Tag Archives: Sustainable development

Elizabeth Thompson: Delivering the bull, putting on the beef

Former Barbados Environment Minister delivers a heavy lecture

contributed by “Buckra Johnny”

Former BLP Environment Minister Elizabeth Thompson was in town the other day warning Barbados that environmental issues are important to the economy and to our quality of life. Liz was shaking her finger at Barbados and the rest of the Caribbean saying that we must have “sustainable development”. (Nation: Habitat warning from Liz)

I know what you’re thinking…

That’s really some lecture from the same Elizabeth Thompson who as Environment Minister couldn’t be bothered to introduce an Environmental Protection Act during the 14 years that her party formed a majority government.

“Yes, it’s that same Liz Thompson who, as part of the BLP Arthur government, walled off the West Coast with an ejaculation of half-built, unsold ugly condos that astonished even the most corrupt profiteers and environment wreckers.”

Fuh true, it was also Liz Thompson who gave her stamp of approval to groynes that destroyed Mullins Bay beaches.

That Liz Thompson

This is the same Liz Thompson who let Shell Oil get away with dumping millions of liters of jet fuel into the water table because in Barbados we don’t have a basic law that requires pipeline operators to measure what goes in and what comes out the other end to monitor for leakage. We have no law that compels pipeline owners like Shell to even REPORT a massive spill.

Illustration of the full text of Liz Thompson's speech

Thanks, Liz!

Elizabeth Thompson spent and wasted over a hundred million dollars trying to build a landfill on unstable Scotland district soil – though she was warned again and again that it was folly and would be an environmental disaster. Liz Thompson’s cherished Greenland Dump would also have been the first major dump anywhere to be located in a National Park. Now that would have been “sustainable development”!

Elizabeth Thompson couldn’t debate the Greenland Dump without going into a racist rant against white people. Racist Liz probably mentored racist Gline Clarke.

But even a good verbal barb or public humiliation of a white environmentalist like Richard Goddard couldn’t change reality for Liz Thompson. Reality was delivered a few days ago by current Minister of the Environment Denis Lowe, who said,

“Geo-technical studies (show) a continuous movement of the soil which makes it absolutely dangerous to store landfill at that site,”

Yup, just like Richard Goddard told Elizabeth Thompson a decade ago on CBC television when the only response she could come back with was a racist statement…

“I take extreme offense at a Caucasian male telling me, as a Minister of Government in modern Barbados, that he is going to treaten to embarrass a national government in this way. It is completely unacceptable…”

… BLP government Minister Elizabeth Thompson explains why building a dump on the shifting soil of Greenland is an environmentally sound decision.

George Payne, BLP Member of Parliament for St. Andrew, described putting a dump in Greenland as “environmental madness”. Payne is black so Lord knows why Liz didn’t listen to him even if she was prejudiced against Caucasians.

And then there is Liz Thompson’s role in the ongoing destruction of the last major mangrove forest in Barbados.

That’s quite a record…    “BUT WAIT… THERE’S MORE!!!”

Elizabeth Thompson and her BLP were the government for 14 years and they couldn’t be bothered to make even the simplest environmental law to control the use of poisons, pesticides, chemicals and known carcinogens.

Under Liz Thompson and her BLP government, the Environment Ministry didn’t lay a single environmental charge in 14 years. (Thanks, Liz – thanks for nothing.)

Putting on the Beef!

Elizabeth Thompson spread the B.S. pretty thick during her lecture at the 21st biennial conference of Soroptimist International of the Caribbean Network at Accra Beach Hotel. Yes sir, that bull dung was flying everywhere and she looked soooooo sincere! (Like the man said, “Sincerity? Once you can fake that, you’ve got it made!”)

But Liz Thompson didn’t just deliver the BULL, she really put on the BEEF too! Life must be pretty good in New York working for the United Nations.

Barbados Sustainable Development: Image and Reality

As the “United Nations assistant secretary-general and executive coordinator of the secretariat for the UN’s Conference on Sustainable Development” Liz must be attending some fine parties and conferences where the pate and champagne flow like, well, pate and champagne at the United Nations.

Wow! I don’t know how many stone she is now, but Liz used to be not a bad looking woman at one time. Well, there’s just a lot more of her to love, but I don’t know how “sustainable” this can be in terms of health. I mean, she’s making Mia look like PlayBoy material.

That’s the update on Elizabeth Thompson’s recent visit to Barbados. Shur ‘nuf talk ’bout that for now!

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Filed under Barbados, Environment, Politics

Neighbours cleaned up for filthy Almond Casuarina Beach Resort

A legacy lost as Almond Resorts says goodbye to sustainable tourism and hello to piles of garbage.

