Archive | August, 2014

Impact of Clifton oil pollution set to be revealed

This photo, taken last week at Clifton Pier, shows oil seeping through a barrier presumably erected to contain it. The area suffers frequent spills and leaks of petroleum products and other other toxic substances, most likely from one or more of the nearby industrial plants. However, in the absence of any official investigations by government, both the source of the leaks and the identity of the agencies that sporadically attempt to contain them, remains unclear.

This photo, taken last week at Clifton Pier, shows oil seeping through a barrier presumably erected to contain it. The area suffers frequent spills and leaks of petroleum products and other other toxic substances, most likely from one or more of the nearby industrial plants. However, in the absence of any official investigations by government, both the source of the leaks and the identity of the agencies that sporadically attempt to contain them, remains unclear.

Clifton-Western Bays Waterkeeper organization launched as part of fast-growing international clean water initiative

The full extent of the damage caused to Clifton Bay by frequent oil spills and other forms of environmental degradation may soon be made clear, as international experts are working with concerned locals on water quality issues in this ecologically significant area.

The effort is being spearheaded by fast-growing local social and environmental advocacy group Save The Bays, in conjunction with the global Waterkeeper Alliance, a leading non-government organization (NGO) which coordinates more than 200 stewards of the marine environment, or Waterkeepers, who are assigned to rivers, bays, lakes and coastal areas around the world.

“Our waters define us. They are our source of industry and prosperity, the source of life itself in this beautiful country,” said Save The Bays director and proposed Bahamas Waterkeeper Joseph Darville. “We are committed to doing all we can to protect our seas, and the wondrous diversity of life they sustain, both for their inherent value, and for the benefit of future generations of Bahamians.

“There can be no better partner in this effort that the Waterkeeper Alliance, which stands behind every Waterkeeper in the world as they fight for their community’s right to clean water, supporting them with scientific research, strategic planning, and vital training.”

Darville said that while he has been nominated to be the official country representative for Waterkeepers, getting a Waterkeeper organization operational in the Clifton and Western Bays area will represent a huge step forward in the effort to protect and preserve the waters of The Bahamas.

“Clifton Bay is so important to the population of New Providence,” he said. “It has been a prime fishing ground for generations and is home to the island’s most significant reef system. The nearby mangrove forests are spawning grounds for countless species of marine life, which populate the bay and the surrounding areas, supporting our fishing industry and creating the conditions for countless economic opportunities for Bahamians.

“For years, this vital marine habitat has been under siege from oil spills and systematic toxic leakages from the industrial complex and power plant at the southwestern end of the bay. The government has failed in its duty to investigate this travesty, and as a result the offenders remain unidentified and there is no record of the extent of damage.”

Once operational, the Clifton-Western Bays Waterkeeper’s job will be to make up for the government’s failure in this regard, working to identify the level and nature of toxins present in the area. The studies are also expected to reveal the impact of other pressures on the bay, for example the unauthorized construction works undertaken at nearby Nygard Cay, which environmentalists claim have interrupted the natural flow of sand and damaged important reef systems.

During a recent visit by a group international environmental experts – many of them Waterkeepers – The Bahamas was warned of the grave effects the kind of pollution seen at Clifton could have on fishing stocks as well as the tourism industry.

“Contamination of water can come from many different places, and very often it is difficult to see where that contamination is coming from,” said Rachel Silverstein, the Waterkeeper for Biscayne Bay, Florida. “But in the case can see very clearly where this oil is originating, it is very point-sourced pollution and they should take action very quickly to clean it up and to stop the leaks in order to protect the marine environment, the clean water economy of The Bahamas, and the livelihood of the people who live in and around Clifton Bay.”

Marydele Donnelly, director of international policy for the Sea Turtle Conservancy, said: “The oil on the water was appalling and I can’t imagine what it must be doing to the marine resources, here. It’s been an ongoing problem. The power plant is filthy and here it is in one of The Bahamas most important cultural sites at the Clifton Bay Heritage Park.”

Alex Matthiessen, CEO of the Blue Marble Project, said: “The idea of having open oil spills in an area as beautiful as The Bahamas, that relies so heavily on tourism, on clean water, on clean beaches, on all kinds of recreational activities – the two just don’t mix.

