|Forum inquires about Conservation Fund|
|Thursday, 05 August 2010 09:58|
The Consultative Forum has asked Permanent Secretary of Finance Delton Jones to provide financial reports and information on the country’s Conservation Fund.
Forum member and National Trust Director Ethlyn Gibbs-Williams told the forum at its monthly meeting Aug. 3 in Grand Turk that the National Parks Environmental Advisory Committee which was supposed to advise on spending from the fund hasn’t functioned since 2008. However, money has been spent on a number of projects.
Gibbs-Williams requested that Jones provide:
The fund was supposed to be receiving a 1 percent tax on accommodations that was to be kept in a separate account in the Department of Environment and Coastal Resources for the National Trust, she said.
“I’m curious to know what percentage of that revenue goes to the Conservation Fund,” she said.
The fund was meant to pay for the operation of the country’s national parks, provide core funding for the National Trust, pay for public conservation awareness and fund small projects for conservation, she said.
The Conservation Fund paid for a 2006 review of the country’s protected areas by Nautilus Consultants Ltd. That report urged that no illegal development be allowed in protected areas, including Chalk Sound National Park where several people were allowed to built houses recently.
“Had these been followed, it would have prevented a number of national embarrassments and environmental issues, including the saga of the Chalk Sound homeowners,” Gibbs-Williams said.
Williams said the report was never debated in House of Assembly or endorsed by the Cabinet, but rather “sat on a shelf collecting dust.”
The study also recommended that the fund should receive a 2 percent tax on accommodations instead of 1 percent, and that the government should provide some core funding to the National Trust. Neither has happened.
|Last Updated on Thursday, 05 August 2010 19:33|
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