Tag Archives: Graeme Hall

Is Rihanna About To Do Something Stupid? Rihanna & Chris Brown Attend Orlando NBA Game – Separately

At the MTV Awards The Night Of The Assault

At the MTV Awards The Night Of The Assault

We Hope Rihanna Isn’t Getting Stupes Again!

People Magazine reported yesterday (Thursday) morning that Rihanna and Chris Brown would be sitting together last night at Game 4 of the NBA Finals in Orlando. When game time arrived sure enough they were both there – but sitting far apart.

How unusual that both should end up at the same game, and that it should be reported in the press beforehand. Then again, Tiger Woods, Chris Tucker and Hulk Hogan also attended the game so its not as if its unknown to have multiple celebrities at an NBA Final.

But still…

What happened? Did Rihanna and Chris Brown initially intend to sit together and then change their minds after the publicity?

I hope that Rihanna hasn’t decided to “forgive and forget” after the famous incident last February when it is alleged that Brown beat her and left her by the side of the road. Rihanna has been subpoenaed to testify against Chris Brown at his June 22, 2009 preliminary hearing on assault charges.

Rihanna Fans: Before you leave Barbados Free Press, please take the time to read the following…

Save Graeme Hall

Help Rihanna’s Home Island Save The Last Mangrove Forest…

For any of Rihanna’s fans who are interested in knowing about her home island of Barbados and the kind of natural, quiet and peaceful place that Bajans need once in a while, please visit the website of the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary and also the Graeme Hall National Park.

We’re in a battle here to save the last natural area on the south of our island. The Government and their land developer friends want to turn the Graeme Hall wetlands into a row of highrise condos, golf course and water park. This is the last Mangrove Forest on the island!

Please help raise awareness around the world.

You can also help by joining the Facebook Group: Save The Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary.

Thank you from the ordinary people of Barbados!

Here are a few background stories…

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

Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary Closing – Canadian Philanthropist Gives Up On Barbados – World-Class Eco-Tourism Attraction, 85+ Jobs Gone

Barbados Government Confirms Plans To Develop Graeme Hall Wetlands. Thompson’s Million-Dollar Lie

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Harry Roberts Says Goodbye To Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary… Hello Banks Beer! (Can’t be all bad)

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 Paris

Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary, one of Barbados’ premier natural treasures and tourist destinations, is shut down and going to waste due to the corrupt relationship between government elites and their land developer friends. Among the hundred or so employees leaving is sanctuary manager Harry Roberts. We received this press release from the sanctuary a week ago, but didn’t have the chance to publish it so we’ll do that now.

Our thanks to Mr. Roberts for the magnificent job he and his friends did in trying to save the last green space between the airport and the city, and we wish him well with his new job at Banks. (Yes, Clive is jealous!)

Enjoy the last mangrove forest on the island while you can folks, because Prime Minister David Thompson and his government changed the law so that the wetlands at Graeme Hall can be developed by friends of the government. (KA-CHING!!! $$)

For some background, see here and here.

Meanwhile, here is the press release about Harry Roberts…

GRAEME HALL NATURE SANCTUARY INC

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Bridgetown, Barbados
FRIDAY, April 3, 2009
Email Contact:               graemehall@graemehall.com
Archives and Art:          http://www.graemehall.com/press.htm

HARRY ROBERTS
Making a Legacy in Barbados

[ Bridgetown , BARBADOS ]   “They began to lure me to the Sanctuary back in 2003 saying that it would be quiet and peaceful,” laughed Harry Roberts.

Roberts recalled how the last five years as General Manager of the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary was one of the most interesting and challenging of his career.

Construction of the Sanctuary was completed in early 2004, and the mandate to Roberts was to put together a 100% Barbadian management team to do an almost impossible job: maintain one of the most biodiverse areas in Barbados, operate a series of nonprofit and often philanthropic wildlife and education programmes, and make it all operationally sustainable.

It was a challenge unlike any other business.  Conventional economic strategies to increase customer traffic and mass events could easily put the RAMSAR wetland at risk.  The RAMSAR site, partially owned by the Sanctuary, is recognized under the 1971 RAMSAR Convention on Wetlands Treaty as an internationally significant area of biodiversity.

Under the leadership of Roberts the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary provided conservation, research, education and philanthropic services to locals and visitors 364 days a year.

“Seeing thousands of schoolchildren benefit from the formal and informal field education programmes was especially gratifying,” said Roberts.

And in the last five years the Sanctuary became one of the most popular wedding and special group events site in Barbados .  It was the key to earning enough money to support environmental management of the Graeme Hall wetland.

Roberts improved operational sustainability an average of 27% each year, year after year.  But due to external environmental and legal issues that threaten the core US $35 million investment, the Sanctuary was closed in December of last year.

“We weren’t sure exactly how, or if Harry was going to pull it off,” said Stuart Heaslet, representative of the Sanctuary.  “Environmental attractions do not survive if a careful balance is not struck with the core needs of the ecosystem.  Harry’s challenge was extreme.  We asked him to give money and resources for philanthropic projects for the environment and the community, and we also asked him to make the operation pay for itself at the same time.  It was difficult mission.”

