11 June, 2007

Environmental Issues

Environmental Issues. I have been checking around among some friends and contacts. I received a long list of what they thought were the saddest and most neglected environmental issues. Some were good ideas, and some were not so bright. Those that concern me the most are the following:

  1. The silt that is now running into people’s homes & yards in West End directly related to the change in landscape from the Viceroy Project. You can go and take a look at former teacher Omah Richardson and her neighbours’ yards for evidence.
  1. Corito: the removal of the scrap metal (e.g. old cars, stoves, etc) that are piling up and rapidly decreasing the number of years we can use the site. The discontinuation of the recycling programme needs to be investigated.
  1. The Cove National Park idea – While government has been pushing this idea, the agency that government has claimed will manage the park (i.e. the Anguilla National Trust) has never been involved in the formulation of the idea or even in determining if that site is the most suitable site for a national park.
  1. Septics & Waste Water – The water lab lacks the human and financial resources to do water quality testing on our ponds and even around hotels, resorts and villas located on the coast. The EHU does not conduct checks in this area. Two perfect examples of guilty parties are Cap Juluca dumping its waste in Maunday’s Bay Pond and Arawak Beach Hotel dumping its waste directly into the sea at Island Harbour. How will Eudoxie and Sandra’s guests st Scilly Cay react to that information when it gets to them? Not to mention the fishermen and bathers from Island Harbour!
  1. The recent approval by the Land Development Control Committee of the relocation of the dolphinarium to Sandy Ground. This was done in spite of the objections of the experts. The decision was taken without any public discussion with the people of Sandy Ground. They were supposed to wake up one morning and find their beach turned into a dolphin toilet. The Chief Minister has corrected that error. But, it is a symptom of a serious fault in the system that needs to be addressed.
  1. The Department of Environment has been in place now for almost 2 years now. Still its role has not been determined. There is no policy, no programmatic plan, nor any oversight. Its human resources for it to be able to function effectively are completely lacking.
  1. ExCo in 2005 gave the Anguilla National Trust responsibility for the management of protected areas. A budget and a strategic development plan to fit this new direction of the ANT were both immediately prepared by the Board. They were sent to the Permanent Secretary in the Chief Minister’s Office for approval by ExCo and approval of funding. Yet, to this date, nothing has been done. Our biodiversity continues to be under more pressure from developers. Our marine resources are becoming more and more scarce. A recent successful OTEP project proposal, I am informed, had to be altered because the Trust still has not been given marine parks to manage. So, St. Maarten-based tourists continue freely to exploit our cays. No Marine Park Wardens are out on the water patrolling and collecting mooring fees, issuing cruising permits, and enforcing the Marine Parks Act.
  1. Anguilla has had the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands extended to us. To this date, we do not have one declared Ramsar site. This is despite the proven biodiversity importance of Dog Island, East End Pond and Sombrero. The question is, when will we meet the obligation of the Convention and name at least one Ramsar Site?
  1. Litter Wardens have been talked about and people were asked to volunteer (and many did). Yet litter continue to be a major problem for our island. Litter wardens are non-existent. How can we as a tourist destination be catering for the upscale market when we cannot keep our island clean?

Meanwhile, I have learned that a consultancy team is coming from the UK on Tuesday to find out from our government what we are doing about our environmental commitments. We can only hope that they will not permit themselves to be misled and confused. Hopefully, they will not be persuaded that good intentions are the same thing as good actions. The road to hell is, proverbially, paved with good intentions. We want them to take the lead from the little lady on TV talking about the hamburger and ask, “Where's the beef?”


  1. Why was the glass recycling programme quietly discontinued, and why does the Environmental Health Department not have the courtesy to tell us why? What would happen if everyone in Anguilla knew the facts about the glass recycling programme? What is it they don't want us to know? Are they protecting someone, or some stupidness, or what?

  2. One "serious fault" in the planning process was, if Eddie was reporting accurately on "To The Point," the Principal Planning Officer, Vincent Proctor, telling him, the CM, PS Foster Rogers and Sir Emile that Fisheries, Environmental Health and the National Trust had no objection to moving the dolphin prison to Mariners when, in fact, all three objected and the National Trust filed extensive written comments.

    Did Proctor lie to his direct supervisor and to his Minister or did Eddie invent this whole story? The CM confirmed that someone from Planning told him that none of the stakeholders had any objections to the proposal, so Planning approved it. Did Eddie and the CM invent this whole story just to make Proctor look bad? I don't think so.

    So what's going on here? Does Proctor love enslaved dolphin circuses so much that he lied to help them? Or was he paid off? No, we all know that doesn't happen in Anguilla. right?

