Archive | August, 2016

Waterkeepers and STB lead youth environmental adventure

Camp Eco-Explorer – Kids Version taught 12 Grand Bahama youngsters to appreciate the environment and motivated them to do all they can to protect it

 

FREEPORT, Grand Bahama – The word ‘environment’ means a whole lot more to a group of Grand Bahama students now that they’ve completed the first ever Kids Version of Eco Explorer Camp!

Camp Eco-Explorer – Kids Version, a seven-day camp sponsored by Waterkeepers Bahamas and Save the Bays, was organized to get youngsters excited about their eco-systems and impress upon them how important it is to take care of our natural resources.

Camp_6“Our facilitators had the experience of working with teenagers over the past three years and became painfully aware at times of the lack of knowledge about and appreciation for our wonderful, rich and precious environment.  It became obvious that a great deal of work has to be done to enlighten our youth about our natural treasures,” said STB chairman Joseph Darville.

The theme for the week was ‘Protect. Preserve. Lead’ and students learned about pine forests, composting, recycling, mangroves, caves, the water cycle, weather, and climate change.

Rashema Ingraham, executive director of Waterkeepers Bahamas, says her organization focuses on ensuring swimmable, fishable, drinkable water for all.  “We are adamant about giving each Bahamian an opportunity to connect with the water, either for enjoyment or to ensure it is safe.  Programs like the Eco Explorer Camp gives campers opportunities to really understand why and how all species of the Earth depend on clean water,” she said.

When they were done in the classroom, they headed to the great outdoors to see first-hand just what they were learning about.

There was no shortage of outdoor fun! Field trips to the Rand Nature Centre, Garden of the Groves, Lucayan National Park, GB Meteorology Office, and Fortune beach brought out the true explorers in each student.

They were supplied with binoculars, magnifying glasses and even snorkeling gear to help them really get into the role of the scientist or the observer.

According to Darville, the program was very ambitious. “The content was challenging and demanded a level of attention and involvement commensurate with and beyond their age. However, with due diligence and encouragement, seasoned with a lot of patience, the facilitators were able to implant in those young minds and spirits an awesome regard and respect of our precious environment”, he said.

Social Media Fun: Kids who attended Camp Eco-Explorer in Grand Bahama last week had the chance to send a social media message with hashtags. The seven-day camp, which also included a day spent birding at the Rand Nature Centre and a visit to the compost center at the Garden of the Groves, was sponsored by Waterkeepers Bahamas and Save The Bays.

Social Media Fun: Kids who attended Camp Eco-Explorer in Grand Bahama last week had the chance to send a social media message with hashtags. The seven-day camp, which also included a day spent birding at the Rand Nature Centre and a visit to the compost center at the Garden of the Groves, was sponsored by Waterkeepers Bahamas and Save The Bays.

Both Ingraham and Darville agreed these lessons should be part of everyday learning.  “We can have beach cleanups every week,” said Ingraham, but if there is no focus on why littering and illegal dumping are toxic for our water supply, there will always be unsightly trash in our communities.”

Darville is strongly advocating for the inclusion of a vibrant environmental curriculum in every school. “If our children do not know and aren’t able to celebrate our natural blessings, they will be more inclined to destroy them.” he said.

Those 12 students left camp with more than certificates. “From all indications, we have some future environmentalists on our hands,” Ingraham said.

As members of Waterkeeper Alliance, a leading international NGO that coordinates more than 290 member licensed organisations who act as watchdogs for the world’s waterways, Save the Bays and Waterkeepers Bahamas work tirelessly to make sure the citizens of the Bahamas are educated and informed about decisions, policies and practices that have an impact — positively or negatively — on the country’s fragile ecosystem. One of its main initiatives is protection of mangroves which act as incubators for marine life and a barrier from ocean surges and flooding during storms.

Bird Watching: Twelve Kid Campers were taught the basics on bird-watching as part of Kids Version of Camp Eco-Explorer. The weeklong camp exposed campers to the natural environment of The Bahamas while educating them on environmental and conservation issues.

Bird Watching: Twelve Kid Campers were taught the basics on bird-watching as part of Kids Version of Camp Eco-Explorer. The weeklong camp exposed campers to the natural environment of The Bahamas while educating them on environmental and conservation issues.

Camp_3

Waterkeepers Bahamas and Save the Bays Host Seven-Day Kids Version of Camp Eco-Explorer: Kids who attended Camp Eco-Explorer in Grand Bahama, hosted by Waterkeepers Bahamas and Save the Bays, spent a day learning about the importance of recycling and composting, with a visit to the Garden of the Groves compost section. Here little camper Stephen Gay is assessing the soil to determine if the soil is rich with necessary nutrients.

Camp_4

Waterkeepers Bahamas and Save the Bays Host Seven-Day Kids Version of Camp Eco-Explorer: Kids who attended Camp Eco-Explorer in Grand Bahama, hosted by Waterkeepers Bahamas and Save the Bays, spent seven days exploring the fragile ecosystem of The Bahamas through field trips like the freshwater caves, mangroves, coastal shoreline and beaches. In addition to getting up-close-and-personal with nature, campers spent the week learning about environmental issues that will impact their future and ways they can get involved in conservation efforts.

Waterkeepers Bahamas and Save the Bays Host Seven-Day Kids Version of Camp Eco-Explorer: Waterkeepers Bahamas and Save The Bays took twelve kid campers to the GB Meteorology Office to learn about weather and changes in weather over a period of years recently as part of Camp Eco-Explorer – Kids Version. In addition to learning about weather and climate change, the kid campers also learned about the fragile ecosystem of The Bahamas and ways they can contribute to its preservation and conservation.

Waterkeepers Bahamas and Save the Bays Host Seven-Day Kids Version of Camp Eco-Explorer: Waterkeepers Bahamas and Save The Bays took twelve kid campers to the GB Meteorology Office to learn about weather and changes in weather over a period of years recently as part of Camp Eco-Explorer – Kids Version. In addition to learning about weather and climate change, the kid campers also learned about the fragile ecosystem of The Bahamas and ways they can contribute to its preservation and conservation.

 

 

Waterkeepers Bahamas works to promote the availability of clean water on all three of the waterbodies for which it is licensed – Bimini, Grand Bahama and Clifton-Western Bays in New Providence – with the goal of ensuring they are swimmable and fishable for future generations of Bahamians. The organisation is a proud member of Waterkeeper Alliance, the world’s fastest growing environmental movement that has united more than 290 Waterkeeper members and affiliates around the world, all working together to focus citizen action on issues that affect waterways from pollution to climate change. If you are aware of pollution, unregulated development or other illegal activities taking place in the area please contact Rashema Ingraham via phone 242-602-7531 or email  waterkeepers.bahamas@gmail.com

Where does our country stand on climate change?

