Member of Parliament for St Michael South and Minister with responsibility for the Blue Economy Kirk Humphrey is glad to see that the Coastal Zone Management Unit (CZMU) has been included in the Green Paper for Town and Country Planning presently under debate in the House of Assembly.
Contributing to the debate on the paper, Humphrey spoke of the unit’s Coastal Risk Assessment and Management programme, which he described as “a comprehensive study which tells us the areas most likely to be affected in a hurricane, earthquake or flood, and also states where people will have to relocate in case of such events. It also lists areas where building should be prohibited owing to certain conditions.”
The Minister said the CZMU’s role is also important in the face of climate change, noting that “If temperatures rise by two percent, sea levels will rise by two metres, and Barbados must be vigilant in that respect.”. Humphrey said his ministry had proposals before it for water parks and other marine projects, and said before saying yes to such projects, questions about the implications for the reef and for the people who live near to these developments should be asked. Citing an example, he queried whether the developers of the Hyatt hotel project in Bridgetown spoke with anyone living at the London Bourne Towers directly opposite the building site during the planning process.
Humphrey expressed concern that Barbados had no real “safe harbour” for vessels in the event of a hurricane.
“While some fishing boats go to Port St Charles when storms are coming, not many go there and the space is limited. It hurts me to hear fisherfolk saying they have to sail their boats to Grenada and other islands to haul up their vessels for maintenance because we do not have the facilities here.”
On the subject of building islands off the coast of Barbados, a proposal outlined in the ruling Barbados Labour Party’s manifesto for the 2018 General Elections, the MP for St Michael South said that Government will soon be holding public discussions on that matter as he believed people should be at the centre of the development process.