News Statement Issued by Keod Smith, former Ambassador to the Environment BEST COMMISSION, Environmental Activist on the Clifton Issue, Former Member of Parliament.
“My attention has been drawn to the visit of Mr. Robert Kennedy, an Attorney for The Natural Resource Defence Council from the United States; who was in Nassau on Saturday for the unveiling of a plaque commemorating the official visit of his uncle, the late American President John F. Kennedy to our country in 1962.
“Prime Minister Perry Christie while officiating at this ceremony on Saturday also recognized Mr. Kennedy Jr. for his advocacy in our country on the environment and in particular the historic fight to Save Clifton.
“I am somewhat dismayed and perplexed that the Prime Minister did not use this occasion to also note and recognize the Bahamian fighters who led the struggle to Save Clifton.
“By doing this he gave the impression that Clifton was saved singularly by the effort Mr. Kennedy Jr brought to the debate.
How could the Prime Minister not know that he should mention the Clifton Champions: Vivian Whylly, Dr. C. B. Moss and Ms. Sam Duncombe.
“It is troubling that the Prime Minister, who knows of the contribution of these people and many others to the Clifton Struggle would choose to ignore them.
“ I am further concerned that there is a reported move by the Government to grant the seabed of Clifton Bay and surrounding areas of Gaulin Cay to the control of the Bahamas National Trust instead of vesting it in the Clifton Heritage Authority- that was created by statute for this purpose during Mr. Christie’s 2002-2007 administration.
“I want to go on record as strongly criticizing such a decision and I wish to warn the Government that any move to take any part of Clifton or its surrounding sea bed in Clifton Bay and vest it within the jurisdiction of the plutocrats who administrate the BNT; will be forcefully challenged by those of us who shed blood, sweat and tears for unborn generations of ordinary Bahamians to enjoy.
“For far too long we have allowed special interest groups and mainly foreigners to dictate environmental policies to us and it appears that our country always want to hide behind a foreign face, organization or brand when it comes to the Bahamian people advocating on the Environment.
“I make this complaint because already Mr. Kennedy Jr has been scheduled to make environmental presentations to Bahamian audiences on climate change in Small Island Developing States.
“The Bahamas Government and the College of the Bahamas, as it moves to university status needs to be reminded that there are a number of more eminently qualified, experienced and exposed Bahamians who can address this topic.
“It is not too late for the Prime Minister to acknowledge the contribution of Bahamians on environmental issues.