Save The Bays Chairman Seeks Answers:

‘Where does our country stand on climate change and the inescapable, dramatic sea level rise?’

Nine months after Save The Bays returned from the climate change conference in Paris that for a moment caught the world’s attention, the environmental advocacy group’s chairman is still seeking answers to critical questions about how The Bahamas is planning to meet a future of rising sea levels that that could literally wipe out entire islands and populations.

“As an archipelagic nation basically at sea level, we stand to be included among the millions that Jim Young Kim, president of the World Bank Group, speaks of when he says, ‘Climate change hits the poorest the hardest, and our challenge now is to protect tens of millions of people from falling into extreme poverty because of a changing climate’

Save The Bays Chairman, Joseph Darville

“The eyes of the world were on the conference in which The Bahamas participated and the Prime Minister has said on more than one occasion he knows the very real and present dangers that lie ahead for a country that is among those at greatest risk,” said Save The Bays Chairman Joseph Darville. “Recognizing the risk of potential devastation is the first step, but what are we doing to prepare? Why are we waiting when the clock is ticking and the time is drawing nearer to evacuation and we still have no plan.”

Darville points to other low-lying locales already facing reality and finding funding. Miami Beach, he notes, is spending up to $300 million on sea level rise abatement, and even that may not save a coastal city that, much like most of The Bahamas, sits like a whisper above the water.

“For too long and even unto this moment we are not responding intelligently, sensibly or creatively to the inevitable, dramatic impact of rapidly increasing global warming and sea level rise,” Darville said. In the past, good fortune has enabled Bahamians to wrest and wrangle a living from the sea, the very body of water that could threaten survival of future generations.

“For decades, we have been satisfied with what we have been able to reap from basically parasitic economies: gun running, ship wrecking, rum running, drug running and even recently people running. We rely upon the good fortune or ill fortune of others for survival,” he said.

Now, contends Darville, who heads an organization with hundreds of members and a Facebook page of more than 20,000 Likes, the time has come to move further inland and increasingly look to the land for survival.

“For a very long time I have been advocating the return to the soil particularly for the benefit of our young citizens,” Darville, a former educator who still heads summer eco-camps and year-round environmental sessions. “We have neglected to eke out a sustainable and resourceful future for them; thus we are condemning them to a nation devoid of self-creative endeavors.  When these islands begin to gradually and some very rapidly sink into the ocean due to sea level rise, our beloved present and future children will plunge into the ocean of emptiness. Unlike Shaunae’s dive for the gold, they will either surface empty-handed or not survive at all.  How are our youth being trained for green and sustainable jobs?  When, and not if, the ocean covers all our pristine beaches, when there will be no seafront or beach front hotels, and all the tourists are no more, how will this nation’s people survive?”

Although climate change was not one of the six tenets on which Save The Bays was founded or its online petition at www.savethebays.bs founded, it would be covered under a comprehensive environmental protection act, and that, says Darville, is fundamental to the future of a country dependent far more on its resources and the beauty of its environment than it is on industry, manufacturing or technology.

“There was a time when melting ice caps and impact of climate change seemed like a distant worry. But change is occurring at a far greater pace with far dire results projected than even the best scientists predicted and we cannot afford to wait,” Darville said. “We are here to assist but we must have a plan for our islands.”

 

An open letter from STBs chairman to Speaker of the House of Assembly

An open letter from Save The Bays chairman Joseph Darville to Speaker of the House of Assembly, Hon. Dr. Kendal Major

Dear Mr. Speaker,

We, the members and directors of Save The Bays (STB), would like to publicly offer our heartfelt thanks to you and communicate the overwhelming sense of relief we feel following your recent declaration that our private correspondence and financial information should have never been read and tabled in the House of Assembly.

It has been STB’s position from the start that our fundamental constitutional rights were violated by the actions by the MP for Marathon and others – a perspective with which, as you are aware, the Supreme Court of The Bahamas has concurred.

We are extremely heartened to know the Chair of the Honorable House of Assembly feels this unwarranted attack on private citizens was also a violation of best parliamentary practices and should not have been allowed take place. STB could not agree more.

Dr. Kendal Major, Speaker of the House of Assembly

Dr. Kendal Major, Speaker of the House of Assembly

It is indeed lamentable, however, that the path to such rational consensus has been so long, turbulent and bitter. Members of the public, including leaders in the financial community, have quite rightly reacted with alarm and trepidation to the actions of the MP for Marathon and others, in particular the consistent threats to target STB members once again.

Meanwhile, and perhaps most worryingly, the violation of our privacy has caught the attention of the international media, with coverage including an editorial in a leading regional newspaper, a substantial article in the Financial Times (the most prominent and widely-read financial publication in existence) and, most recently, a withering critique entitled “The Bahamas owes Louis Bacon a serious apology,” on dealbreaker.com, rated as one of the top financial blogs in the world by Time Magazine. Several other well-known financial sites reposted this article. Links to the sources are attached below for your convenience.

It is our humble view, Mr. Speaker, that this unfortunate debacle was totally unnecessary from the outset and we feel it is in the best interests of all concerned that it be brought to a peaceful, fair and sensible conclusion as soon as possible before any further damage is done, either at home or abroad, to our good name as a country.

Far from being the unprecedented constitutional crisis that some MPs have claimed, the relationship between fundamental constitutional rights and parliamentary privilege is well-charted territory in the Commonwealth, with several judges establishing precedent in cases similar to that brought by STB, though without resort to such hostility as we have seen here.

Nor is the issue new to The Bahamas, where in the case of The Attorney General vs. Lightbourn (1982), it was ruled that a sitting MP could not rely on the shield of parliamentary privilege to obscure a case of wrongdoing – exactly the argument we presented against the MP for Marathon in our recent constitutional challenge.

In short, STB has done nothing but follow established precedent and there is simply no reason why all concerned cannot agree to step away from the precipice and let calmer heads prevail.

Unfortunately, it seems that certain factions in Parliament would not favor a calming of tensions, but instead continue to push for an ever-heightened level of hostility and extreme rhetoric in the public sphere. In particular, the ongoing effort to have STB’s attorneys cited for “contempt of parliament” runs the risk of doing extreme and perhaps permanent damage to our international reputation.

The world is indeed watching, Mr. Speaker, and we should do everything we can to avoid sending the message that The Bahamas is a place where citizens can be censured and even jailed for seeking to defend their rights through the courts as mandated by the constitution. Added to which, any such finding would only do untold further damage to the relationship between parliament and the judiciary.

We therefore respectfully request, in the interest of calming an unnecessarily inflamed situation that is extremely damaging to the national interest, that you call off the efforts to hold our legal team in contempt.

