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Monday, June 26, 2006 

Cabinet approves Environmental
Management Act
Web Posted - Mon Jun 26 2006
By Allison Ramsay

Cabinet has approved a comprehensive Environmental Management Act for Barbados, which will change the legislative and administrative framework for dealing with matters relating to Barbados' environment. This was revealed by Minister of Energy and the Environment Elizabeth Thompson at the Minister of Environment Awards of Excellence at the Gun Hill Signal Station, St. George on Saturday evening.

However, Minister Thompson said there is a need to revisit the policy document "so that we get the philosophy right", to determine what kind of future we want vis-a vis the environment.
"Unless we get it right, the scope for comprehensive intervention will not exist," she said. The minister further disclosed that over the course of the next few months, the Ministry of Energy will announce for Barbados, a National Energy Policy which will be aimed at conservation; a reduction of fuel imports by changing the practices of all sectors of the economy and investing in some degree of renewable energy; and the proper management of Barbados existing fossil fuel resources and the country's use of fossil fuel.

She also said an effort would be made over the next few months to get the police to engage on the matter of the environment and to tre at environmental crime and offences with the seriousness that they deserve. "I think that it is unfair to our staff who work tremendously hard that we do not have the level of support from the enforcement agencies which we need if there is to be behaviou ral change at the national level and if we are to create greater sensitivity to the issue.
It is clear that while Barbadians understand the issue, we are not prepared to change and the only way that will happen is if we use the enforcement mechanism s available to us through the Royal Barbados Police Force."

According to her, the Ministry's goal is also to capture the imagination of the average Barbadian so that "they are able to recognise their role in sustainable development and act on it". Sh e also said protecting our water system and access to energy resources will be key in Barbados' development, while stressing the point that environmental protection is not solely the responsibility of Government, but of all citizens and there must be more militant action to keep our nation in as pristine condition as possible.

On another note, the minister announced that a change will come to the Environmental Awards. Next year, there will be an award given to a member of staff for creating a project which makes a difference at the community level and in the delivery of environmental services to Barbados.

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