the EDP proper tools to do the job.

Both the DLP and the BLP preferred to take cash political donations from the corporate polluters instead of putting Barbados first.

Polluters don’t like environmental laws, so our politicians took their money and delivered what they were supposed to: no environmental legislation, protection of corporate polluters, and profits to the auto dealers and road construction companies.

So now we have a legacy of 40 years of no environmental laws, wholesale rape and development of the last remaining wetlands, and a transportation policy that involves ever more roads and ever more vehicles. The construction, auto industries and politicians make the money, while our island is paved over bit by bit. Sounds about right if you have an offshore account in Switzerland or Miami.

“We” borrowed tens of millions for a West Coast sewer project – then spent the money on something else (probably more roads for more cars) and left the sewerage flowing into the water table, the RAMSAR wetlands and the sea.

The politicians and their developer friends are deliberately killing the last remaining mangrove forest at Graeme Hall – and God forbid that Barbados should ever have modern garbage disposal / power creation facilities as do some modern small island nations. Oh no! We’d rather just pile the stuff higher and higher and let the poisons leach into the water and sea – that is when it doesn’t touch off itself and burn for a few months or a year. It’s not called Mount Stinkeroo for nothing, ya know!

So enjoy the bus trip folks, but when you get to the wetlands, ask the tour guide why successive governments have refused to repair the RAMSAR Wetlands sluice gate for 15 years. When you drive by the West Coast, ask why the government approved the groynes that destroyed the beaches. Ask how much money the DLP and BLP received from Shell Oil and the Simpsons of auto-dealer fame. Ask why Barbados has no Environmental Protection Act.

Don’t let the “celebration” go to waste. Demand answers and make some noise.

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Corruption, Environment, Nature, Political Corruption, Politics & Corruption, Wildlife

National Geographic quotes Barbados PM at Nobel Laureate Symposium – Perpetuates the Con Job

PM Stuart talks “Global Sustainability” while destroying the last mangrove forest on the island


National Geographic VP John Francis fooled into thinking words equal action

Barbados Prime Minister Freundel Stuart just returned from the third Nobel Laureate Symposium on Global Sustainability where he rubbed shoulders with Nobel prize winners and famous and not so famous environmentalists and world leaders.

Not only did PM Stuart attend the conference in Stockholm, Sweden – he played an active role with the UN High-level Panel on Global Sustainability and conducted an open discussion with the crowd. Former US President Bill Clinton listened to our Prime Minister quote Martin Luther King: “There is no deficit in human resources, the deficit is in human will.”

National Geographic quoted Freundel Stuart like he really meant what he said and would back it up with action.

We at Barbados Free Press say…

“Our plea to National Geographic: Come to Barbados and see the destruction for yourself. Examine the reality, then write. Don’t empower those who say fine words but are really selling out our natural environment for money.”

While Freundel Stuart mouthed his fine words, back home his Democratic Labour Party government is conducting a strategic campaign to destroy the last remaining mangrove forest on the island so it can be commercially developed. Money has always trumped the natural environment in Barbados and Stuart’s DLP is continuing the practice. Continue reading

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Essay contest winner Juwayriyah Nana: “At whose expense do we litter on our beaches…”

“Do we want these underwater kingdoms to perish like those on land?”

Juwayriyah Nana of Harrison College took 3rd Place (and $250!) in the Age 14-18 category of the 2011 national Canada-Barbados Environmental Essay Contest.

Here is Juwayriyah’s winning essay…

Why is the Environment Important to Barbados?

What about nature? It’s our planet’s womb.” Michael Jackson’s Earth Song perfectly echoes the essence of Mother Earth’s importance to the world. Nature is the world’s womb from which life evolves and from which mankind survives, then, does it not have a right upon us, the humans, who exploit it and leave a trail of destruction? This is the picture everywhere: burnt forests, eroding coastlines, increase in illegal dumping turning our surroundings into hazardous disasters waiting to happen. Barbados is not an exception and we need to identify the importance of the environment to us. For as Earl Nightingale said, “Our environment, the world in which we live and work, is a mirror of our attitudes and expectations.” So, if a negative attitude pervades our people, their thoughts will translate into negative effects for our surroundings. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Economy, Environment, Nature, Wildlife

Canada-Barbados Environmental Essay Contest Winners Announced

$4,000 Cash Awards Won by Barbados Students

Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary announced the six top winners of the 2011 national Canada-Barbados Environmental Essay Contest on Saturday, March 19, 2011. Nearly 60 essay competitors entered the contest. Awards were split into two age categories.

Students were invited nationwide to write a 300-500 word essay about “Why is the environment important to Barbados?” Entries were judged on originality, creativity, articulation and strength of expression in addition to usual composition requirements.

“It was inspiring to read the essays from students throughout Barbados,” said an official with the Sanctuary. “Under the guidance of their teachers we saw these students produce remarkable and passionate essays about why Barbados needs a healthy and diverse environment.

