Elbow Reef Lighthouse Society directors (back row) Marjorie Chapman, treasurer; DP Patterson, secretary; Heather Forde-Prosa, president; with (front row) Senior Commander Berne Wright, Acting Port Controller; Permanent Secretary Antionette Thompson and JoBeth Coleby-Davis, Minister of Transportation and Housing.
The Elbow Reef Lighthouse Society, a Bahamian non-profit organisation, entered into a Memorandum of Understanding last month with the Bahamas Port Department, Ministry of Transport and Housing.
The signing on February 18 represents the first time the Port Department has partnered with a community-based organisation to oversee a Bahamian lighthouse.
Historically, while the Port Department has been responsible for lighthouses and navigation aids, it has relied on the Elbow Reef Lighthouse Society to oversee for the Elbow Reef Light station’s lighttower and its outbuildings.
The society, managed by a team of five women, has already been directing and overseeing all aspects of the restoration and reconstruction of this important light station.
The agreement encourages the Port Department to secure a yearly upkeep and maintenance budget for the Light Station.
Society treasurer Marjorie Chapman said: “This MOU solidifies a partnership that has been developing since the 1990s. Over the years of our organisation’s service, we have earned the government’s trust and confidence in our ability to manage the site, keep the light non-automated, and make necessary improvements. The Elbow Reef Lighthouse Society is deeply vested in the future preservation of the light station.”