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Government officials not being bribed by ACTP – Caesar

Government officials not being bribed by ACTP – Caesar

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Government officials are not being bribed, but rather, St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) has benefitted from its partnership with the Association for Conservation of Threatened Parrots (ACTP).

So said this country’s Agriculture Minister Saboto Caesar, as he {{more}}responded to a question in Parliament last week.

Caesar said that since the signing of the first memorandum of understanding with the ACTP, the group has made available 120,000 Euros to SVG to support work to conserve the wild parrot population, to rehabilitate forests in upper water-sheds damaged in Hurricane Tomas and the 2011 April floods and for the construction of modern captive breeding facilities.

Additionally, according to Caesar, the ACTP also directly funded training for one officer at the post graduate level in wildlife conservation and the training of three officers at the associates’ degree level in general forest management conservation.

Three pick-up trucks were also donated to support law compliance and enforcement and public education, as well as 100,000 banana plantlets following Hurricane Tomas.

However, according to Caesar, it had been said at a political meeting that there were three Nissan Nevaras at the Kingstown Port for some government officials as bribes from the ACTP.

“I’m just saying that all of us, we are in politics, but we have to ensure; we have to be very careful and respectable and responsible,” the Agriculture Minister said.

He, however, used the opportunity to give a detailed report about the project, which involves the breeding of the Amazona Guildingii bird in order to increase the species’ genetic diversity.

Caesar explained that there were 15 parrots in the Nicholls Wildlife Complex at the Botanic Gardens that were very closely related genetically and other birds that had failed to pair with other birds in the past.

He said in order to improve the number of pairings, while preserving the existing genetic stock and protecting it from further degradation, the Forestry Department decided that breeding of these birds with others within this group will not be allowed.

The minister said the ACTP had in its possession Amazona Guildingii parrots which they had legally obtained in the 1960s that were experiencing similar issues with breeding.

A decision was therefore made for the birds in SVG to breed with those of the ACTP and the 15 parrots were taken to Germany via the Dominican Republic in December 2011.

Caesar, however, said that so far, no reproduction has taken place, but the second phase of the project entails the reciprocal transfer of a number of birds from the ACTP to the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The ACTP facility is located in Berlin, Germany and is staffed with six persons: two biologists and four animal technicians. At the facility, breeding programmes are carried out on many different parrot species with the most spectacular one being the breeding of Brazil’s Spix Macaw, which is near extinction, with only 90 remaining birds worldwide.

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