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compliments of a pardon by the Governor General at the instance of the Prime Minister.


Alternative Sentences

Increasingly, modern environmen- tal legislation gives courts alternative sen- tencing options. In addition to fines and/or sentence of imprisonment, the court is expressly empowered under the Environmental Protection Act 1992 of Belize Act, for instance: ß To direct the offender to publish the facts relating to the conviction. ß To direct the offender to perform commu- nity service.

These kinds of sentencing alterna- tives have been used to good effect in other jurisdictions. For example, in Canada, envi- ronmental offenders have been ordered to issue verbal apologies, publish newspaper apologies, write books and dissertations relating to their bad environmental conduct, and (most importantly for my students) fund environmental scholarships. My students have consistently argued the point that that it is not apparent that these sentencing options could not be utilized even without express statutory authorization.



For many decades the issue of adequate quantification of environmental damages was largely ignored in Caribbean jurisprudence. As late as 1983 the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Study of Caribbean environmental practices noted that the interconnectivity of ecological assets were not always appreciated in eco- nomic calculations. UNEP gave the follow- ing example of an island endowed with extensive mangrove swamps and which, as a consequence has a shrimp fishery: "Unaware that the shrimp fisheries depends

on the existence of healthy mangroves, the islanders take a decision to destroy them in order to construct harbors, marinas, tourist resorts, or even to harvest the mangrove forest for fuel as has been proposed in some countries. The consequence may well be a ruined shrimp industry."

In November 1989 the Caribbean Conservation Association organized a Caribbean Conference on Ecology and Economics in Barbados. The Conference viewed the absence of environmental resources from economic calculations as a case of market failure. It endorsed the need for action at the policy-making level. It was agreed that the state should take steps to reflect environmental costs and benefits in its macro- and micro-economic interventions.

    • 7.2

      Jurisprudence of Ecological Valuation

      • 7.2.1

        Criminal Sanctions Caribbean environmental regula-

tion relies overwhelmingly on "command and control" strategies, and primarily the use of criminal sanctions. Statutorily pre- scribed deterrents are normally of a finan- cial nature but these financial penalties are not generally quantified so as to reflect the actual loss to the environment. Most statutes merely stated the fines to be paid for offences without attempting to place a precise value on harm inflicted on the envi- ronment or the cost of environmental reha- bilitation.

a. Levels of Fines

A recurrent criticism of Caribbean environmental law has been that the levels of fines that may be imposed for environ- mental infractions are much too low to serve any deterrent effect. When the early environmental statutes were drafted no serious consideration was given to factors such as cost recovery, market value, envi- ronmental rehabilitation. Nor were mecha- nisms included for upward revision in the context of inflation, fluctuations in currency

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