THERE used to be a sketch on the children's programme, Sesame Street, where a muppet trying to look sleazy, would open his coat which was lined with fake watches and proposition someone by saying, “Hey, you wanna buy a watch?”
What is happening in our protected areas reminds me of that. The Caroni Swamp covered close to 3,000 hectares of land altogether. It has been protected by law since 1936 and in 2005 was identified by the Ramsar Convention as one of the areas in the world which needs critical attention.
It seems that no one has ever paid attention to the laws protecting this wetland. The Beetham Estate was built on it decades ago, highways have been built, a landfill was established, even WASA has sewage ponds on it.