20 May, 2007


Environmental versus People Concerns: Guest Editorial. One of my readers has asked me to publish this note. It strikes a chord in me. But, I have some reservations. I am not sure about its premise.

Recently in Anguilla, and indeed further a field, we’ve noticed an upswing in the amount of emphasis being placed on matters pertaining to the sustainability of the physical environment. I cannot say, however, that I have seen a concomitant equivalent emphasis being placed on matters directly pertaining to people and people issues. While I am not anti environment, how about our government and other agencies placing greater emphasis on such matters as poverty alleviation and protection of the poor and other development strategies, thereby ensuring that people are looked after as well or better than the physical environment? I do not think that has been happening.

Well, it’s one point of view. What about you? Do you think we ought to be more concerned about where the trucks that carry the contents of Anguilla’s septic tanks empty their loads? Should we show greater interest in the question, where does Delta Petroleum dump its toxic oil waste? Or, how efficient is Cap Juluca’s human waste disposal? Do these questions deserve a lesser emphasis than alleviation of poverty or protection of the poor? What do you think? If the answer is yes, why do you think so?


  1. Ignorant statements, such as that environmentalists care more about lizards than people, are what Hubert used to ignore the recommendations of the Planning Department and the Land Development Control Committee, hand out development permits lacking proper environmental controls and rape our environment. I find this highly offensive.

    Comparisons between social development and concern for the environment are nonsense. They are like arguing whether proper parental guidance for children is more important than proper nutrition or learning how to read. Omit any of them and we create problems.

    The writer says "we’ve noticed an upswing in the amount of emphasis being placed on matters pertaining to the sustainability of the physical environment." I don't know who "we" are but the writer does not speak for me. We have suffered from antiquated environmental legislation for years and I see neither action nor leadership from our elected leaders in this area. Repetition of slogans and platitudes is neither action nor leadership.

    Anguilla is suffering from severe social and environmental problems and it is not useful to discuss which of these deserve greater support.

  2. For 20 years, government has been talking about legislation to require truckers to cover their loads. Surely there is suitable legislation elsewhere that we could just copy. I don't know who would vote against it or why it would be contentious. If the AG's chambers is so understaffed that things like this take 20 years, then there is obviously a budget problem that we can't blame the AG for.

    Another example is Sombrero. Through either slackness or stupidity, Sombrero was not included when Protected Areas were established many years ago. This allowed the whole corrupt Beal Aerospace fiasco to happen. Yet to this day Sombrero remains unprotected. It's already crown land - it would't cost anything, and is one of the most important seabird nesting areas in the Eastern Caribbean. What is the problem? What other systemic problems do these small examples indicate?

    Instead we get speeches, promises and platitudes.

  3. I'm not sure if poverty alleviation is a major issue on Anguilla when compared to issues of increase criminal activity. I wonder if the article write has look at the statistic regarding poverty on Anguilla. The last Poverty Assessment Survey down was over 10 years ago. And at that time, the government pay was above the poverty line. That's not to say that I agree with data. But those were the facts. Perhaps it's time for another Poverty Assessment Survey.

    It is well known that everyone who wants a job can get a job on the island. Now it may not be the job you want but for the interim it can provide food for your family. Some of us wold rather stay home than work in job that's not their first choice.

    I would not like to see this island become a welfare state where it is more desirable to get a welfare check than steady work. Not all recommendations from the United Nations applies to us. We have to choose those issues that are of a more pressing nature than to seek out those to make it look like we are working on the UN millennium goals. Lets continue to instill the work ethnic that has brought our people thus far.

    If poverty is indeed a major issue, lets stamp it out. But if it's not, lets work on those issues that are threatening our existence.

  4. Correction: The Poverty Assesment Report was done in 2001-2002

  5. The reader of this submitted piece fails to realise that human development is essentially linked with the physical environment.

    The environment impacts many aspects of our lives for example our health and well-being is affected when we allow improper waste disposal which can create sanitation problems leading to disease among the people( this can furthur escalate to overwhelm health services, disable labour force, economic downturn etc. etc.) Various other issues can arise when one allows the physical environment to denigrate. One cannot have any kind of TRUE development, social or otherwise, without environmental development.


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