Sunday, April 08, 2007

Flee from smelter shame, Sister Penny

Letter to the Editor
Sunday Express
April 8, 2007

This is an open memo to Minister of the Environment, Pennelope Beckles from a very concerned sister.

My dear sister Penny, today would be a good day to resign. Put two wheels on your heels and run from the shame.

We would like to think that you have had no part in the planning of "development" options that seriously endanger our environment, no part in the mamaguy of the EMA granting "permission" to build a smelter two years after the site was confidently cleared (savaged) for the building of said smelter.

Early in the game your Prime Minister told the nation that the smelter project was a "done deal" (translation: "Shut up!"). So the EMA Certificate of Environmental Clearance (CEC) was already included, from morning, in the done deal?

Would our caring Government have spent our money to bulldoze acres of our land, destroying precious forest and wildlife, if they didn't have this permission in the bag since then, long before the EMA went through the motions of "consulting" and "assessing"?

Clearly, then, this CEC is a sad mamaguy. They mamaguy the country and they mamaguy you, Madam Minister of the Environment.

Through your Ministry's reafforestation programme you are busy planting trees all over the country, and they busy mashing down trees by the acre, not only on the south-west peninsula (Smelterland), but also Fort George, Tucker Valley coming up, and God knows where next.

We can't believe you are part of that. We can't believe you are in on the smelter "done deal" and all the other vandalism that your 2020 government is perpetrating on our environment. It has to be that they exclude you from their decision-making and treat you like another rubber stamp.

So get out of there, my sister. Run while we can still think of you as a woman of the people and a community activist devoted to service rather than to power at any cost. Write your name into the distinguished tradition of women in politics who dared to distance themselves from Party when their conscience told them to, thereby making a resounding statement against policies and actions that they considered wrong. These women chose principle over political power-women like Hulsie Bhaggan, Deborah Moore-Miggins, "Sister Pam" Nicholson, Gillian Lucky.

We wouldn't want history to count you, instead, among those who helped bring irreparable harm to our environment, to us, our children, and our future generations, by not taking a stand against the abuse of political power. Yours in sisterhood,

Merle Hodge

St Augustine


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