Please know, Mr. Speaker that it was never the intention of STB to become entangled in an altercation with either the executive or the Parliament of The Bahamas and we remain baffled as to how a private lawsuit, launched against private individuals, led to a hostile attack on our members by sitting MPs.

Much has been made of our application for an injunction to defend against further breaches of our right to privacy. You have been quoted in the press as asserting that the right of Parliament to govern itself should be respected and pointing to your ruling that no further private correspondence in the House.

Once again, we are in total agreement with your reasoning, Mr. Speaker. However, we would respectfully ask you to recall that your ruling was delivered only after our injunction application had been filed. Up until that point, MP Fitzgerald and others had been allowed to attack us at will and with total impunity. At the moment of filing, STB and our frightened, disheartened members had no indication whatsoever that the Chair intended to intervene and defend our rights. Indeed, all indications had pointed in the opposite direction.

We therefore submit that our actions were in no way intended to create the impression of a challenge to either parliamentary privilege or the authority of either the Chair. They were simply an attempt to defend ourselves when it seemed there was no one else willing to defend us.

While, as you have rightly noted, democracy is indeed a messy process, Mr. Speaker, we sincerely ask you to take into consideration that for us, the members and directors of Save The Bays, this ordeal has been much more than a formal exercise. Our members have been thrown into fear and anxiety, we have been denounced and victimized as a result of the unwarranted attacks against us. Our families, our children, have been harassed and taunted over the totally false claims made against us.

We respectfully invite you, Mr. Speaker, to lead the way in bringing an end to this lunacy and ensuring calmer heads prevail before it is indeed too late.

Finally Mr. Speaker, we hope that no offence is taken to the open nature of this letter; we thought it appropriate given your most welcome public comments regarding the tabling and reading of our correspondence.

We would be more than happy to meet with you to discuss any and all related matters at your convenience.

Sincerely,

Joseph Darville

Chairman, Save The Bays

International coverage:

Was the Data Commissioner victimized?

Was the Data Commissioner victimized?

Darville asks if outspoken civil servant’s dismissal was connected to her defense of fundamental human rights in the face of a shocking invasion of citizen’s privacy

 

STATEMENT

 

Save The Bays (STB) congratulates former Data Commissioner Sharmie Farrington-Austin on her brave and inspiring decision to run as an independent candidate in the next general election.

Our membership well remembers her astute, timely and courageous comments in defense of our constitutional rights after STB’s private emails were shamefully disclosed in Parliament by senior government MPs without our permission.

Farrington-Austin quite rightly warned the MPs in question and the country at large against the “dangerous” practice of obtaining private citizens’ correspondence and tabling it in the House of Assembly.

She cautioned MPs to remember that the public expects them to be held to the same standards as ordinary citizens and that no one is above the law.

Austin-Ferguson said of the unauthorized disclosure: “This, in my view, is a most dangerous trend and opens up the society to chaos. Citizens have a right to expect that their private communications would enjoy the protection afforded them under the laws of the country.”

We welcomed and applauded her statements then. We praise them now perhaps more than ever at a time when, in defiance of a Supreme Court ruling, certain MPs are persisting in their misguided and reckless witch-hunt against STB, all in the name of defending the use of parliamentary privilege to infringe upon the fundamental rights of ordinary citizens.

Sharmie_Farrington-AustinUnder the circumstances, I am compelled, on behalf of STB, to demand that the government explain why Farrington-Austin no longer holds the post of Data Commissioner. According to news reports, she did not resign, but rather was dismissed from the position.

The timing, of course, is highly suspicious.

Could it be that this progressive individual – precisely the kind of honest and effective civil servant our people have been crying out for – has been punished for doing what was right? Has she been victimized, in the most cruel and cynical of fashions, simply for standing up for the privacy of ordinary citizens? Simply for doing her job?

Save The Bays hereby officially calls on government to clarify the circumstances surrounding Farrington-Austin’s dismissal. If no response is forthcoming, we, along with the general public, can safely assume that justice is dead in The Bahamas and victimization alive and well under the current PLP administration.

We also call upon all opposition parties to live up to their responsibility as would-be representatives of the people’s rights, and join STB in demanding a full explanation of what occurred..

In the meantime, the STB family wishes Farrington-Austin the best of luck in her political endeavors. Having already proven her mettle as an advocate for fundamental human rights, we believe she will make an outstanding representative for the good people of South Andros and a stellar presence in Parliament, where today, progressive voices are sorely needed.

 

STB made no political contributions

STB Chairman, Joseph Darville

The Bahamas is at the Crossroads of its Future; The Banana Republic of The Bahamas?

Dear Sir I would appreciate it if you could publish this letter:

 

To Jail a Judge or Not! The Bahamas is at the  Crossroads of  its Future; The Banana Republic of The Bahamas? 


International Precedent Setting Judgment

The Judgement delivered by Justice Indra Charles in the Save The Bays  Email case,  is a watershed in the  development of Bahamian Constitutional jurisprudence. It is precedent setting and an historic Judgment in Constitutional Law throughout the British Commonwealth.

The issues, and the context in which they were  raised, and the current reaction by the Government   must give Civil Society in the Bahamas  pause for careful reflection.

By mounting this case, the Plaintiffs , Save The Bays and Mr. Zachary Hampton Bacon III, the brother of Mr Louis Bacon, one of my  fellow directors, have made a great contribution to the continued development of the Rule of Law in The Bahamas for which they should be deservedly proud.

 

The Issues

The fundamental issues at stake in this matter were;

  1. Do persons in the Bahamas have a constitutionally protected right to privacy of their private email correspondence  and financial information?
  2. If so, did the Government, through Cabinet Ministers Mitchell and Fitzgerald breach such rights inside and outside of  Parliament?
  3. And if so, was this breach nonetheless protected by Parliamentary Privilege?
  4. Does the Constitution of the Bahamas and the Rule of Law prevail in the governance of an independent  British Commonwealth  nation which has a written Constitution, or does  Parliament under the guise of exercising Parliamentary Privilege, prevail?
  5. Ultimately, is the Bahamas governed by Parliamentary Supremacy (as in England which does not have a written constitution) or Constitutional Supremacy (as in the Bahamas which does have a written Constitution)?

In determining the issues before the Court, a wide range of historical Constitutional principles and cases from throughout the United Kingdom and British Commonwealth were analyzed and relied upon by the Court .

 

The Ruling

The Court  found that the Rule of Law and the Constitution  “trumped” Parliamentary Privilege.

The Court held that Cabinet Ministers and or Members of Parliament in the conduct of Parliamentary affairs and the Government in the guise of the Executive acting through Cabinet Ministers inside and outside of Parliament were not above the law.

The Supreme Court held that it had an exclusive jurisdiction to adjudicate on and supervise breaches of the Constitution by the Executive and the Legislature. It held that  Parliament could not  divest the Court of  supervisory original jurisdiction and it was for the Court and not for Parliament to decide on the scope and application of Parliamentary Privilege.

