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Family Island News
Mega-resort policy branded a threat to Family Island way of life
Submitted by DP&A   
Wednesday, 19 March 2014 07:49

Save The Bays director says governments must stop siding with foreign-owned developments at the expense of local communities

NOT JUST TREES AND FISH – Fred Smith, QC, Save The Bays Director of Legal Affairs, said the group is fighting not just to protect the environment, but also to prevent the culture and identity of island communities from being destroyed by unregulated development. Smith (left) discusses Save The Bays’ aims and objectives with Love 97 radio host Wendell Jones on Monday as the fast-growing environmental advocacy group celebrates its first anniversary.NASSAU, Bahamas -- Mega-resorts are being allowed to threaten the culture, society and identity of small island communities around the Bahamas, a veteran social and environmental campaigner warned.

Fred Smith, QC, director of legal affairs for Save The Bays, said successive governments have shielded the developers of mammoth ‘Anchor Projects’ from scrutiny at the expense of both the environment and local populations.

“Governments have been taken in by the glossy brochures, by the jewels and trinkets put in front of them by the foreigners,” he said.

“The result is that developments which destroy the environment, and overwhelm local society and culture, have been imposed from above on small communities in a way that shows a profound lack of respect for those who live there.”

Smith said this arrangement works well for both the developers, who are granted numerous concessions to build in the Bahamas, and the politicians, who can announce that they have created jobs. It is only the country’s natural and cultural heritage that suffers.

EARTHCARE speaks on impacts of the Resorts World Bimini cruise ship terminal
Submitted by EARTHCARE   
Tuesday, 18 March 2014 10:06

Full text of presentation by Gail Woon, Founder of EARTHCARE to Information Session at Bimini Big Game Club Resort & Marina, Alicetown, Bimini on March 15th, 2014.

Resorts World Bimini Cruise Ship Terminal Master Plan.Good evening,

The cruise ship terminal for Resorts World Bimini has been described as “necessary” to the business plan. I will outline here several reasons why that is a ludicrous statement.

First, let me outline what the cruise ship terminal plan entails:

The plan is to build a 1,000 foot pier terminal that will be wide enough for two vehicles to pass each other comfortably. At the end of this 1000 foot long structure will be the manmade “island”. The island will be made from 220,000 cubic yards of your Crown Land prime ocean bottom that just happens to be right next to 14 of your “prime dive sites”. The reason for the idea is to let their too large for the island, cruise ship to be able to come right up to the so-called island, which will house the Customs and Immigration and a “beach club” house.

The MAIN reason this delicate site was chosen, and the only reason that this incredibly valuable biologically diverse site was chosen for destruction is simply because it is closest to the casino and to the main road of Resorts World Bimini.

Cape Eleuthera Institute students tour Baha Mar
Submitted by Royann Dean   
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 18:32

Kendria Ferguson, aquarist at Baha Mar (far left) and DeShawn McGregor, environmental specialist at Baha Mar (far right) with visiting graduate students on the nature walk at the resort.NASSAU, The Bahamas -- Baha Mar recently hosted an environmental sustainability tour for students enrolled in a joint Master of Professional Science degree in Coastal Sustainability from the Cape Eleuthera Institute and the University of Miami.

According to Geoff Walton, Director of Facilities at the Institute, there is an interest in how Baha Mar’s conservation initiatives will be integrated into its operations.

During the tour, Kendria Ferguson, the aquarist at Baha Mar and DeShawn McGregor, Baha Mar’s environmental specialist, shared the environmental team’s efforts to preserve environmentally sensitive areas such as delicate mangroves in Hobby Horse Pond and to enhance the marine life around the Cable Beach shoreline by installing coral reefs. The students also learned about how social aspects of sustainability such as reducing food waste and conserving natural resources will be implemented at the luxury resort.

Photo: Kendria Ferguson, aquarist at Baha Mar (far left) and DeShawn McGregor, environmental specialist at Baha Mar (far right) with visiting graduate students on the nature walk at the resort.

