Tag Archives: Barbados Environmental Disaster

SAFETY WARNING: Mullins Bay fouled by dirty water, chemicals from JADA construction site.

Blue sky, Caribbean sea… and the filth near shore

Turtles in trouble – swimming in JADA’s swill

Royal Westmoreland Beach Club patrons also exposed

Our friends at Mullins Bay blog are sending out a safety alert after tying to take a sea dip on Tuesday afternoon, September 27, 2011.

Where is the Coastal Zone Management Unit? Where is the Minister of the Environment? Where is Prime Minister Stuart after his fine fine coastal environment speech at the United Nations? Where is former Environment Minister Elizabeth Thompson whose BLP government couldn’t pass an Environmental Protection Act in 15 years of majority government?

Swimming in JADA Construction’s filth

This blogger was taking such a dip in the sea today around noon and all was going swimmingly until I noticed a foul chemical odor in the water and noticed that it had turned milky. I decided that something bad was happening and that I needed to get out of the water as quickly as possible. It was then that I noticed a juvenile turtle sticking its head out of the milky water in the nearshore area as if it were suffocating and/or struggling to to leave the area…

It was only after complaining to relatives visiting from the UK and USA who had gone about two hundred yards up the beach to Mullins that I learned of the source of the discharge – the JADA construction site opposite the Texaco Service Station in Road View, St. Peter. I was swimming in JADA’s swill.

Full story/photos/video at Mullins Bay Blog: Beware of Mullins Beach Area

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Environment, Health, Nature

Barbados Coastal Zone Management Unit silent on groynes failure: “Who’s ignorant now?”

“Last year one of the principals of St. Peter’s Bay told a visiting Canadian journalist that people who opposed the groynes were “ignorant.”  Well, Mr. Big Developer, who’s ignorant now?”

Three weeks ago the above photo of a portion of the beach between the groynes at St. Peter’s Bay, Road View, St. Peter was posted on Facebook along with this question: “If the groynes are so effective in combating beach erosion then why is this fence being unearthed and toppled?”  Well, it looks like we just got the answer from St. Peter’s Bay.  A visit to the same area yesterday found a work crew hastily shifting the fence inland several feet from where it was originally located.  One could not wish for a clearer admission of the failure of the groynes at St. Peter’s Bay than to witness this ignominious exercise.

… Mullins Bay Blog: St. Peter’s Bay Admits Failure of Groynes

As we just pointed out in an article*, Barbados just took a $30 Million Dollar loan for “Coastal Management” and the same people who brought you the disaster of the groynes will be the ones to spend those millions on what THEY think is best. Lord help us!

* See BFP’s Barbados don’t need no stinkin’ Environmental Legislation because we got another loan!

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Filed under Barbados, Environment, Real Estate

Barbados Environmental Protection Department slams Long Beach development proposal

The Abed family is heavily involved with DLP politics and election campaign financing. How much will that count for the Abed family's Long Beach development application? (Prime Minister David Thompson and almost-elected DLP candidate Taan Abed.)

Will Barbados develop the last dune wetlands on the South Coast?

From: Director
Barbados Environmental Protection Department

To: Chief Town Planner

July 28, 2008

Subject: Re: Environmental Impact Study for application #2656/08/2006E- Outline Proposal for an Environmental Estate to include Residential, Commercial, (Hotel, Restaurant, Retail, Office), Long Beach, Christ Church

In response to the above-captioned requested dated 2008-05-13, please be advised that the proposed development must be carefully considered as it will be impact on on the only remaining dune system on the south coast. This coastal ecosystem has significant wetlands along with historical importance and as such, significant deliberation must be undertaken to determine the potential impact of the development on the landscape, flora and fauna through the structural development and also through the introduction of the proposed breakwater and artificial wetlands. Due to the sensitivity of this area and its uniqueness as an aquatic habitat, development with such a large footprint and the potential for significant disturbance is discouraged…

… excerpts from an official letter posted at Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary – Long Beach Resources.

Bajans can now read the Environmental Impact Assessment Report – No thanks to the Government

The folks at the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary have posted online scans of portions of the Environmental Impact Assessment report for the proposed Long Beach hotel, residential and commercial development.

The scans have been appearing piece-meal on the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary website, which indicates to us that they are not being obtained in a – how you say? – “official” manner.

A huge question is: Why should Barbados citizens  be denied access to the environmental studies about the proposed Long Beach development? Why should we have to get the truth and official documents from an unofficial source?

‘An don’t give me no garbage that there are a couple of paper copies at the library and a school!

This doesn’t pass the smell test. This stinks like Auntie Moses’ suck-well in August. (Sorry Auntie, but it’s the truth!)  🙂

Something stinks about the relationship between the developers and the David Thompson DLP Government.

If it doesn’t stink, why doesn’t the government post all the documents online?

My friends: you have a duty to yourselves and to your children…

Read what the Barbados Environmental Protection Department says about the Long Beach development. They are highly critical of the plan and of the ability of the developers to maintain environmental standards in the long term.

Next in this series: Citizens mobilize – the movement to stop the destruction of the Chancery Lane Wetlands.

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Filed under Barbados, Environment, Freedom Of Information, Nature, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption, Wildlife

There’s nothing like an exposed septic tank on the beach to impress the tourists!

"It makes me want to come back to Barbados for my next vacation too!"

"It makes me want to come back to Barbados for my next vacation too!"

Has Environment Minister Denis Lowe seen the exposed septic tank?

If Barbados’ Minister of the Environment hasn’t seen this, we’d have to ask “Why not?”

If he has seen it, we’d have to ask “Why hasn’t he done anything about it?”

Our friends over at Mullins Bay Blog have the story: Owner hits the Internet to clear up Kings Beach saga

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

Will Canadian Philanthropist Peter Allard Take Over Failing Barbados Tourist Attraction Ocean Park?

“We have run out of funds needed to push forward to a sustainable position.”

… Ocean Park manager Tracy Johnson

Ocean Park Aquarium Shutting Down August 30, 2009

The Barbados marine exhibition known as Ocean Park has been dying a slow death and bleeding investors since shortly after it opened in 2005. Everyone had hopes that the tourist attraction would thrive in Barbados, but obviously the gross revenues and visitor traffic couldn’t sustain the operational expenses. According to the newspaper articles about Ocean Park, it takes a whole lot of electricity and other costs to keep salt-water big fish for display, and after seeing the facilities I believe that. (CBC article: Ocean Park future in doubt Nation article: Ocean Park expected to fold)

Shona and I took the boy and his cousin once and it was an enjoyable, if expensive, morning and lunch. The best part for the little ones was being able to touch the (de-barbed) sting rays in the pool – but after a few minutes, I’d put the boys’ excitement rating on the same level as finding a new bug or lizard in the yard. Which is all to say that the visit was enjoyable, but quite the price for a Bajan family by the time we purchased drinks and a snack.

As to the wisdom of taking an undistinguished empty field and trying to make a Disney-like major attraction in Barbados, my thoughts are that when tourists arrive in Barbados either by cruise ship or airplane, they don’t want to see mega “tourist attractions” that they can see elsewhere. People come to Barbados to experience what is unique about our country and our culture.

I believe that Ocean Park and other “mega attractions” are doomed to fail in Barbados because our tourists don’t come here to see mini versions of world-class experiences that are better done in larger markets. Consider the 4 million or so cruise ship passengers that transit through Miami every year (source here). If those passengers want to see a real world class marine park, they can go to the Miami Seaquarium and see killer whales, turtles, sharks and even swim with dolphins. Many do!

We certainly didn’t see any bus-loads of cruise ship passengers arriving at Ocean Park during our visit. Again that was probably because those people want to spend their few hours ashore seeing what is unique to Barbados.

