Categorized | Local, Opinions

Save Little Bay and Caars Bay from their Executioners

by Claude Gerald

The policy of the British Government is at odds with that of Development Fund for International Development (DFID) and the government of Montserrat regarding the way the physical environment of the island is being treated.

The UK is ambitious that the overseas territories will set world standards in their stewardship of the environment; it concedes though those islands like Montserrat are constitutionally responsible for environmental protection and conservation, though Britain is ultimately responsible under International Law.

Britain recognizes the need for sustainable economic development of Montserrat; we are not economically self-sufficient and depend on funding from the Development Fund for International Development (DfID). Britain is concerned that unrestricted development can destroy valuable habitats such as mangroves with its wider implications for everyone on island.

Enter Piper’s Pond the only remaining mangrove swamp; it is rapidly being obliterated in the name of industry and development. So dynamically organized it was that it teemed with wildlife of unique forms at its most glorious. Demonstratively during a lull in its slow death at the hands of its myopic executioners, it fought back manfully to resurrect vestiges of itself. Encouragement was brief; no robust case was put for a stay of execution as reckless destruction employs some workers; especially selected truckers that exclude the trucker’s association for example.

Manchineel trees and native grasses returned with a flourish. Water settled, fed by a ravine that drains a huge watershed, reportedly provided fishes of notable sizes to astonished onlookers at excavation resumption; they shared in the final catch from a resource that fed many an ecosystem for countless generations; the monsters of death armed with heavy equipment was about to bury Piper’s Pond alive. Some nebulous development, involving buildings is set to be undertaken in its place.

A requiem mass for Piper’s Pond makes for a fitting end to the soul of this former giver of life in the web of life. Mourning deserves to be perpetual. Its loss is tearful. Its memory is a haunt. Its regeneration is a futile expectation.

Montserrat is therefore being destroyed from within. Our government is callous with regard to how it treats our natural resources. Development at Little and Carrs Bay makes the point most strongly.  The Montserrat Development Corporation (MDC) is the hardnosed, financially muscled pit-bull that attacks indiscreetly, the wonderfully and profitably aged features of our landscape; converting to irretrievable minced meat, whilst slapping its chest victoriously in the pillage and the carnage;  a gruesome symbol, of the secular, rather carnal leanings of our leadership.

One is fearful that the die is cast already and that this will be the practice of the citizens; destroy in a moment what took an eternity to build in the name of social and economic advancement.

It is naturally wrong and utterly disrespectful of the creative genius of nature. It is a Divine principle that those who destroy Nature will be similarly destroyed as Nature guards and treasures its work.  It is a biblical admonition.

Shore line development that ignores the dictates of Nature is fodder for tsunamis as seen in South East Asia tellingly; and in coastal erosive spots with ill planned major investments in many a Caribbean Island.  Nature is so ordered that it puts in place its own defensive features to protect the hinterlands from the forces of the sea at its fiercest and to replenish life forms at will.

We must work with Nature and be lead by Nature. Nature is our surest friend in resource provision and sound support.

The British Government preaches that UK overseas territories ought to form a bond with nature in crucial areas of human interactions; local leadership and DFID meanwhile, partners in the crime of ecocide, advocate the extinction of all life forms by destroying their habitats and critically endangering many species, unashamedly for the world to see. They push for the illusion of economic growth at the expense of our natural patronage. Since Premier Reuben T Meade is virtually the Cabinet he thinks and acts as if economic development is mutually exclusive to parallel concerns with preserving natural features that capture our unique heritage.

This attempt to beautify the economy will haunt for a life time, changing forever an island culture that has been entwined with life giving environmental gifts, even when abused.  It ushers in a dismal emptiness, emptying native environmental features from the equation that are hardly reversible.

Their model of development is to destroy nature and its assets whilst building Chinese roof topped structures; to hell with birds, fishes, trees, sand, gravesites and artifacts of our past.  Ignore and marginalize the foundational natural patronage and the services they render and relegate to a state of nothingness.

