Advocacy Giants Join Forces
Citizens for a Better Bahamas the latest group to partner with Save The Bays as emerging ‘citizens’ rights revolution’ continues the march towards a unified front
Fast-growing social and environmental movement Save The Bays has gained a crucial partner in the fight for enhanced civic rights and government transparency in The Bahamas.
Citizens for a Better Bahamas is a non-partisan advocacy group that believes the government should exist to serve the needs of society and provide peace, order and in particular, good governance.
“Citizens for a Better Bahamas is excited to join with Save The Bays as a community partner in our sustained commitment to create an engaged and informed society on matters of national importance,” said the group in an official statement.
“Our ongoing efforts to achieve the enactment of an efficient Freedom of Information Act and other key elements of good governance go hand in hand with the Save The Bays initiatives to improve the processes through which our precious environmental resources are employed and preserved.”
Founded in 2013 by a small group of Bahamians concerned about the government’s plant to impose Value-Added Tax on the nation, The Citizens quickly grew into a formidable voice for change on the national scene, sharing many of the aims and concerns of Save The Bays.
The Citizens advocate for the preservation of the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual; support ethical, accountable and transparent governance; provide platforms to facilitate dialogue between the citizenry and government; deliver broad-based educational campaigns on social, economic, environmental and political issues impacting The Bahamas; and encourage unity, cooperation and collaboration across the Bahamian Diaspora.
“We believe that through the combined efforts of our organizations an even greater impact can be made in the development of a vibrant and relevant civil society sector in the Bahamas, thereby enhancing and broadening the scope of the national dialogue and fostering a culture of cooperation and mutual respect,” the statement said.
“Citizens For A Better Bahamas is encouraged by this partnership with Save The Bays as it demonstrates our commitment to our founding principle, which is a firm belief that: “Together We Are Better! Together We Can Build A Better Bahamas!”
Save The Bays CEO Lindsey McCoy agreed that the two groups are “natural partners” and said the alliance is an important development in the ongoing wave of social activism that has swept across The Bahamas over the last few years.
“In many ways, the progress of the Citizens mirrors that of Save The Bays,” she said. “Both groups were founded only a short time ago, both began with a handful of concerned citizens and a few core issues, and both have grown in both scope and influence, now commanding the attention of thousands of Bahamians.
“A partnership between these two giants of social advocacy, grounded in mutual recognition of the urgent need for a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) but also covering many other aspects of the fight for good governance, is a huge step forward in this ongoing citizens’ rights revolution,” she said. “We are thrilled to be working with them on our upcoming Freedom of Information Street Party on October 25 from 4 – 8 at Van Brugels on Charlotte Street in downtown Nassau. The event is free and will have live music and food and drink for sale. The goal of the event is a huge turn out to demonstrate to the Government that two years is too long to wait for a Freedom of Information Act.”
“I have no doubt that very soon, all the concerned citizens of The Bahamas will join forces to present a unified front to our leaders in demanding transparency, accountability and the rule of law.”
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, the West End Eco-Fishing Camp Association and Young Marine Explorers.