The Court held that in  the exercise of such jurisdiction, it was paramount for the Judiciary to be independent and free from interference by the Executive and the Legislature.

 

The Reaction of Members Of Parliament

Despite this Judgment, yesterday, the Government Members of Parliament continue to press the Parliamentary Committee on Privileges to continue contempt proceedings against Supreme Court Judge Indra  Charles, Frederick Smith QC and Ferron Bethell (both trial Counsel to Save The Bays). Other Members of Parliament, such as Mr. Moss and even the Speaker of the House are aghast! Some are even proclaiming that the Judgment is unenforceable!

Parliament had resolved in May 2016 to refer them  to the Committee to consider whether they should not be committed for contempt of the “High Court of Parliament”.

If the House Privileges Committee proceeds any further a Constitutional crisis (which is currently simmering because of such Resolution)  will erupt  like  a volcano and its lava will melt the delicate constitutional construct of the Separation of Powers doctrine and respect  between the Supreme Court and Parliament.

 

Crossing The Rubicon

Once the idea of the Rule of Law evaporates the Bahamas will descend into the Rule of Might is Right! Where capricious daily dictates of policy by Ministers hold sway. It is a thin veil between a country ruled by political  Might as opposed to Law. That is why the Members of Parliament that are taking such umbrage at this Judgment should be more reflective and celebrate this Judgment, not criticize it!

It is under appeal. There is a stay in place. I urge them to respect the process. I suggest the Members of Parliament calm  down. At the Court of Appeal, the Speaker can file an Amicus brief on behalf of all Members of the House if he wishes. The Bar Association can do likewise.. Even Mr Moss can do so. This is an important case. Lambasting the Judge in and Out of Parliament is not civilized conduct.

Does the Bahamas wish to continue to be a Constitutional Democracy governed by the Rule of Law, or will Ministers Mitchell and Fitzgerald take us across the Rubicon as Julius Caesar did in the last days of the Roman Republic?

 

What Constitutional Rights Did The Government Breach?

The Court held that the actions  of Ministers Fitzgerald and Mitchell in Parliament were  attributable to the  “Government” or “Executive”; they having  acted as Members of the Cabinet and not simply as Members of Parliament in abusing Save The Bays and Mr. Zachary Bacon III.

Accordingly the Government was held liable for the breaches of  their Constitutional rights.

The Court found that it was  Minister Fitzgerald and the Government that had  breached Save The Bays  rights and not Minister Mitchel.

The Court found that the Government acted in breach of Article 23 of the Constitution which protected Save The Bays’  freedom of expression and privacy by obtaining, possessing, reviewing and subsequently making disclosures of their  private and confidential documents and information

The Court also found that the Government had breached Article 21 of the Constitution which protected them from illegal search and seizure of their property without their consent or under the authority of any law.

 

What Did The Court Order?

As a result the Court made three important orders.

The 1st order was the grant of a “permanent injunction” against the Government that  “prohibits the  further release or publication of any information contained in the private and confidential documents” of Save the Bays and Mr. Bacon.

The 2nd was an order for the “permanent destruction and or deletion of all electronic files and or records as well as the destruction of the hard copies of all documents within 14 days” of Save The Bays and Mr. Bacon’s documents

And 3rdly   the Court ordered the Government to pay “vindicatory damages” to Save The Bays and Mr. Bacon  in the sum of $150,000. This is the largest award ever made for such Constitutional damages in the history of Bahamian jurisprudence.

The Court held that because a case had not being made out against Minister Mitchell the Court would not order the Government to pay the costs of the action.

 

The Government Appeals

Upon delivery of the Judgment, the Government immediately gave notice of its intention to appeal this to the  Court of Appeal. Any outcome from that appeal is likely to be appealed by either side to the  Privy Council. The Government also applied for a stay of execution of the Judgment pending  the appeal and Save The Bays  did not object

The appeal to the Court of Appeal is likely to be heard within the next six months and an  appeal to the Privy Council thereafter is likely to be heard within nine months.

This was a major victory for the Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights and Freedoms in the Bahamas.

It also vindicates Save The Bays and its Directors and employees who were very much wronged  by the Government in abusing  their right to privacy both inside and outside of. You may a perhaps recall the political circus in Parliament in March when  Government Ministers and Members of Parliament, made spurious and unfounded accusations against Save the Bays and individual directors and employees

They were embarrassingly ridiculed, mocked and pilloried with allegations that they were not a legitimate environmental NGO; that they were involved in money laundering and  that they were a political organization bent on destabilizing the Government of the Bahamas.

 

Putting The Case In Context

This Judgement must be put in context. The unwarranted, gratuitous and vicious adversarial reaction by the Government against  Save The Bays came as a result of a supreme Court action launched earlier in March 2016 by a number of the  directors of Save The Bays along with Reverend C B Moss against Mr. Peter Nygard (a major political financial and funder of the  PLP political party, the current Government) and Mr. Keod Smith for a dangerous hate and harassment campaign spanning years maintained by Messrs. Nygard and Smith against them.

 

Why Did The Government Attack Save The Bays  In Parliament For Peter Nygard?

The question remains; why did the Government of The Bahamas savage and attack Save the Bays  in Parliament, when Save the Bays had not sued the Government?

Its directors and Reverend  Moss  had sued Mr. Peter Nygard and Keod Smith, not the Government.

On the contrary, the evidence was that Mr. Peter Nygard had maligned the Prime Minister. So,  why was the Government spending the Bahamian taxpayers dollars to defend Peter Nygard and Keod Smith?

It is  even stranger, given that to this day, neither Peter Nygard nor Keod Smith have filed a defence to the claim.

Peter Nygard’s political influence in the Bahamas is alarming and shocking!

The fact that the Bahamas allows a non-citizen to hold such sway simply because he donates $5 Million dollars or more  to the election campaign of the now governing PLP party should cause  all  citizens of the Bahamas  to pause and consider which direction  they want the Government to take at this cross roads in the future of the Bahamas.

 

A Mysterious Pattern Of Behaviour By The Government

This continues a pattern of behavior by the Government that remains  mystifying to say the least.

Each time Save The Bays  or another environmental NGO, such as ReEarth in the Blackbeards Cay Dolphin case, or Save Guana Cay Reef at Bakers Bay, or Bimini Blue Coalition challenges a development on the basis that it is proceeding illegally, the Government of The Bahamas rushes all the way to the Privy Council and each time  spending the Bahamian  taxpayers dollar to defend the Developer instead of letting the Developer spend its own money to defend itself.

 

Where does Your Tax Dollar Go?

Why is that? Why does  the Government always defend unregulated development at the Bahamian Taxpayers’ expense?

What vested interest does the Government of the Bahamas have in each development?