That is their woeful paradigm filled with contagion.

Development is one track: bull doze nature into oblivion and impose our puny vision on our diversified natural heritage whilst proclaiming to citizens that the motive is to grow the economy without a clearly predictable basis as to how this will proceed. That money making is the raison d’être of living; that by itself is richness. It is never a saleable much less winnable proposition.

The Department of Environment on Montserrat enjoys excusing its apathy and inertia in robustly standing up in these matters with the convenience of not having enacted legislation since 2008. Even if empowered by the gods, one must expect the same from this sucker of monthly emoluments; the Department is a product of a mixture of circumstances that married narrow interests and very weak administrative and political management. It props up egos and is a harbor for long spent careers that keep darkening the work place.

This infirmed representation of the so named Department has continued with absolute impunity for years though tongues wag and brows furrow in stark disbelief. There is no end in sight to this binding control of skilled human resources that remain poorly maximized and lead.

Parallel to this attitude is that of Governor Davis who, obviously speaking for GoM (Government of Montserrat), boldly declared in February this year that any growth on Montserrat is purely economic. There is no room to consider ‘green growth’; there is little or no regard for environmental or social matters. It means that the historic cemetery at Romeo’s will be soon history; the Carrs Bay Battery; Pipers Pond and Gun Hill are restless at their recent demise.

The silence of these tragedies is deafening on this island. Nobody speaks to them or noises about them. Both civil society and governance are very weak-willed with the former allowing Ministers of Government a free ride to our mutual destruction. Elected officials opine that the environment is secondary to our growth and the electorate agrees without a murmur.

Activists who voice and challenge, fall victim to the crucifying tendencies of all, even as the ship of state keeps sinking, through misguided leadership in managing key resources endowed by nature.

We turn our power into powerlessness. We see and we allow. We empower others who in turn disempower us. We self-sabotage as we speak negatively to our beings, further marginalising our built-in systems of control and assertive action.

We are just past St. Patrick’s Day; its symbolic spirit of assertiveness and rebellion continues to be lost on us all.

 

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

by Claude Gerald

The policy of the British Government is at odds with that of Development Fund for International Development (DFID) and the government of Montserrat regarding the way the physical environment of the island is being treated.

The UK is ambitious that the overseas territories will set world standards in their stewardship of the environment; it concedes though those islands like Montserrat are constitutionally responsible for environmental protection and conservation, though Britain is ultimately responsible under International Law.

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Britain recognizes the need for sustainable economic development of Montserrat; we are not economically self-sufficient and depend on funding from the Development Fund for International Development (DfID). Britain is concerned that unrestricted development can destroy valuable habitats such as mangroves with its wider implications for everyone on island.

Enter Piper’s Pond the only remaining mangrove swamp; it is rapidly being obliterated in the name of industry and development. So dynamically organized it was that it teemed with wildlife of unique forms at its most glorious. Demonstratively during a lull in its slow death at the hands of its myopic executioners, it fought back manfully to resurrect vestiges of itself. Encouragement was brief; no robust case was put for a stay of execution as reckless destruction employs some workers; especially selected truckers that exclude the trucker’s association for example.

Manchineel trees and native grasses returned with a flourish. Water settled, fed by a ravine that drains a huge watershed, reportedly provided fishes of notable sizes to astonished onlookers at excavation resumption; they shared in the final catch from a resource that fed many an ecosystem for countless generations; the monsters of death armed with heavy equipment was about to bury Piper’s Pond alive. Some nebulous development, involving buildings is set to be undertaken in its place.

A requiem mass for Piper’s Pond makes for a fitting end to the soul of this former giver of life in the web of life. Mourning deserves to be perpetual. Its loss is tearful. Its memory is a haunt. Its regeneration is a futile expectation.

