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'Clifton Bay Under Threat'

“CLIFTON Bay is under massive threat,” environmental expert Kathleen Sullivan-Sealey has warned.

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BEC power station at Clifton.

The associate professor at the Department of Biology, University of Miami, said: “Coral reef is being destroyed, oil spills are increasing and the conch population risks dying out.

“The root of all this damage is the lack of proper oversight and regulation of fishing, tourism, transport, coastal development and other human activities. The conservation and protection of Clifton Bay is being sacrificed for short-term 
interests.”

To address these critical threats, Mrs Sealey and other leading names in the field of environmentalism and conservation throughout The Bahamas and the United States have joined together to form the “Coalition to Protect Clifton Bay” which was launched today.

The Coalition to Protect Clifton Bay (CPCB) is a group of highly-respected individuals drawn from a range of backgrounds, united by a shared desire to protect Clifton Bay and other marine environments surrounding New Providence Island and The Bahamas.

Members include:

Keith Wisdom, Chairman of the Clifton Heritage Authority; Kathleen Sullivan-Sealey, Associate Professor at the Department of Biology, University of Miami; Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Founder and Chairman of the Waterkeeper Alliance; Fred Smith, President, Grand Bahama Human Rights Association; Tonya Bastian Galanis, Principal, Eugene Dupuch Law School; William Hunter, Acting President; Ronald Thompson, former Ambassador to The Environment; Bennet Atkinson, Clifton Heritage Authority; Louis Bacon, chairman and founder of Moore Charitable Foundation and Moore Bahamas Foundation; Hon. Nicholas F. Brady, former Treasury Secretary of the United States of America;

Stuart Cove, President, Dive Bahamas; Manuel Cutillas, Chairman, Lyford Cay Foundation;

Peter Douglas, The Andros Conservancy; Romauld Ferreira, Environmental Attorney, Ferreira & Co; David Godfrey, Executive Director, Sea Turtle Conservancy; William Hunter, Lyford Cay Foundation; Jessica Minnis, Associate Professor, College of The Bahamas; Craig Symonette, Chairman, Bahamas Ferries; Joseph Darville, Vice President of the Grand Bahama Human Rights Association and Troy Albury, President, Save Guana Cay Reef Association.

Starting today, the Coalition will provide unwavering support to Bahamian conservation, environmental and educational organizations. These include the Bahamas National Trust, the Andros Conservancy and Trust, the Bahamas Reef Environment Education Foundation; Clifton Heritage National Park; Friends of the Environment; Swim for Ocean Survival; The Island School; The Nature Conservancy, Young Marine Explorers, Save Guana Cay Reef Association, The Grand Bahama Human Rights Association and Abaco Cares.

The Coalition also will be calling on all Bahamians to enlist in its advocacy campaigns, designed to encourage effective land use decisions and habitat restoration efforts. In this vein the Coalition has launched today an informative and interactive website www.protectcliftonbay.org, which explains their goals and allows like-minded supporters to join and help the campaign to save the natural resources of The Bahamas.

Supporters will be able to sign petitions on line, share these on Facebook and Twitter.

“We are calling on our youth to help us ‘Save The Bays, Save Our Seas and Save Our Environment!’” said a spokesman.

“Clearly more oversight is needed of what is going on under Bahamians’ and the Government’s noses. To help bring this about, the Coalition will be campaigning for the passage of an Environmental Protection Act and a Freedom of Information Act, both of which have been promised by the FNM and the PLP,” said a Coalition statement.

“The Coalition will be vocal and active in pursuit of our environmental protection objectives,” said Fred Smith, Coalition member and leading environmental lawyer.

“The implications of what is going on at Clifton Bay are really serious, for the environment, both in The Bahamas and beyond. We are acting locally, thinking globally,” added Romauld Ferreira.

“This isn’t the first time Clifton Bay has faced grave environmental threats,” said a Coalition statement. “In the late 1990s it faced major danger from plans to create a 600-home golf course development. Thanks to the collective efforts of the Bahamas government, Bahamians, environmentalists and conservation organizations, the Clifton Heritage Authority was established enshrining the protection of the land site. The Clifton Park now stands as a testament to the importance Bahamians place on preserving the natural beauty of their land and maintaining a direct connection to their history.

“It’s time for action once more to Save The Bay and Save the Marine Environment,” said the Coalition.

“Without immediate action to stop harmful developments and ensure effective oversight and regulation, Clifton Bay’s future is in peril. As Kathleen Sullivan-Sealey says:

‘If individuals are allowed to do whatever they want without repercussions, young people are discouraged. They just feel like money talks. They need to see the law applies to everyone.’”

The Coalition vows to change this.

For more information about the Coalition to Protect Clifton Bay, visit the website, launched today, at: www.protectcliftonbay.org

On the website is a full list of Directors and more details about the Coalition’s advocacy campaigns.

“You can also follow the Coalition on Twitter and check out its Facebook page,” said the statement.

• See today’s Insight by lawyer Fred Smith, QC.

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