So, in this case, why was the Government holding brief for Peter Nygard and Keod Smith in Parliament against Save the Bays?

Why is the Government going to spend millions of dollars in taxpayers money to continue to seek to protect Peter Nygard and Keod smith by appealing?

 

Why Appeal This Judgement?

 To prove what? Does  the Government really wish to win an appeal?

To boast internationally that the Government  can unconstitutionally  seize Save The Bays emails?

That the Government  can  unconstitutionally  expose them in public?

That the Government   cannot be held accountable because, by Parliamentary  Privilege,  Members of Parliament  are above the organic  law?

And to boast that the oldest Parliament in the New World has the power  to  Jail a Judge and Lawyers who take a case to court to protect Constitutional Rights?

How internationally embarrassing will that be?

 

Banana Republic or Constitutional Democracy?

 Is the Bahamas to be regarded internationally as  a  Banana Republic? A Rogue Nation? A Political Pariah amongst states? A dictatorship governed by arbitrary and capricious ministerial dictate, swooning at Mr. Peter Nygard’s and every other developer’s alter of money?

This rape by the Government of Save The Bays  right to privacy and public exposure of its private emails  and financial information, coming in the wake of the disclosure of the Panama papers, has already cast the Bahamas in an extremely negative and prejudicial light in the International financial services industry. A score of anxious bankers have already  met with and expressed concern to the Prime Minister and Minister  Hope Strachan.

 

What Was In The Emails?

And for what? What were the contents of the emails? Why was the Government making such a fuss about them? Why were the Ministers so exercised? They were uncontroversial.

One contained a draft letter of complaint by Save The Bays to the Police about the Nygard and Smith hate campaign; the other contained a draft advertisement about Nygard Cay; another from the GBHRA contained a draft press release about Minister Mitchell’s illegal immigration road blocks.

So what, pray tell,   was so politically captivating and salacious about them?

How did they convert into accusations of political destabilization of the Government and money-laundering?

 

The Nation Held Hostage! 

Why was the nation’s attention held hostage and transfixed in Parliament for days by Ministers Mitchell and Fitzgerald painting a picture of alleged nefarious activities by Save The Bays on a canvass that did not exist?

If the actions of the Government had not been challenged and checked by this Court action, not only may  the reputation of  Save The Bays and its Directors  have  been irreparably sullied and tarnished, but it also had the potential to cause the flight of much     financial business and to detract from further legitimate investment.

 

The Government Should Celebrate This Judgment as  a Great Day For The Rule of Law

The Government  should be proud of this Judgment. It should  not appeal it. Parliament should end the simmering Constitutional crisis and withdraw its Contempt Resolution against the Judge and Counsel.

The Judgment helps to promote the Bahamas as a stable democracy, where it is safe to do business and where people’s rights  are protected by an “abiding respect for…. the Rule of Law”, which is expressed in the   Preamble to the Constitution.

The Government of  The Bahamas should divorce itself form Mr.  Peter Nygard and Keod Smith.

 

A Ray Of Constitutional Hope!

 The Judgment demonstrates to the world that

  1. the Bahamas is a country that respects the Rule of Law;
  2. the Judiciary is independent of the Executive and the Legislature;
  3. persons whose rights are abused in the Bahamas have recourse to independent Courts and effective redress;
  4. the right to privacy of one’s private information is effectively protected in the Bahamas by the Constitution and
  5. the Courts will vindicate and protect breaches of such rights

Accordingly, the international financial services industry which has confidence in the Bahamas as a legitimate jurisdiction within which to do business, can in the short term,  be comforted  in the protection of their confidential financial information by this Judgment.

But not so if the Government appeals, wins an appeal, or  Jails a Judge and Counsel!

 

Fred Smith, QC

Fred Smith, QC

 

 

Summary of the Judgement by The Supreme Court on the Constitutional Right to Privacy

 Summary

for

The Board of Directors and Members of Save The Bays

of the

Judgement by The Supreme Court on the Constitutional Right to Privacy

Fred Smith, QC 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 4, 2016

This Judgement is a watershed in the development of Bahamian Constitutional jurisprudence. It is precedent setting and an historic Judgment in Constitutional Law throughout the British Commonwealth.

The Supreme Court made a number of findings after a 5 day trial. The issues, and the context in which they were raised, and the current reaction by the Government   must give Civil Society in the Bahamas  pause for careful reflection.

By mounting this case, the Plaintiffs to the case, Save The Bays and Mr. Zachary Hampton Bacon III, the brother of Mr Louis Bacon, one of our fellow directors, have made a great contribution to the continued development of the Rule of Law in The Bahamas for which they should be deservedly proud.

The fundamental issues at stake in this matter were;

  1. Do persons in the Bahamas have a constitutionally protected right to privacy of their email correspondence and private financial information?
  2. If so, did the Government, through Cabinet Ministers Mitchell and Fitzgerald illegally breach such rights inside and outside of  Parliament?
  3. And if so, was this illegality nonetheless protected by Parliamentary Privilege?
  4. Does the Constitution of the Bahamas and the Rule of Law prevail in the governance of an independent  British Commonwealth  nation which has a written Constitution, or does  Parliament under the guise of exercising Parliamentary Privilege, prevail
  5. Ultimately, is the Bahamas governed by Parliamentary Supremacy (as in England which does not have a written constitution) or Constitutional Supremacy (as in the Bahamas which does have a written Constitution)?

In determining the issues before the Court, a wide range of historical Constitutional principles and cases from throughout the United Kingdom and British Commonwealth were analyzed and relied upon by the Court.

This Judgment applies throughout the British Commonwealth in relation to the fundamental Constitutional matters canvassed.

The Court  found that the Rule of Law and the Constitution  “trumped” Parliamentary Privilege.

The Court held that Cabinet Ministers and or Members of Parliament in the conduct of Parliamentary affairs and the Government in the guise of the Executive acting through Cabinet Ministers inside and outside of Parliament were not above the law.

The Supreme Court held that it had an exclusive jurisdiction to adjudicate on and supervise breaches of the Constitution by the Executive and the Legislature. It held that  Parliament could not  divest the Court of  supervisory original jurisdiction and it was for the Court and not for Parliament to decide on the scope and application of Parliamentary Privilege.

The Court held that in  the exercise of such jurisdiction, it was paramount for the Judiciary to be independent and free from interference by the Executive and the Legislature.

Despite this Judgment the Government Members of Parliament continue to press the Parliamentary Committee on Privileges to continue contempt proceedings against Supreme Court Judge Indra  Charles, Frederick Smith QC and Ferron Bethell (both trial Counsel to Save The Bays). Other Members of Parliament, such as Mr. Moss and even the Speaker of the House are aghast! Some are even proclaiming that the Judgment is unenforceable!

