New Presidential Decree On Protected Areas

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Keith R

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Bob, I don't know you well enough to know if you are just misperceiving or misconstruing my views, or purposefully misrepresenting them, but let me be as clear as I can be: I'm not against touristic development of these or other protected areas per se, I'm simply for environmentally responsible, sustainable touristic development. There's a difference.

Certain? Is anybody certain about projects not yet started? Does that mean we should not be prudent, vigilant? Given the track record of touristic development in the DR -- you have eyes and the DR1 search function, read up on it before replying -- it is wise not to assume the best of intentions for these developments. Instead, anyone who really cares about the future of the DR -- and I am not speaking just of its environmental future -- should want to make sure that the developers of these fragile areas develop it responsibily, sustainably.

If I don't have a large budget, should I just shut up, forget about it and let it all happen the cheapest and easiest way possible for the hoteliers, Bob? Do I need a large budget to speak up? To have an effect? Maybe, perhaps probably in the case of the DR. Won't stop me from trying, though.

Intent to be "stark" or not, the airplane fuel dump analogy is wrong, and you don't need a biology degree to see it. The plane is in a last-minute, no alternatives situation; the DR is not yet there. The fuel dumped into the ocean is quickly dispersed in the vast ocean, so the environmental impacts are minimized. A hotel development in a fragile ecological zone does concentrated damage in a limited area with little diffusion over a long period of time.

You're comparing apples and oranges.

The irony of all this is that despite two decades of work on environmental issues, I normally do not get into conservation, biodiversity or wildlife protection issues and I don't fund or belong to any of those tree-hugging NGOs you seem to think I represent. It's just that I love the DR, have visited some of these places covered by the decree, and have since 1986 seen with my own eyes what kind of damage unchecked development can do there. That's why this once I am speaking up on this kind of issue, and calling for everyone to follow this process closely, raise questions and issues, and hold the feet of the officials and the developers to the fire and make sure that this time is different.
 
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I am certainly not purposely misrepresenting them. I think I understand your views......I didnt think I was trying to express your views per se....but I might have been ASSUMING you were a left wing enviromentalist.....
I THOUGHT i was trying to be subjective.....right or wrong...we all develop our own thought processes. I am open to learning..

I probably was wrong to toss you into the catergory of other enviromentalists, that have been outspoken on other issues in america....seemingly ( to me) blinded by their one track view.

Sorry for that. But since I have been coming to the DR I realize there are many issues that will-can get left in the dust, because of other pressing needs.

I think I have an open mind and as such i offered this ONE persons view...I understand if you dissagree with that view. Please dont let me hinder your posts in any way. I enjoy them, and the information they bring

A good friend of mine down in the DR has been contacted many times on his view of how things should proceed from a hunters perspective...specifically , some people wanting to stock foreign fish in DR waters to attract sportsmen. he was quick to note that there are long term ramifications that need to be considered before that could be a viable option. As well as the stocking of non native game birds...

through talking to him I have learned a lot about what is going, good bad or indifferent in the DR from an ecological standpoint. Because he realizes that there are so many people down there that just look at the dollar side of things.. and he hates that....being that he is well off now and plans to live the rest of his life in the DR.

have a good day

bob

sorry if i got off on a tangent
 

aegap

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Bob, what Keith I beleive is trying to tell you is that it smells like sh?t from the start, and most likely it is.
 
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aegap said:
Bob, what Keith I beleive is trying to tell you is that it smells like sh?t from the start, most likely it is.

you know in this case he may be right


but since I am a triple life member of the NRA... I know a little about rhetoric

both sides of any issue can cry wolf so loud as to deafen all the bystanders.

I know the piles of BS the anti gun lobby pushes as truths?.. and I know the "sky is falling prophecy" of the NRA to combat those false"truths".

I am smart enough to realize that truth is somewhere in between


bob
 

Chris

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Yes, if only we can get to standard that we can 'live' with. It is not a question of getting what you 'want' ... it is really a simple thing - simply the ongoing welfare and survival of mankind and the systems on the earth that support mankind to live.

