A sovereign wealth fund must be established to make sure all natural resources are for the benefit of the Bahamian people!
NO WE DO NOT ACCEPT $2 per metric ton for our aragonite – Government must review the present leases including the one at OCEAN CAY which the BNT has no comment on! Wonder why is that?
McClean’s Town, GB, Bahamas – Despite the one-day notice the Bahamas National Trust (BNT) and many interested East End residents attended the Nassau Island Development Company’s (NID) town hall meeting held in McClean’s Town, East Grand Bahama on Wednesday evening.
“We have been hearing about a proposed project but had not had any contact with NID prior to this event or any official word from the Government either,” said Lakeshia Anderson, BNT GB Parks Manager. “We have been dutifully working in East End, consulting with locals, speaking to residents and hearing their desires and concerns about a proposed Marine Protected Area.”
Anderson and her team have held multiple consultations in the east, as well as meetings and site visits with local Government representatives and stakeholders. The Trust was surprised to hear that a meeting was to be held for locals when the community had not even been presented with, nor aware of any formal proposal for the proposed dredging, nor an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
The Bahamas National Trust was only last week making walk-a-bouts in the area, as a follow-up to a community meeting in the same classroom, where residents had asked the BNT to expand the proposed park boundaries to include Bursus Cay. “We had a strong turnout from residents at that meeting, urging BNT to assist them in protecting their prime fishing grounds, most especially they noted the threat of proposed mining operations and requested proposed boundaries to be extended to Bursus Cay,” said Anderson.
“The BNT needs to present a strong case to the Government when recommending new areas as national parks,” said Lakeshia Anderson “Our team has been meeting with residents and has begun gathering signatures to demonstrate the community support along with scientific justifications for the protection of East Grand Bahama.”
The BNT has been working with the East End communities since June 2013 for the protection of the areas proposed for East Grand Bahama, North shore/Gap, and for the expansions of Peterson Cay National Park and the Lucayan National Park. Plans are currently in progress to finalize the park proposal documents for submission to Government and the Grand Bahama Development Company.
Eric Carey, BNT’s Executive Director noted “The East End Communities, especially the fishermen have made a strong case for this proposed national park. Noting the importance of Bursus Cay as to the sustainability of their fishery, and the threat that the proposed dredging represents, they have asked BNT to expand the original proposal, to include this important area”
At the meeting held by the proposed developer, Anderson corrected the presenters and advised them that the residents had asked for the Bursus Cay area to be added to the park at the last meeting. Anderson also stated “we were very concerned to hear at the meeting, a statement claiming we had met with the team reportedly hired to conduct an EIA on this matter. The statement also suggested BNT had been advised of the scope of this group’s work and this meeting. Miss Anderson added “this is not the case, and BNT came to the meeting, like most of the residents, unaware of any plans, and left the meeting without full knowledge of the plans and still with no proper EIA to review.”
Persons interested in signing support petitions, can visit the Local Government Offices in Sweetings Cay and High Rock.