Thank God that Owen Arthur’s Caribbean Splash Waterpark didn’t happen because in a short while it too would have been an abandoned eyesore.

Just like Ocean Park will be an abandoned eyesore in a few months.

Investors and lenders are in business to make money and if there is no return on their investment – and no prospects of profit – they cut their losses and boogie. I can’t blame Ocean Park’s investors for getting out after trying to make it work for almost five years, but their failure should be a lesson for anyone with hopes of establishing Disney-like tourist attractions in the Barbados market.

Ocean Park vs. Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary: What’s the difference?

On the bare surface, the closure of Ocean Park seems to echo last year’s closing of the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary by millionaire (billionaire?) Canadian philanthropist Peter Allard – but even a moment’s consideration disproves that false notion.

Ocean Park was a business failure, pure and simple. The owners and investors started a business to make a profit, and when it didn’t and they couldn’t see it ever making a profit – and nobody wanted to further invest into the business – they closed Ocean Park to stop the financial bleeding.

The Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary though was not created for profit. It was created as a gift to Barbados. The driving force behind the nature sanctuary is Peter Allard, who is by all accounts a super-rich guy who enjoys giving something back through his philanthropy directed to educational, social, medical and environmental causes. Nice work if you can get it, I guess!

Dr. Charles Allard, father of Canadian philanthropist Peter Allard

Dr. Charles Allard, father of Canadian philanthropist Peter Allard

Again from what I can find online (here, here and here), Peter Allard and the rest of his family came into their money honestly enough starting with the family patriarch, Dr. Charles Allard, who gave up his surgery and went into business way back when. Over the last 50 years, the Allards became super successful in real estate, the gas and petrochemical industry and television broadcasting.

Different folks have different interests. While Oprah gives back by supporting her extensive Angel Network, Kermit Weeks preserves aviation history and sponsors pilot training for inner-city youths and Jay Grossman looks after the dental needs of L.A.’s homeless people, Peter Allard contributes tens of millions of dollars to communities through medical and environmental projects.

School Children Learning At The Last Mangrove Wetlands On The Island - The Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary

School Children Learning At The Last Mangrove Wetlands On The Island - The Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary

Helping Barbados By Cleaning and Saving Our Natural Environment

Almost 20 years ago, Peter Allard decided that saving the last mangrove forest and wetlands in Barbados was a worthy project, so he spent some US$30 million dollars of his own money cleaning up the dumping and damage at Graeme Hall and created a world-class nature sanctuary. Allard didn’t do all this in a vacuum as he originally had encouragement and appreciation from the Government of Barbados – at the time under the leadership of Owen Arthur. Allard was also assured that the Graeme Hall wetlands would stay protected as a natural resource under our country’s official land use plan.

Along the way, Peter Allard obviously fell in love with Barbados as he also funded the reef ball project and offered to give a multi-million dollar Cancer and AIDS hospice to Barbados so our loved ones would have proper care at the end of their lives.

Although the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary was a philanthropic project it employed some one hundred people directly and indirectly, and eventually it became almost self-supporting with the shortfall covered by Mr. Allard. But once again, the Nature Sanctuary was not supposed to make a profit. Allard supported the sanctuary operations and saved the wetlands as his gift to Barbados – his way of giving something back.

But then government insiders wanted to profit through land speculation at Graeme Hall

The fact that Peter Allard and his team cleaned up and saved the Graeme Hall wetlands meant that the public lands surrounding the Nature Sanctuary became tremendously valuable IF ONLY the government would change the national plan and permit building and commercial activity on lands that had been set aside as public green space.

And so the sabotage by Owen Arthur and his government friends started with the intent of making the foreigner run from Barbados. The nature sanctuary and Allard with his damned notion of “environment” were standing in the way of profits and kickbacks.