Take something really basic and simple, something like eating - perhaps you do it two or three times a day. Sustainability simply means that most of us (hopefully all of us - there are quite a number that are not eating currently - and dying because of it) carry on eating - we have to, you know. And to still keep it real simple... sustainble use of resources simply means that there are sufficient trees (we need great big forests full of them) to make oxygen that we breath, without pumping poisons into the atmosphere that cause stuff like greenhouse effects and global warming, sufficient unpolluted water sources that our water does not kill us, and sufficient rich and nutritious soil, that we can continue to grow food -- and unpolluted oceans, so that we can eat the fish and seafood without getting mercury or other types of poisoning. And of course, you hunt - it would be great if there are a few 'huntable' animals left, so that some of us can hunt.

And I am not even mentioning the value of simply being out in nature. OK, I said let us keep it real simple. Unpolluted water sources for example are inextricably bound up to unpolluted oceans and healthy sealife. So, perhaps it is not really that simple. But, we all like to eat. Healthy and sufficient forests also mean healthy topsoil where stuff that we eat can grow.

Even my almost 5 year old granddaughter understands it. There is no 'accommodation' if we cannot live.


laurapasinifan said:
something that poeple in your position will have to accomodate at some point. You cant educate everyone to your level on the enviroment....you will have to shoot for a standard, that you can live with.........even in america where the envirometalist have a HUGE voice... they NEVER get what they really WANT.... and they spend millions trying to
 

Keith R

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Bob, I don't think I am crying wolf. I am not trying to be rhetorical. I am not handing you a pile of BS. I am trying to tell you like it is.

I am constantly called leftist by conservatives and right-wing by liberals, so I figure I am somewhere in-between too. I certainly disagree often enough with both sides. And my mind is probably far more open, rational and objective than you may think. I may write about environmental issues, but that does not make me knee-jerk anything.
 

samiam

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Here are my U$0.02

I believe countries that are successfull exploiting their tourism are countries that offer a great service to the tourist. That does not necessarily translate to expensive tourism. The case of most of Asia (Thailand, Phillipines, etc.). Dominicans have the same beautiful beaches but full of garbage and crap and people that do not realize that tourism is a business that has to be taken care of. We can not compete because our service just sucks.
How do you change this? Not by opening up new areas but by educating and dedicating your resources to improving the quality of your service. Cooking schools, schools for waiters, providing tight, harsh police supervision in tourism areas, etc..
Most small islands in the caribbean (BVI's, St.Kitts, Bahamas) have a tourism industry thats far better and more exclusive than our own. They have well set laws and regulations and they apply them. They have clean, beautiful beaches and pristine natural landscapes and because they have all this they can charge U$350+ p/p/d, thay cater to a more expensive traveler and most hotels are booked solid all year round. Far beyond what we would ever hope to. The difference is not the beaches, again we find ourselves with an inferior service and a population that is wilkling to go to lkengths to exploit the tourist.
There lies the problem.
If you want to develop more hotels to the south, can't hotels and resorts be developed in the areas near these parks and cant there be excursions and tours into these parks? Why do we have to build on them? Why where hotels in Bayahibe allowed to build along the whole beach and now no one can see it, much less bathe in them unless you are paying for a hotel room? There are other alternatives to building on national parks, its just that not many people from the government would benefit from it.

Dominicans have a depravatory nature. Trujillo and those before him used this country as their personsal lumber mill. Balaguer put a stop to it for 40 years by declaring over 30% of the territory as natural parks (in an interview he once said he would declare 100% of it as natural park if he could)and now, it seems we are going back to exploit it as much as we can and just for peanuts.

BTW, to whomever is interested and read or skipped down to here....tomorrow in Hotel Clarion @ 11.00 am (next to plaza naco) there will be a meeting of several environmental groups that will discuss the impact of this decree. Check the morning paper for details. Usually diario libre has a daily agenda with this sort of thing.
 

Keith R

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Sam, are you attending? Can I get you to do a "guest blog" for the Green Team on it afterward, or at least post here in the Environment Forum or send me an email or PM on the results? Would be greatly appreciated.
 
