The Government of The Bahamas, through the Ministry of Environment, has officially designated the expansion of park areas in Grand Bahama. The livelihood and lifestyle of residents in the East Grand Bahama sector, in particular will accordingly be affected.
The whole matter remains a dicey one. Despite the decision of the government to opt for expansion of the Lucayan National and Peterson Cay parks, to go along with the other GB protected areas of Gap National Park, and East Grand Bahama National Park, there are those in appreciable numbers according to information reaching The Freeport News, who remain opposed.
They view the expansion as an encroachment of their rights to work traditional areas.
The matter is further proof of the need for the Central Administration in this country to allow Local Government greater authority to make decisions that determine the destinies of communities outside of the capital island of New Providence.
The situation is an interesting one.
Minister of Environment and Housing Kenred Dorsett, who came on island to make the announcement about the new marine protected areas, his ministry associates and the Bahamas National Trust hierarchy are satisfied about expanding the areas. We at The Freeport News have established that views are split.
We donâ t always agree with East Grand Bahama Member of Parliament Peter Turnquest but he struck the right chord when he questioned the timing of the announcement by Minister Dorsett.
â I have had no subsequent conversations nor consultations with the minister and he did not communicate his decision. That is unfortunate, as I would have advised him to delay that directive until we had a better understanding of the concerns of the residents and could relay their fears or at least understand the objections. It is now incumbent on us to ensure that the regulations to govern these parks are established as indicated in the early consultations,â said Turnquest.
It is clear that there ought to have been much more deliberation on such a high profile issue that relates to East Grand Bahama.
Whatâ s the rush?
Why such haste to push through legislation that declares the expansion of protected areas?
When an issue relates so profoundly to the vey lives of residents, the decision-making process should be quite lengthy.
Now, there are definitely those who feel the expansion decision has been pushed down their throats. This matter will rankle them no doubt, for the rest of their lives.