“We received many creative and thoughtful essays but these winners embraced the idea of personal responsibility when it came to preserving the environment. We are especially impressed with how young people in Barbados are acutely aware of how our quality of life and financial health are dependent on the environment.”

The Winners!

Barbados Free Press will be publishing each one of the winning essays over the next few weeks and we’ll link to the names when we do. We are tremendously enthused by what we’re reading. These students are the future, and the future leaders, of Barbados.

We’d also like to express our deep appreciation for the folks at the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary who brought this contest to fruition with their ideas, hard work and, yes, money. We’re proud of all the students and teachers who participated – not just the winners. If we all work together we CAN change the consciousness of this nation.

Good for you, young people! You give us old folks hope for the future.

Age 9-13 Winners:

  • 1st Place and $1,250: Kiara Smith, Providence Elementary School
  • 2nd Place and $500: Jade Griffith, Wills Primary School
  • 3rd Place and $250: Phoebe Vieira, St. Winifred’s School

Age 14-18 Winners:

  • 1st Place and $1,250: Dudley Ellis, Harrison College
  • 2nd Place and $500: Shan Bovell, The Lodge School
  • 3rd Place and $250: Juwayriyah Nana, Harrison College

Honorable Mentions Ages 9-13:

  • Mohammed Nana, Wesley Hall Junior School
  • Rhea Campbell, The Ursuline Convent School
  • Rebecca Clarke, St. Winifred’s School

Honorable Mentions Ages 14-18:

  • Michaela Welch, The St. Michael School
  • Jade Forsberg, The Codrington School
  • Jakita J. Connell, Queen’s College

You can read all of the winning essays at the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary website: CBEYA 2011 Essay Contest Winners

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Filed under Barbados, Education, Environment, Wildlife

Barbados Environment Ministry issues wonderful press release. Meanwhile, the reality is…

Another Conference for our all-talk no action Environment Minister

Oh dear! Where to start? It seems like we keep writing the same article over and over again in response to reading the same press release over and over again.

The simple truth is that every few months our Ministry of the Environment holds some conference, gets a loan for “the environment” and issues the same tired old self-congratulatory press release talking about the importance of the environment. There are different flavours of the press release, but it’s all the same hollow PR nonsense with no real content.

Dem folks at the Environment Ministry and the Coastal Zone Management Unit sure can talk, and they have a way of talking to make it sound like talking and meetings are the equivalent of actually doing something, actually taking action to protect the environment.

But it’s all meetings and talk and press releases. You understand?

This current “Aren’t we wonderful and we’re really looking good!” press release quotes Environment Minister Denis Kellman as saying we need to look at old solutions like planting hedge rows and Cus Cus grass along road verges to retain top soil.

Wonderful. Meanwhile his Ministry is deliberately killing a RAMSAR wetlands and the last mangrove forest on the island so it can be developed into condos and industrial units. Meanwhile we have raw sewerage contaminating beaches on the West Coast because we borrowed millions to build a proper sewage treatment plant and then spent the money on cricket festivals.

Barbados hasn’t bothered with an Environmental Protection Act because the international “environment” loans and grant money just keeps rolling in anyway.

Message to the Inter-American Development Bank: For God’s sake, PLEASE don’t give these international-aid addicts any more money until they pass an Environmental Protection Act!

Sometimes I do despair.

Folks, please read two things today and I won’t ask you to read anything else. It’s really important that Barbadians are able to look at these government press releases and tear them to pieces for the garbage they are.

First, please read our recent article: Barbados don’t need no stinkin’ Environmental Legislation because we got another loan!

Then read the new Barbodos government press release below, and really think about the difference in what the press release says and the reality of what you see in Barbados.

Thanks ever so much.

Cliverton

Barbados Government Press Release: March 17, 2011

BARBADOS: Coastal Zone Management Unit Hosts ICZM Workshop

Bridgetown – March 17, 2011 – Regional states must do everything in their power to protect their coastlines. Continue reading

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Barbados continues blocking off the coast

New Marina progresses. High Rise flats coming. That’s progress, right?

The construction of the new marina continues (above) and by the looks of things you’ll soon have to have a boat to see any of the coast at all. Meanwhile, Minister of Housing Michael Lashley yesterday announced our first high rise housing development.

I don’t view the high rise mansion blocks as a bad thing – depending upon how it is done and where. That has to happen because Barbados has about the 15th highest population density in the world – although compared to places like Monaco, Singapore and Hong Kong, we’re almost uninhabited. If done properly, high rise housing could reduce the pressure on our agricultural and natural areas and reduce the price of housing. If done properly that is. Continue reading

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Spark of the Day! A different sort of Flying Fish

“Just happened to pick up the camera…”

Okay, we know it’s not a fish, but we couldn’t resist the play on words considering this is a Bajan blog and all that. Click on the photo and you’ll be taken to the Daily Telegraph to see the large photo and read how Matt Deans took this one in a million shot.

Spark of the Day! is our occasional reminder of how beautiful this little planet really is – and should be.

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