“But he did it.  Harry is a patient man.”

“We are saddened how events have made it impossible for him to continue, and miss him already.  We know he is moving on to the BHL Group, and wish him the best.  BHL is lucky to have him.”

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Another Reason Why Barbados Police Commissioner Dottin Should Be Fired – Police Again Fail To Answer Call For Help

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How Many “Barbados Police Don’t Come” Stories Can You Tell? Here’s Another…

GRAEME HALL NATURE SANCTUARY INC

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Bridgetown, Barbados
MONDAY, March 30, 2009
Email Contact:                graemehall@graemehall.com
Archives and Art:            http://www.graemehall.com/press.htm  and http://www.graemehall.com/reference.htm

Sanctuary Threatened

[ Bridgetown , BARBADOS ]   Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary officials reported that a group of eight (8) men were caught stealing wildlife inside the RAMSAR wetland site on Sanctuary lands.

Police were called when the trespass was discovered last Wednesday, but there was no response.  The men continued to stay through the afternoon, while Sanctuary employees tried to calm the situation.

One employee reported that one of the men made personally threatening gestures as if he had a gun, and within the hour gunshots were heard coming from the Amity Lodge side of the wetland where the men were last seen.

The area is recognized by the international Convention on Wetlands as an area of significant biological importance.  Both the Government of Barbados and the Sanctuary own the lands within the RAMSAR site.

After taking an estimated 100 tilapia, the intruders told a Sanctuary worker that they had a right to access and fish in the RAMSAR-protected wetland since Government had announced a Bds $1.0 million budget for it.

Police and Defence Force patrols of the RAMSAR site have stopped since the Sanctuary closed in December of last year.  Authorities have not explained why this has happened.

There is deep concern that environmental pollution and other problems are escalating because of a lack of enforcement of environmental law in and around the Graeme Hall RAMSAR wetland.

“This is but one present-day example of a major threat to the wetland and the Sanctuary,” said one official.  “If a thousand people came to take what they want, there would be nothing left.  The wetland and the Sanctuary absolutely depend on legal and environmental protections from Government.”

A police report was filed on Thursday at the Worthing Police Station.

Barbados Free Press Take…

Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary filed a report with the police? Waste of paper.

If anything the report should have been for Neglect By Police, but unfortunately that’s not a crime in Barbados – its a way of life.

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Clico On Life Support – Will Barbados Prime Minister Thompson Favour His Patron Leroy Parris, Or The People Of Barbados?

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Corporate Beggar CLICO Says It Is Payback Time For All The Free BizJet Rides!

The government of Trinidad & Tobago is refusing to say how much money it is giving to bail out the CL Financial Group and CLICO, but the estimated liabilities amount to US$16 Billion dollars.

Yes, BILLION with a “B”.

Prime Minister David Thompson of Barbados has yet to make a statement about CLICO’s narrowly averted bankruptcy, but soon (and probably already secretly done) his longtime friend, client and patron Leroy Parris will come asking for addtional concessions from Barbados. That means that CLICO and associated companies will be asking the Prime Minister to give your tax money to a company that has an estimated 100 billion dollars in assets, but has run out of cash.

What Happened To CLICO?

What has happened to CLICO is actually very simple. Let’s say that you bought a number of houses over the years and have rented them out. The rent money comes in and with that cashflow you maintain the houses, pay taxes on them and even buy more houses so at the end of a few decades you own many houses and are very rich.

But then the rent money stops and now you can’t maintain the costs to keep all your houses.

You are in trouble because the people you owe money to are at the doors and you have no money. If you don’t come up with the money, your creditors will petition you into bankruptcy and sell off all your houses at firesale prices.

If you were smart enough to plan for a downturn and not too greedy, you could have sold off a few of your houses beforehand to generate the cash needed to keep the others going, but you didn’t. So now you have to go begging to friends and relatives for help so that you don’t lose all your houses and other assets.

And that, my friends, is exactly what has happened to the CLICO, CL Financial family of companies.

“Here Is A Ten Dollar Gift For You – Now, Can I Borrow A Hundred Million Dollars?”

A few days before the CLICO crisis was announced, newspaper accounts say that CLICO “gave” land for a daycare centre and a school to Barbados – although the Nation article is ambiguous about whether CLICO is giving the land and doing the construction too. Pardon us for being a bit cynical if we point out that this “gift to the people” came only two days before Parrish and company announced that they were the recipients of taxpayer bailouts and guarantees that probably total hundreds of millions if not more.

How much will Barbadian taxpayers eventually be on the hook for? Good luck finding out the truth because the amount of taxpayer money and concessions being given by Trinidad, Barbados and other countries is being kept secret from the taxpayers.