NEMA conducts water rescue training in Cat Island
Written by BIS   
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 08:52

Participants carry out recuse mission in a Water Rescue Training exercise in New Bight, Cat Island from March 3 to 6, 2014. The exercise was conducted by the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA and the United States Northern Command. (Photo/NEMA) NASSAU, The Bahamas – The National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA and the United States Northern Command conducted an intense water rescue training exercise in New Bight, Cat Island to better prepare residents to respond to any disaster at sea.

The island was the first to receive training in Phase II of the Water Rescue Training exercise which was held March 3 to 6, 2014. Phase I of the training was held on the islands of Abaco, Grand Bahama and New Providence between the months of March – May, 2012.

Purpose of the training was to equip a team of individuals on the island to be able to effectively respond to a disaster in nearby waters. However, NEMA’s main focus for this particular water rescue training was to ensure that individuals in the community were properly trained to respond if an aircraft crash or boating mishap occurred in waters near the coast.

The 15 participants received training in: establishing a search and rescue programme, common skills (rescue organisation & searches), using ropes, hardware and knots, low angle raising and lowering, simple mechanical advantage, and surface water rescue (shore based rescue assessments, organisation and searches).

Participants were: Peggy Johnson, Department of Environment Health; Joan Zonicle, Department of Public Health; Madlyn Stubbs, Department of Civil Aviation; Mandy Major, Department, Civil Aviation; Kevin Burrows, Department of Environmental Health; Monica Rolle, Royal Bahamas Police Force; Preston McCoy, Royal Bahamas Police Force; Duke Moss, local fisherman; Jovarn Burrows, Department Civil Aviation; Lechristo Lesbott, Royal Bahamas Police Force; Ricardo Ferguson Sr., Department of Environmental Health; Nathaniel Gilbert, volunteer; Lynette Storr, volunteer; Rose Saunders, Department Public Health; and Kendal Butler, Royal Bahamas Police Force.

BNT proposes Joulter Cays National Park
Submitted by Barefoot Marketing   
Friday, 07 March 2014 09:28

Chairman and CEO of Audubon David Yarnold with Minister of Environment and Housing Hon Kenred Dorsett - CEO Yarnold presented Minister Dorsett with a framed painting of the West Indian Flamingo.  Dorsett attended the event as well as the opening of the Bahamas Natural History Conference that is still on-going this week at at the Harry C Moore Library at the College of the Bahamas.  Pictured (left to right) are Hon Kenred Dorsett, Minister of Envrionment and Housing and David Yarnold, Chairman and CEO of National Audubon Society. (Photo courtesy of BVS for Barefoot Marketing)NASSAU, Bahamas -- At a special breakfast hosted by the Bahamas National Trust (BNT), President Neil McKinney and his executive team presented the government with a proposal to create a new  national park  in the Joulter Cays off North Andros. The proposal was accompanied by a technical brief showing the biological, ecological, and cultural significance of the Joulter Cays.

Additionally, BNT’s longstanding partner, National Audubon Society announced their full backing of the proposed Joulter Cays National Park proposal. 

“Audubon strongly supports making the Joulter Cays and all of its attributes a new multi-use national park for the country,” said Chairman and CEO of Audubon, David Yarnold.  “We hope that this is one of the new conservation successes that we can celebrate together.”

The BNT invited ministers and members of parliament to the breakfast announcement, and requested the government protect this richly diverse area, in support of their commitment to expand the Bahamas National Protected Area System.  

Audubon has chosen to focus on the Joulter Cays because recent studies have shown that the endangered Piping Plover, one of North America’s most endangered shorebirds, spends their winter in The Bahamas, and specifically in large numbers in the Joulter Cays.

In addition to supporting the establishment of  the Joulter Cays as a national park, Audubon will work with the BNT to increase bird-based tourism in The Bahamas. 