  3. So if a department head lies to his supervisor, what are the consequences? In the past, such things are swept under the carpet and the person is transfered, or sometimes even promoted into a better position. It's been said that Deputy Governor Stanley Reid, who is responsible for the public service, will sweep with a new broom if officers are involved in wrongdoing. I hope it's true. Stanley, is this just more hype or what? No speeches, please. Show us some of the real leadership that the people are crying for.

  4. I thought Proctor won the contract to build the football stadium and hence was leaving the government post. Apparently conflict of interest issues. Anyone knows when is his last day on thejob?

  5. Glad to hear it. This does not, however, resolve the allegations of corruption and dishonesty, and any who may have conspired with him. I wonder about Teacher George, the former politician.

    In the lead story in this week's "Light," Hubert's running dog credits the tacky dolphin sideshow for "making the destination for more appealing to many visitors and, thereby, more attractive to big-buck investors". To repay them, he continues "Let us all help to find them the best possible new home on the island."

    I wonder what it would cost me to buy the lead story in The Light.

  6. Allegations of corruption and dishonesty are unjustified. No one in his right mind could suspect Vincent. What I hear is that he and his Development Committee are fed up. They have worked hard on getting planning legislation drafted. There were loud and noisy objections to the draft Bill circulated last year. No government lawyer came forward to answer the objections. Victor Banks did a poor job of explaining it. He was shouted down. ExCo has let the Bill fall away without any effort to revive it. The objections to the previous draft could have been met by the draughtsperson in the A-G’s office. But, to just abdicate and not put forward any planning law at all was just too much for the Development Committee. They appear to have decided on a policy of permitting any and every application, no matter how nonsensical. They just do not care any longer. That is the worst that can be said.

  7. If allegations of dishonesty are unjustified, then the whole story about Proctor's claiming two government departments and the National Trust had no objections to moving the dolphins to Sandy Ground were an untrue invention of Eddie and Bunton. Oh my...

  8. After reading your recent blog on environmental issues in Anguilla I was amazed at the content of the below article published this past weekend in the Anguillan. 5,000 ROOMS BY 2020 ? Over 4,000 rooms to be built in the next 13 years. Has any consideration been given to the environmental and ecological impact of this type of development on the Island? Are there any resources to carry out an Environmental Impact Study on each of these proposed developments ? It would seem to me that this type of un-checked development would place a serious burden on Anguilla's infrastructure and fragile environment. An area like Savannah Bay should be preserved as a National Park for the benefit of all Anguillans in posterity and not turned into a golf course, villas and hotel rooms. Dr. Harrigan makes a strong point in calling to attention the stress that this will place on Anguilla and the consequences of overdevelopment.

  9. "Savannah Bay should be preserved as a National Park"

    So, are *you* volunteering to buy Savannah Bay from its owners and donate it as a National Park, or should the Government just confiscate it for you?

  10. No, not 5000 rooms by 2020. I figure the 4380 that Dr. Harrigan listed, the 1200 we already have now, 175 at Quincy's Royale Caribbean that's nearing completion, and a large villa addition at CuisinArt that Hubert gave them a permit for years ago and should start soon. I don't remember how many rooms; say 150. That will give us a total of 5905 rooms and includes nothing at Junks Hole. Yet.

    Let's say a high-end hotel requires 3 employees per room. This is a modest figure; Malliouhana has more than this. Let's say we'll need 16,000 workers. We have less than 3000 Anguillians working in the hotel sector at present, so we will need 13,000 foreign workers. that's more foreigners than Anguillians. And where will they live? In vast compounds of shacks, like they have outside the cities of South Africa? Who are we doing all this for? Will those who come after us thank us for the mess we made for them to deal with?

  11. A visitor to Anguilla, "MGK," posted this interesting message at anguillaforum.com, a forum for visitors, yesterday:

    A Parable

    I love my house. It provides shelter and a place for family and friends to gather. I have decided to rent out rooms to workers who can help me make more rooms in this house which I used to think was just roomy enough. My family will live with strangers to build rooms where more strangers will stay in the future. Sure. We will have less space. There will be line-ups to the bathroom. Some things may go missing. There will be less peace. But in the end I will have a legacy for those that come after me: a crowded house.

  12. We don't need 5000 more hotel rooms. WHat we need are 5000 more housing stock for all income levels

  13. My wife and I have been visiting Anguilla for a week or two every year on holiday for the past few years from Barbados where we live and work. We prefer to spend our holidays quietly in the region and not take off for Miami or beyond as so many other West Indians do. Anguilla has been a great place to get away and "disconnect" for a while. Quite frankly I am deeply disturbed over what I see happening in Anguilla. The whole character of the Island is changing rapidly and not for the better with some of the negative trends that have overtaken other islands becoming entrenched in Anguilla as well. This frantic pace of development without serious long term planning and consideration for the consequences can be dangerous, as we have seen in some areas in Barbados. The cost to fix it later can be considerable.


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