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Remembering our environmentally sensitive areas

{Image taken from a Newsday article}
Image taken from a Newsday article

Nature took center stage this year. A happy circumstance even if it was propelled by an untoward event. Still, as 2020 winds down and Recovery gathers momentum the risk of Environment getting shoved to the side becomes very real. Within the national scenario we accept then it is important for Tobago to identify and put into place posthaste, a marketable product - a contribution to the Gross Domestic Product if you will. So we have imperative, made even more pressing as petroleum is no longer poised to fatten the collective purse. But really, a marina in the Buccoo Marine Park?

Nothing has been confirmed but rumour has it somebody wants to put a boating facility in the south end, somewhere between Golden Grove Estate and Pigeon Point. The pitch is; it will aid Tobago’s tourism and consequentially stimulate this island’s income. It may also boost the fisheries catch. Great ideas these but there are considerations. One shudders to think of the damage to the existing and let’s not beat about the bush - fragile tourism plant that is already in place. To be sure, nothing is wrong with adding a marina to our offering once all the environmental impact boxes are ticked, once stakeholders are not inconvenienced and once yachts want to or can come. All in all there is much to speculate upon.

Let’s start though with the approach itself. The Marine Park is public property, an area set aside for its recreational potential as well as its contribution to local ecology with the understanding that the status quo shall apply over time to benefit future generations. Which means a man-made device such as a marina should involve every affected stakeholder. That no information is forthcoming from the authorities via mainstream news is bad. Worse is no one in the Tobago House of Assembly knows about it. Or if they do they are not saying. This is not the way to get things done in an era where Climate Change is forcing the entire world to rethink its approach to built development.

A word to the wise. What’s required at this point, as Tobago’s recovery stratagems unfold and the mirage > of the marina near the marsh solidifies, is to reaffirm the cultural and ecological value of the area. We need to know how much we trading off and what we are getting in return. Another practical approach would be to strengthen the systems that shall be affected by this yet to be confirmed thing. So that as much people as possible can benefit from it comes if it is built. After all, who wants to be left behind holding a dead zone after this great period of Recovery?

Previously on this topic.

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