Montserrat is therefore being destroyed from within. Our government is callous with regard to how it treats our natural resources. Development at Little and Carrs Bay makes the point most strongly.  The Montserrat Development Corporation (MDC) is the hardnosed, financially muscled pit-bull that attacks indiscreetly, the wonderfully and profitably aged features of our landscape; converting to irretrievable minced meat, whilst slapping its chest victoriously in the pillage and the carnage;  a gruesome symbol, of the secular, rather carnal leanings of our leadership.

One is fearful that the die is cast already and that this will be the practice of the citizens; destroy in a moment what took an eternity to build in the name of social and economic advancement.

It is naturally wrong and utterly disrespectful of the creative genius of nature. It is a Divine principle that those who destroy Nature will be similarly destroyed as Nature guards and treasures its work.  It is a biblical admonition.

Shore line development that ignores the dictates of Nature is fodder for tsunamis as seen in South East Asia tellingly; and in coastal erosive spots with ill planned major investments in many a Caribbean Island.  Nature is so ordered that it puts in place its own defensive features to protect the hinterlands from the forces of the sea at its fiercest and to replenish life forms at will.

We must work with Nature and be lead by Nature. Nature is our surest friend in resource provision and sound support.

The British Government preaches that UK overseas territories ought to form a bond with nature in crucial areas of human interactions; local leadership and DFID meanwhile, partners in the crime of ecocide, advocate the extinction of all life forms by destroying their habitats and critically endangering many species, unashamedly for the world to see. They push for the illusion of economic growth at the expense of our natural patronage. Since Premier Reuben T Meade is virtually the Cabinet he thinks and acts as if economic development is mutually exclusive to parallel concerns with preserving natural features that capture our unique heritage.

This attempt to beautify the economy will haunt for a life time, changing forever an island culture that has been entwined with life giving environmental gifts, even when abused.  It ushers in a dismal emptiness, emptying native environmental features from the equation that are hardly reversible.

Their model of development is to destroy nature and its assets whilst building Chinese roof topped structures; to hell with birds, fishes, trees, sand, gravesites and artifacts of our past.  Ignore and marginalize the foundational natural patronage and the services they render and relegate to a state of nothingness.

That is their woeful paradigm filled with contagion.

Development is one track: bull doze nature into oblivion and impose our puny vision on our diversified natural heritage whilst proclaiming to citizens that the motive is to grow the economy without a clearly predictable basis as to how this will proceed. That money making is the raison d’être of living; that by itself is richness. It is never a saleable much less winnable proposition.

The Department of Environment on Montserrat enjoys excusing its apathy and inertia in robustly standing up in these matters with the convenience of not having enacted legislation since 2008. Even if empowered by the gods, one must expect the same from this sucker of monthly emoluments; the Department is a product of a mixture of circumstances that married narrow interests and very weak administrative and political management. It props up egos and is a harbor for long spent careers that keep darkening the work place.

This infirmed representation of the so named Department has continued with absolute impunity for years though tongues wag and brows furrow in stark disbelief. There is no end in sight to this binding control of skilled human resources that remain poorly maximized and lead.

Parallel to this attitude is that of Governor Davis who, obviously speaking for GoM (Government of Montserrat), boldly declared in February this year that any growth on Montserrat is purely economic. There is no room to consider ‘green growth’; there is little or no regard for environmental or social matters. It means that the historic cemetery at Romeo’s will be soon history; the Carrs Bay Battery; Pipers Pond and Gun Hill are restless at their recent demise.

The silence of these tragedies is deafening on this island. Nobody speaks to them or noises about them. Both civil society and governance are very weak-willed with the former allowing Ministers of Government a free ride to our mutual destruction. Elected officials opine that the environment is secondary to our growth and the electorate agrees without a murmur.

Activists who voice and challenge, fall victim to the crucifying tendencies of all, even as the ship of state keeps sinking, through misguided leadership in managing key resources endowed by nature.

We turn our power into powerlessness. We see and we allow. We empower others who in turn disempower us. We self-sabotage as we speak negatively to our beings, further marginalising our built-in systems of control and assertive action.

We are just past St. Patrick’s Day; its symbolic spirit of assertiveness and rebellion continues to be lost on us all.