“I guarantee you if there is too much of that kind of flagrant environmental pollution down here, you are going to start to lose foreign tourists and that’s the foundation of the Bahamian economy.”

For more on their visit Save The Bays Bahamas youtube channel: http://youtu.be/cR6E2YiLvGo

Environment Petition Hits 6,000 Signatures

6,000 and Counting – The fast-growing environmental advocacy group Save The Bays announced it has hit 6,000 petition signatures and nearly 17,000 Facebook Likes in its campaign to urge government to pass a Freedom of Information Act and strong environmental protection measures. Photo shows demonstrators at a Freedom of Information rally in Rawson Square last March supported by a broad cross section ranging from leaders and members of the Opposition and the DNA to Bahamas Chamber of Commerce, Bahamas National Trust, BREEF, Coalition to Protect Clifton Bay, reEARTH and dozens of smaller organizations.

6,000 and Counting – The fast-growing environmental advocacy group Save The Bays announced it has hit 6,000 petition signatures and nearly 17,000 Facebook Likes in its campaign to urge government to pass a Freedom of Information Act and strong environmental protection measures. Photo shows demonstrators at a Freedom of Information rally in Rawson Square last March supported by a broad cross section ranging from leaders and members of the Opposition and the DNA to Bahamas Chamber of Commerce, Bahamas National Trust, BREEF, Coalition to Protect Clifton Bay, reEARTH and dozens of smaller organizations.

Save The Bays Hits Milestone, 6,000+ Sign Petition Calling for Freedom of Information, Environmental Protection Act

Save The Bays, the fast-growing environmental advocacy group, today reported that it had hit a major milestone with 6,000 verified signatures on a petition calling for strong environmental protection measures and a Freedom of Information act.

“This is phenomenal,” said Lindsey McCoy, Save The Bays CEO. “It shows that people really do care about the environment, and they want it protected. Save The Bays was only formed last year and the reason we have met with such success is that we are hitting a chord that is important to the people who call The Bahamas home. The environment matters.”

According to McCoy, the landmark 6,000-signature achievement occurred ahead of schedule.

“We actually underestimated how much excitement and interest environmental issues would generate and, like with our Facebook page that is now at nearly 17,000 Likes, reaching 6,000 signatures on the petition happened well ahead of our dream target date.”

That 17,000 Facebook Likes is believed to be a record for a Bahamian-registered NGO.

The petition that drew so many to sign calls for an Environmental Protection Act, a Freedom of Information Act, an end to unregulated development and to oil spills, protection of conch and creation of the long-promised marine park at Clifton Bay.

McCoy said directors would decide shortly how best to present the petition with the signatures to government.

“It will be done in a very public way,” she said, “and the invitation will be extended to all of our community partners who are doing all they can to protect the environment in their communities or in their roles.” Those partners include large and long-established organisations like the Bahamas National Trust, The Nature Conservancy, BREEF, Earthcare and reEarth, as well as smaller groups often created to fight for a backyard issue threatening their environment, the coral reefs or fish, conch and crawfish supplies. Save The Bays has made its cry as the voice of the environment heard from regular radio shows to the courts. It has filed several legal actions, including matters affecting Bimini, oil pollution at Clifton Bay and issues surrounding Nygard Cay.

McCoy said most signatures came through the petition posted on the Save The Bays website at www.savethebays.bs.

But many people, she noted, signed at events including the Freedom of Information Act demonstration in Rawson Square in March when the leaders of both the Opposition FNM and the DNA signed. One of the signatures that has attracted the most attention – that of legendary screen star Sir Sean Connery.

Govt Banned From Starting New Nygard Consultation

Originally published in The Tribune

By: Rashad Rolle

August 27th, 2014

 

GOVERNMENT was forbidden by the Supreme Court from undertaking a new consultation process on applications by Lyford Cay resident Peter Nygard for building permits and Crown land until a judicial review has been completed.

Last month, Supreme Court Justice Rhonda Bain imposed an injunction prohibiting the government from making decisions on Mr Nygard’s applications.

However, in a notice published in The Nassau Guardian on August 6, the government effectively announced the start of a new consultation process.

In a closed court session on Monday, Justice Bain gave the environmental group, Save the Bays (STB), the freedom to seek judicial review over the latest consultation process while prohibiting the government from starting new ones.

The government, therefore, cannot consult on Mr Nygard’s building permit application, future building applications, Crown lease application and the anticipated applications for works relating to existing and non-existing seabed structures.

The government also cannot consider, or continue to consider granting permits, approvals or leases with respect to these applications.

STB, which was represented by lawyer Dawson Malone, argued that the government’s latest consultation process was irrational because it allegedly breached the terms of last month’s injunction imposed on the government’s first consultation process.

Aside from this, Mr Malone argued that the latest process is similarly flawed in many ways.

He said the government has failed to disclose essential documents and information on the applications so people could make meaningful contributions to them. Among those documents, he said, is a land use plan.

He described the government’s most recent notice of its consultation process, which appeared in The Nassau Guardian earlier this month, as unclear.

“It is unclear from the new consultation notices whether the invitation for comments in the notice relates just to the building permit application or to all the applications referred to in the notice,” his group wrote as part of its submission in support of its application seeking to apply for judicial review. “All four categories of applications are mentioned in the notice which suggests that the invitation to provide comments within 21 days may relate to all four. The notice is unsatisfactory and therefore flawed in this respect. This is unfair on the applicant and renders the consultation process inadequate and unfair.”

Mr Malone also argued that STB should be allowed to apply for judicial review because of pre-existing decisions from the Department of Physical Planning to reject similar applications from Mr Nygard while requiring him to restore the coastline at Nygard Cay to its original state.

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Govt Hit With Third Injunction Over Nygard Applications

Originally published in The Nassau Guardian

By: Alison Lowe

August 27th, 2014

 

The government has been hit with yet another injunction after an environmental group complained that it has moved ahead with a second “flawed” public consultation over Peter Nygard’s development-related applications. The move on the part of the government to continue the process of considering the applications came despite a previous legal action against an initial public consultation on
the matter having yet to be concluded and an injunction against further consideration of the application still being in place.

The Coalition to Protect Clifton Bay was also granted leave to seek judicial review of the government’s actions for a second time during a hearing on Monday.

In a shift from the initial judicial review action launched by Save the Bays, the latest judicial review action challenges not only the consultation process itself, which the coalition maintains is again “flawed” due to lack of available information, but also the government’s apparent failure to produce a land use plan to guide the determination of any development approvals in the country.

Lawyers have pointed out in the action that a land use plan which is consistent with “national land use development policies” is called for under the Planning and Subdivision Act, which came into effect in January 2011. The act suggests that once approved, the plan should “guide” the government whenever it is considering any application for development approval, but it is yet to be produced some three and a half years later.

Dawson Malone, attorney for the Coalition to Protect Clifton Bay, said the group had to move “urgently” to file for the judicial review and injunction against the government after it noticed that the government had yet again published public notices indicating that it intended to engage in public consultation over various approvals sought by the billionaire fashion mogul for further development of his property at the tip of Lyford Cay.

“The reason why we had to move urgently was because the second consultation process was due to expire today,” Malone told Guardian Business.

Fellow attorney on the matter, Romauld Ferreira, said the government set a precedent in the case of approvals granted to Resorts World Bimini for its North Bimini Ferry Terminal for moving quickly to accommodate developers, leaving the coalition with little option but to quickly launch its second legal battle with respect to the government’s apparent intention to push ahead with the Nygard consultation process.

“Bimini was a huge eye opener in terms of just how far the government is willing to go to accommodate the right person. So with these issues I think people may get desensitized, but these are important. It’s saying you have to follow the rules everyone else has to follow. The government is trying to circumvent the rules for those they favor, and they’ve shown that, under the right circumstances they’re capable of moving very, very quickly,” said Ferreira.

The action names Prime Minister Perry Christie, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Works Philip Davis, Director of Physical Planning Michael Major, the Town Planning Committee, the Minister of the Environment and Housing Kenred Dorsett, Minister of Transport and Aviation Glenys Hanna Martin, Buildings Control Officer Craig Delancy and the Department of Physical Planning as respondents.

Notices indicating plans to push ahead with another public consultation on Nygard’s applications appeared gazetted in The Nassau Guardian in August. Less than a month earlier, the Supreme Court had granted injunction requests against the government preventing the Christie administration from making decisions on Nygard’s applications for building permits and Crown land.

The initial injunction and judicial review action approval came after both environmental group Save the Bays (STB) and 103 Lyford Cay residents and property owners moved to sue the government over what STB called its “fundamentally flawed” consultation process over Nygard’s applications. It was claimed that critical information that was supposed to be made available to members of the public in that process was not.

Malone said that the latest judicial review action, allowed to proceed by Justice Bain, “highlights the failure of the government, with a piece of legislation in force since January 1, 2011, to do a very simple task – to produce the land use plan.”

“It’s supposed to be produced under the act, to be published on the government website,” he added.

The injunction restrains the government from doing certain things until the judicial review application is determined.

These include: carrying out the consultation processes in relation to applications made by Nygard, considering applications made by Nygard or granting approvals with respect to the applications made.

A hearing has been set for October 29 and 30 during which the government can apply to have the injunction lifted.

 

Read original article here

 

Support for Save The Bays continues to grow

Camp participants proudly display a bonefish they caught while learning about this important protected species, which is restricted to catch-and-release fishing throughout The Bahamas. The West End Eco-Fishing Camp Association teaches children about the environment, water safety, boating skills, swimming, fishing and snorkeling in an effort to instill an abiding concern and respect for the environment that they will in turn pass on to future generations.

Camp participants proudly display a bonefish they caught while learning about this important protected species, which is restricted to catch-and-release fishing throughout The Bahamas. The West End Eco-Fishing Camp Association teaches children about the environment, water safety, boating skills, swimming, fishing and snorkeling in an effort to instill an abiding concern and respect for the environment that they will in turn pass on to future generations.

Pioneering eco-fishing camp is the latest addition to grassroots social and environmental coalition that is sweeping The Bahamas

 

 Fast-growing advocacy movement Save The Bays has gained yet another key partner in the fight to protect the unique cultural and environmental heritage of The Bahamas.

            The West End Eco-Fishing Camp Association (WEEFCA) is a community based non-profit organization thatteaches children about the environment, water safety, boating skills, swimming, fishing and snorkeling in an effort to instill an abiding concern and respect for the environment and its preservation.

            “We are delighted to join the list of partners/supporters who stand with Save The Bays in its goal to protect the Bahamian environment for the benefit and enjoyment of future generations,” said Keith Cooper, WEEFCA association’s director.

            “WEEFCA is dedicated to ensuring that the next generation has an opportunity to enjoy the natural resources and beauty of our islands. We look forward to working with Save The Bays to raise awareness of any issue affecting our natural world.”

            Founded in 2008 by Cooper and his wife Linda, WEEFCA has grown from a small eco-fishing camp into a large-scale and comprehensive programme that last year catered to more than 80 children in Grand Bahama.

            Since its inception, more than 250 underprivileged and at-risk youths have graduated as environmental stewards. These children, 8-16 years of age, are encouraged to seek careers in tourism, the marine sciences and the maritime industry.

            “Our primary goal is to deter them from a life of crime and drug abuse,” Cooper said. “By showing them the beauty of their environment and opportunities available to them, right in their back yard, we hope they will become productive citizens.”

            There are two camps WEEFCA runs, the first a 13-weekend spring/summer programme in which children are introduced to nature and plant identification, as well as traditional bush medicines, bird watching and fishing. In addition they are taken on eco-tours, take part in environmental clean-up initiatives and are taught basic first aid, man-over-board rescue operations and swimming.

            The second camp is a 4-week programme that introduces the children to snorkeling, sea life and the beauty of the underwater environment. 

            “We are excited to have such a pioneering youth education group join us in the important work of protecting, promoting, and educating people about our beautiful Bahamian environment,” said Save The Bays CEO Lindsey McCoy.

