Coalitions Team Up In Struggle to Protect Waters

Wednesday 03rd, July 2013 / 22:59 Published by

Save The Bays — the fast-growing organisation that is moving toward what appears to be a national environmental alliance — announced today it has gained yet another partner in its fight to protect the marine environment of The Bahamas. The Bimini Blue Coalition, formed in January 2013 to  lead the fight for the protection of Bimini’s reefs, beaches and waters, said today it is partnering with Save The Bays to ramp up its community outreach and enhance efforts as the organisations pursue similar goals.

“We are thrilled and honoured to partner with the Save The Bays team, and together we hope to protect and promote the famous reefs, beaches, and waters around our precious little ‘Islands in the Stream,'” said the Coalition that has already garnered over 1,500 signatures to stop construction of a cruise ship terminal. “Over the long term, the goals of the Bimini Blue Coalition for Bimini essentially echo the goals of the Save The Bays team throughout The Bahamas.   We’re trying to promote sensible, sustainable use of our island’s natural resources.”

Fred Smith, QC, a director of Save The Bays, believes the collaboration will prove fruitful with both organizations demonstrating passion in pushing for the preservation of marine resources.

“As Save The Bays continues to grow as an organisation and expand its mission to protect waters throughout The Bahamas, it is essential that we form strategic partnerships capable of extending our reach into already existing communities of active conservationists,” said Smith. “We were happy to partner with Bimini Blue Coalition given the level of dedication they have demonstrated in promoting the cause to protect Bimini’s natural habitat. The symbiotic relationship that we have formed will definitely bolster our intertwined objectives.”

According to Smith, Save The Bays — established in March 2013 and forming partnerships with dramatic speed — appears to be giving rise to a National Environmental Alliance.

“This is exciting and bodes well for our treasured environment,” he said.

The latest partner, Bimini Blue Coalition, is made up of Bimini residents, homeowners, community leaders and visitors working together to “keep Bimini’s waters the bluest in The Bahamas.” Its mission involves the promotion and creation of a sustainable future for the islands of Bimini, including the development of an ecologically-responsible tourism industry. Most recently, Bimini Blue Coalition’s efforts have focused on a petition drive that has garnered over 1,500 signatures in just over two weeks to stop the creation of a cruise ship terminal on North Bimini.

The terminal is part of a $100 million investment by the Malaysia-based Genting conglomerate. Genting was recently denied permission to tear down the waterfront Miami Herald building in Miami to build a mega resort and casino. It has now turned its attention to Bimini just off the Miami coast  where it opened a casino on June 28 and plans to complete construction of the 1,000 foot cruise ship dock and dredge to create a man-made island. While the cruise ship terminal is estimated to attract up to 3,000 visitors a day to the shores of North Bimini, petition signers say that it will destroy what has been called “a massive concentration of precious coral reefs,” permanently changing the island’s most important asset — its waters.

“This is a blasphemy and is completely disproportionate,” said Smith. “Once again, as with Baker’s Bay in Guana Cay, our government is sacrificing our marine environment on the altar of the almighty dollar.” The partnership between the organizations is initially aimed at addressing two key issues facing the islands of Bimini, the proposed cruise ship terminal that would heavily impact the reefs, and the second is establishing final and full implementation of the North Bimini Marine Reserve.

Diane Phillips And Associates

Captions: Human Rights and Environmental Activist and Save the Bays Director, Joseph Darville (left) walks a beach in Bimini with Al Sweeting (right), a local businessman.

Human Rights and Environmental Activist and Save the Bays Director, Joseph Darville (left) discusses the issues with Lloyd ‘Duda’ Edgecombe (right), Chief Council in Bimini.

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