Introduction of Environmental Police Under Consideration

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The introduction of environmental police to patrol beaches and open spaces in Barbados is actively being considered by the Ministry of the Environment and Drainage.

And, if this becomes a reality, it could see those caught dumping illegally or littering being brought before the law courts and prosecuted for their actions.

Minister of the Environment and Drainage, Dr. Denis Lowe, made these assertions during a recent interview with the Barbados Government Information Service as he outlined a number of concerns regarding littering across the island.

"To take a copying machine and dump it at a roundabout, or take some other appliance and take it to a common area and dump it, is really not the kind of standard we are reaching for in our pursuit of becoming a first world country," the Minister stated.

Dr. Lowe described such behaviour as being "primitive" and disrespectful to the environment. "It is a disregarding of the systems put in place to ensure that those matters are handled and handled efficiently," he said.

He added that in addition to patrolling the island’s beaches and open spaces, the environmental police would be empowered to give citations to persons caught breaking the law by dumping illegally. "What we hope as a result of the citation is that those persons can be brought before the law courts and prosecuted appropriately and fined for their behaviour and their actions," he said.

Noting that the process of establishing environmental police for the country would take time, Dr. Lowe added that provisions were already embedded in the Environment Management Act for their creation.

He said countries such as Singapore had adopted anti-littering behaviours, and encouraged residents to follow suit. "We have a similar land space. We have similar tourist products. We have the same level of pride as the Singaporians have for their country, and it really comes down to us saying enough is enough," he said.

However, the Minister stressed that would not happen unless there was a consequence attached to bad practices. "If the consequence is a smile, then people will continue to litter. It must be of such a nature that people become afraid to do these practices [illegal dumping] in Barbados."

julia.rawlins-bentham@barbados.gov.bb

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