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I am certain I appologized...but in case you missed it..

sorry I lumped you into a derogatory category!!

say that five times fast!!

bob
 

aegap

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adding my .02 cents

The main reason why they are going for the park land is because they can get it a lot cheaper (probably free) -- In the DR park land/public properity seems to belong to those in power(same people who will benefit from to exploiting it) and not the people, as it should.



*sorry, computer froze
 
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Keith R

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laurapasinifan said:
I am certain I appologized...but in case you missed it..

sorry I lumped you into a derogatory category!!

say that five times fast!!

bob
Ok. But shortly after doing so, you said "he may be right" (refering to me) and then proceeded to talk about rhetoric, crying wolf, sky is falling and BS, so it is natural to wonder how heart-felt the apology was. :laugh: :laugh: :cheeky: :cheeky:
 

Mirador

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Bahia de Las Aguilas

If you want to know why a barren uninhabited wasteland, lacking in any worthwhile readeemable plant or animal species happened to be declared one of about 450 worldwide Unesco Biosphere Reserves? can PM me privately.
 

suarezn

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Mirador: Just post it here....I saw a lot of iguanas over there. Iguanas that are pretty rare if you ask me, so I wouldn't say it's devoid of any species. Anyhow, that's not the only thing that makes this place special. I wouldn't be opposed to opening up tourism in this area, as long as it was tightly controlled and it was eco-tourism (not open up 10 huge all inclusives and block off the beach to Dominicans).
 

mondongo

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I am surprised that y'all are so surprised. This began in Hippo's term. I believe legislation was passed allowing development in protected areas. As a matter of fact, some contracts were granted and palms greased during Hippo's term.

The regular Dominican folk will not get much out of this...who are we trying to kidd...the politicians and connected businesses will get most of the loot....the foreign corporations will likely get some form of guaranteed income, as they always do....
 

Robert

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samiam said:
How do you change this? Not by opening up new areas but by educating and dedicating your resources to improving the quality of your service. Cooking schools, schools for waiters, providing tight, harsh police supervision in tourism areas, etc..

Unfortunately you are years ahead of many in tourism here :(

It's all about making the quick $$$, as you might be out of a job at the end of the current term. Many have no concept of sustainability or tourism as a service industry. Yes, that includes many in the government.

The good news is, it's changing slowly. Educated and knowledgeable people are starting to be heard, despite the efforts by some to gag them.
 

samiam

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I dont want to sound like a pessimist but I think in the end the outcome will be the same as always. No lessons learned from the past.
No innovations or improvement on our tourism industry. More dominicans will be deprived of the national beauty of thewir country. Not to mention the impact the bulldozers and tractors and workers will have on the ecosystem of the parks.
Who benefits: All politicians and businessmen involved which are corrupt to the bone and they are free to walk among us (see case RENNOVE).
Excuse: As always, in the name of progress and erradicating the poor.
Isnt it time we notice we have been fighting to erradicate poverty for over 40 years and still we havent made a dent on it?

My poor little DR, when will it learn?

Keith: I am planning to attend, however I might not make it because of work. If I go, I'll be more than glad to collect info and post it and give my impressions on it.
 

Mirador

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suarezn said:
Mirador: Just post it here....I saw a lot of iguanas over there. Iguanas that are pretty rare if you ask me, so I wouldn't say it's devoid of any species. Anyhow, that's not the only thing that makes this place special. I wouldn't be opposed to opening up tourism in this area, as long as it was tightly controlled and it was eco-tourism (not open up 10 huge all inclusives and block off the beach to Dominicans).


Suarezn, are you talking about the Rhinocerous iguana? Surely they are endemic to the Dominican Republic, but they also thrive in Haiti, Cuba, and other islands. Did you know they are predators too, at least in their early age? And then why should a Homosapiens tourist be considered their nemesis more than so other more dangerous species sharing their habitat, such as hutias, goats, cats and many others? Then, also, why the iguana, and not other species? Everyday more than 100 species become extinct, which translates to about 40,000 a year. Then why does UNESCO’s Biosphere Reserve programme try to protect animal species more than plants, are they more important for the biosphere,? They are not. There are endangered species everywhere, even under your own bed, those bothersome bed bugs you know ;-). So what are the criteria to decide which species to look for, which ones to protect? The entire process is arbitrary, and the programme is used more as an excuse to keep certain real estate out of reach of certain people, than to protect the environment. UNESCO is a political body, and as such is subject to the same, pressures, influences, and lobbying efforts as any other similar institutions...
 

aegap

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Let Them Eat Iguanas!


