By AVA TURNQUEST
Tribune Staff Reporter
MINISTER of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe yesterday pledged to support the establishment of an Environment Review Tribunal amidst ongoing protests against a planned dolphin facility at Blackbeard’s Cay.
Attorney Fred Smith confirmed that activists plan to file for Judicial Review proceedings against the Government and developers of the $5 million Blackbeard’s Cay project next week.
Although approvals for the Blackbeard’s Cay project were given under the former FNM administration, Mr Wilchcombe said the current administration gave the project the green light after it was reviewed and found to be in compliance with regulations.
Mr Wilchcome said: “I think what the Bahamas should seek to establish is an Environmental Review Tribunal that allows for our projects to be reviewed by a tribunal while they’re in dispute after they’ve been approved by an administration.”
He said: “Because once the investor comes into the country and is given the heads up and he proceeds, it just looks so disorganised that after that it would appear that you’re going back and going over as opposed to allowing for a process that will allow all those persons who have an issue with the project - no matter what the project is - to take it to an environmental review tribunal.”
On Tuesday, environmental activists pledged to intensify protests against a planned dolphin facility at Blackbeard’s Cay after a site visit revealed alleged breaches of the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
Developer Samir Andrawos spoke briefly with activists yesterday, adding that he was open to meeting with activists to discuss concerns.
Blackbeard’s Cay is located on Balmoral Island, a site opposite Sandals Royal Bahamian resort on New Providence’s north coast. The Bahamian shareholders include Insurance Management chief, Cedric Saunders; Spanish Wells community leader, Abner Pinder; and well-known media owner, Charles Carter.