Parliament had resolved in May 2016 to refer them  to the Committee to consider whether they should not be committed for contempt of the “High Court of Parliament”.

If the House Privileges Committee proceeds any further a Constitutional crisis (which is currently simmering because of such Resolution)  will erupt like  a volcano and its lava will melt the delicate constitutional construct of respect  between the Supreme Court and Parliament.

Once the idea of the Rule of Law evaporates the Bahamas will descend into the Rule of Might is Right! Where capricious daily dictates of policy by Ministers hold sway. It is a thin veil between a country ruled by political  Might as opposed to Law. That is why the Members of Parliament that are taking such umbrage at this Judgment should be more reflective and celebrate this Judgment, not criticize it!

It is under appeal. There is a stay in place. Respect the process. At the Court of Appeal, the Speaker can file an Amicus brief on behalf of all Members of the House if he wishes. The Bar Association can appear as Amicus. Even Mr Moss can do so. This is an important case. Lambasting the Judge in and Out of Parliament is not civilized conduct.

Does the Bahamas wish to continue to be a Constitutional Democracy governed by the Rule of Law, or will Ministers Mitchell and Fitzgerald take us across the Rubicon as Julius Caesar did in the last days of the Roman Republic?

The Court held that the actions  of Ministers Fitzgerald and Mitchell in Parliament were  attributable to the  “Government” or “Executive”; they having  acted as Members of the Cabinet and not simply as Members of Parliament in abusing Save The Bays and Mr. Zachary Bacon III.

Accordingly the Government was held liable for the breaches of  their Constitutional rights.

The Court found that it was  Minister Fitzgerald and the Government that had  breached Save The Bays  rights and not Minister Mitchel.

The Court found that the Government acted in breach of Article 23 of the Constitution which protected Save The Bays’  freedom of expression and privacy by obtaining, possessing, reviewing and subsequently making disclosures of their  private and confidential documents and information

The Court also found that the Government had breached Article 21 of the Constitution which protected them from illegal search and seizure of their property without their consent or under the authority of any law.

The Court found that although the Parliamentary Privileges Act was a 1969 law, which pre-dated the 1973 independence Constitution, it was not a law which was saved under Article 30 and which would have thus permitted the Government to act in breach of the Plaintiffs’ post 1973 Constitutional rights

As a result the Court made three important orders.

The 1st order was the grant of a “permanent injunction” against the Government that  “prohibits the  further release or publication of any information contained in the private and confidential documents” of Save the Bays and Mr. Bacon.

The 2nd was an order for the “permanent destruction and or deletion of all electronic files and or records as well as the destruction of the hard copies of all documents within 14 days” of Save The Bays and Mr. Bacon’s documents

And 3rdly   the Court ordered the Government to pay “vindicatory damages” to Save The Bays and Mr. Bacon  in the sum of $150,000. This is the largest award ever made for such Constitutional damages in the history of Bahamian jurisprudence.

The Court held that because a case had not being made out against Minister Mitchell the Court would not order the Government to pay the costs of the action.

Upon delivery of the Judgment, the Government immediately gave notice of its intention to appeal this to the Bahamas Court of Appeal which is a Court consisting of three Judges sitting permanently in Nassau.

Any outcome from that appeal is likely to be appealed by either side to her Majesties’  Privy Council, which  is a panel of five Judges sitting in London or periodically traveling to the Bahamas.

The Government also applied for a stay of execution of the Judgment pending a determination of the appeal.

Save The Bays  did not object to the stay being granted.

In the meantime, the Judges’ previous order maintaining the status quo and enjoining the further publication and or the disclosure of Save The Bays private and confidential information and documents and further breaches of Save the Bays  Constitutional rights was to remain in place

The Government has six weeks within which to file and serve its notice of appeal which will set out all of the grounds upon which the Government will argue that the Court was mistaken in ruling in favor of Save The Bays.

Save The Bays  also has the right to either appeal and or file  a cross appeal which also seeks to either

  1. Provide grounds upon which the Judges’ ruling should be upheld and or
  2. Set out grounds upon which they say the Judge may have been mistaken   in respect of some of her findings

The appeal to the Court of Appeal is likely to be heard within the next six months in public in Nassau

The appeal to the Privy Council thereafter is likely to be heard within nine months.

If it is heard in London, it is streamed live over the Internet.

If it is heard in Nassau, it will be in public but it may or may not be streamed live over the Internet.

This is a major victory for Save The Bays and Mr. Z Bacon. It vindicates Save The Bays and its Directors and employees who were very much wronged and abused by the Government in raping  Save The Bays privacy both inside and outside of Parliament earlier this year. You may a perhaps recall the political circus in Parliament in March.

The Government, through a number of Ministers and Members of Parliament, made spurious and unfounded accusations against Save the Bays and individual directors and employees that they named.

They were embarrassingly ridiculed, mocked and pilloried with allegations that they were not a legitimate environmental NGO; that they were involved in money laundering and  that they were a political organization bent on destabilizing the Government of the Bahamas.

They were, effectively, politically indicted in Parliament.

It was alleged  that they had committed undescribed criminal offenses and that the Government was therefore investigating and would soon be prosecuting them.

This Judgement must be put in context. The unwarranted, gratuitous and vicious adversarial reaction by the Government against  Save The Bays came as a result of a supreme Court action launched earlier in March 2016 by a number of the  directors of Save The Bays along with Reverend C B Moss against Mr. Peter Nygard (A major political financial and funder of the  PLP political party, the current Government) and Mr. Keod Smith for a hate and harassment campaign spanning years maintained by Messrs. Nygard and Smith against them.

The question remains; why did the Government of The Bahamas savage and attack Save the Bays  in Parliament, when Save the Bays had not sued the Government?

Its directors and Reverend Moss had sued Mr. Peter Nygard and Keod Smith, not the Government.

On the contrary, the evidence was that Mr. Peter Nygard had maligned the Prime Minister. So, why is the Government spending the Bahamian taxpayers dollars to defend Peter Nygard and Keod Smith?

It is  even stranger, given that to this day, neither Peter Nygard nor Keod Smith have filed a defence to the claim.

Peter Nygard’s political influence in the Bahamas is alarming and shocking!

The fact that the Bahamas allows a non-citizen to hold such sway simply because he donates $5 Million dollars to the election campaign of the now governing PLP party should cause  all  citizens of the Bahamas  to pause and consider which direction  they want the Government to take at this cross roads in the future of the Bahamas.

This continues a pattern of behavior by the Government that remains  mystifying to say the least.

Each time Save The Bays  or another environmental NGO, such as ReEarth in the Blackbeards Cay Dolphin case, or Save Guana Cay Reef at Bakers Bay, or Bimini Blue Coalition challenges a development on the basis that it is proceeding illegally, the Government of The Bahamas rushes all the way to the Privy Council and each time  spending the Bahamian  taxpayers dollar to defend the Developer instead of letting the Developer spend its own money to defend itself.

Why is that? Why does  the Government always defend unregulated development at the Bahamian Taxpayers’ expense?

What vested interest does the Government of the Bahamas have in each development?

So, in this case, why was the Government holding brief for Peter Nygard and Keod Smith in Parliament against Save the Bays?

Why is the Government going to spend millions of dollars in taxpayers money to continue to seek to protect Peter Nygard and Keod smith by appealing?

To prove what? Does  the Government really wish to win an appeal?

To boast internationally that the Government  can illegally seize Save The Bays emails?

That the Government  can  illegally expose them in public?

That the Government   cannot be held accountable because, by Parliamentary  Privilege,  Members of Parliament  are above the law?

And to boast that the oldest Parliament in the New World has the power to  Jail a Judge and Lawyers who take a case to court to protect Constitutional Rights?

How internationally embarrassing will that be?

Is the Bahamas to be regarded internationally as  a  Banana Republic? A Rogue Nation? A Political Pariah amongst states? A dictatorship governed by arbitrary and capricious ministerial dictate, swooning at Mr. Peter Nygard’s and every other developer’s alter of money?

This rape by the Government of Save The Bays  right to privacy and public exposure of its confidential and financial information, coming in the wake of the disclosure of the Panama papers, has already cast the Bahamas in an extremely negative and prejudicial light in the International financial services industry.

And for what? What were the contents of the emails? Why was the Government making such a fuss about them? They were uncontroversial.  One contained a draft letter of complaint by Save The Bays to the Police about the Nygard and Smith hate campaign; the other contained a draft advertisement about Nygard Cay; another from the GBHRA contained a draft press release about Minister Mitchell’s illegal immigration road blocks.

So what, pray tell, was so politically captivating and salacious about them?

How did they convert into accusations of political destabilization of the Government and money-laundering?

Why was the nation’s attention held hostage and transfixed in Parliament for days by Ministers Mitchell and Fitzgerald painting a picture of alleged nefarious activities by Save The Bays on a canvass that did not exist?

If the actions of the Government had not been challenged and checked by this Court action, not only may  the reputation of  Save The Bays and its Directors  have  been irreparably sullied and tarnished, but it also had the potential to cause the flight of much     financial business and to detract from further legitimate investment.

The Government  should be proud of this Judgment. It should  not appeal it. Parliament should end the simmering Constitutional crisis and withdraw its Contempt Resolution against the Judge and Counsel.

The Judgment helps to promote the Bahamas as a stable democracy, where it is safe to do business and where people’s rights  are protected by an “abiding respect for…. the Rule of Law”, which is expressed in the   Preamble to the Constitution.

The Government of  The Bahamas should divorce itself form Mr.  Peter Nygard and Keod Smith.

The Judgment demonstrates to the world that

  1. the Bahamas is a country that respects the Rule of Law;
  2. the Judiciary is independent of the Executive and the Legislature;
  3. persons whose rights are abused in the Bahamas have recourse to independent Courts and effective redress;
  4. the right to privacy of one’s confidential information is effectively protected in the Bahamas by the Constitution and
  5. the Courts will vindicate and protect breaches of such rights

Accordingly, the international financial services industry which has confidence in the Bahamas as a legitimate jurisdiction within which to do business, can in the short term,  be comforted  in the protection of their confidential financial information by this Judgment.

But not so if the Government appeals, wins an appeal, or Jails a Judge and Counsel!

Frederick Smith QC

 

STB delighted with email disclosure ruling

Smith and Team at the Conclusion

Smith and Team at the Conclusion their matter in court

Save The Bays is delighted that Justice Indra Charles has vindicated our fundamental right – and the right of every citizen and resident of this country – to have our privacy protected against illegal and unwarranted intrusion.

We believe the judge’s ruling that Education Minister Jerome Fitzgerald breached our constitutional rights by disclosing illegally obtained emails and financial information is not only fair and right, but also far-reaching and symbolic – a precedent which broadcasts to the world that The Bahamas still values individual human rights and opposes the arbitrary abuse of power for narrow political ends.

This historic ruling will reverberate throughout the Commonwealth, and reinforce this country’s position in international circles as a jurisdiction where the rule of law prevails; a place where upstanding foreign investors can feel safe doing business and where local citizens and residents can rest secure in the knowledge that their interests are protected by the judicial branch of government.

At the end of the day, despite the actions of certain misguided political figures, The Bahamas is not a Banana Republic and  we thank God that this country can boast of a judiciary which continues to stand as a bastion of fairness and justice for all the world to see.

Waterkeepers Bahamas & Save The Bays Sponsor First-Ever Camp Eco-Explorer in Grand Bahama

Waterkeepers Bahamas and Save the Bays Sponsor First-Ever Camp Eco-Explorer in Grand Bahama

Waterkeepers Bahamas Executive Director Rashema Ingraham (l) and Save the Bays Chairman Joseph Darville (center) spent seven days introducing nine Grand Bahama teens and pre-teens to mangroves, stingrays and farm animals as part of Camp Eco-Explorer. In addition to participating in outdoor activities, the teens were taught the importance of environmental conservation and protection, and how it all begins with leadership and good character development.

Waterkeepers Bahamas Executive Director Rashema Ingraham (l) and Save the Bays Chairman Joseph Darville (center) spent seven days introducing nine Grand Bahama teens and pre-teens to mangroves, stingrays and farm animals as part of Camp Eco-Explorer. In addition to participating in outdoor activities, the teens were taught the importance of environmental conservation and protection, and how it all begins with leadership and good character development.

 

Waterkeepers Bahamas and Save the Bays Leaders Take Nine Teens On A Weeklong Eco Tour of Grand Bahama

Camp Eco-Explorer Teaches Youngsters Importance of Ecological Conservation

Tell people you’ve just spent seven days swimming with stingrays, gliding through mangroves in a kayak, horseback riding and swimming in the open water with dolphins and they might assume you’re describing an expensive eco holiday or a much-dreamed about summer vacation. They may even ask where they can sign up for one themselves.

But, for nine lucky Grand Bahama teens, experiencing some of the most unforgettable activities The Bahamas has to offer was all part of Camp Eco-Explorer, a seven-day camp sponsored by Waterkeepers Bahamas and Save the Bays.

“It was such a blessing to convene with young minds and introduce them to Mother Nature in her most natural, unspoiled form,” said Save the Bays Chairman Joseph Darville. “To see their faces light up at the sight of a stingray and the peace that washed over their faces as we kayaked through mangroves….it was truly miraculous.”