The decree is probably unconstitutional, our supreme court and government should all be fired for doing this improperly.(them justices ain't doin' nothing about it)

Poor Dominicans are not poor because of tourism, they're poor despite it. Without tourism we would have a hell of a lot more poor Dominicans.

Poor people are one of the biggest threat to the environment. If in Santo Domingo, head on west young man and prove it for your self, make a stop in Bani and see what poor people have been doing to our unique sand dunes.

Those who take the risk with their money and make the investment reap the biggest reward, as it should be.

Samiam makes a good point regarding the quality of services we Dominicans provide.

Tourism could be the next best thing for ?The South? since Trujillo created the Dominican Modern(;)) Army.

I love the town of Bayahibe, it has many happy employed people, and our only Blue Flag beaches!
It also has the best and most environmentally conscious tourism association within the entire island of Hispaniola.

Playa Dorada-Boca Chica-Juan Dolio-Punta Cana-Bayahibe
um...I'd say we're making some progress, that is, despite our f?cking government.

Our government should be fired.
 
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People, there's nothing wrong with developing these areas, but the fact is that we're all well aware of what's going to happen, and it won't be pretty. As mondongo pointed out, this all started back in the Mejia administration, and if it wasn't for the current secretary of environment standing in the way and denying permits, these projects would already be on the way.

This is much like the stock market, there's no guarantee of future performance, but past performance is a good indicator. So just look at Puerto Plata, and you can forecast what will happen here. The developers will come in and put up a bunch of huge AIs without anyone giving any consideration as to what to do with waste water, solid waste, animal, plant and marine life. This is about a lot more than iguanas, lizzards and a few dozen plants. This is about a country taking one of its most valuable assets and handing it over to foreign investors to use as you would a disposable cup. Use it, and toss it. Sure, the unemployed people in those areas will receive some benefit from the creation of new jobs from these projects, but that will be minimal in comparison to the money that will flow into Spain, USA and the pockets of the crooked politicians that are facilitating this transaction. In the end, after these areas outlive their usefulness, it will be the poor locals who will be left holding the bag of some big pile of garbage at a local dump and untreated waste water being discharged into the ocean, while the foreign investors and crooked politicians laugh all the way to the bank.
 

Dolores1

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Coalition for the Defense of Protected Areas

The Coalition for the Defense of Protected Areas issued a statement where it accuses Public Works Minister Manuel (Freddy) Perez Gomez of violating the law by facilitating the use of Ministry of Public Works equipment to open up a more than two kilometer by 50 meter road into the Park of the East protected areas. Ivonne Arias, speaking for the coalition during a press conference held on Tuesday, 7 February. During the event, the Coalition also called for the revoking of Decree 696-05, issued on 30 December, for being in violation with existing laws. The decree removes the responsibility for the protected areas of Pedernales and Bayahibe (Park of the East) from under the Ministry of Environment, placing a commission to be presided by the Minister of Tourism, with the other members being the Minister of Environment, the Minister of Public Works, the director of the INAPA department and businessman Marino Ginebra in charge of overseeing their development. During the press conference, speakers advocated the continuing development of national parks as such, and that these should remain off limits to hotel construction. They point out that the National Park of the East received 500,000 visitors last year, and as a pristine beach area is a major draw to the area. Jose Manuel Mateo, deputy minister of Environment, urged that the development of an island has to have cultural and natural areas in order to compete with other Caribbean islands. The Coalition said that it is not true that the Sectorial Law of Protected Areas (202-04) freed the park areas of Pedernales (Bahia de las Aguilas) and Parque del Este for hotel development. They explained, the law just lowered the category of these areas, but they still fall under the protection of the Ministry of Environment and the Environmental Law. The group said that the decision to authorize these fragile beach lands for private development should be fought against by all Dominicans that should claim their right to visit a beach.
 
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