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Editorial: Swift Action To Protect Our Environment

THE government response to reports of damage to marine life and the seabed from cruise ships sheltering in Bahamian waters has been commendable.

Agriculture Minister Michael Pintard and Environment Minister Romauld Ferreira teamed up to report the action taken after the reports of damage.

Off went a team to the location to inspect the seabed, and sadly the reports came back that the ships’ anchors have caused “significant damage”.

Obviously, we are in unprecedented times, in that these ships would not be anchoring so long in our waters ordinarily – but that doesn’t change the laws of the land, or of the sea. Ships are required to anchor safely and in a manner that complies with regulations, including environmental ones.

Simply put, these ships have caused damage when they shouldn’t have.

We commend the dive teams for their swift inspection, and the government for their swift response.

That response comes just a few days after the government was alerted to such damage. We do have some qualms – such as why it takes someone to report such instances to the government and how much monitoring is the government conducting of these ships in our waters during this pandemic – but once alerted they moved quickly to find out more.

This also of course follows previous instances of damage caused by other cruise ships – after which Attorney General Carl Bethel said the government would seek compensation under recently passed environmental laws.

We hope the same will hold true here – and that ships that have not respected the regulations for our environment are held to account.

A good start - with more to come?

The Jack’s Bay heads of agreement signing is good news – if not the kind of project that will kickstart a resurgence of the economy.

It is welcome, of course, a $400m project that already had 200 people employed before the lockdown – 100 of which were retained. It is the kind of project that is the cherry on top when the economy is good, rather than the type to kickstart it alone, but each of those is welcome.

Perhaps the most enticing prospect might be if the 40 “founder” investors it needs decide to bring their own projects with them too. The success of the project hinges on bringing in 40 people willing to pay a minimum of $1.5m to buy lots and build their own homes.

We wish the project well – and we hope that Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis might have some more projects being lured to The Bahamas, with the hopes of making an even bigger difference to our workforce and our economy.

Comments

concerned799 1 week, 6 days ago

Given their enormous carbon emissions of the dirtiest fuel - Bunker C, how can cruise ships ever be green enough to ever resume operations? Its hard to see the world's remaining carbon budget having anything left in it for cheap cruises. Clear this industry should never return, its legacy of dumping at sea and avoiding regulation is a long one. Would we not be better off without it? Why are we having to chase? Shouldn't the Bahamas be back in control of its top industry - tourism?

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rodentos 1 week, 6 days ago

they mean "lets rip them off".... you can't compensate environmental damage with money. modern sale of indulgences

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Porcupine 1 week, 6 days ago

Hey concerned, You are right. However, as a national strategy, it truly seems that the "environment" is always the last consideration, instead of the clear necessity of being first. There is a nexus of denial, from political leaders, from business, from our misreading of the bible, that keeps us locked into denial and ignorance. The damage being done to our nation has not started with the anchoring now spoken of. It has been going on for decades. We have just turned a blind eye to it. Every one of our own fishing vessels throws their garbage into our waters. All of it. The only discussion around oil drilling seems to be over how much money in the short term it will contribute to the Sovereign Wealth Fund, As if, people actually believe we are not gambling with our entire future, soley to make a handful of people rich, The Bahamian people will see nothing of it. That money will not even put a dent into the million dollars a day that this country spends on interest alone, on the loans already taken out by our politicians. Our politicians, just like our business people, live for the day. Their idea of the future is next year, not next decade or next century. As a nation, it is clear we do not feel looking ahead matters. Isn't this true? Yet, more importantly, our environmental regulators have remained silent on the vast majority of things which Must be done to insure a healthy community. Our environment is not some "other" thing, apart from business and our daily lives. The health of our people is directly tied to the health of our environment. Were we truly serious about environmental issues and the future of The Bahamas we would have taken a strong stand against drilling for oil. Not just for us, but for the health of our planet. It amazes me that some people still don't get this, and can remain silent. Do you not think Romauld reads the same things we do regarding the burning of fossil fuels? And yet, because he is a politician he will not grow the balls to say, "Absolutely Not" to drilling for oil in Bahamian waters. These are only a few examples of how we are killing our country, our world, by a thousand small cuts. It may be too late practically. It seems too late to educate our populace on the necessities of a clean environment, if only by looking around and being honest about our summation of antisocial behaviour.

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Porcupine 1 week, 6 days ago

So yeah, great job on "discovering" the damage done to our seabed. As if, this only started last week. How about a complete ban on the export of conch? How about a national plan to switch the whole country to renewables? How about a national campaign to lead the world in climate change awareness? How about getting AUTEC out of Bahamian waters? How about getting a serious Green party to challenge our short term vision-less politicians who win year after year, seeking only for themselves, money, pensions, and power? How about a national campaign to bring our kids into the fold with the education needed to carry them into this century? We can't keep operating our country as if it is last century. Our kids will soon be paying the price for our lack of planning and irresponsible borrowing. Well, that's not entirely true. We are all already paying the price for this lack of intelligent leadership, aren't we?

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Porcupine 1 week, 6 days ago

We continue to believe that The Environment is something outside of our main goals. It should be clear that the environment must be Number 1 in all of our endeavors. There is nothing that humans do that does not depend on a healthy environment. Those who have studied this issue understand this. Without life, there is no hope. And without a healthy environment, there is no life. We have failed here, and globally, to instill in our societies the basic understanding of what should come first in our political, educational, business and religious endeavors. We have spent our time chasing money, instead of the health and welfare of us and our fellow species on this planet. Until this changes, nothing else can change.

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birdiestrachan 1 week, 6 days ago

The Editorial page of the Tribune must be hard press to congratulate these two men. They were told about the damage to the sea bed by cruise ships. They did not know? but they did know how to ban plastic bags because of the fish.

CHILD PLEASE

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