A noted Queen’s Counsel attorney and head of the legal team for environmental advocacy group Save The Bays today blamed what he called “50 years of criminal negligence” for the fires at the Nassau dump and urged victims to exercise their right to legal action.
“I cry shame on every member of Parliament and every executive in each of the administrations be it the Free National Movement (FNM) or the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) that they should have allowed a state of affairs to exist at the city dump affecting thousands of people month after month after month for decades,” declared Fred Smith, QC, environmental advocacy attorney and managing partner of Callenders Law Firm, Grand Bahama.
“I want to emphasize that, in my opinion, it is criminally neglectful, criminally negligent of government after government to have allowed a situation to exist where this dump just continues to pose such a toxic and hazardous threat to the people of New Providence.”
Smith made his comments during the radio show Voice of the Bays, The Environment Speaks. The show airs on Love 97.5 on Wednesdays from 5- 6 pm.
“The show this week picks up where Fred Smith laid off,” said host Save The Bays Chairman Joe Darville. “Dr. Arlington Lightbourne, founder of The Wellness Clinic on Collins Avenue, will talk about specific health concerns, long-term impact and how individuals can best mitigate against the impact of toxins and carcinogens that will remain in the air, permeate the soil and affect the water lens for years to come.”
Smith’s call to action and the two radio shows dedicated to the subject of the Nassau dump follow in the aftermath of the latest blaze which erupted Sunday, March 5. Thick black billowing smoke filled the air and for those attempting to land at Sir Lynden International Airport, the view from above looked like the island was on fire and enveloped by dense dark cover. On the ground, residents of nearby Jubilee Gardens fled for their lives, some nearly two weeks later still not able to get back into their homes that were stained and scarred from the fire, smoke and ash. According to one report, 27 of those residents were treated at the Flamingo Gardens Clinic that same day and four of those admitted to emergency care at Princess Margret Hospital.
“You all need to sue,” Mr. Smith advised. “You’ve got over 1500 lawyers in Nassau. How is it that a group of lawyers has not yet come together to act for free for a group of people to bring an action for criminal negligence against the people responsible? It’s insane that in a place like New Providence a situation like this can exist.
“Our government should treat this as a national disaster. Use taxpayer money to help. I want to see my government in a generous, kind, gracious manner, treating those people in a way they deserve. They have been displaced from their homes. Their lives have been disrupted. They are subjecting themselves to hazards that years from now will affect their health. The doctor said that years down the road, we could have hundreds who will die from carcinogens that the body cannot metabolize. Ordinary masks cannot keep those chemicals out. This is a national disaster and a national disgrace and I call upon the citizens to stand up for their rights and for the government to do right by the citizens it is charged with representing.”
Save The Bays is a leading advocacy organization with a following of more than 20,000 friends on Facebook.https://www.facebook.com/SaveTheBays/ Its legal, education, environmental stewardship training, environmental monitoring and public awareness programs touch nearly every aspect of the physical and cultural environment ranging from unregulated development to passage of a true freedom of information act.