Tag Archives: Environmental Activism

Dr. Karl Watson of Barbados National Trust “SHOCKED” by Sandals environmental damage

“In the short and medium run, tourism is really the only engine for our continued prosperity and economic growth. So, we welcome the Sandals development, however, I must say that having come down here this morning, I am a bit taken aback and shocked.

(snip)

Quite a number of mature trees have been felled and then I also see development on the way in the sea where a type of breakwater is being constructed, and I wonder whether the environmental impact assessment that aught to have been done for this project was really based soundly and on correct assessment, and whether the long term effects of both this type of deforestation, denuding of forest cover, exposure of the sandy layer, topsoil etc, or the creation of an artificial offshore reef; whether the future results of these developments have been thoroughly assessed.”

 

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Environment

We’re Happy Nicholas Cox agrees again with Barbados Free Press

Yup, once again Nicholas Cox has taken a position agreeing with an earlier Barbados Free Press article. It is always heartening to see that members of the local news media and frequently published writers still come around BFP once in a while even though we constantly criticize the Bajan news media on many levels.

This time Nicholas expanded upon our little article Illegal Dumping Free-For-All In Barbados: No Charges, No Penalty if you are caught!

In his Barbados Advocate piece Time to make dumpers pay! Nicholas makes some fine points about the big-time dumping and small-time littering that threatens our tourism industry and has become an all too frequent occurrence in Barbados. The problem is so deep-rooted that Bajans, argues Nicholas, need a cultural change. He shares our belief that consistent enforcement backed by consistent penalties in the form of fines is foundational to changing our bad habits.

An article well worth your time at the Barbados Advocate: Time to make dumpers pay!

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Crime & Law, Environment

Barbados Police Allow Thieves To Take Home Stolen Fish – No Charges

Graeme Hall Mangrove Wetland & Watershed

Graeme Hall Mangrove Wetland & Watershed

GRAEME HALL NATURE SANCTUARY, INC.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Bridgetown, Barbados
MONDAY, August 24, 2009
Email Contact:               news@graemehall.com
Archives and Art:          www.graemehall.com/reference.htm

Poachers Caught and Released by Police

On Saturday, August 15, 2009, a group of about 15 fisherman were found in the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary fishing illegally for its rare tarpon, the largest and most popular exhibit fish in the Graeme Hall wetland.  Five of the “ringleader” fishermen were caught and questioned by police and Sanctuary security personnel as the other ten fled.

Another incident like this happened in late March of this year.  In both instances police were called, but there was no immediate response, and insistent follow up requests by Sanctuary staff had to be made before they came.

As of Friday, August 21, police had not made any arrests or brought charges in either case, and in fact had allowed the fishermen to leave the Sanctuary with all of the dead tarpon.

According to Peter Allard, owner of the Sanctuary, the value and integrity of the Sanctuary investment depend on enforced protections of wildlife inventory.   The long term health of the Sanctuary also depends on the enforcement of Barbados’ pollution and other environmental laws within the Graeme Hall wetland and contiguous lands.

To protect his investment, Mr. Allard is making a formal request to the Government of Barbados that immediate criminal trespass, theft, and related environmental poaching charges be brought against all future violators and the ringleaders of the last trespass be immediately notified of this proposed action.

Allard noted that it is also an issue of protecting the last remaining biological reserves of Barbados.  This wildlife is part of Barbados’ natural heritage within the OS2 Natural Heritage Conservation Area, and is part of the international Convention on Wetlands Multilateral Environmental Agreement (RAMSAR) to which Barbados is a party.

The Sanctuary is also calling upon the Ministry of Environment and all conservation groups to increase their efforts to educate the mainstream public about the seriousness of wildlife and habitat protection in Barbados.

The Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary occupies 35 acres of the 81 acre RAMSAR wetland at Graeme Hall.  The RAMSAR designation is associated with the 1971 RAMSAR Convention on Wetlands Treaty for internationally significant areas of biodiversity.

More information about the Sanctuary can be found at www.graemehall.com.