Soon the government sluice gate that controlled the water flow in and out of the mangrove ponds was damaged and not repaired so oxygen levels dropped killing fish. Then, oops! Sewerage was diverted from the government processing station into the nature sanctuary. Promised tax credits for the sanctuary operation never arrived for a decade as they were being “processed” by government workers. Then Owen Arthur met with American waterslide park developer Matthew Kerins and agreed to let Kerins build a water park on the wetlands.

When citizen outrage caused then-Prime Minister Owen Arthur to withdraw permission for a proposed Caribbean Splash waterslide park on the Graeme Hall wetlands, the BLP government ceased trying to pretend they cared about the environment and mangrove wetlands and announced they would change the official land use plan to allow for commercial development at Graeme Hall.

Barbados Environment Disaster

Prime Minister Thompson said “To Hell with parkland for citizens. Change the land use plan and make money developing what used to be a public green space!”

In January 2008, the citizens of Barbados tossed out Owen Arthur and his BLP, but unfortunately the new DLP gang under Prime Minister David Thompson had dollar signs in their eyes too.

One of the first acts of the David Thompson DLP Government was to change the law protecting 265 acres of parkland at Graeme Hall to allow developer friends to profit from these public lands. To make this happen, David Thompson and the DLP Members of Parliament had to set aside laws that had protected the land from development since 1988. When the government was finished, 2/3 of the parkland (175 acres) was gone and the government effectively signed the death warrant for the last mangrove wetland on the island.

And with all of that, Peter Allard finally decided late last year to shake the Barbados sand from his shoes and take his philanthropy to other places where the government and the people appreciate the value of their own natural environment and work to preserve it. Peter Allard shut down the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary after the government of Barbados stole two thirds of the parkland so their developer friends could profit from what should be YOUR parkland.

So you see, there is a huge difference between the business failure of Ocean Park, and the closing of the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary – which leads us to the conclusion…

Peter Allard Rescue Ocean Park? Not A Bloody Chance!

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Filed under Agriculture, Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Corruption, Disaster, Environment, Offshore Investments, Tourism, Traveling and Tourism, Wildlife

Lesson for Barbados – Mexican Hotel Builds Groyne To Steal Beach Sand: Government Sends In Navy, Police, Environmental Enforcement Agents!

Armed Mexican troops seize hotel beach created with stolen sand and illegally-built groin (rocks in background).

ENVIRONMENTAL CRIME SCENE! Armed Mexican troops seize hotel beach created with stolen sand and illegally-built groyne (rocks in background).

Unlike Barbados, the Government of Mexico is obviously serious about protecting fragile coastline and beaches from corporations and developers that think they can do whatever they want to enhance their own beachfront at the expense of the environment and others people’s property and enjoyment.

“…some property owners build breakwaters in a bid to retain sand. The practice often merely shifts sand loss to beaches below the breakwaters.”

“Today we made the decision to close this stretch of ill-gotten, illegally accumulated sand,”

…Patricio Patron, Mexico’s attorney-general for environmental protection.  (Mexico sends navy to shut Cancun beach; says hotel’s sand stolen.)

Mr. Patron said he regretted any inconvenience for tourists, but said the government is planning projects to restore beaches throughout Cancun in an orderly, environmentally responsible way.  “I apologize to the tourists for this problem, but it is a question of enforcing the law,” Mr. Patron said.

Of course, Mexico has environmental laws to enforce. Barbados has no environmental protection laws. Really… as strange as that sounds, it is true. Barbados has no environmental protection legislation on the books. Successive Barbados governments have promised such legislation – but they also promised anti-drunk driving legislation, integrity legislation, freedom of information legislation etc etc etc.

Contrast Mexico’s Protection of Beaches With Barbados…

Barbado Environment Denis Lowe (left) remains silent on the Mullins Beach fiasco since his election.

Barbado Environment Denis Lowe (left) remains silent on the Mullins Beach fiasco since his election.

