Working Paper

Science, policy and national parks in Trinidad and Tobago

Published on 1 January 2000

Since the 1960s there have been various moves to create a system of national parks in Trinidad, including several well-funded initiatives involving international support from the FAO, OAS and most recently a World Bank supported project.

Despite many plans, legislation and implementation is blocked. Reasons are to be found in (a) the production of science/policy by an elite (b) the nature of participation, and (c) the way tensions between national bureaucracies interplay with international, The system, in its varied permutations, continues to be focused on the preservation not use of lands that are in part privately owned, farmed, forested, hunted, squatted or otherwise illegally used.

The rationale, location and extent of the proposed parks has repeatedly been elaborated at a nexus between conservation activists (NGOs), the wildlife section of the Forest Department, conservation biologists at the university of the West Indies, and government and private sector interests in promoting ecotourism. They are supported by international scientists and funders who are keen to establish protected areas to blend international conservation goals with national development.