Sunday, December 22, 2013

OH TRINIDAD! LAND WE LOVE TO HATE - the Peter O'Connor commentary

It saddens me to write this, especially this Christmas week, but truth to tell time is running out if we are to physically save our country. So better I discuss our issues of our hatred of our homeland than wish you sleigh bells in the snow. I do this in the hope, not just that we recognize and acknowledge this problem of ours, but rather that we seek to solve it.

What is our goal in terms of preserving our natural heritage? 

The best among us cannot answer that question. The rest of us are unconscious that the question even needs to be asked. But because this is meant to be the Season of Goodwill, I am not going to delve into our mass personality disorders, but instead return to our apparent commitment to destroy our beautiful environment, our most important Heritage.

I return to the issue of quarrying, or as the highly secretive “Strategic Environmental Impact Assessment” (SEIA) calls it—mining. This SEIA is a plan, which is only available to the quarry operating (both licensed and bandits) fraternity. 

Environmental “stakeholders” were invited to a grand “consultation” two weeks ago. However, “consultation” is a total misnomer for what apparently passed at that gathering (I acknowledge that I was not present, but I have seen the feedback, and no one involved in the presentation will deny that the details of the SEIA remain secret and are not available to anyone but the quarrying operators). 

As I stated here last week, information from the detailed surveys of quarrying resources (paid for by taxpayers) will be available to the industry, but not to the general public, not to agricultural interests and not to persons who have plans for housing, resort or commercial development projects, all of which have huge potential to enhance our country and protect our natural heritage. But the individuals who may purchase land in which to make these investments may find themselves holding land which they cannot develop because it has been “sterilized” or reserved for future quarrying. And only the quarrying industry will know which lands are so “sterilized” for future destruction and contamination.

While I accept the need for the materials we take from our ground, this country needs to understand what is happening all around us due to the untrammeled and uncontrolled rape of the earth by the industry.

The first is a direct financial concern: Mining—whether it is the taking of rock, gravel, sand, clay or asphalt—is subject to the payment of Royalties to the State. The State, and indeed even this notorious SEIA, admit that the royalties paid by licensed quarry operators is a minute fraction of what they should be paying. In simple language this is an ongoing act of banditry by the licensed quarry operators. The rape by the unlicensed is only slightly worse.

The other concerns are all “environmental”. OK, steups, turn the page and move on! What nonsense is this? Bush is more important than what we can build with the stone? Actually, yes! An enlightened and financially aware First World is already aware of this, but we remain committed to destroying the value we still have while the First World is working at great expense to restore what they destroyed in their ignorance.

I have visited some of these quarries, with the same David Jarvis who appears to have co-authored this SEIA, this document for the destruction of your natural heritage. Mr. Jarvis declared National Quarries Limited operation of Scotts Quarry in the Arima Valley to be representative of the worst environmental and remedial practices possible!

Let me challenge any quarry operator in this country to show me functional settlement ponds to prevent their silt from flowing into our rivers. Let me challenge any quarry operator to show me the stockpiles of topsoil needed for remediation of the environment. Or to show me an effective remediation project, or meaningful dust suppressors, or the steps they are taking to prevent the spreading of mud and dust along the roads and through the communities which they are destroying. All of these challenges are required by law and blatantly ignored.

The economic values of retaining forest cover, for the provision of clean water, for prevention of flooding and landslides, for the recreation and research benefits they bring, are well known and documented. These must be forcefully presented to the government and the nation so that we do not destroy our heritage for all the wrong reasons.

This government has been proactive in passing new and positive environmental legislation. But they must step up to enforce the laws they have passed.

And we must ensure that this SEIA is fully aired in public so that decent citizens will rise up and prevent it from ever being implemented.

No comments:

Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai