October 06, 2014

There is an old adage that says: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, the lesson: that taking the necessary steps and precautions to PREVENT disaster from occurring is worth far more than any time, energy and resources spent on CORRECTING a problem. 

Unfortunately, this Christie led administration has failed to see the value of that lesson and in so many ways continues to take a reactionary position to many of the country’s pressing concerns. Among them: the issue of environmental stewardship. Less than one month ago, amid investigations into a significant spill near Adelaide beach, environmentalists and concerned citizens from around the country raised the alarm about the ongoing oil spills being reported in the Clifton area. 

The Democratic National Alliance (DNA) at the time also joined those groups in calling on the government to take a more hands on approach to dealing with this longstanding issue. We however, have been IGNORED. In the face of consistent oil spills in the area over the course of several weeks, months and years, SUCCESSIVE GOVERNMENTS have failed to enact the kind of policies which would make corporations, companies, and residents MORE ACCOUNTABLE for the destruction and or damage of our natural resources. 

I was disturbed, but not surprised by reports of yet another oil spill taking place over the weekend near Stuart’s Cove and Albany.  Even more disturbing however was the response of the Minister of the Environment. In a statement released to the media, he acknowledges the spill and again committed the government’s efforts to address what he called a “vexing problem”. He further pointed to the intent of the government to secure “international consultants” to assist.

There are however, two things wrong with the Minister’s position. First, the promise of the government’s commitment ring HOLLOW and EMPTY particularly as no concrete steps have been taken to minimize or prevent the number of spills taking place in the area in recent times DESPITE the fact that the government is aware of which companies and corporations may be contributing to the problem.

Secondly, the government’s apparent need to rely on the advice of “international consultants” again BETRAYS their campaign promise to “Believe in Bahamians”. The foreign consultants, the statement says, will assess the impact of the spill and create a mediation plan in addition to an overall environment management plan. While the DNA welcomes any assistance which would FINALLY result in a plan of action, we cannot help but wonder; would it not be more efficient and perhaps cost effective to seek the advice of environmental experts in THIS COUNTRY! Persons who have monitored the various spills, who have already offered solutions to the problems, who are FAMILIAR with the geographical landscape? Are there no local individuals whose expertise could have been called upon in the crafting of a new environmental management plan?

Once again the government’s reaction to instances of environmental degradation leaves much to be desired. We call on the Minister to do away with empty promises and actually ACT to protect our environment. Our country, arguably the most beautiful place on earth, depends heavily on our natural resources. It is imperative, now more than ever that Bahamians and those we elect to office take every precaution necessary to avoid the need to save and cure our environment. 

Christopher Mortimer
DNA Deputy Leader

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Democratic National Alliance - Bahamas

The mission of The Democratic National Alliance (DNA) is to ensure that the needs and aspirations of Bahamian people - to be owners with the government in the political, cultural, and economic development of the nation - are met. The DNA is devoted to upholding, protecting, and deepening the democratic rule of law in society by promoting openness and accountability in governmental affairs, social justice and equality, and the right of the people to self-governance and authority in determining their own destiny.