Many people know me as a youth advocate because of my work as the national director for the Governor Generals Youth Award. After my retirement, I also identified as an environmentalist.
Sir Lynden Ol Pindling once said that if the Bahamians don’t stand up for their country, then they don’t deserve it. This quote is applicable to our slow reaction and lack of action in relation to large-scale foreign development.
Over the last 30 years, thousands of young people have been helped by me throughout the beautiful Bahamas. I have had the privilege of being a tourist on almost every island.
I witnessed the destruction of mangroves, pine forests and beaches along with other areas that are vital to the health of our environment.
I cannot remain silent any longer. Bahamians and residents must work together for greater environmental protection.
Developers arrive on our shores with the promise that they will create jobs, more jobs, and we are silent. It seems like we are seldom consulted before development begins. The public is not informed about the impact of a proposed resort or club on wetlands, coastlines, and beach access until approval is granted. It is too late.
We still have time to complete the Royal Caribbean Beach Club on Paradise Island project and other major projects.
RCI has left many questions unanswered. We need to have greater public input and oversight for this project and others similar. I commend Protect Our Island Fund and Save the Bays for their continued fight for environmental rights. We need to join them more and support their online petition.
How can we feel comfortable lending our Crown land to pennies on the dollar for 150 years?
All governments must stop accelerating major development. Stop leasing Crown land willy nilly. Stop promoting pollution, coastal erosion, and destruction of mangroves. Stop selling our coastlines and beaches.
I hiked on many Family Islands and saw oil leaks that affected wetlands and coastal erosion. Major tracks were removed from seabeds, trees were cut down and some historical artifacts destroyed. Access to the beach denied Denied. No jobs have been created to date. The development is not yet complete. Equipment was left to rust under the sun, and no further action has been taken. The property is now a barren wasteland.
Developers on another island began to map out their territory before the public ever saw any plans nor environmental impact assessments. Another deal was reached.
We can’t continue to make the same mistakes repeatedly. We are losing too many shorelines to mega resorts or private homeowners. If this trend continues, we will be affected for generations by pollution and poor air quality.
Protecting the environment on all our islands is essential. All governments must stop accelerating major development. Stop leasing Crown land willy nilly. Stop promoting pollution, coastal erosion, and destruction of mangroves. Stop selling our coastlines and beaches.
All of us must join the fight to protect and care for our environment. We must advocate for stronger environmental laws. We must demand access to all environmental impacts assessments for major foreign development before they are approved. Furthermore, we must stop selling off our coastlines.
We must hold all governments accountable so they can hold developers responsible, and we, the citizens, must ensure that new multimillion-dollar projects are voted on by the public.
Yes, we must fight to protect this country. Failure to fight could be fatal.
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