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.