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Environmental Observations
World Wetlands Day Sham

World Wetlands Day Sham

Date: February 4th 2019

Dear Editor/Newsroom,

Now that the dust has settled on the United Nations (UN) celebrated World Wetlands Day, Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) would like to share its perspective. In much the same way that the UN has stated that Governments all around the world pass environmental legislation and fail at implementing it, FFOS questions the purpose of internationally celebrated days like World Wetlands Day. To us it is ‘lip service hypocrisy’. Everywhere in Trinidad and Tobago wetlands are being destroyed under the watchful eyes of every Government Agency. Public and private entities destroy our heritage unencumbered.

In 1998 the Government of Trinidad and Tobago first passed the National Environmental Policy (NEP) and two weeks after they bulldozed the Invaders Bay mangroves. At that time, FFOS launched a “public demonstration and information protest camp” at Invaders Bay. The purpose then as now is to expose Government’s hypocrisy which is compromising our future generations. The ‘No Net Loss’ policy is clearly stated in every single revised version (2006 and 2018) of the NEP which means that if you remove mangroves from one place you replant it in another place. And yet the Government has never complied with its own legislation. To date over 250 hectares that has been lost in the past 7 years due to built development, has never been replaced. The NEP appears to be a farce and a charade.

The Law in not enforced on the ground yet leaders pound their chest in prowess. Just drive on the Uriah Butler Highway along the Caroni Swamp, go to the Godineau River in Mosquito Creek, the Aripero Lagoon in Rousillac, the Quesa River in Macqueripe and the Las Cuevas Estate in Las Cuevas.

Wetlands and mangroves are being removed with the approval of the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) and the Minister of Planning and Development who both seem to be neutered and voiceless.

To us, UN celebrated days are becoming hypocritical tools of green washing.

Until and unless we are able to stand up together to expose the truth, we will all continue to fail our children’s children, depriving them of their entitlement of a world where clean air can be breathed, fish can be caught … and eaten, clean water can be drunk, clean food can be grown… or are we there already?

Sincerely,

Gary Aboud

Corporate Secretary

Fishermen and Friends of the Sea

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