As members of Waterkeeper Alliance, a leading international NGO that coordinates more than 290 member licensed organisations who act as watchdogs for the world’s waterways, Save the Bays and Waterkeepers Bahamas work tirelessly to make sure the citizens of the Bahamas are educated and informed about decisions, policies and practices that have an impact—positively or negatively—on the country’s fragile ecosystem. One of its main initiatives is protection of mangroves which act as incubators for marine life and a barrier from ocean surges and flooding during storms.

“For a few of the campers, this was their first time in a kayak and also the first time they had been up close and in mangroves,” said Waterkeepers Bahamas Executive Director Rashema Ingraham. “This camp has given them an experience to use as a point of reference when it comes making big decisions about their environment going forward.”

“I found it really impressive how beautiful the mangroves are,” said 15-year-old Viore Bosfield. “They are really amazing. They live in a such a tough area and they adapt perfectly.”

In addition to acting as buffers when severe weather strikes, mangroves provide filtration adding to the reasons Bahamian waters are crystal clear. Unfortunately, they are also one of the first plants cleared to make way for developments because they often stand between the open water and land. Removal of mangroves and wetlands makes hurricanes that much more devastating.

“So many people my age don’t care about the environment,” said 14-year-old camper Tyler Adderley. “They grow up thinking they should sell off our beautiful lands and beaches to others when they don’t realize it’s unique and should be kept as ours.”

These are exactly the kind of ecological realities Darville and Ingraham spent the week conveying to their young stewards with the hope that when it comes their turn to make decisions about the ecological future of their country, they’ll make informed choices.

“A big part of changing the mindset of Bahamians so they become involved in protecting and preserving the environment is to inspire Millennials,” Ingraham said. “Everyone can relate to a calming, life-changing experience when they talk about the water. These campers are the faces of our future Waterkeepers. They now have the confidence and the spark to be stronger agents of change.”

Waterkeepers Bahamas works to promote the availability of clean water on all three of the waterbodies for which it is licensed — Bimini, Grand Bahama and Clifton-Western Bays in New Providence –with the goal of ensuring they are swimmable and fishable for future generations of Bahamians. The organisation is a proud member of Waterkeeper Alliance, the world’s fastest growing environmental movement that has united more than 290 Waterkeeper members and affiliates around the world, all working together to focus citizen action on issues that affect waterways from pollution to climate change. If you are aware of pollution, unregulated development or other illegal activities taking place in the area please contact Rashema Ingraham via phone 242-602-7531 or email  waterkeepers.bahamas@gmail.com

 

 

Swimming with Dolphins: Teens and pre-teens who attended Camp Eco-Explorer in Grand Bahama last week had the chance to swim with free and untrained dolphins while snorkeling, including a tour through a beautiful coral garden and above many small ocean blue holes. The seven-day camp, which also included a day spent swimming with stingrays and a visit to a farm, was sponsored by Waterkeepers Bahamas and Save the Bays.

Swimming with Dolphins: Teens and pre-teens who attended Camp Eco-Explorer in Grand Bahama last week had the chance to swim with free and untrained dolphins while snorkeling, including a tour through a beautiful coral garden and above many small ocean blue holes. The seven-day camp, which also included a day spent swimming with stingrays and a visit to a farm, was sponsored by Waterkeepers Bahamas and Save the Bays.

 

Swimming with Stingrays:  Save the Bays Chairman Joseph Darville (second from right sitting on boat) spent seven days guiding teens and pre-teens on an eco-tour around Grand Bahama as part of Camp Eco-Explorer, including a field trip to swim with the stingrays. The weeklong camp exposed campers to the natural environment of The Bahamas while educating them on environmental and conservation issues.

Swimming with Stingrays: Save the Bays Chairman Joseph Darville (second from right sitting on boat) spent seven days guiding teens and pre-teens on an eco-tour around Grand Bahama as part of Camp Eco-Explorer, including a field trip to swim with the stingrays. The weeklong camp exposed campers to the natural environment of The Bahamas while educating them on environmental and conservation issues.

 

Waterkeepers Bahamas and Save the Bays Host Seven-Day Camp Eco-Explorer: Teens and pre-teens who attended Camp Eco-Explorer in Grand Bahama, hosted by Waterkeepers Bahamas and Save the Bays, spent a day kayaking through mangroves while learning about the crucial role the plants play in protecting our shores from flooding and storm surges and preventing beach erosion.

Waterkeepers Bahamas and Save the Bays Host Seven-Day Camp Eco-Explorer: Teens and pre-teens who attended Camp Eco-Explorer in Grand Bahama, hosted by Waterkeepers Bahamas and Save the Bays, spent a day kayaking through mangroves while learning about the crucial role the plants play in protecting our shores from flooding and storm surges and preventing beach erosion.

 

Waterkeepers Bahamas and Save the Bays Host Seven-Day Camp Eco-Explorer: Teens and pre-teens who attended Camp Eco-Explorer in Grand Bahama, hosted by Waterkeepers Bahamas and Save the Bays, spent seven days exploring the fragile ecosystem of The Bahamas through field trips like swimming with dolphins and stingrays, snorkeling through coral reef gardens and kayaking through mangroves. In addition to getting up-close-and-personal with nature, campers spent the week learning about environmental issues that will impact their future and ways they can get involved in conservation efforts.

Waterkeepers Bahamas and Save the Bays Host Seven-Day Camp Eco-Explorer: Teens and pre-teens who attended Camp Eco-Explorer in Grand Bahama, hosted by Waterkeepers Bahamas and Save the Bays, spent seven days exploring the fragile ecosystem of The Bahamas through field trips like swimming with dolphins and stingrays, snorkeling through coral reef gardens and kayaking through mangroves. In addition to getting up-close-and-personal with nature, campers spent the week learning about environmental issues that will impact their future and ways they can get involved in conservation efforts.

 

Waterkeepers Bahamas and Save the Bays Host Seven-Day Camp Eco-Explorer: Waterkeepers Bahamas Executive Director Rashema Ingraham (above) led nine campers on a two-mile snorkeling excursion through coral reef gardens and above ocean blue holes recently as part of Camp Eco-Explorer, a seven-day camp sponsored by Waterkeepers Bahamas and Save the Bays. In addition to swimming, snorkeling and kayaking, campers learned about the fragile ecosystem of The Bahamas and ways they can contribute to its preservation and conservation.

Waterkeepers Bahamas and Save the Bays Host Seven-Day Camp Eco-Explorer: Waterkeepers Bahamas Executive Director Rashema Ingraham (above) led nine campers on a two-mile snorkeling excursion through coral reef gardens and above ocean blue holes recently as part of Camp Eco-Explorer, a seven-day camp sponsored by Waterkeepers Bahamas and Save the Bays. In addition to swimming, snorkeling and kayaking, campers learned about the fragile ecosystem of The Bahamas and ways they can contribute to its preservation and conservation.