A group of international conservation experts has expressed serious concern over the environmental impact of ongoing resort construction on and around the island of Bimini.
The experts, hosted on a tour of Bimini by fast-growing social and environmental advocacy group Save The Bays (STB), said they fear the work may destroy some of the most significant coral reefs in the region and put the island’s traditional industries at risk (see video at SaveTheBays Bahamas youtube site: http://bit.ly/1nNEXKF).
“The Bahamas are some of the most beautiful and wonderful places in the world,” said Marydele O’Donnely, director of international policy for the Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC). “I’ve traveled extensively and I have been absolutely amazed by how the habitat looks here.
“But when I see developments like what is happening in North Bimini I am not only alarmed and concerned, but really saddened. Things have happened here that shouldn’t have happened.
“You can have development but you need to do it properly, and it hasn’t been done properly.”
Archie Carr III, also an STC director, called what he saw in Bimini “quite depressing” – particularly the impact of a massive seafloor dredging operation undertaken to make way for a 1,000 foot pier and cruise ship terminal, right at the heart of Bimini’s most valuable reefs and dive sites.
Carr said the operation resulted in “enormous siltation”, which locals say continues to blanket the surrounding sea floor and suffocate struggling marine life.
Many of the visitors were senior members of the global Waterkeeper Alliance, a leading NGO that coordinates more than 200 stewards of the marine environment, or Waterkeepers, who monitor and help safeguard rivers, bays, lakes and coastal areas around the world.
Noting the importance of Bimini marine environment, both ecologically and in economic terms, Rachel Silverstein, the Waterkeeper for Biscayne Bay, Florida said: “The development that’s going on here is threatening the livelihood of Bahamians who have businesses here that support the tourism industry.”
The developer, Resorts World Bimini, owned by Malaysian conglomerate Genting, has claimed its presence will boost the local economy, but Biminites have grown increasingly concerned that the property will end up monopolizing the tourism business.
One said: “They are now advertising their ‘six restaurants and bars and world class casino’, as well as a variety of water sports, a beach club and restaurant and a craft market, all within their walls.
“At what point are the day guests supposed to contribute to the local economy in the six hours they spend on the island?”
Alex Matthiessen, former Hudson Bay Waterkeeper, now CEO of the Blue Marble Project, concurred with this assessment and noted that the concern runs even deeper.
“No one, even we environmentalists or the Biminites here, are against development, we’re ok with development. The issue is local Biminites who have been making a healthy living off the natural resources here for many generations are being violated, when this kind of development happens.”
Meanwhile, local efforts to bring preserve Bimini’s marine habitat and traditional local economy took a significant blow recently when a court ruled that STB affiliate Bimini Blue Coalition had to pay more than $300,000 before their legal challenge of the development could be heard by a judge.
Despite battling tirelessly for many months, the grassroots coalition was forced to admit defeat, with attorney and STB legal director Fred Smith, QC, lamenting the fact that conservationists had been “priced out of justice”
Smith said it should be very troubling to all Bahamians when citizens with no personal axe to grind, who are merely seeking to defend the public interest, are denied their day in court due to their financial stature.
However, concerned citizens have vowed to continue closely monitoring developments in Bimini, particularly with an eye to blocking the plan to fill in North Bimini’s mangrove swamp and transform it into a golf course.
This same area was listed as the highest-priority site in the Bahamas for a proposed Marine Protected Area in the year 2000 by the Government of The Bahamas in recognition of its ecological and economic value of its habitat.
Fourteen years later, the North Bimini Marine Reserve is still not a reality.
During a recent visit to Bimini, Minister Alfred Gray advised Biminites to learn more about the trade of turf maintenance, spurring concerns that Resorts World was going to pursue filling in north Bimini’s mangroves and turning what was to become a marine protected area into a golf course.
“This crucial area is a nursery for an abundance of marine species which are significant for the fishing industry not just in Bimini, but many of the surrounding islands as well,” Smith said. “We cannot allow that to happen.”
To learn more about the conservationists’ tour, and the ongoing efforts to protect the environment and traditional way of life in The Bahamas, visit: https://www.youtube.com/user/ProtectCliftonBay.
Bahamas and Germany Enter Agreement to Facilitate Direct Airlift
#TheBahamas, December 4, 2021 – The governments of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, and of the Federal Republic of Germany entered into a technical bilateral Heads of Agreement aimed at fostering closer ties between both countries. A central feature is an Air Traffic Agreement to facilitate direct flights from Germany to The Bahamas, which would in turn facilitate movement of goods and services, ease of direct shipment as opposed to going through a third country, among other things.
The HOA was signed during a ceremony at the Ministry of Works & Utilities on Tuesday, November 30, 2021. The Hon Alfred Sears, who served as Acting Minister of Tourism, Investments & Aviation, and His Excellency Dr. Stefan Keil, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to The Bahamas signed the agreement. Also present were: Permanent Secretary Reginald Saunders, Ministry of Tourism Investment & Aviation; Luther Smith, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Works & Utilities; Bacchus Rolle, Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Works & Utilities; Melanie Roach, Director of Public Works; and Carl Christian Illing, Honorary Consul of the Federal Republic of Germany, Bahamas.
