Archive | January, 2017

Save The Bays Chairman: ‘Hottest Year on Record in 120 Years, Bahamas Facing Grave Danger, Cannot Afford to Delay Action on Climate Change’

image006On the heels of official news that the 2016 was the hottest year on record globally since weather record-keeping began in the 1880s, (www.edition.cnn.co), Save The Bays Chairman Joe Darville urged the nation’s leaders to act before up to 80% of the islands of The Bahamas are swallowed or inundated by water from rising seas caused by climate change.

Darville, a climate change lecturer certified by Al Gore, stepped up his year-long efforts in the face of what he says “is irrefutable evidence that we are on a path to becoming little more than a memory of a forgotten time when we were once the most beautiful place on earth.”

“The very same waters that inspired astronaut Scott Kelly to declare The Bahamas to be ‘the most beautiful place from space’ could be inundated by water from rising seas in our grandchildren’s lifetime,” said Darville. At 75, the lifelong educator and human and environmental rights advocate has vowed to spend his remaining years sharing the message of protecting and preserving The Bahamas. In recent weeks, he stepped up those efforts, talking to students, appearing on radio, participating in interviews, spreading the warning wherever he could that the time for talk is over, the time for action is now.

“We have only 5,300 square miles of land in 100,000 square miles of ocean and the prediction is that by the end of this century 80% of our islands will be inundated by the sea,” said Darville. “We must be prepared, we must be alert. We owe it to our children and to generations to come to do everything in our power to mitigate against the effects of climate change. We cannot stop it, but we can slow it down and it is up to us to do that and we can.”

According to Darville, mitigation can take several forms. First, he says, is protection of life by making the tough decision not to allow people to rebuild on treacherous, low-lying properties where stronger hurricanes in the future that will form in the Atlantic will strike with little warning and could swallow entire seafronts. He points to land in Grand Bahama that has receded 35 feet in a decade and the home where he grew up in Long Island that was washed away by Hurricane Joaquin.

Next, he says, Bahamians must reduce the nation’s carbon footprint. Though not large relative to highly industrialized nations, the local footprint could be significantly reduced by growing more food locally, establishing green spaces, trading fossil fuels for sustainable power supply sources and requiring a less harmful type of fuel for jet aircraft. “Today, 30 million tons of carbon is emitted into the atmosphere by jets every year, burning the ozone layer,” he said.

And, he suggests, it is time that Bahamians revived the art of boatbuilding.

“We are going to be a floating country, I don’t want to scare people but I want to alert our people, to wake them up to what is happening around us. There are those who say that what we are seeing is just part of Mother Nature’s cycle. Yes, it is part of a cycle but climate change is speeding it up in a way we have never experienced before. That is why each of the last three years has been recorded as the hottest year in history. We have seen 20,000-year cycles but this cycle is accelerated by 300% because of industrial pollution, greenhouse effects and what we have done to alter the environment. I just want us to be aware, to develop a plan and realize this is happening right now, not in the future, but before our very eyes and only we have the power to change it.”

Launched in 2013, Save The Bays has been an outspoken non-government organization promoting environmental protection, freedom of information and an end to unregulated development through education, legal and public awareness campaigns. Its Facebook posts draw more than 20,000 friends and its 6-point petition www.savethebays.bs, has some 7,000 signatures.

KEOD SMITH ORDERED TO PAY DAMAGES!

The Supreme Court has denied Keod Smith’s application to appeal the payment of $263,500 in legal costs to Save The Bays (STB), stemming from a recusal application in which he accused a Supreme Court judge of bias.

The costs were awarded to STB in December 2014 when the judge ruled that  Keod Smith was guilty of contempt for certain “scandalizing” affidavits he had filed, which were found to have undermined the integrity of the judicial system.

Smith applied for an appeal of the decision, but, the judge said: “After reviewing the proposed grounds of appeal the Court is not satisfied that the appeal of the Sixth Respondent (Keod Smith) has any prospect of success or that the proposed grounds of appeal raises any issue that would be considered by the Court of Appeal in the public interest or that the proposed grounds of appeal raises any issue where law requires clarifying.”

The court also refused Keod Smith’s application for a stay of the order, meaning he must now pay immediately. If he fails to do so, Save The Bays can apply to commit him to prison.

In separate rulings issued by Justice Rhonda Bain laid out her reasoning for why Smith’s applications were rejected and further set out the terms of the order for costs and Smith’s repeated failure to pay! Read Ruling No 11. and Ruling No. 14

COURTS REFUSE NYGARD REQUEST TO LIFT INJUNCTION

Peter Nygard has suffered yet another significant blow in the Supreme Court, with Justice Rhonda Bain refusing to hear his motion to lift a three-year-old injunction barring construction works at Nygard Cay.

Attorneys for Save The Bays (STB) successfully argued that Nygard is a “serial contemnor” already facing multiple applications to commit him to prison for contempt of court, “and therefore should not be allowed to make any application before the court until his contempt is purged.”

In her ruling (see attached), Justice Bain said, “The court holds that this is not an application where the court should exercise its discretion to hear the contemnor.”

The judge ordered that the first committal proceedings against Nygard must go forward before any application to lift the injunction, in place since June 2013, can be considered. Those committal proceedings are scheduled to take place on Friday of this week. 