BFP Editor’s Note: The above media release was printed exactly as received via email from the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary. Our previous articles about the lack of police response to crimes committed against the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary can be found at…

August 19, 2009: Barbados Police Again Fail To Uphold Law At Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary & RAMSAR Protected Wetlands

April 1, 2009: Barbados Advocate Covers Up Police Failure To Respond To Theft, Gunshots At Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary

March 30, 2009: Another Reason Why Barbados Police Commissioner Dottin Should Be Fired – Police Again Fail To Answer Call For Help

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Filed under Agriculture, Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Corruption, Crime & Law, Disaster, Environment, Nature, Offshore Investments, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption, Tourism, Wildlife

Barbados Children’s Environmental Action Awards Programme – Sponsored By Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary

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

[Christ Church, BARBADOS]  The new Barbados Children’s Environmental Action Awards (CEA) programme was announced today by the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary.

To be awarded four times each year, the CEA Awards encourages and recognises children and children’s groups for their activities that directly preserve and protect terrestrial and marine natural habitats and parklands throughout Barbados for future generations.

“Today’s children are tomorrow’s leaders.  We encourage children to learn the importance of the environment to our health and social welfare, and be proactive in saving wild habitat and open spaces, as well as helping to identify and correct environmental problems,” said Peter Allard, Chairman of the Sanctuary.

“This award pays tribute to the work of many in the community who understand the importance of protecting the last remnants of Barbados’ environmental legacy for future generations.”

Each CEA Award includes a Bds. $2,000 prize, plus a public recognition ceremony at Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary for invited children, families and guests.

The first CEA Award nomination deadline for 2009-2010 is September 15, 2009.   The successful nominee will be  publicly announced by October 31, 2009.

More information for CEA nominations can be found at www.graemehall.com/awards

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How The Barbados Government Is Stealing Graeme Hall National Park From Our Children – With The Help Of The News Media – Part 1

barbados-map-graeme-hall

The only difference with the DLP government passing this “urban corridor” instead of the BLP government is that now the DLP friends will profit from the move instead of the BLP friends.

CLICO Will Develop On The Natural Heritage Conservation Area – With Prime Minister Thompson’s Blessing

One of the first actions taken by the Thompson DLP Government in the weeks after they won the January 2008 election was to reclassify a huge section of land at Graeme Hall from “Open space, Agricultural, Recreational Buffer” to “Residential & Urban Corridor” – a term that was invented to sound non-threatening to the government-owned open space and recreational lands at Graeme Hall.

Corridor? Have a look at the map above. See the huge area outlined in red that is north of the “OS2 Natural Heritage Area”… THAT is the area that Prime Minister David Thompson and his DLP government changed so they can sell it off to their friends for development – contrary to the National Physical Development Plan that was ratified by Parliament in 1988.

The BLP Arthur/Mottley government wanted to do that too, but they never had the political capital to change the official land use designation. The BLP tried to lease some of the north area out for the Caribbean Splash Waterpark, but a rebellion of voters made them stop. Thompson and the DLP went right ahead though as just about the first thing they did after being elected. They still haven’t fulfilled their integrity legislation promises, but by God they sure acted quickly when they saw the chance to turn a profit from public lands!

Over 25 years ago that open space was set aside for the recreational pleasure of future generations as a plan to protect the last remaining green space between the airport and the city. Land use planners in the Barbados Town and Country Development Planning Office collaborated with professional land use planners from the United Nations to recommend a large green space buffer between the two urban areas of Greater Bridgetown and Oistins.

This recommendation was ratified by Parliament as part of the 1988 National Physical Development Plan and it was clear and unambiguous:

“The Graeme Hall agricultural area is proposed to be preserved as an open space break separating the urban zones of Oistins and Greater Bridgetown.”

“….The Graeme Hall area is proposed to be maintained as an agricultural area and as an urban open space in order to create an environmental break between the two urban areas.  Parts of the open spaces are proposed to be used for sports and recreational purposes.”

Powerful Entities Want To Possess And Profit From This Public Land!