Back in 2005, the National Geographic Traveler wrote a super-positive article about the Barbados Casuarina Beach Club and the sustainable tourism award they won the previous year…

“The Casuarina Beach Club, profiled below, won the 2004 World Legacy Award for General Purpose Hotels and Resorts. A joint effort of National Geographic Traveler and Conservation International, the World Legacy Awards encourage sustainable tourism.

Experiencing a sun-kissed, palm-fringed Caribbean beach for the first time can be like getting religion. Little wonder, then, that resort hotels are a dime a dozen in the island-dotted Caribbean region. Not so common are resorts that help protect their coastal environment, and even less so resorts that engage the authentic life of the island. Casuarina Beach Club, on Barbados’s south coast, does both…”

…from the 2005 National Geographic article Barbados Resort Treads Lightly, Artfully

That was then. This is now…. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Environment

Bad News: Barbados Government taxes No Plastic Bag Day into submission then Environment Ministry ignores this vital project!

The Good

By all accounts, last weekend’s first annual No Plastic Bag Day in Barbados was successful in raising public awareness that there is an alternative to the millions of plastic bags Bajans throw away every year. Thousands of Bajans got the message as Future Centre Trust volunteers publicized the event at the wonderful businesses that participated: Emerald City, Carlton & A1, Super Centre, Trimart, Coffee and H&B Hardware.

As an example of what can be accomplished, Kammie Holder reports that through the excellent efforts of Mr. Dean, the cashiers and packers at Emerald City, between 9am and 2pm 80% of the shoppers participated in No Plastic Bag day and used a combination of green bags, cardboard boxes or brought their own bags to re-use.

Good work by Mr. Dean & Emerald City!

The Bad

Some stores were totally indifferent to No Plastic Bag Day. As Kammie puts it, Bajans can be very complacent.

But as BFP reader “Passin thru” said…

“Well done to Kammie and all the people at the Future Centre Trust. This was the start of something beautiful and it will grow every year and you’ll see that five years from now more people will use fewer plastic bags. That will be the longterm result of this first “no plastic bag day”.

No environmental project can be “wham-bam-accomplished”. This is a long term project to change the minds and culture of people who don’t care. Kammie and the other good people know that and they keep plugging away.”

The Ugly: Sabotage by Barbados Government

Unfortunately though, No Plastic Bag Day was nowhere near as successful as it could have been because the effort was sabotaged by the Barbados Government – and then totally ignored by Environment Minister Lowe and his Ministry workers.

No Plastic Bag Day sabotaged by government? Yup… sabotaged.

SHAME on Environment Minister Denis Lowe & Prime Minister David Thompson: Didn't care, didn't attend, didn't send reps during planning or to No Plastic Bag Day. Refused to exempt the Green shopping bags from duty and taxes.

The Barbados Government, Environment Minister Denis Lowe and the Environment Ministry were invited to participate in the planning and execution of No Plastic Bag Day. What a waste of effort.

Denis Lowe canceled a scheduled meeting with the Future Centre Trust at the last moment saying he had more important commitments. Lowe sent no stand-in. No Ministry of the Environment personnel responded to invitations either – and no politicians from any party showed up during the planning or on the day of the event.

The Barbados DLP Government of Prime Minister David Thompson did do one thing though: the DLP denied a duty waiver on the green shopping bags imported as part of No Plastic Bag Day.

That’s right folks – despite the Future Centre Trust’s point that over $10 million dollars is spent every year to clean the drains of plastic bags, the David Thompson Government couldn’t see any further than the duty & tax revenues from the sale of green shopping bags.

Consequently, the bags had to be priced several dollars higher than the intended $3 price point, so fewer were purchased and used by members of the public.

Thanks for nothing to Environment Minister Denis Lowe, the Ministry of the Environment and the government of Prime Minister David Thompson!

It is a sad irony that during the past few days the elites have been doing the champagne and finger-food thing at the 1th Annual Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development (STC-11). They’ve been listening to Jonathan Tourtellot, Director of the National Geographic Centre for Sustainable Destinations, telling folks about the importance of community involvement and initiatives.

Is it too much to hope that Mr Tourtellot might see this article and understand that what is SAID by Barbados Government officials bears no link to what is DONE or NOT DONE by the Barbados Government?

Expose the disconnect between what is said by the Government of Barbados and what is actually done!

I wonder if any of our readers will send this article and other recent articles on the environmental failures of the Barbados Government to Mr. Tourtellot? Only when our elected and appointed government officials come to know that there is accountability will they get serious about the environment and stop faking it to grab those international aid dollars.