Preston H. Albury school choir meet the Governor General
Submitted by BIS   
Monday, 03 March 2014 11:56

NASSAU, Bahamas -- Governor General Sir Arthur Foulkes is pictured with Eleuthera's Preston H. Albury High School choir members during a courtesy call at Government House on Friday, February 28. (BIS Photo/Letisha Henderson)


Olympians make mark on Farmer's Cay
Submitted by Jeffrey Todd   
Saturday, 01 March 2014 17:20

Canadian Olympians Conrad Leinemann, right, and Josh Binstock, left, present Arron Brown, center, and Ty’s Sunset Bar & Grill with a signed volleyball. (Credit: Angella Goran)GREAT EXUMA, The Bahamas -- Conrad Leinemann was already on the boat when staff from Ty's Sunset Bar & Grill hollered for him to come back.  Leinemann, a Canadian volleyball player who competed in the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, and holds the record for world’s fastest serve at 104.4km, didn't think twice.  He leapt from the boat, splashed through knee-deep water and walked up the beach at Farmer's Cay, Exuma.

Inside, management at Ty's Sunset Bar & Grill asked if the Olympian would sign a volleyball so the employees could place it behind the bar.  Leinemann did one better.  He called over Josh Binstock, a fellow Olympic volleyball player who competed in the 2012 Olympic Games in London, and they both signed the ball and presented the keepsake to one of the island's school children.

The touching moment marked the end of a special trip to Farmer's Cay during Grand Isle's Sochi Under the Sun event, held at the resort from February 9th until February 23rd.

"Entertaining these Olympians at Farmer's Cay was amazing for everyone involved," said Tyrone Munroe, the owner of Ty's Sunset Bar & Grill. "We have big plans for this island, and these kinds of visitors show just how big they are."

It was the second time that high-profile guests had visited Farmer's Cay in recent weeks.

Summer scholarship opportunities at Bimini's Shark Lab
Submitted by Bahamas Marine EcoCentre   
Friday, 28 February 2014 09:27

Christopher Ferguson, a recipient of the 2013 Alf Thompson Memorial Scholarship works with a 12 foot tiger shark to obtain data for research on population demographics as part of his eight week internship at the Shark Lab.BIMINI, The Bahamas -- The Bahamas Marine EcoCentre, in collaboration with the Bimini Biological Field Station (BBFS) is once again offering scholarships for two students to intern at the prestigious Bimini Shark Lab.  This is the third year that the Alf Thompson Memorial Scholarship has been offered to Bahamian students and interested scientists and environmentalists.

For eight weeks this summer, two qualifying Bahamians will work and live at the BBFS, more commonly known as the Shark Lab on South Bimini with noted shark and marine biology research scientists, graduate students and other interns from around the world learning about marine and shark biology, field research techniques and conservation of our treasured Bahamas marine ecosystems.

The 2013 recipients of the Alf Thompson Memorial Scholarship found the internship experience eye opening.  Twenty-five year old Vanille Rabier, and Christopher Ferguson, 24, spent eight weeks at the Shark Lab last fall.  Says Christopher, “My experience at the Bimini Biological Field Station was nothing short of amazing. I was able to really get a taste of the field of marine biology and shark research. I have no doubt in my mind that the skills and experience I've received from the Shark Lab will benefit my future as a Marine Biologist”.

Both of the 2013 scholarship recipients were grateful for this unique opportunity.  Vanille stated “We learned a lot through experience.  We had the opportunity to go shark diving, snorkeling, stingray wrangling and training, as well as to catch juvenile lemon sharks for research and much more.”  She continued “We also did quite a bit of tracking for research.  It was a great experience”.

The goal of the 2014 scholarship program is to provide Bahamians with the opportunity to experience hands-on research at the Shark Lab.  Its focus is on the marine sciences. This will include learning about various research techniques in the disciplines of population demographics and dynamics, molecular and behavioral ecology, bioenergetics, sensory biology and physiology.  The expectation is that the internship experience will motivate students to further their studies and ultimately pursue careers in these fields.

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