Click HERE and HERE to read the full rulings 13 and 14 from Justice Rhonda Bain

Save The Bays: Stunned at Commissioner’s Comments, Original Complaint Filed February 27, 2015, Still Awaiting Action

Save The Bays Chairman Joseph Darville holds the complaint filed with Commissioner of Police Ellison Greenslade February 27, 2015.

Save The Bays Chairman Joseph Darville holds the complaint filed with Commissioner of Police Ellison Greenslade February 27, 2015.

NASSAU, BAHAMAS JANUARY 12 – Save The Bays representatives said they were “stunned and dismayed” to hear Commissioner of Police say that no complaint had been filed by or on behalf of the organization to request an investigation into threats against members of the outspoken environmental association.

The strong reaction came in response to stories that appeared in both daily papers January 12 quoting  Commissioner of Police Ellison Greenslade saying that no complaint had been filed and adding that “That investigation…is going nowhere.” In March, 2016, Prime Minister Perry Christie requested an investigation, asking the Loyal Opposition to cooperate, into allegations that hit men had been hired to murder members of the group that is supported in part by businessman and internationally recognized conservationist and philanthropist Louis Bacon.

“I have the greatest respect for our Commissioner of Police Ellison Greenslade, but I cannot fathom how he could have reached the conclusion that no complaint had been filed when I and four others sat outside his office for more than two hours to meet with him in 2015 and filed a complaint that included nearly 100 pages of exhibits,” said Joseph Darville, a retired educator and now chairman of Save The Bays.

Darville held the nearly inch-thick complaint filed by the law firm of Callenders on February 27, 2015.

“We filed that complaint following what was to be a peaceful gathering of people pressing for a true Freedom of Information Act,” said Darville. “We were on Charlotte Street with all the necessary permits and a stage set up with entertainers singing, people speaking, good fellowship. Instead, the event was hijacked by a group of aggressive protesters whose intent was to disrupt the peace and create an intimidating atmosphere.” Victims of personal attacks described the incident as “terrifying, giving eyewitness accounts of a truck with blaring music and what appeared to be intoxicated men barreling down the road, trying to break through the barriers to Charlotte Street, bearing signs with ugly hate messages and threatening the crowd that included young children.

“We went to the police immediately and filed the complaint later when we got no action. The complaint included statements, photos and DVD recordings,” said Darville. “One of our members who has done a lot of Pro Bono work for law enforcement and raised significant amounts of funds for police over the years sent numerous e-mails and finally got a meeting, not with the Commissioner, though, but with someone else who said bluntly that the hate actions that victims felt threatened their security were just ‘a spat among neighbors.’

“The lack of taking that complaint seriously was the first mistake in what escalated into what appears to be some sort of murder for hire plot. I do not know those two men whose names have been mentioned but I do know that several of us were victims of hate actions and the police elected to ignore us.

“Every citizen deserves respect,” continued Darville. “And every one of our members who serves with Save The Bays is a person who gives unstintingly to community efforts. We are stunned and we still would hope that now that this is out in the public view the Commissioner will act on the original complaint filed in February 2015. We invite him to do so and would welcome the findings once we understand that the complaint was treated with the seriousness with which it was prepared and submitted.”

Save The Bays launches annual Youth Environmental Ambassador Program for 4th year

Freeport, GRAND BAHAMA – For the fourth consecutive year, young people from Grand Bahama are trading their right to sleep late or hang with their friends for the privilege of traipsing through woods and wetlands as they are groomed to become good stewards of the environment.

Alec Nabb, YEA facilitator, showing students different types of mangroves and their adaptation and zoning.  Photo: STB

Alec Nabb, YEA facilitator, showing students different types of mangroves and their adaptation and zoning. Photo: STB

Thirty junior high students have been selected to take part in Save The Bays Youth Environ mental Ambassador Program. The respected youth development initiative launched on January 7 and will run until May. 

“For the next five months participants will gain an awareness of their environment, learn the importance of taking care of it and how to keep it healthy for future generations,” said Rashema Ingraham, YEA organizer. Discussions and field exercises will cover a myriad of topics including climate change, plastic pollution, coral reefs and mangroves.

2017.01.12 Getting a closer look “What is interesting is that many of them really want to be outdoors,” said Ingraham. “That may be difficult to conceptualize with all the lures of electronics and mesmerizing television shows. We have to find ways to get our children to connect to the outdoors so that they grow to appreciate the beauty of the world around them.” 

According to Ingraham, the program’s success relies on the ability of facilitators to arouse passion about conservation and engaging participants to spread the message about its importance. 

One of those facilitators, Bradley Rutherford, said he wished the program had been available when he was younger.

“It is a very enriching experience for facilitators and students,” said Rutherford. “The opportunity is certainly one I wish was available when I was a youth.”

For participant Justus Fox, the YEA experience was unparalleled.

I participated in workshops with similar activities, but nothing as good as my first session experience with the YEA program,” said Fox, a student at Jack Hayward Junior High, one of six schools with students who qualified to attend. The others Bishop Michael Eldon, Sunland Baptist Academy, Sister Mary Patricia Russell Junior High, Tabernacle Baptist Academy, Jack Hayward Junior High and Mary Star of the Sea. 

Sessions are held bi-weekly on Saturdays at the YMCA.

2017.01.12 Save the Bays Chairman, Joseph Darville