Tag Archives: Mangrove Forest

The broken sluice gate the Barbados Government refuses to repair – killing our Ramsar wetlands

This broken sluice gate is the weapon being used to destroy our last mangrove wetlands

The government-owned and controlled sluice gate should regulate the flow of water in and out of the Graeme Hall mangrove wetlands. When operating properly, it lets the wetlands “breathe” and refresh itself from the sea. It keeps the brackish water (brackish = salt and fresh water mix) at the correct salinity to allow the mangroves, plants and all creatures great and small to thrive.

Without a properly operating sluice gate, the mangrove wetlands die as do many plant and animal species that inhabit the Ramsar-designated Graeme Hall wetlands.

Successive Barbados governments have refused to repair or replace the broken sluice gate for at least 15 years that I know of. Successive Barbados governments have refused offers from the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary to repair or replace the sluice gate at the Sanctuary’s cost and operate it under government supervision.

Why would that be?

Why would the Barbados government deliberately refuse to repair or replace the sluice gate for 15 years?

Barbados Free Press suspects that the long term goal of certain persons is to destroy the wetlands so they can then be developed. Graeme Hall would be worth a huge pile of money if developed.

The Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary launched an international complaint about the government’s actions. Read about the background here, here and…

Investor files international complaint – says Barbados government violated agreement with Canada, failed to protect Canadian investment in Barbados and…

Major Environmental Engineering study slams Barbados Government over imminent death of last Mangrove wetland.

Flood Control

Besides controlling the environmental health of the mangrove wetlands, the sluice gate is also used for flood control – to lower the level of the water during times of heavy rains when the wetlands act as a giant reservoir to prevent flooding of the surrounding area.

Because our government deliberately refuses to repair the sluice gate, the folks responsible for flood control use construction equipment to block the channel with sand – or remove the sand – as needed to control the water level in the wetlands.

As we reported yesterday, the government dug out the sand two days ago for a time to lower the water level and then filled the channel again. (See BFP’s Potential flooding forces Barbados Government to unblock Graeme Hall Wetlands sluice gate)

The photos of the broken sluice gate to the sea and the channel were taken on Wednesday morning and afternoon, May 19, 2010 after the government blocked the channel again with sand. (Big Thanks to three readers who responded to our request for photos!)

Does that sluice gate look high-tech to you? Does it look like there’s a technical reason why it couldn’t have been repaired or replaced 15 years ago? Does it look like rocket science with the latest alloys? Is it made of gold?

I think readers will find it as obvious as we do: the non-repair and non-operational state of the government-owned sluice gate is deliberate.

Once you see the simple truth of these photos, the question becomes Why is our government doing this to OUR last remaining mangrove wetlands?

Click on each photo to view full size (800 x 600).


Filed under Barbados, Environment, Nature, Offshore Investments, Politics, Wildlife

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!


Filed under Agriculture, Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Environment, Ethics, Nature, Offshore Investments, Politics, Tourism, Travel, Traveling and Tourism, Wildlife

December 1st Last Chance To See Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary For Free

Sanctuary Admission is FREE on MONDAY, December 1st

Eight thousand people showed up on the previous Free Day at the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary.

Yup… eight thousand folks who value the natural heritage of our country and want to preserve it for our children’s future took a walk on November 9th to see the mangroves, birds and wildlife that don’t exist in such a natural state anywhere else on Barbados.

Monday, December 1, 2008 is your last chance to see Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary for free because…

Graeme Hall Will Close December 15th As Canadian Philanthropist Driven From Barbados

Over the years thousands upon thousands of Bajans and tourists alike enjoyed the peace and learning experience of the last remaining mangrove wetlands on the island. Thousands of school children on learning tours encountered Graeme Hall in a way that their parents never could in the days when they were in school.

A generation ago, the last mangrove wetland at Graeme Hall was an abandoned, difficult-to-access, polluted garbage strewn mess. One man decided to rescue this precious piece of natural heritage for Bajans, Barbados and the world. One man and he wasn’t even a Barbadian!

Peter Allard, a philanthropist from Canada, poured some US$35 million into cleaning up the wetlands and creating the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary. He asked for nothing in return, and in fact received less than nothing. Continue reading


Filed under Barbados

“Change Your Email Signature” Campaign Launched – Graeme Hall National Park Barbados

Graeme Hall National Park Barbados

Graeme Hall National Park Barbados

Save 240 Acres For Our Children.
Graeme Hall National Park and the Sanctuary.
http://www.graemehallnationalpark.org and http://www.graemehall.com

This evening we received a spate of emails from readers all ending with the same new signature shown above.

The “Save 240 Acres For Our Children” email signature campaign was started a few days ago and has now been picked up by the Facebook group Save the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary. No doubt the almost three thousand Facebook group members will adopt the signature and we expect thousands more will too.

How many people read Barbados blogs every week? Answer: Tens of thousands. We receive fifty thousand visitors every week at Barbados Free Press alone.

Do it! Change your email signature and make Graeme Hall National Park a reality for our children and their children.

Do it right now please.

Here is an email that is making the rounds about how to change your email signature. Once you do that, every email you send becomes a message that will spread with no additional work on your part…

Everyone, please change your e-mail signature to the following:

Save 240 Acres For Our Children.
Graeme Hall National Park and the Sanctuary.
http://www.graemehallnationalpark.org and http://www.graemehall.com

To change your signature in Hotmail, see: http://email.about.com/od/windowslivehotmailtips/ss/wt042503wlh.htm

To change your signature in Gmail, see: http://mail.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=8395

To change your signature in Yahoo Mail, see:http://help.yahoo.com/l/us/yahoo/mail/yahoomail/basics/basics-66.html

What Is All The Fuss About?

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


Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Environment, Politics, Traveling and Tourism