Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Greenpeace involvement good for T&T

 It was very gratifying to read of the arrival of Greenpeace International  to our shores, and the timely involvement in some currently hot issues and expressed interest in others. 

It brings to mind my letter in March, in which I lamented the fact that protests of an environmental nature did not have the backing of an effective and influential organisation such as Greenpeace International in this country.

I had hoped the arrival of Mr Mike Singh was as a result of an invitation to this country, only to read where he said, “I read about the oil spill in Trinidad and wanted to see the effects first hand.” 

Nevertheless, he is here and immediately indicated he intended to conduct an independent investigation on the Gulf of Paria oil spill, to submit to Greenpeace, and also to meet with stakeholders in order to establish a local chapter.

In my opinion, these latest developments will redound immensely to the benefit of the affected citizenry of this country. I’m referring to those folks who have matters to protest about to the Government and who need a powerful and effective international lobby organisation. 

The first paragraph of my last year’s letter, read like this: ‘It’s a little disconcerting to think about how the world sees us as a nation, when environmental issues are taken on by one-man protests and grandstanding, sporadically by closed loop groups. 

We have not joined the international protocol for this type of thing, in light of the fact that Greenpeace International has been operating in 40 countries for over 40 years, in challenging governments and corporations in support of a healthier environment.”

Stakeholders should now form a national organisation with a register of all complaints by citizens and communities involving matters of health, the environment  and infrastructure. 

This national organisation should have a representative committee who in conjunction with Greenpeace can meet and treat with any Government- appointed committee or special representative. 

It is only when things are done this way that the Government  will have to meet and treat with issues brought forward by protesting citizens for just causes.

Mr Singh is already on the ball, and made some serious pronouncements, showing that he is indeed a “Greenpeace Warrior”, and is not afraid to call it as he sees it. 

Mr Singh was one who protested in South Africa for the release of Nelson Mandela, and has already asked some serious questions, questions that we have been asking for years. Let us hope that we start to get answers sometime soon.

Joel Quintal

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