The casino building at Resorts World Bimini.
By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
PROTESTS are planned in Bimini this week to object to developments on the island that some residents believe lack transparency and are destructive to the environment.
The protests will take place Wednesday and Friday.
The main target of the residents' ire appears to be RAV Bahamas/OPAC and its partner the Genting Group, which have invested heavily in the island, mainly through Resorts World Bimini.
In a letter from Bimini residents to Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis, residents complained that nothing has been done to protect Bimini's marine habitats.
"The resort has created an influx of visitors to the island, but at the expense of the people," the letter noted. "The number of visitors to Bimini is greater than the island can handle sustainably, creating negative impact on the local natural resource.
"The vacuous promises laid out in the mitigation measures dating back to phase one of this development are still unfulfilled. And Mr Capo has never been held accountable."
The residents said they want clarification on how much Crown land Gerardo Capo has received and what would be the legal implications for his development of land on the North Bimini Marine Reserve and the East Wells area if a marine protected area (MPA) is approved.
They want environmental impact studies and reports related to the project to be made public.
"The people of Bimini are waiting with bated breath having heard promises of 'It's the People's Time,'" the letter said, referring to the Free National Movement's campaign slogan. "We have valued your statements of zero tolerance on corruption. Talk is widespread of hope that this government is really wanting to make a difference and unmask 20 years of secret, under the table deals that have stolen crown land from the people.
"We are now facing a critical tipping point in the history of this island's ecosystem and our future livelihood."
The protests, which are being organised as land and sea demonstrations, are being hosted by Save the Bays, an environmental group.