Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Marine park closer to reality

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THREE YEARS after it was proposed and two years after it was to have been implemented, the Barbados Marine Trust has finally been given the green light by the Town and Country Planning Department for its underwater park.

But, the delay has put the funding received from the United Nations in doubt and caused the international body to impose strict conditions for organisations that have conceptualised new projects. Director and Project Coordinator with the Marine Trust, Lalu Hanuman told Heather-Lynn’s Habitat,

the Trust received word last week that the project had been approved by the Government department, but that it was now before Prime Minister Mia Mottley for final approval.

“So, that is great news and, hopefully, that will happen soon and we can move forward,” Hanuman said.

It was in January 2016, that the Marine Trust came up with the idea of an underwater park, tracing the island’s history through sculptures depicting Amerindians, slavery, fish and turtles, and crafted by internationally-acclaimed

(HLE)

underwater sculptor Jason DeCaires-Taylor. The statues would eventually become reefs and homes for marine life.

The park, slated for Carlisle Bay, was to be in place for the 50th anniversary of Independence in November.

Hanuman said the delay spoke volumes about the ease, or lack thereof, of doing business in Barbados and suggested that the City of Bridgetown should have its own planning authority.

“I know of businesses that wanted to establish

with HEATHER-LYNN EVANSON

in Bridgetown but they waited two or three years for planning applications to be processed and they have just gone to other places, like the Belle and so on,” Hanuman said.

“And Bridgetown is a dying town and it needs its own planning authority to ensure that it gets the relevant investments,” he noted.

In addition, the United Nations Global Environment Facility (GEF) had given the Marine Trust $100 000, part of which was to be spent on producing a film of the final work.

But as a result of the three-year delay, GEF has changed its criteria.

“We were supposed to spend that money in a year and three years later we still haven’t spent the money and the people in GEF are getting problems from their superiors.

“So previously, they were giving grants to organisations which involved Town and Country Planning permission but, because of what has happened here, they are not giving any grants to people in Barbados – I don’t know about elsewhere – who have to make a planning application. So it has affected charities in Barbados. They can’t get funding because of what we went through,” Hanuman said. However, he notes: “As soon as we get approval, we can fix a date and have them in the sea.”

DIRECTOR and Project co-ordinator of the Barbados Marine Trust, Lalu Hanuman.

THE ARTIST’S IMPRESSION of the statues which will be in the underwater marine park. (GP)

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