Prime Minister Thompson and the DLP are pulling a fast one on the people of Barbados. The area they have just changed to allow development at Graeme Hall is currently owned by the people of Barbados. Thompson and the DLP will be selling the land to their developer friends. Heck, maybe they will sell it to themselves or to companies owned by their wives and relatives – after all, there is no law against such unethical insider trading in Barbados!

CLICO In The Mix

Look at the lower left corner of the map and you’ll see a chunk of land right next to the Nature Sanctuary and the RAMSAR wetlands. That land is owned by CLICO, but for some reason it wasn’t included in the area designated as protected under the RAMSAR wetlands treaty. Prime Minister David Thompson just gave ten million to his good friend and CLICO CEO Leroy Parris, but I guess it never occurred to Thompson to get a little something in return for the people of Barbados… like land for the Graeme Hall National Park.

Graeme Hall Wetlands To Be Developed By DLP Campaign Funder CLICO & Leroy Paris

Graeme Hall Wetlands To Be Developed By DLP Campaign Funder CLICO & Leroy Parris

Why That Open Space & Recreation Buffer Matters

The area that Prime Minister Thompson and his developer friends want to build on is part of the Graeme Hall watershed. Without that area, the RAMSAR protected wetlands at Graeme Hall will die. It is the DLP Government’s plan to end up with a small bit of green space surrounded by housing and condos. CLICO will develop their current land and friends of government will develop that huge valuable piece of prime Barbados real estate that Thompson has chopped off the proposed Graeme Hall National Park.

Declaring the Graeme Hall National Park would legally protect the last mangrove forest, the last major wetland, the largest inland lake, and the most concentrated biodiversity in Barbados. It would provide an easily accessible park area for the enjoyment of all and would be a lasting legacy to future generations – a refuge from the tightly-packed urban living that is crawling across this small island with a speed never before seen.

The great cities of the world are great in part because they are not mile after mile of urban development and nothing else. The leaders and visionaries of New York City set aside Central Park over a hundred years ago. Think what a concrete jungle that city would be without Central Park.

Think of what Barbados will be in 100 years – or 30 years – or even 10 – if everything is done for profit and nothing is done for quality of life and the future.

NEXT In This Series: How the Barbados News Media Pushes The Government’s Agenda To Develop The Graeme Hall Public Lands

Further Reading

Graeme Hall National Park Land Use Conflicts Q&A (pdf here)

Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary Press Centre (link here)

land-conflict-map-graeme-hallClick on thumbnail for larger, clearer map of Graeme Hall National Park

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Corruption, Disaster, Environment, Offshore Investments, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption, Real Estate, Tourism, Wildlife

Barbados Environment Minister Denis Lowe, DLP Government – Plan To Build On Graeme Hall Wetlands

Graeme Hall Wetlands To Be Developed By DLP Campaign Funder CLICO & Leroy Paris

Graeme Hall Wetlands To Be Developed By DLP Campaign Funder CLICO & Leroy Parris

We were sitting around as usual on Friday having a few beers and solving all the world’s problems over a late lunch when Robert asked the question, “Can someone tell me one positive environmental action actually accomplished in the first year of the Thompson administration?”

After some scratching of heads we were unable to come up with one real action that happened. Sure, lots of talk, lots of speeches and promises, but as to a real and positive action – nada.

Now it might be that we at BFP missed something. Perhaps there was some real and substantial environmental action taken by the two environment ministers we’ve seen in the Thompson government so far.

But we’ve been asking DLP supporters for months to please let us know of one real and substantial positive environmental action taken by the DLP government and so far no one has taken the time to write a comment with that information. We know that the government and DLP supporters read this blog, so we have to assume that the answer to our question is evident. Nada. Nothing real and positive has been done with the Environment Ministry and the environment in an entire year.

The Only Action Taken By The DLP Government Has Been To Make It Legal To Build On The Graeme Hall Wetlands!

In fact, if we’re talking environment, the only real and substantial action taken by the Thompson government has been NEGATIVE.

