You cannot legislate change!
This is the assertion of Minister of the Environment, Water Resources and Drainage, Dr. Denis Lowe, who said change must be about adjusting attitudes.
Minister Lowe, who was at the time discussing the possible?? impact of the proposed Environmental?? Protection Act?? on illegal?? dumping,?? contended:?? "Change is the product?? of adjusting attitudes, but to get people to adjust their attitudes, you have to talk to them about what they believe, not only about themselves, but about the society and about their future.
"So, we can legislate as much as we want, if we don’t get people thinking about this country as theirs, and not theirs just for living and having fun but for passing on to future generations, then legislation would be in vain."
Maintaining that decisions made today would affect "persons that are not yet here," Dr. Lowe denounced the pervasive nonchalance within society.
"I am of the view that there is a degree of carelessness in this society, where everyone seems to think that it is not their responsibility, but the Government’s. So the ease with which people take their garbage from their homes and drive to some remote area to put it into the gully system, speaks more of their personal lack of respect for the environment, than to whether or not the Government has legislation in place," he surmised.
Minister Lowe stredded that in instances where legislation was in place, there needed to be strict enforcement. In this regard, he underscored the need for closer collaboration between law enforcement and the Ministry.
Lamenting the fact that environmental preservation was not part of the Barbadian psyche, the Environment Minister reiterated his call for electronic surveillance across the island, and for responsible follow-up.
"I am saying that environmental governance for many citizens is as casual a thing as changing one’s hair colour. If I don’t like it – I’ll cut it off – it’ll grow back or I’ll buy a wig.
"That’s the kind of attitude people are taking and this Government will work very hard to ensure that this practice is stopped, because it is affecting not only how we see ourselves, but how the international community sees us," he declared.
Reflecting on positive country models including Singapore and Switzerland, Minister Lowe queried, "Why can’t we train up our children in a way that they can respect their environment?
"It is more than the Government – the society must never believe that everything must be led by Government, citizens make up society," he firstname.lastname@example.org