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 Paris

CLICO Connection Harming Graeme Hall National Park

According to more than a few of our sources, CLICO owns about 10 acres of land in the middle of the proposed Graeme Hall National Park. Our sources also say that the government’s refusal to declare a national park at Graeme Hall is partially about pressure from Leroy Parris and CLICO who have big plans to develop the land in the Graeme Hall watershed.

OK, Prime Minister Thompson, here is where you have to choose between your friendship with Mr. Parris and your duty to the people of Barbados.

If CLICO wants our taxpayer dollars either directly or in the form of concessions, then part of the deal should include turning over the ten acres at Graeme Hall for a national park.

Your choice, Mr. Prime Minister…

Who will you favour? Leroy Parris and CLICO building condos in the Graeme Hall watershed… or saving the area for the long term good of future generations?

Your choice, Prime Minister Thompson – and all the people are watching.

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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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Bajan Reporter Vows “We Shall Never Surrender” On Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary – But The Barbados News Media Already Surrendered

Barbados Government Sends A Message To Do-Gooder Environmental Philanthropists - Thanks For Raising The Value Of Our Condos!

Barbados Government Sends A Message To Do-Gooder Environmental Philanthropists - "Thanks For Raising The Value Of Our Condo Projects, You Suckers!"

Ian Bourne Highlights Silence Of Barbados News Media

It has been well over a month since noted Canadian philanthropist Peter Allard shook the Bajan sand from his shoes and closed the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary. The sanctuary was not closed for economic reasons…

Unfortunately, developers and their politician friends in both the DLP and BLP want to develop the primarily government-owned lands around the sanctuary and they have fought tooth and nail to prevent the establishment of the proposed Graeme Hall National Park that would have protected the sanctuary and provided some desperately needed public green space on the concrete-jungle south coast. The owner of the sanctuary understandably gave up on Barbados when he found that the new DLP government intends to develop and profit from the Graeme Hall wetlands area just as the last bunch did.

Ian Bourne has some thoughts on the news media’s silence on this debacle in his article – Sounds of Silence from Barbadian Mainstream Media and Gov’t for closure of Graeme Hall Sanctuary: 1 month, 5 days

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Barbados Government Asking Developers and Hotels To Keep People Employed – But What Of The 85 Jobs Lost At Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary?

– Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy Pleads With Developers To Continue

– Tourism Employers Could Reduce Work Hours, Not Staff

As we at BFP have been saying for some time, this year is going to be a tough one – very tough. We’ve also said that each of us should look after our own family members and friends because government may be unable to do so. Plan for the worst, hope for the best is always wise.

Minister Sealy has been asking the tourism industry and project developers to continue with their plans, especially considering that the developers have already received concessions and assistance from Barbados. I’m not a politician but it seems to me that this is where political skill comes into play. Politics is often referred to as “The art of the possible”, so let’s see if Minister Sealy can make things happen.

“If Everybody Eats Less, No One Starves”

Another place where Bajans can help each other is by accepting cutbacks in hours at work so that everyone remains employed to some degree. The Nation newspaper had an editorial mentioning this possibility a few days ago. That option may upset some folks, but the alternative might be even more upsetting.

Click On The Photo To See The New Graeme Hall Video

Click On The Photo To See The Graeme Hall Video

What About Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary?

The Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary employed some 85 people, most of whom found themselves unemployed when the operation shut down on December 15, 2008. What is sad about this situation is that the sanctuary was not shut for economic reasons – the wealthy sanctuary owner is an internationally respected philanthropist who spent US$35 million dollars to create the island’s premier eco-tourism attraction and funded operations to give something back to Barbados and the world. Plus the popularity of the attraction with tourists and Bajans meant that the operation had been almost self-supporting. The sanctuary was not closed for economic reasons…

Unfortunately, developers and their politician friends in both the DLP and BLP want to develop the primarily government-owned lands around the sanctuary and they have fought tooth and nail to prevent the establishment of the proposed Graeme Hall National Park that would have protected the sanctuary and provided some desperately needed public green space on the concrete-jungle south coast. The owner of the sanctuary, a wealthy philanthropist named Peter Allard, understandably gave up on Barbados when he found that the new DLP government intends to develop and profit from the Graeme Hall wetlands area just as the last bunch did.

After the sanctuary closed we heard a few rumours and even a press release that the government was talking with the sanctuary owner, but like most of the government “initiatives” around this place that turned out to be just so many words. Lots of words and no action. Meanwhile, those 85 jobs are gone and Minister Sealy is running around trying to convince other companies not to fire a dozen here and a dozen there.

If any of our readers have heard anything different, please let us know, but we believe that those 85 jobs and one of our premier tourist attractions are gone, gone, gone.

Further Reading

BFP – Dec 2, 2008: Barbados: Ten Thousand Say Goodbye To Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary

Nation News – Jan 9, 2009: Tourism Indeed Our Business

BFP – Nov 26, 2008: December 1st Last Chance To See Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary For Free

BFP – Nov 25, 2008: Save The Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary Facebook Group Goes International!

Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary website here

Nation News – Jan 7, 2009: Sealy: Let’s Get Going!

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