            “The West End Eco-Fishing Camp shares our philosophy of passing the mantle of environmental conservation on to the next generation, and linking the health of our natural resources to the health of our society as a whole. They are exactly the kind of innovative and forward-thinking group we want to attract to our cause.”

 

            Founded just over a year ago, Save The Bays has taken The Bahamas by storm. The grassroots effort to protect ecologically significant areas of the archipelago from unregulated development has transformed into a broad-based coalition that is at the forefront of both social and environmental issues. Calling for an environmental protection act, oil spill legislation, the freedom of information act and much needed conchservation laws.

            STB now has more than 500 registered members, almost 17,000 followers on Facebook and has just reached 6,000 signatures on its petition on Change.org.

            Other community partners include: Abaco Cares, Andros Conservancy and Trust, Bahamas National Trust, Clifton Heritage National Park, Bahamas Reef Environment Foundation, Earth Care, The Island School, Friends of the Environment, reEarth, Save Guana Cay Reef, Responsible Development for Abaco, Swim for Ocean Survival, The Nature Conservancy Northern Caribbean Programme, and Young Marine Explorers.

New Questions Raised Over Nygard Consultation

Originally published in The Tribune

By: Rashad Rolle

August 13th, 2014

 

ENVIRONMENTAL group Save the Bays yesterday questioned why a notice was published in a local daily last week indicating a new 21-day consultation process over land applications by billionaire fashion mogul Peter Nygard despite a Supreme Court order barring the Christie administration from engaging in such a process.

Several weeks ago, Supreme Court Justice Rhonda Bains imposed an injunction prohibiting the government from making decisions on Mr Nygard’s applications for building permits and Crown land.

Despite this, in a notice published in The Nassau Guardian last week Tuesday, the government appeared to have effectively renewed its consultation process on Mr Nygard’s applications. The notice, signed by Director of Physical Planning Michael Major, said the government would give interested people and organisations 21 days to respond as it reviews a building permit application by Mr Nygard and a report related to leasing Crown land to him.

In view of this, Save the Bays (STB) lawyer Fred Smith yesterday questioned why the government appears adamant about moving Mr Nygard’s plans forward while allegedly failing to address the Crown land applications of thousands of Bahamians.

“I represent the new NGO, Crown Land for Bahamians (CLB),” he said. “I am absolutely bewildered as to why our Bahamian government should be so hot to try to give Peter Nygard $35 million worth of Crown land when there are 35,000 applications for Crown land from Bahamians that have not gotten a formal response. And if I am wrong with that figure, then I challenge my Prime Minister to say how many applications have not received a response. Our Prime Minister is the trustee of Crown land for the benefit of Bahamians, not the trustee of Crown land for the benefit of foreign developers like Peter Nygard.

“I am shocked that despite the injunction by Justice Bain in the recent judicial review that Save the Bays launched, stopping the government from considering and consulting on Nygard’s applications, the government has published its new notice in the Guardian sparking a new consultation process giving the public 21 days to make contributions as to whether Nygard should have his applications granted.” In Mr Smith’s opinion he found the action “indecent, obscene and perverse.”

“What this means,” he said, “is that Mr Nygard comes first and Bahamians come last. Bahamians do not matter in this country. Foreigners have an advantage.”

This is the third time this year that the government has announced that people would have 21 days to participate in the consultation process on Mr Nygard’s applications.

After the first consultation period expired, the government granted a further 21-day extension because of flaws in the process that included its failure to produce all relevant documents for people who might have wished to contribute to the debate.

Although Mr Smith believes the new consultation process cannot continue, he said yesterday that the same problem of not having all necessary information persists.

“We attended the Ministry of Works (yesterday) to view documents under the new public notice and we were told there were no documents to view. I would like to know what game my government is playing with the Bahamian public in so far as Peter Nygard is concerned. Why is Peter Nygard getting such special treatment from my government?”

In addition to reviewing a building permit application of Mr Nygard, the government’s notice said: “The department is also reviewing a report titled “Nygard Cay Coastal Process and Coastal Service. . .and commissioned by the government of the Bahamas. The report is to guide the decision making process in respect to an application to lease certain areas of the seabed adjacent to Simms Point (Nygard Cay) presently being considered. . .”

The government recently filed a summons seeking to lift the Supreme Court’s injunction on its ability to make decisions on Mr Nygard’s applications.

However, a hearing on the matter yesterday was adjourned to October with the injunction remaining in place at least until then.

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Bahamas Supreme Court Closes Dolphin Tourism Attraction

Originally published in Dive Travel Business News

August 2nd, 2014

 

In a major victory for marine mammals, a Supreme Court judge in the Bahamas has ordered a “swim-with-dolphins” exhibit to shut down and release its eight captive dolphins.

The facility on Blackbeard’s Cay, off the coast of Nassau, had barely opened its doors when Justice Stephen Isaacs ordered its owners, Blue Illusions Limited, to remove the shallow and unprotected sea pens that the dolphins were held in and restore the area to its original condition.

The Bahamas judge presiding the case is now questioning if it is legal to import dolphins for reasons other than research—which is a huge decision for the tourist based economy.

The Bahamas Supreme Court’s decision to close the tourist attraction comes after reEarth, a nonprofit community and environmental watch group in the Bahamas obtained documents proving government violations. ReEarth also created a petition to shutter the facility that was signed by more than 65,000 people.

The documents show evidence of the prime minister, the minister of agriculture, and the town planning committee, among many others violating the law when giving Blue Illusions Limited (which is headed by Samir Andrawos, a St. Maarten business man) permits to build the dolphin attraction on Blackbeard’s Cay. Siding with reEarth in the lawsuit that the organization filed against Blue Illusions Limited, Justice Isaacs found that the company skirted building permits and ignored the public outcry against the facility, and built the dolphinarium despite opposition from the Planning and Subdivision act.

The documents also show that the attraction’s eight dolphins were imported from Honduras before attaining the proper permits, which violates the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

Blue Illusions Limited can appeal the Supreme Court’s decision, but for now, there is still plenty to celebrate over this groundbreaking decision.

“I am thrilled,” Sam Duncombe, president of reEarth, told The Nassau Guardian. “We’ve been fighting this issue for 24 years and finally we’ve been able to bring one of the developers with dolphins in captivity to court over the circumvention of the Marine Mammal Protection Act.”

In a final blow, the judge ordered Blue Illusions to pay for reEarth’s costs in bringing the lawsuit.

 

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A Supreme Court judge in the Bahamas has ordered a swim-with-dolphins attraction to shut down and the release of the captive dolphins

wild dolphine

Originally published in Dive Magazine

By: Marion Kutter

 

Permits have been revoked for a planned tourist attraction featuring a dolphinarium on Blackbeard’s Cay, off the coast of Nassau.

The decision comes after the local animal and environmental advocacy group reEarth filed a lawsuit against Blue Illusions Limited, saying the company had been granted permits in violation of the law.

Documents have shown that the prime minister, the minister of agriculture and others violated the Marine Mammal Protection Act when they issued a permit to build the facility.The company obtained the eight dolphins from Honduras last year, before neccessary permits had been issued. Justice Stepehen Isaacs questioned whether the import of marine mammals for any other reasons than scientific reasearch was legal.

The activist group reEarth had collected 65,000 signatures calling for the closure of the facility and the dolphins to be freed.

Further agreeing with reEarth, Justice Stephen Isaacs argued Blue Illusions Limited had tried to realise the project in secrecy, purposely ignoring the public outcry against plans to open the attraction.

Finally Justice Isaacs ordered Blue Illusions Limited to restore the area of the dolphins enclosures to its original state.

Animal welfare campaigners have celebrated the decision as a huge victory for captive dolphins and whales and see the ruling as an opportunity to start a campaign over captive marine mammals in the country.

‘I am thrilled,’ Sam Duncombe, president of reEarth, told The Nassau Guardian, ‘We’ve been fighting this issue for 24 years and finally we’ve been able to bring one of the developers with dolphins in captivity to court over the circumvention of the Marine Mammal Protection Act’.

 

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World Papers Focusing Eyes on Bahamas Environment

Save The Bays Legal Action Capturing International Headlines

 

newspaper-collage

A series of legal actions filed by the environmental organization Save The Bays and making their way to the highest courts in the Bahamian judicial system are attracting international attention with stories in papers and online publications from Canada to Italy, Germany to New Zealand.