Barbados doesn’t have any environmental protection legislation. No mandatory recycling or local pickup. Zero controls or standards on hazardous chemicals. Zero environmental standards or enforcement. We’re building on every available inch of the West Coast and deliberately destroying the last mangrove wetlands so the majority of the surrounding watershed can be sold to developers. Previously protected environmentally sensitive land at Graeme Hall has already been re-zoned to allow development.

How does all that square with fine words by government officials this week in Bridgetown and New York?

Let the world know the reality. That’s the only way things will get any better.

Here’s Mr. Tourtellot’s email. We’ll fill in the emails from the other speakers at the conference as we find them… Continue reading

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

Major Environmental Engineering study slams Barbados Government over imminent death of last Mangrove wetland. Government destroying RAMSAR natural heritage site.

“The investment in the Sanctuary was supposed to be part of a sustainable environmental initiative, dependent on government leadership. As the largest private environmental stakeholder in Barbados, we continue to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to maintain the Sanctuary, but we all have to face the fact that it’s Government who is killing the wetland.   The study shows that our environmental commitment and investment cannot withstand this assault.”

… Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary owner Peter Allard in a May 6, 2010 press release.

Unchecked pollution, government inaction puts migratory bird stop at risk

A new environmental study sharply critical of the Government of Barbados shows the key Graeme Hall mangrove wetland is disappearing due to outside pollution and poor water quality.

The Graeme Hall wetland is the last remaining mangrove in Barbados – a red mangrove forest that has existed for no less than 1,300 years. It is the only wetland in Barbados recognized internationally under the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar). It acts as a Caribbean flyway stop for migratory birds between North and South America.

The extensive 800 page study (download PDF here) prepared for the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary by Environmental Engineering Consultants of Tampa, Florida shows the Sanctuary has suffered a 77 per cent reduction in salinity in the past ten years due to an inoperative government-run sluice gate. The huge reduction signals “an inevitable failure of the mangrove ecosystem” as freshwater flora and fauna take over.

The study also cites damaging factors including: dumping of raw sewage into the wetland instead of the sea by the South Coast Sewage Treatment Plant; contaminated storm water runoff originating from 1,150 acres of government-managed drainage systems; and, commercial and residential pollutants from adjoining properties.

“The government owned and operated sluice gate failure confirms our worst fears,” said Stuart Heaslet, an official with Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary. “It means that as the mangrove forest dies, it will not grow back because freshwater plants are taking over.”

The original environmental investment in the Sanctuary was based on the area being protected as a brackish mangrove ecosystem.

“The study confirms that Government-controlled pollution is being dumped into the wetland.   Despite our formal offers of technical and financial assistance to government, there has been no response.  We can’t defend ourselves against pollution and environmental mismanagement outside our boundaries.  Bird counts are down, crabs are disappearing, and we are seeing environmental degradation everywhere.”

Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary occupies 42 per cent of the Ramsar wetland at Graeme Hall, and is owned by Peter Allard, a Canadian investor and philanthropist who has put more than US $35 million into the 35-acre eco-tourism site to preserve the last significant mangrove woodland and wetland on the island.

“The investment in the Sanctuary was supposed to be part of a sustainable environmental initiative, dependent on government leadership,” said Allard. “As the largest private environmental stakeholder  in Barbados, we continue to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to maintain the Sanctuary, but we all have to face the fact that it’s Government who is killing the wetland.   The study shows that our environmental commitment and investment cannot withstand this assault.”

… continue reading this major Environmental Engineering study by downloading the PDF from the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary

BFP Comments

We’ll have more to say tomorrow morning after we digest the entire study, but the first 20 pages leave us shocked, saddened and angry at the devastation being wrought by our government.

No doubt this will be a major discussion topic at next week’s Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development being held from May 9 through 12, 2010 in Bridgetown, Barbados. Here’s how the conference website describes the theme of this year’s meeting…

The theme for the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s 11th Annual Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development (STC-11) is “Creating Opportunities through a World Class Sustainable Tourism Product”. STC-11 will focus on how to capitalize on opportunities to enhance and sustain our tourism product by identifying and valuing unique and indigenous aspects of our tangible and intangible heritage which need to be conserved for the enjoyment of our citizens and visitors.

Issues to be discussed will include the need for destination stewardship and conservation of our heritage assets in the face of various threats; the use of innovation and creativity to develop, interpret and market our heritage tourism products responsibly; the financing of sustainable tourism projects; enriching the visitor experience and the role of public, private and non-governmental organizations and communities in doing so.

Valuable learning opportunities will be provided through the sharing of local and international best practices. Delegates will also be able to participate in interesting discussions and study tours that will showcase how the host country, Barbados, conserves and manages its natural, cultural and built heritage and addresses associated challenges.

Yup, a tour to the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary while reading a copy of the report should prove to be most interesting for the delegates.

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