Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding, has said that the Caribbean region is nowhere near where it should be in terms of environmental protection, although the level of awareness is much higher than it was 20 to 30 years ago.
Mr. Golding bemoaned the fact that the greatest threat to the environment in the region, comes from the creeping degradation caused by global warming, to which the Caribbean contributes very little but which places it most at risk.
“We are nowhere near where we need to be. There are huge deficiencies that need to be addressed, our institutional capacity is weak, our enforcement practices are not as rigorous as they ought to be,” he admitted.
Prime Minister, Hon Bruce Golding delivering the main address at the official opening ceremony of the Fifth Biennial Caribbean Environmental Forum and Exhibition at the Rose Hall Resort and Spa in Montego Bay on Monday (June 21).
Mr. Golding was giving the main address at the opening ceremony of the fifth biennial Caribbean Environmental Forum and Exhibition (CEF-5), at the Rose Hall Resort in Montego Bay, St. James on Monday (June 21).
He pointed out that the measures required to ensure sound environmental management require substantial financial resources to secure professional expertise, to apply appropriate technology and implement the necessary adaptation and mitigation strategies and projects.
“We, all of us, wrestle constantly with the tension and conflict between our development needs and sound environmental practices,” he stated, arguing that regional policy makers do not have the luxury of choosing between the two.
He said that there is a need to try and strike the right balance between development projects that will provide employment and necessary foreign exchange, and environmental protection.
Prime Minister, Honourable Bruce Golding (centre) introducing) Chairman of the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo), Robert Russell to Prime Minister of St. Lucia, Hon Stephenson King, (left) at the Fifth Biennial Caribbean Environmental Forum and Exhibition being held at the Rose Hall Resort and Spa in Montego Bay from June 21 – 25 under the theme, ‘Coping with Copenhagen: water,waste,energy, health’.
Prime Minister Golding questioned how the small nation states of the Caribbean could raise their voices so that, together, they are loud enough to be heard by the developed nations, in whose hands and in whose actions, the future of the global environment rests.
He said that the countries of the region remain “terribly disappointed” at the outcome of the Copenhagen discussions held in December 2009.
“The Copenhagen Accord, which is a political statement, not a legally binding agreement, fell far short of the robust, global climate policy framework that we had hoped for,” he declared.
He explained that, while the Accord calls for significant cuts in global emissions, each country is left to determine its own cuts on a voluntary basis.
Mr. Golding went on to commend the leadership of Grenada, as the chief spokesperson for the developing countries at the Copenhagen talks, for their steadfastness in representing small island states and articulating their demands for targets and commitments for their survival and to support their sustainable development.