ENVIRONMENTAL activists are demanding to know who is really in charge of Clifton Bay as the publicly-owned area became a construction site – yet again – over the weekend.
The Coalition to Preserve Clifton Bay photographed several tractors shifting and piling sand on Jaws Beach as the old public dock was torn down and construction of a new one progressed.
Pointing out that the vehicles and workers belonged to no government agency, the coalition asked if the Clifton Heritage Authority is prepared to let private citizens do whatever they please on public land.
The group also asked what the Ministry of the Environment is doing, claiming several ecologically important areas were damaged during the work.
“Who is in lawful control of Jaws Beach?” the coalition asked. “Someone has bulldozed the pond and wetlands behind the beach.
“Who, if anyone, gave permission to build a new dock, take down the old one, move sand, and bulldoze the wetlands?
“This entire episode highlights one of the pivotal issues for the CPCB – unregulated development – It’s not just at Nygard Cay, it’s anywhere at Clifton Bay.”
The coalition has claimed that work carried out at Simms Point/Nygard Cay, which doubled the size of the area since it was purchased by fashion mogul Peter Nygard, has damaged areas of Clifton Bay, including Jaws Beach.
They called for the government to step in and protect the delicate, environmentally significant area.
Yesterday, the coalition also questioned whether the weekend construction and beach alteration had anything to do with the Occupy Clifton/Renegotiate event held on Jaws Beach on Sunday.
The event was attended by around 150 people who were bused in on five jitneys.
The coalition questioned whether the Heritage Authority or any other official entity granted permission for the gathering, which included speeches and a junkanoo rush-out, and whether either group was responsible or connected to the construction work.
Messages left for Keod Smith, an organiser for Re-Negotiate who is also Mr Nygard’s attorney, were not returned up to press time last night.
However, while being interviewed at the event, Mr Smith mentioned that the original dock on Jaws Beach was build on sand, which he claimed contributed to its deterioration.
Referring to reports that Lyford Cay billionaire Louis Bacon intended to repair the dock, he said: “Don’t talk! Do.
“Why is it he didn’t do it? – We did it.”
Later, he added: “. . . engineering of the dock was created more than 30 years ago when they put the piles in there initially. We just repaired it.”
Asked about permission to hold Sunday’s event, Mr Smith said: “Permission? It comes from me! It comes from us. This is ours.
“We don’t need to ask anybody’s permission to do what is ours. You don’t have to ask permission to do what is in your yard. This is our yard . . . I’m not going to ask my government, certainly not going to ask the Clifton Heritage Authority for permission to do anything. They serve the interests of Mr Bacon. They sitting on his coalition and his board. That’s where they are. They’re not supposed to be. They are in conflict. I called for their resignation.
“This week we are going to bring our legal action before the Supreme Court and have them forcibly removed. They have not now moved. This is a game plan: if you don’t keep your eyes on the ball, you will lose.
He added: “I’m not asking anyone’s permission. From the Prime Minister straight on down. This here is mine, and this is everyone else’s in the Bahamas.
“This is ours to have. I need no one’s permission for anything.”