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Family Island News
Bimini Big Game Club Resort & Marina reports record Memorial Day weekend
Submitted by John Bell   
Wednesday, 28 May 2014 17:25

Bimini Big Game Club Resort & MarinaBIMINI, The Bahamas — Management at the historic Bimini Big Game Club Resort & Marina, www.biggameclubbimini.com, reported a record breaking Memorial Day Weekend with just over $100,000 in sales, including rooms, food and beverage dockage.

“We maximized every profit source at the resort,” said Michael Weber, general manager.

Overall, according to Weber, the 51-room resort is up 23% year to date through the low season, with a strong upcoming summer where several weekends are already fully booked. Weber said the resort’s family business continues to build and that the restaurant and bar business remains strong.

Closed for two years, the Big Game Club, which was founded as a dinner club in 1936, was re-opened in 2010 by the Southern California-based Hankey Group of Companies, following completion of a $3.5 million renovation that included all guest rooms, the new Bimini Big Game Bar & Grill, Hemingway Rum Bar and Social Lounge, Gulfstream Conference Center and the Outfitter Shop.

Though Bimini is still primarily a destination for fishing and diving, Weber and his wife, Diana, marketing director, have worked diligently to add family fun and activities, with the addition of watersports, including backcountry kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, sailing, bicycle rentals and even yoga lessons.

 
STB praised for role in ‘David versus Goliath’ fight to save Bimini’s reefs
Submitted by DP&A   
Wednesday, 28 May 2014 07:50

BIMINI, The Bahamas -- Anxiously awaiting the outcome of a Supreme Court hearing last night, concerned citizens who oppose the controversial cruise ship terminal project in Bimini issued a heartfelt statement of thanks to advocacy group Save The Bays (STB) for its crucial help and support.

Bimini Blue Coalition said there is no way it could have challenged an international conglomerate like Malaysia-based Genting for so long without the invaluable backing and advice of the fast-growing fellow NGO.

“We are a small organization and could not have fought this fight on our own,” said BBC in a statement. “This is truly a David versus Goliath fight and wanted to take this opportunity to thank the thousands around The Bahamas and the world who have given us support, and in particular Save The Bays, which threw its considerable influence, expertise and bravery behind out effort since day one.”

Since its launch just over a year ago, STB has catapulted into the role of champion of environmental causes and fledgling advocacy groups around the country.

It has enjoyed unprecedented growth for an NGO, attracting more than 500 registered members, 14,300 followers on Facebook and 6,000 signatures on its petition calling for a Freedom of Information Act, Environmental Protection Act and an end to unregulated development in The Bahamas.

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Privy Council Bimini ruling on video
Submitted by DP&A   
Tuesday, 27 May 2014 15:53

In the video from the Save The Bays YouTube channel Lord Neuberger tells lawyers for Resorts World Bimini and the Bahamas government that the appropriate permits were not in place to allow a controversial dredging operation off the coast of North Bimini.

The developers want to construct a 1,000 foot pier and terminal to accommodate their massive, cruise ship-size ferry, but concerned citizens say the project will destroy some of the most pristine and ecologically important reef systems in the country, which many Biminites rely on for their livelihood.

Click HERE to view.

The Privy Council brought the dredging to a halt, ruling that if they wish to continue, the developers must show how a permit they got "over night" and which they produced at the last minute was properly issued and took into account all the relevant considerations.

 
Governor General visits North Andros
Submitted by BIS   
Monday, 26 May 2014 08:19

ANDROS, The Bahamas -- Governor General Sir Arthur Foulkes and Lady Foulkes made an official visit to North Andros May 9, 2014, where they attended a Special Assembly at the Bertram A. Newton Primary School in Red Bays. Dr. Perry Gomez, Minister of Health and MP for the constituency brought remarks. (BIS Photos/Ulric Woodside)

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Cat Island parents sing praises of National Arts Festival
Written by BIS   
Monday, 26 May 2014 08:09

DUMFRIES, Cat Island, The Bahamas – As the E. Clement Bethel National Arts Festival continues its adjudications throughout the islands of The Bahamas, Cat Island residents applaud the Festival and sing high praises for their children that took part in the adjudications there, on May19, 2014.    

Rezel Rolle, of Dumfries, said she enjoyed seeing her daughter Brenea, a second-grade student at Dumfries Primary School, perform that day.  “I was excited, she was excited, it was a joy,” she said enthusiastically. “You can tell by the smile on her face that she enjoyed herself.”  

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Bimini dredging halted by Privy Council
Submitted by DP&A   
Friday, 23 May 2014 16:53

Concerned citizens say the cloud of silt seen trailing away from the mammoth dredger ‘Niccolo Machiavelli’ will settle on Bimini’s pristine coral reefs and suffocate the island’s rich marine ecosystem. The Privy Council in London has granted an injunction to halt the dredging until the developers show they have satisfied all the conditions for a permit stipulated by law.BIMINI, The Bahamas -- The controversial dredging operation in Bimini, which concerned citizens say is threatening some of the most pristine and ecologically significant reefs in the region, has been brought to a halt with the granting of an injunction by the Privy Council in London.

The order to stop all dredging activities, which went into effect immediately, will stay in place until the developers, Resorts World Bimini (RWB), can demonstrate they have satisfied all the conditions for a the granting of a permit under the Conservation and Protection of the Physical Landscape of the Bahamas Act (CPPLB).

