Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) is being left out of the generously-funded mainstream environmental movement by those whom FFOS has challenged in the past.
The Global Project for Ecosystem Services (ProEcoServ) is a UNEP initiative and would appear to be Government-sanctioned. The Trinidad and Tobago component of ProEcoServ began in December 2010 and is being led locally by the University of the West Indies (UWI), under the National Project Coordinator Prof John Agard, head of the Department of Life Sciences at the St Augustine campus.
On February 7, a National Inception Workshop was conducted, representing "the official launch of ProEcoServ in Trinidad and will be a high-profile engagement, bringing together key figures and decision-makers from government, the private sector, civil society, development partners, and the media".
"All arrangements related to the workshop are being handled by The Cropper Foundation," a statement read. Few persons know that it is published that in Nairobi, on November 7, 2007, Angela Cropper of Trinidad and Tobago was named as the Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
FFOS, in the spirit of accountability and transparency, has four main questions:
1. Is UWI incapable of making administrative arrangements? Why is the Cropper Foundation handling all arrangements related to the workshop?
2. What criteria were used in selecting the Cropper Foundation to make "all arrangements"?
3. How much is being paid to the Cropper Foundation for these "arrangements"?
4. Is it proper to use the foundation started by Angela Cropper to make arrangements for an initiative inspired and managed through UNEP of which Angela Cropper is now Deputy Executive Director?
Why was FFOS left out of the invitation list? Is FFOS not one of the key civil society environmental figures in Trinidad and Tobago?
Few will remember Justice Bereaux's pronouncement in 2002: "The applicant's reputation as a public campaigner for the protection of the natural environment is well established." (FFOS v EMA and bpTT, HCA 1715 of 2002.)
Today, FFOS continues to be left out of the consultation process.
Like a bee, FFOS will not go away. To progress, petty grudges must be set aside on all swings of the pendulum.
President, Fishermen and
Friends of the Sea