“The fact that what we are doing here is generating headlines thousands of miles away is proof that people care about the environment. It’s as simple as that,” said Fred Smith, QC, Callenders & Co. Managing Partner, Grand Bahama, and Legal Director of Save The Bays, an association partnering with several environmental groups but often taking their requests a step further, right into court.

Since its founding one year ago April, the group has filed five separate legal cases, more than an environmental organization in Bahamian history. Even as it has asked the court to review ongoing oil pollution in Clifton Bay and to free eight penned dolphins from a tourist excursion it says provides sub-standard inhumane treatment in violation of the country’s own Marine Mammals Protection Act, Save The Bays’ popularity has soared. The start-up group has more than 16,000 Likes on Facebook, breaking another record for a non-governmental or non-profit in The Bahamas, and nearly 6,000 signatures on a petition it will soon present to the Bahamian prime minister.

But what has encouraged its members and directors most is the hundreds of inches of news coverage its activities have generated in publications as diverse as the Winnipeg Free Press and the UK’s ultra-conservative Guardian.

“It’s been amazing,” said Sam Duncombe, founder of reEarth and a Save The Bays director who fought for dolphin protection for 24 years before a Supreme Court judge in The Bahamas agreed with reEarth and Save The Bays’ petition to close a facility at Blackbeard’s Cay which the two groups argued was opened without the proper permits and which it claimed subjected its captive dolphins to what it called heartbreaking treatment, including lack of shade or protection from storms and being kept in water far too shallow to meet even the lowest standards. It was also claimed the facility threatens a proposed national park because of the waste material produced by the dolphins.

While the tourist attraction has six weeks to appeal, the headlines have carried the news of the ruling to millions. “From online publications like www.geapress.org in Italy to all sorts of publications in Germany and elsewhere, we are heartened by the interest this story has generated. I am confident it signifies a global trend in awareness for dolphins as the splash and flash attractions that are so cruel for the health and well-being of dolphins gives way to sea-pen sanctuaries.”

If dolphins touch heartstrings, the image of 007 and a famed beach and bay where James Bond and Jaws movies were filmed is giving rise to the most headlines. Located a half hour’s boat ride away from the harbor where the dolphins are penned, the much-photographed Jaws beach on Clifton Bay are the centre of attention in two other law suits filed by Save The Bays. Dealing with unregulated development, one of them is seeking a judicial review in a case involving Canadian-born fashion designer Peter Nygard who has nearly doubled the size of a property he bought in The Bahamas in the 1980s, adding what has been estimated at $30 million or more in value by blocking the flow of sand to the nearby public Jaws beach and accreting land on which he has built a Mayan-themed residential and resort complex. Nygard, who has temporarily been halted by the court, is seeking permission to expand. Despite Save The Bays case citing the prime minister and others for allowing the land acquisition to continue for so long, the names James Bond and Nygard and Jaws beach have been like magnets to foreign media captivated by the case.

“Peter Nygard received a setback in current legal challenges in the Bahamas,” wrote the Winnipeg Free Press on July 24 under the headline “Setback for Nygard in Bahamas.” The July 21 Toronto Globe & Mail carried a headline “Fashion entrepreneur Peter Nygard in Bahamas environmental feud.” That story included the words: “The billionaire who owns a large property in the Bahamas that has been featured on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous and in Forbes magazines, faces allegations from local residents and environmental groups who say he has been expanding his massive estate without regard for the environment.” On July 12, the UK Guardian splashed a headline “Sean Connery joins Bahamas campaign to stop billionaire developing mansion.” With a full colour half page photo of Daniel Craig coming out of the water clad in a bathing suit, the Independent July 14 carried a headline ‘Famed Jaws Beach at Risk. “That story noted that the Bahamas government ordered Nygard to return his property to its original size. But the Canadian claims the beach around his home has been created naturally and said that since the government has changed, the order no longer stands.” And the Toronto Star on July 24 chimed in with the headline, “Canadian mogul’s Bahamian paradise stirs up controversy.”