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Corruption threatens all sustainable development

The Express ran the first in a series of weekly columns submitted by the Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) on January 19. These articles seek to highlight not just local environmental issues but those which affect the population on a global scale. Questions and comments can be e-mailed to admin@ffostt.com

Allegations of corruption have been making the headlines repeatedly over the last few months. How is this a concern to environmentalists? Environmental protection and corruption are indubitably intimately linked.

Accordingly, this week, we will explain the relationship between sustainable development and corruption so that we can continue to inform our readership of how corruption undermines our drive to a sustainable future and why FFOS will focus on this topic over the coming months.

The simple logic is there is no sustainable development if there is rampant corruption. In lawless societies, corruption functions without impediment and, if left unchecked, there is no regulatory regime to protect common resources, so forests, for example, will be stolen without considering the needs of future generations.

A forest biologist has been reported as saying that "it is the task of the government to supervise production, but there are so many bribes passing over and under the table that they can do what they please", referring to foreign logging companies in Suriname. Forest Monitor (http://www.forestsmonitor.org/fr/reports/550066/550073).

Minerals will be extracted without regulation, as seen in the quarrying sector in Trinidad and Tobago.

"(In 2009, then-senior supt Margaret) Sampson-Browne told the Guardian many of the illegal quarries operate as "ghost companies" to elude detection. She has pledged to shut down

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