The head of the Caribbean region’s tourism development agency has called for legislation to regulate the disposal of waste in Caribbean waters.
Delivering the keynote address at the opening of the 2nd Sustainable Conference in St. Eustatius this morning, Hugh Riley, the secretary general of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), said the Caribbean had a responsibility to protect and preserve its water resources.
The two day conference, organized by the St. Eustatius Tourism Development Foundation with support from the CTO, has as its theme, Tourism and Water: Protecting Our Common Future.
Reflecting on the theme, Mr. Riley reminded delegates, including Island Governor Gerald Berkel and the commission of tourism, Carlyle Tearr, that water was at the core of the Caribbean’s efforts at sustainability and that it was important that the necessary policies be put in place to safeguard this vital resource.
“We must never forget that we in the Caribbean have a duty to create policies and to engender behaviors in our people and in our visitors, that will safeguard our water resources for future generations,” the CTO secretary general told the audience gathered at the Mike Van Putin Youth Centre.
“We must practice sustainable water-use policies and observe appropriate waste-water management practices. We must not only enact, but also enforce legislation that regulates the proper disposal of waste in the waters that wash our shores, and we must severely punish all violators, because they endanger our health and jeopardize our children’s future,” he added.
Over the next two days delegates will debate a number of water-related issues, including who benefits from coastal management; the risks to wildlife and water along with the tourism opportunities that come with development; and water conservation in hospitality.