BY DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
ENVIRONMENTAL activist Joseph Darville is calling for laws, regulations and official procedures to control the use – and prevent the misuse – of the country’s natural resources.
He says the wanton destruction and abuse of land, beaches and seabeds on various islands in the Bahamas must stop.
“We desperately need our environmental protection Act with the necessary power to prevent the indiscriminate, wanton and criminal abuse of our heritage,” Mr Darville said.
“We need desperately the Freedom of Information Act to be finalised and presented to Parliament. That will be the only natural recourse we would have to access critical information on projects which may impact our lives positively or negatively.”
Mr Darville, who is on the board of directors for the Coalition to Save the Bays, was speaking at the Sunrise Rotary Club.
He expressed concern about the environmental impact of projects in Abaco, Mayaguana, Exuma, Bimini and Grand Bahama in particular.
Mr Darville said large-scale projects have been approved without consultation with the citizens.
“Currently, the powers that be take pleasure, delight and umbrage in hiding facts and decisions to which we as citizens have a right to be privy,” he said.
“This reprehensible... and secretive divestment of our commonwealth, without any input from us must cease and desist immediately. Whether it be an acre of Crown land given to someone, or hundreds of thousands of acres of land, on any particular island being given away to a foreign entity, for whatever purpose, must not and should not be done without my approval, your approval and the approval particularly of the inhabitants of said island or cay,” he said.
According to Mr Darville, 70 per cent of the country’s land is Crown land. He stressed that this is the people’s land, not the government’s.
But what sometimes happens, he said, is that developers come with “deep pockets” and “entice some unscrupulous persons in power, line their pockets, do their damage, and if their project fails, simply deal with it as a tax write off, go elsewhere to continue their dirty work, leaving us with dead zones. These places are now increasing more and more in our land.”