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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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Biminites approve court ruling, look foward to opportunities as development moves forward
Submitted by Michelle Malcolm   
Wednesday, 21 May 2014 06:41

BIMINI, The Bahamas -- The head of Bimini’s Local Government Council says the people of Bimini welcome the Appellant Court’s decision to deny a request for an injunction to halt dredging for the construction of the Port at Resorts World Bimini. According to Local Government Chief Councilor Lloyd Edgecombe, the people of Bimini are pleased with the ruling, and what it will mean for the island.

“There is an old Bahamian saying, don’t mind the noise in the market, it’s the price of the fish that counts,” he said. “We have heard a lot of noise from the outside regarding this project, but no one can appreciate how much this is benefitting the island more than the people of Bimini. We are seeing the creation of more jobs, new businesses are opening, a state-of-the-art airport is being developed; a new hotel is coming; and more people are returning home to work than we have seen in years. To those out there who have been opposing this development to advance their own personal agendas, we don’t need anyone from the outside telling us how we should react to this development because at the end of the day, they have their livelihood to go back to. Just like them, we want to have a good livelihood too, and that is why we support the Resorts World project because we are already seeing how it is benefitting the island. We can only look forward to the good things to come when this development is finished.”

The Port at Resorts World Bimini is expected to be completed by the summer of 2014 and a new luxury Marina hotel is slated to open late in the Fall of 2014. Mr. Edgecombe confirms that the island’s business community is mobilizing to take advantage of the opportunities they will bring.

“Forward-thinking business persons on the island recognize and are preparing to take advantage of the new channels for increased opportunities. We have already taken steps to form our own Chamber of Commerce, which will hopefully be done by next month. Bimini is on the move, and the business community is moving right along with it.”

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Tarpum Bay Primary youngsters visit the capital
Submitted by BIS   
Tuesday, 20 May 2014 08:14

NASSAU, Bahamas -- Students and teachers of Grades 1, 2, and 3 of Tarpum Bay Primary School in Eleuthera are pictured visiting Government House on Monday, May 19, 2014, during their field trip to New Providence. (BIS Photo/Letisha Henderson)

 
South Andros Public Library renamed after ‘Father of The Nation’
Written by BIS   
Tuesday, 20 May 2014 07:51

MONEY ROCK, Andros – A tribute was paid to former Prime Minister, the late Sir Lynden O. Pindling in South Andros during a ceremony Friday, May 16.  

Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie, Cabinet Ministers and Government Officials, joined members of the Legacy Foundation (chaired by Mrs. Monique Pindling –Johnson, Sir Lynden’s daughter) and the community of The Bluff, Andros at the South Andros Public Library. Prime Minister Christie said Sir Lynden’s legacy should never be forgotten.  

“While others may have conveniently forgotten the true measure of Sir Lynden’s service, the good people of The Bluff, Andros have not,”

He said the re-opening of South Andros Public Library is a reminder to all who would seek to forget that The Bahamas is what it is today, in large part because of the courage and commitment of Sir Lynden "to fight for Black Bahamians, indeed for all Bahamians to be free.”  

Mr. Christie said the ceremony demonstrated a parallel of history. “Some twenty five years ago, Sir Lynden, through the Committee for a Better South Andros sought to raise the funds to build the library,” he said. “Today, the family of Sir Lynden through the Lynden Pindling Foundation has provided the funding to repair and restore this structure after it sat closed and in disrepair for many years.”  

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Florida Sportsman magazine online thread: 'It's a sad day in Bimini'
Monday, 19 May 2014 06:58

Dredging on Bimini is making waves on chat boards online.  Click HERE to follow the thread on Florida Sportsman.


 
Guy Harvey: Bimini an 'environmental gem' that must be protected
Submitted by DP&A   
Monday, 19 May 2014 06:49

RARE JEWEL­ ­– Internationally acclaimed wildlife marine artist and conservationist Dr. Guy Harvey has weighed in on the controversial cruise ship terminal project on Bimini, which is now underway despite a judicial challenge. Harvey stressed that the island is an 'environmental gem' and must be protected.BIMINI, The Bahamas -- World renowned marine artist and conservationist Dr. Guy Harvey has declared Bimini an “environmental gem” and urged Bahamians to do everything they can to protect it.

His statement came as concerned citizens fretted over the future of Bimini’s marine ecosystem as the 450-foot long cutter suction dredger, the Niccolo Machiavelli, began excavating the sea floor to accommodate a cruise ship delivering passengers to a resort and casino. The dredging, say opponents, will wipe out some of the most spectacular coral reefs in the undersea world.    

“Tracking research done by the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation shows that The Bahamas plays an important role in the lifecycle of Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean shark populations,” said Harvey. “Specifically, the Bimini mangrove ecosystem provides vital habitat for these juvenile sharks, as well as many other valuable fish species. As overfishing continues to reduce many fish populations locally and globally, this habitat in Bimini becomes even more crucial to the conservation of these species. The islands of Bimini are an environmental gem and every step should be taken to conserve these resources.”

Harvey has been interested in marine conservation his whole life and continues to speak on the subject at conferences and universities. He donates part of the proceeds from his extremely popular artwork to marine conservation efforts.

In 1999, he founded the Guy Harvey Research Institute at Nova's Oceanographic Center in cooperation with Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The institute, which is funded in part by contributions from his charitable Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, conducts research on the ecology, genetics, behavior, physiology, and evolution of fish. Areas of focus include shark and stingray ecology and conservation, and artificial reef design and monitoring.

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