Fred Smith Was Off The Mark With Carnival

EDITOR, The Tribune

Mr Smith, I am with you on many issues. However, your Carnival defence piece was off the mark.

Kudos to your lifelong adherence to the environment and human rights. But, as a lawyer, in my opinion you have muddled up some of the logical and ethical responsibilities we have, by defending the indefensible. You state that Carnival is no worse than the rest of the cruise ship companies, and plays a small part in the whole of pollution. So, along that way of thinking, should we turn a blind eye on the teenage street thug who just robbed an old woman because he is only a small part of the rampant crime we are seeing? Yes, I understand proportionality and fairness, but I don’t think your argument holds water.

And, just because you don’t need the income doesn’t necessarily mean you haven’t compromised your morals by defending Carnival. We understand that you are well off. So are mobsters and web shop owners and bankers, but they stay with their game, even after they’ve made a bundle, don’t they?

A truly “good” lawyer is one who gets their drug dealing client off, even when caught red-handed. Is this correct? And then, be able to charge even higher fees because of this miscarriage of Justice. So, we see even in your own profession, that the best and highest paid has nothing to do with justice, so to speak, but rather how well you do for your clients, no matter their true innocence or guilt. Is this a fair statement? A “good” lawyer’s job is to muddy the waters with uncertainty, such that justice, true justice, is hamstrung.

Next, is a quote from your letter. “I am a realist. My firm also acts for Disney and has acted for the Grand Bahama Port Authority Group of companies and many industrial businesses and developers. People need jobs and economic opportunities. Protecting the environment and sustaining opportunities for continued improvement for the lot of seven billion human beings can, with increased awareness, go hand in hand.”

Well, yes Mr Smith, you are partly right. Commerce and environmental stewardship can go hand in hand, with increased awareness. Here’s my concern. Increased awareness means keeping up with the emerging science. And, most recently it has become clear to all paying attention that what is needed is a wholesale, radical change in the way we do business. Most importantly, and most controversial, seems to be the absolute necessity of consuming less, much less, each and every one of us. I am not talking about constricting and strangling an economy. I am talking about the existential realism that is needed in this unprecedented point in human history. This point being the very likely possibility that we are on a critical path to extinguish most sentient life on this planet, including ourselves within a generation or two. These are not the crackpots saying this. These are our most eminent scientists on the planet. If this does not speak to the awareness of which you propose, I don’t know what does. Radical change means just that. Meaning that it is out of the question for thinking people to suggest that all we have to do is to clean up around the edges and things will get better. We need a radical change in the way we do business. What don’t you get about the term “radical”? To me, this goes to the heart of the “awareness” you speak of.

Someone who truly possesses “awareness” would undoubtedly come to the conclusion that no cruise ships should ever be allowed in Bahamian waters. No matter the money that goes into the government coffers or the menial jobs their presence creates. That would be someone who wasn’t tied to anything other than the true “realism” of our sustainable relationship with Mother Earth. This could also be someone who is clever in creating many more, and better jobs by making the majority of The Bahamas an ecotourism paradise, known the world over for its sound stewardship practices and actual commitment to sustainable tourism. And, they could prove that the needed national investment was a fraction of what is needed to accommodate cruise ships. I lived in Key West, Florida when cruise ships first started coming there. Nothing good came out of them. The reef suffered from the siltation, the downtown suffered because these people don’t spend money off the boat, the class of tourists no longer appreciated what makes this destination special. No, the list of reasonable arguments against cruise ships is long, Mr Smith. Unless, all you see is the money.

Last point, Mr Smith. Given the number of clients your company acts for, not to mention all the humanitarian and environmental work you do, likely for free, is it fair to say, you are a busy man? The problem with where humanity is today is that we have lost our essential connections to Mother Earth. Because we have broken these essential bonds is what allows us to commit such horrible acts against Mother Earth and our own interests, as well. We are well aware of your thrill seeking vacations, and diving with sharks, and being an avid outdoorsman. This is all well and good. But, my point is that most of us humans, including you, have removed ourselves from the rhythms and cadences of our earth, of what actually sustains these seven billion, actually closer to eight billion people, you are concerned with. The earth feeds, clothes, and houses all of humanity, prior to any considerations to an economy. How do we miss this point? And this is the root of, not the problem, but the solution. In your world, Mr Smith, commerce consumes the vast majority of your day, your week, your life. I applaud you for the efforts you have made on behalf of many who have no voice. However, what I am claiming is that you are not the one we must listen to for direction and how to sensibly move into the future. We must turn to those who have remained in contact with Mother Earth and are able to still impart some wisdom to the modern world, which has mostly lost this wisdom.

With all due respect Mr Smith of your accomplishments, you still occupy the one percent as pertains to economic status in the world. The chances for any true and lasting solutions coming from the upper one percent, is pretty low indeed. The most learned and honest are now suggesting that we turn back to the indigenous peoples, of the ones we haven’t yet exterminated, to seek answers on how to live in harmony on Mother Earth. There is absolutely nothing to suggest that any of us, in this modern comfortable, but abjectly failed, modern industrial society, still have these answers. It has been educated out of our heads. All we do is to make excuses for our terminal ways of using up the world’s resources for ourselves, as quickly as possible. This is exactly what modern day commerce is all about, Mr Smith. We are currently on a dead end road. This has never been more clear. This is what true “awareness” understands.



February 8, 2020


longgone 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Right on----Smith cannot have it both ways!!


joeblow 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Fred's opinion can be bought for the right price, so why be surprised?


Well_mudda_take_sic 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Thank you Mr. Trabulsy for giving wealthy QC Smith the well-deserved dressing down.


concerned799 8 months, 2 weeks ago

With a very limited carbon budget left before the planet hits disaster at 1.5C of warming, there is no carbon budget left for cruise ships. Its as simple as that. As the dirtiest form of tourism in terms of pollutants and carbon per visitor which ad very little local spending to the local economy versus hotels they clearly must go.

No amount of "there must be balance" can overcome this basic math. If you cross over 1.5C of warming you have a dead planet, and what use are jobs on a dead planet?


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