MARINE AUTHORITY COMING

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Andrew Hart (third from left) of Shell presenting Michael Young (second from left), Vice President of the Barbados Marine Trust with a sponsorship cheque, while the environment stewards Jamal Auguste (left), Pierre Corbin (second from right) and Javon Chapman (right) look on.

Barbados could soon be setting up a Marine Management Authority.

This was revealed today by Minister of the Environment, Elizabeth Thompson, who said government was hoping to bring the Authority on stream next year.

She made the comments at the Hilton Barbados at the launch of the Carlisle Bay Pilot Project which is sponsored by the Barbados Marine Trust and Shell, in collaboration with the Ministry of Energy and the Environment and Barbados Tourism Investment Inc.

Acknowledging that such an Authority “has been a long time in coming”, she said “it is really now a matter of urgency that we put all of the elements in place… While much of the preliminary work has already been completed, the consultants were recently re-engaged to take the process forward and to make the Marine Management Authority a reality,” she told the gathering.

The Minister pointed out that there were some issues the consultants were concerned about. She listed them as: “marine conservation areas; marine protected areas; the identification of legal and institutional frameworks for the management of the area; stakeholder involvement in any programmes which are developed; and the implementation of proper user policies so as to balance the conflicting interest.”

Ms. Thompson noted that several matters had already been addressed relating to the Authority, “so that it would not only be an autonomous entity, but a self sustaining one financially.”

Members of the audience paying rapt attention as Minister of the Environment, Elizabeth Thompson, delivers the feature address at the launch of the Carlisle Bay Pilot Project.

In the wide-ranging address, she lamented that even though there had been regular clean-ups of the beaches, there always seemed to be a tremendous amount of garbage, despite repeated requests and entreaties to the public to stop indiscriminately littering on the beach front.

“I would like to take this opportunity to urge Barbadians to be careful of how we use our beach space. If you walk any beach in Barbados, one would see from pampers, to condoms, to food plates, to all kinds of litter people leave behind,” she said.

She alluded to the fact that some of the offenders were those who used the beaches for relaxation and recreation on mornings. “They take with them food, drink and fruit, and they leave the fruit peels behind; they take their plastic bags into the water with the fruit and the plastic bag is left in the water… We keep the physical homes we occupy clean, but we do not see Barbados as our home and, therefore, we treat it with a lack of respect and I don’t think it is a good reflection of us,” she bemoaned.

The Barbados Marine Trust will undertake the 12-month pilot project involving the creation of a Code of Conduct for commercial resource users, formulation of a public awareness programme and the establishment of a team of environmental education stewards.

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