The DLP government ratified the BLP government’s Amended 2003 Physical Development Plan which establishes an “urban corridor” for the Graeme Hall green area seaward of the ABC Highway. This “urban corridor” parcel is well-known, as it was the scene of the infamous Caribbean Splash Water Park application. This is in sharp contrast to the recommendations of the 1986 National Physical Development Plan and the 1997 ARA Barbados Tourism Development Programme Study. It is also contrary to the National Park proposal which recommends the land be used for low-impact family recreation, walking and bicycle trails and other related uses.

The only difference with the DLP government passing this “urban corridor” instead of the BLP government is that now the DLP friends will profit from the move instead of the BLP friends.

Environmentalists also assume that in the minds of many influential government officials and developers, the RAMSAR site where the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary resides exists as a 100-year floodplain sump to be used for contaminated stormwater, instead of as a vibrant and living wetland.

Thompson, Lowe & Parris: What’s The Connection?

Despite all the nice words from Environment Minister Denis Lowe and PM Thompson about not turning the south coast into another concrete jungle, both Lowe and Thompson voted for the Amended 2003 Physical Development Plan which establishes an “urban corridor” in the Graeme Hall wetlands. The Thompson – CLICO – Leroy Parris connection is well known and established. After all, one of Thompson’s first official acts as a newly-elected Prime Minister was to “borrow” an executive jet through Leroy Parris and to refuse to provide transparency about the costs of that jet. (See BFP’s Will Rayside Construction Be Awarded Barbados Government Contracts To Thank Leroy Parris For The Use Of The Bizjet?)

And, bye the way… who do you think owns land in the “urban corridor” of the Graeme Hall wetlands? Why, CLICO, thats who!

Yup. Same old, same old ’bout hey.

It looks like Thompson and his CLICO mentor/financier Leroy Parris are going to get their wish to develop and profit from what is one of our last remaining natural treasures.

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Barbados Awards Oil Rights To Company Responsible For Worst Environmental Mining Disaster!

“Every (year) over the past twenty years, the Ok Tedi mine in Papua New Guinea (PNG) has dumped 80,000 tons of waste into the Ok Tedi and Fly Rivers. The result has been an environmental disaster that has destroyed thousands of square kilometers of rainforest and caused terrible hardship for local people…

Australian mining giant BHP Billiton was the major shareholder in Ok Tedi Mining Ltd (OTML) and the mine operator until early 2002. At this time, the company handed over its majority stake in OTML to the newly formed and ironically named Sustainable Development Project Company.

This quiet revolution demonstrates the power of transnational corporations in PNG. With the transfer, BHP gained legal indemnity from PNG government action with respect to all the pollution and destruction it has already caused and will cause in the future. The government surrendered its sovereignty, failing to protect its citizens by setting environmental standards and monitoring corporate activities.” … Friends of the Earth International

BHP Billiton Destroyed A Country, Took The Profits And Then Transferred The Mess To Another Company To Limit Ongoing Liability – JUST LIKE SHELL DID IN BARBADOS

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at this my friends.

Prime Minister David Thompson and the Democratic Labour Party have just awarded the first Barbados offshore oil exploration rights to a company that does hit and run environmental disasters.

Thompson awarded oil contract to a company known to bribe government officials

No Rules: Thompson awarded oil contract to a company known to bribe government officials

You know the type of company that goes into a small country and rapes vast areas without a care about destroying the environment? That is BHP Billiton. A company that brings long-term sickness that injures thousands. A company that leaves malformed babies and miscarriages in its wake. Then after they make hundreds of millions, they “sell” the entire operation and leftover mess to some little nothing of a shell company so BHP Billiton can walk away without liability for the disaster.

Then they go to another little country like Barbados, pay lots of bribes and start all over again.

Oh… and here is the BEST PART….

BHP Billiton themselves started as a little company that SHELL OIL used to walk away from an environmental disaster! You know, the same SHELL OIL that walked away from the environmental damage they caused in Barbados with jet fuel. (see To HELL with SHELL – Barbados Boycotts Shell)

That is BHP Billiton.

Full story and many links at Keltruth Blog’s Barbados Awards Offshore Oil-Exploration Rights To Company Responsible For Worst Environmental Disaster

Prime Minister Thompson: I am ashamed that I once supported you and your government.

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