BY DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
FREEPORT - Concerned residents of Abaco are calling on the developers of Bakers Bay and the Discovery Land Company to recommence their monitoring of the reef systems around Guana Cay.
Environmental group Abaco CARES said proper independent scientific studies need to be done to determine the cause of sustained reef damage.
A statement said: "Abaco CARES was formed by people who care about Abaco - whether it's the environment, the use of harmful petroleum products to run power plants, or protecting the blue holes of Abaco.
"We have a duty to protect the beauty of Abaco because that is the main reason why people come here.
"All of us - locals by birth, Bahamians that have fallen in love with Abaco and moved here, second homeowners who have chosen to invest in Abaco, visitors to our beautiful Abaco, and most important, the resorts of Abaco that employ so many of us - need to take a look at ourselves and see if we are doing all we can to protect the environment of Abaco. If the clean water is gone, our tourists will be gone too."
The group claimed a study has shown that the reefs around Guana Cay are being damaged by the golf course at Bakers Bay.
"Bakers Bay and Discovery Land Company need to know, so they can honour their word to the Bahamian people," the statement said.
According to the group, consistent scientific monitoring of the reefs is needed to find the exact cause of the problem, and identify a solution.
"This cost money. The monitoring of the reef was stopped, and we are asking Bakers Bay to recommence their monitoring of the reefs, and to use an independent company that is reputable and is agreed on by all involved," the statement said.
The group said it is also important that the developers be transparent about the findings.
"Please keep your promises to your neighbours, the people of Guana Cay and the Bahamian people.
"There are many opinions going around and we feel it is time to take a stand and to have the proper scientific studies done, so that there is the 'scientific proof' that is so needed to see what is causing harm to that portion of the reef.
"We all need to live together and work together for the betterment of our environment and Abaco. Let us begin again by researching a problem that has been identified and find a solution to it.
"If money is needed to fund this study and Bakers Bay will not fund it, we should all find a way to accomplish this much-needed task," the statement said.