Declaring a major victory for advocacy group Bimini Blue Coalition (BBC), their lawyer Fred Smith, QC, said: “This is a significant step in the effort to save the vital natural resources of Bimini and defend the integrity of the rule of law in The Bahamas. Hopefully, political leaders will come to realize that they do not have the right to bypass the safeguards and protections built into our laws when granting approvals to developers. We are very happy with the court’s decision, and will continue to hold the government’s feet to the fire in an effort to protect the interests of Bimini’s unique community and precious environment.”

Since the start of dredging last month, a number of environmental scientists and dive experts have said the cloud of silt seen trailing away from the mammoth dredger ‘Niccolo Machiavelli’ will settle on Bimini’s pristine coral reefs and suffocate the island’s rich underwater ecosystem, a cruicial nursery for some of the country’s most important fisheries and marine resources.

The developer has said its management plan will prevent environmental fallout, but BBC produced images purporting to show that the silt curtains erected to contain the sediment produced by the dredging have failed.

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BNT seeks creation of five new national parks on San Salvador
Submitted by Barefoot Marketing   
Thursday, 22 May 2014 17:18

BNT Seeks Creation of Five New National Parks on San Salvador - The Bahamas National Trust (BNT) is working with the Living Jewels Foundation, which is a local non-governmental agency in San Salvador, to expand the national park system in San Salvador by five new parks.  Jermaine Johnson, the BNT’s education officer in San Salvador, has made a number of presentations at various schools on the island about the proposed national parks and recently took high school students on a tour of the areas. (Photo courtesy of BNT for Barefoot Marketing)SAN SALVADOR, Bahamas – The Bahamas National Trust (BNT) is working with the San Salvador Living Jewels Foundation, a local conservation organisation in San Salvador, to expand the National Parks System to include five areas in San Salvador. Two of these sites are Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) Key Biodiversity Areas; Grahams Harbour and Cays, and the Southern Great Lake, important for nesting migratory seabirds, and are habitats for the critically endangered San Salvador Rock Iguana.

Jermaine Johnson, the BNT’s Education Officer in San Salvador, has made a number of presentations at various schools on the island about the proposed national parks, and more recently, took students from The San Salvador Central High School on a tour, to provide more insight into the ecosystems in The Bahamas, and especially San Salvador.  Nicole Brown of the Caribbean Regional Implementation Team also participated in the tour during her visit, where all were able to learn more about the various plants and animals found within the proposed park sites.

Johnson exclaimed, “Riveting is how I would describe the tours, as the kids were so intrigued about getting to see all of the things that they were taught about weeks before in the classroom.  It’s awesome when turtles greet the students as if saying ‘yes please help to protect me!’”

In addition to presenting to students in San Salvador, the BNT has held meetings with fishermen, community leaders, Senior Government officials, local Government representatives, and business owners. The five areas in San Salvador which are proposed national parks are Southern Great Lake, Pigeon Creek & Snow Bay, Grahams Harbour, West Coast Dive Sites and Green’s Bay.

The CEPF Caribbean islands programme is supporting the BNT's efforts to strengthen the legal protection status of these important areas. To learn more about the proposed national parks for San Salvador, visit BNT’S website at http://www.bnt.bs/_m1s893/Proposed-parks/San-Salvador-protected-areas.

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US ocean engineer adds voice to growing concerns, labels Bimini dredging 'not environmentally compatible operation in pristine waters'
Submitted by DP&A   
Wednesday, 21 May 2014 14:12

Latest Concerns Over Bimini – A respected US-based ocean engineer with 35 years’ dredging experience said today Bimini’s world-renowned reefs and often photographed marine life will suffer immediate and long-term damage from the dredging taking place off the coast of the tiny island in the northern Bahamas. Threats, he said, could have been mitigated against by proper placement and securing of silt curtains. Instead, the curtains are scattered and not secured or weighted down at the bottom, allowing the stirred up sand to create turbidity, suffocating the reefs and fish that have not escaped.   BIMINI, The Bahamas -- A Florida-based ocean engineer with 35 years’ experience in port and beach dredging today said photos of the dredging operation off North Bimini show proper steps are not being taken to prevent silt from killing off marine life and some of the world’s best-known coral reefs.

Ronald J. Coddington, P.E., of Civil Construction Technologies, was the latest in a stream of experts to add his voice to the growing chorus of those calling for a halt to what has been labelled environmentally “devastating” dredging that would have immediate and long-term consequences.

Resorts World Bimini commissioned the dredging as part of its plan to build a 1,000-foot pier and turning basin to accommodate cruise ships delivering up to 500,000 guests a year to its casino and hotel on the tiny island in the northern Bahamas. Bimini currently has a population of less than 2,000 and residents have worried that the transient population explosion will overrun its island and forever alter its generations-old way of life built in part on the pride of being surrounded by crystal clear turquoise seas home to 14 of the most treasured and valuable coral reefs in the world.

Those reefs attract divers from all over pumping a reported $80 million a year into the local economy. Resorts World Bimini, owned by Malaysian-based Genting, has said its investment will add jobs for Biminites, but many have expressed fears of what else it will bring that the small island may not be able to handle. And in recent days, the dive industry has issued strong warnings about the impact of the dredging and urged that it be halted before it was too late.

Meantime, as cameras roll catching the action and shooting it out through social media and all over the internet, the 450-foot suction cutter called the Niccolo Machiavelli continued to churn up the waters with what Mr. Coddington said late today was inadequate and detached screening. Had that screening been installed completely surrounding the plume and the bottoms of the curtains weighted down, it could have mitigated against some of the turbidity caused by the stirring up of the waters that will kill reefs and the fish that depend on them for life.

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