Tuesday 23 April, 2019

Minister calls for implementation of legislation

Legislation should not only be created but must also be executed to improve development in Trinidad and Tobago.

This sentiment was expressed by Agriculture, Land and Fisheries Minister Clarence Rambharat.

Minister Rambharat made the remark at the launch of the national website for forest and protected areas - www.protectedareastt.org.tt. The site was launched at a brief ceremony on Thursday at the Conference Room of the Environmental Management Authority in St Clair.

“If as a Region we continue to just create Agencies, acronyms and projects and we do not seek the full implementation of them, we will then be creating a [plethora] of half-baked, half-resourced Agencies that will not be able to see to our needs as a Region,” he said.

Minister Rambharat noted that one venture which is successfully implementing legislation is the ‘Improving Forest and Protected Area Management in Trinidad and Tobago’ project. He said this project deals with identifying what is needed as well as generates data, information and records the interaction with people which the initiative is intended to serve and support.

He also addressed the issue of ‘an appreciation of the socio-economic importance of hunting to rural communities’ and further reminded the audience of his commitment to the Project and shared with them that the Wildlife Conservation Committee has since been appointed; and that the Wetlands Conservation Committee is under consideration.

The website, launched today, is a key communication product of the Project which is currently being administered by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO/UN) on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. 

The site is expected to be the main repository of information on forest and protected areas.  It will provide profiles of six pilot sites in which the current project is focused: the Caroni Swamp, Nariva Swamp, Matura Forest and coastal zone, Trinity Hills Wildlife Sanctuary, Main Ridge Forest Reserve in Tobago and the North East Tobago Marine pilot protected area. 

The profiles include notes on their location, boundaries, legal designation, socio-economic description, wildlife assets and management.

Senior Policy Officer in Charge of the Food and Agriculture Organization Dr. Terri Raney, noted that ‘these conservation objectives establish a clear statement about the purpose of the designation of each site as a protected area’.  

And, Deputy Environmental Manager of the Environmental Policy and Planning Division of the Ministry of Planning and Development, Dr. Marissa Gowrie, said that ‘this website will provide access to current and regularly updated information on biodiversity via an online database [and this] is one giant step toward the establishment of [the] national biodiversity information system’. 

The online resource will increase visibility and promote the activities, outputs and outcomes of the current project and provide access to current and regularly updated information on species diversity in Trinidad and Tobago.  Key outputs also include the development of a National Protected Area System Plan, management plans for all six pilot sites and a Management Information System for forest and protected areas.  Key messages will also be promoted on forest and protected areas in Trinidad and Tobago, towards their sustainability and the building of public awareness and engagement in the management of these areas.

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