In the case of Mullins Bay, Barbados, a large condo developer has been allowed to build three massive groynes that trap sand in front of the condo to the detriment of other property owners and nearby beaches.

Minister of the Environment Denis Lowe didn’t even bother to show up for a long-planned Coastal Management beach walk a few weeks ago. According to our friends over at Mullins Bay blog, Minister Lowe promised to visit the area but hasn’t done so since he was elected. Hey… it must be tough for Doctor Lowe to tear himself away from the luncheon buffet at the government-owned Hilton Hotel.

Maybe someone should do up a Mullins Bay video presentation and play it over the sweets table at the hotel!

Mullins Bay Destruction Not Just An Environmental Issue

As we have said before, the destruction of the beaches at Mullins Bay and nearby is not just an environmental issue. The story of Mullins Bay and the disappearing West Coast beaches is not a disagreement over environmental science by well-meaning people who all have the public good in mind. No sir.

The rape of our West Coast is all about corporations with money that have been allowed to do as they please by two successive governments. The St. Peter’s Bay condo developers were allowed by government to build groynes to enhance their own beach — never mind the disastrous impact upon the neighboring beaches and coastline.

How much money did the condo developers provide in “campaign donations” to our two major political parties? Don’t ask! With no campaign financing laws, integrity legislation or conflict of interest laws — Barbados citizens are effectively kept in the dark.

In Mexico – crooked old Mexico where you can hardly run a roadside water stand without paying off some public official – they have enough sense to know that the rule of law must be enforced to protect the beaches… because when those beaches are gone Mexico can kiss the tourists goodbye.

In Barbados, our government officials allow certain developers to enhance their own properties while destroying area beaches.

Somebody in Barbados must be getting a pay off. That can be the only excuse. I hope the Barbados government officials who allowed the groynes are being paid off.

You have to understand Bajans: we accept that our government officials might be crooks. We just hope they aren’t stupid enough to destroy the beaches for free without filling their own pockets!

Doctor Lowe… quit stuffing your face and get rid of those groynes that are destroying Mullins Beach. For the love of Barbados, do something to save the West Coast beaches… Or, are you now on the take too?

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Corruption, Environment, Nature, Offshore Investments, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption, Tourism, Traveling and Tourism, Wildlife

Who Is In Charge Of Environmental Damage On The Barbados Coast… Coastal Zone Management Unit or Town Planning?

Barbados Beach Walk

“The high point for this blogger was the chance meeting for the first time with Dr. Leo Brewster, the Director of the Coastal Zone Management Unit, on Ground Zero and an opportunity for an impromptu and brief interview, and – totally unplanned – in the presence of a section of the print media.  He was gracious but clearly uneasy with the line of questioning. Consequently, his answers were at best evasive…”

Mullins Bay Blog Reports First Person As Dr. Leo Brewster Ducks The Issue

Our friends at Mullins Bay Blog were there for the Tourism Environmental Awareness walk at Mullins Beach yesterday, and their interview with the Director of the Coastal Zone Management Unit highlights exactly what we all know to be true. The destruction of our West Coast beaches is not so much an environmental problem as a political one.

A blind man on a fast horse can see that the choices made by government favour big time developers rather than preserving the environment, universal beach access and protection of the entire coast. In the case of Mullins Beach, a large condo developer has been allowed to build three massive groins that trap sand in front of the condo to the detriment of other property owners and nearby beaches.

What does the Director of Coastal Zone Management Unit have to say when specific questions are put to him in a public forum?

Perhaps diehard DLP supporters will discover much to their own chagrin, as Jack Nicholson once screamed in one of his brilliant performances: “You can’t handle the truth.”

But if you can handle the truth – head over to Mullins Bay Blog and discover right from the mouth of the Director of the Barbados Coastal Management Unit exactly what the government plans to do to save the West Coast beaches: which is nothing.

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Filed under Barbados, Environment