Why did The Barbados Government Doom the Last Mangrove Wetlands in Barbados?


Political Revenge? Did Simmons’ “Disgust” with the Knoxes Doom Graeme Hall?

At first glance the above appears to be a preposterous statement. After all, one of the Simmons brothers, Sir David Simmons, is a Chief Justice, and the office of Chief Justice is not a political office. Is it possible that a Chief Justice could have such influence on the government? Sir David Simmons was a career politician before he was appointed by the leader of his party to the post of Chief Justice. Many Barbadians continue to view him as a politician. From his own sworn testimony (my emphasis), we know that Sir David is disgusted with the Knoxes:

Mr. Knox’s affidavit had stated, in paragraph 5, that Mr. Shepherd had told him that I intended sitting on an appeal involving Kingsland or words to that effect, and I said that was not true. I have been very careful, since I have been Chief Justice, not to have anything to do with Kingsland, the Deanes, the Knoxes and that lot, and it may surprise you that I have never even read the Court of Appeal decision in that case, because I am so disgusted by those people and how they have behaved that I want to keep as far as possible from them. I read the Privy Council decision when it came down, because the judges brought it and showed me, and I said, I think I recall that on one occasion, two cases had been listed for the same day. 

The Chief Justice appears to be “disgusted” that Mrs. Knox went over his head and made an appeal to the Privy Council. In my opinion, this is behaviour unbefitting the post of Chief Justice. (In contrast, Sir David told Nelson Barbados Group Ltd.’s lawyer, Bill McKenzie: “I know better than that. I know how to behave myself, Mr. McKenzie. I know how to behave myself.“)

The question is, would the Chief Justice’s disgust have a connection to the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary? There is a connection between the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary and the Simmons brothers, David and Peter. There is also a connection between Peter Allard and the Knoxes and Deanes. Allard’s interest in the Kingsland Estates matter was fueled by his unselfish determination to see that the female shareholders received a fair market price for their shares.

Stuart Heaslet’s Testimony Links the Brothers to the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary

Stuart Heaslet testified that he was employed by Canadian philanthropist Peter Allard to design and implement the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary, “to endow the nation of Barbados with a world class nature sanctuary”. A group of citizens banded together to form FOGH or Friends of Graeme Hall to advocate the formation, with government assistance, of a Graeme Hall National Park. They chose Peter Simmons as their spokesman.

When Nelson Barbados Group Ltd. brought the Canadian action which named the Simmons brothers as defendants, all hell broke loose. According to Heaslet’s testimony (click on quote below to read it all), Peter Simmons invited him to his house to meet Sir David Simmons. As I interpret Heaslet’s allegations, David Simmons says that if he is not dropped as a defendant from the lawsuit, there will be no Graeme Hall National Park.

It is my opinion that these allegations square with the recorded ‘phone call of brother Peter Simmons:
“I myself am under tremendous pressure to make a public statement to say that I am no longer associated in any way with the Friends of Graeme Hall - I am under tremendous pressure.”
“there are people here that are extraordinarily angry with McKenzie and see him as a bit of a blood-sucker”
”I think the atmosphere is so poisoned at this stage that people are just saying, “Look, to hell with the Water Park, to hell with the National Park and, you know, Peter (Allard), you make sure you put as much distance as possible between yourself and these people because they are up to absolutely no good and that you have been used, deliberately so.”
Peter Simmons’ phone call - Part IV - What were his actual words?)

Unbridled Callous Greed?

BFP has reported that CLICO owns the land next to the wetlands. (see Barbados Government Steals 2/3 Of Parkland For Developer Friends – Graeme Hall Environmental Disaster Continues)

There are many links between CLICO and Prime Minister David Thompson.CLICO’s Leroy Parris and Thompson are good friends. Thompson used public funds to bail out his former client the CLICO Mortgage and Finance Corporation (CMFC). (see What is the Nature of the Relationship between Leroy Parris of CLICO and Barbados Prime Minister David Thompson?)

If this land is developed, the people involved will make big money. Greed is probably a factor.

Good Governance?

If you think that destroying the last significant Mangrove wetlands in Barbados is good governance, please let us know by writing a comment below. At the rate it is going, Thompson’s Democratic Labour Party will almost certainly lose the next election, but it will be too late. The damage has already been done. The birds, the brightly coloured reef fish and the wide sandy beaches will be sorely missed.

Related:  Quote from Peter Simmons’ Phone Conversation Outrages Reader

Disclaimer: We wish to remind our readers that, while we quote public court documents, the contents of these documents should be taken as unproven allegations pending the outcome of the case, which is currently being appealed. What we state here is our opinion. On the other hand, we welcome and value comments.