Mr. Sears said it was a pleasure both countries entered into such an agreement, which he deemed would bring together, two peoples.
The Bahamas and Germany formed diplomatic ties in 1974 and have enjoyed successes in commercial enterprise, tourism and family ties as many Bahamians live in Germany.
“This relationship has been growing and this (agreement) represents the ease of travel, business and social interaction between our two countries,” Mr. Sears said, adding that Bahamians consume and use German products namely vehicles, pharmaceuticals and other items.
In other areas, Mr. Sears noted that The Bahamas is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world susceptible to effects of global warming. He thanked Germany for its role in the recent COP26 held in Glasgow, Scotland, during which that country pledged some twenty million Euros for disaster risk reduction initiatives.
He recalled Hurricane Dorian, which struck Abaco and Grand Bahama from September 1-3, 2019 and, as a result, residents in the path experienced storm surges 20 feet high, many lives were lost, clinics, other public buildings and infrastructure were damaged and/or destroyed, and The Bahamas lost a large portion of its GDP.
“The commitment of Germany resonates with us,” Mr. Sears said, “as we rebuild and build the infrastructure stronger.”
The minister shared the possibility of acquiring more vehicles from Germany, targeting more stopover visitors from there with projection of higher spend and enjoyment of more cultural activities. Permanent Secretary Saunders supported this, by confirming that direct air travel is being facilitated through the agreement.
Ambassador Keil too acknowledged the close relationship between both countries, and that the technical agreement will further strengthen those ties.
By Lindsay Thompson
Photo Caption: Photos show Minister Sears and Ambassador Keil during the signing ceremony at the Ministry of Works & Utilities, November 30, 2021.
(BIS Photos/Yontalay Bowe)
DIGICEL+ GIVES CUSTOMERS THE GIFT OF MORE SPEED THIS CHRISTMAS
The fastest internet just got even faster…for the same great price
Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands – 1st, December 2021 – Digicel+ is gifting The Turks and Caicos Islands faster home fibre speeds for Christmas, and beyond. Fulfilling the brand promise of Simply More (more power, more speed and more reliability), customers will now benefit from up to 2x faster download speeds on broadband and bundle plans.
This is all about a better experience for customers, and not about the cost. This free upgrade gives Digicel+ customers an even better home fibre internet experience, for anyone, on any device. And as part and parcel of the digital lifestyle, Digicel+ is the gateway to a Smart Life, which means that state-of-the-art Smart Solutions like Smart Homes and Smart Security are no longer just concepts, but a powerful reality.
Addison Stoddard CEO of Digicel TCI said, “This Christmas, we’re excited to reward customers with a super slick, superfast, super reliable home fibre experience, underpinned by service delivery that is, of course, second to none. Our entry-level plans are the fastest on the island and this puts us head and shoulders above any other internet offering in the country.”
The upgraded packages now start with download speeds of 50Mbps, and go up to 300Mbps for the speed demons and heavy gamers out there. This allows the Turks and Caicos Islands to connect to the global knowledge economy, have amazing entertainment options, and power their personal and professional experiences, thanks to these new superfast internet speeds.
Addison Stoddard continued, “It’s more of what our customers expect; more of what they want and it’s another way that we can be a part of our customers’ digital lives – at home, on the go, anywhere and everywhere. Simply put, Digicel+ is simply more.”
Over the past two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has solidified the importance of having a steady, powerful and reliable home internet connection, mainly due to many schools going online and parents working remotely. Now, with even faster internet speeds, customers get the best home fibre experience every time. This provides opportunities for MORE working, MORE schooling, MORE gaming, and MORE streaming with Digicel+.
Guys, Have 2 Minutes? Here’s How to Check Yourself for Testicular Cancer
Testicular cancer is a rare form of cancer for men in The Bahamas. It is highly curable — if you know it’s there!
November 30, 2021 – Men…how often do you perform a self-exam to check yourselves for testicular cancer?
While it’s a relatively rare form of cancer, young men aren’t exempt – in fact, testicular cancer occurs most often in young and middle-aged men. The good news is, it can usually be treated successfully.
The most common symptom of testicular cancer is a lump on your testicle. But that’s not the only sign of this disease.
Men who have testicular cancer may experience several different kinds of symptoms, says oncologist Timothy Gilligan, MD, a Medical Oncologist at Cleveland Clinic who specializes in treating testicular cancer.
Testicular cancer most frequently strikes men younger than age 44, and is the most commonly diagnosed cancer for men ages 15 to 34. It is almost always curable if found early, Dr. Gilligan says, and it is usually curable even when at a later stage. So it’s important to know signs and symptoms.
Here, Dr. Gilligan says, are five possible signs of testicular cancer you might not know about:
5 Testicular Cancer Symptoms That Aren’t a Lump – Know what to look for and catch it early
- A feeling of heaviness or pressure in your scrotum.
- Change in testicle size or firmness.Certain types of testicular tumors can reduce testosterone or increase estrogen in the body, which can result in a change in testicle size or firmness.
- Swollen legs.When a tumor spreads to the lymph node, it can constrict blood flow in the veins and result in a blood clot. The clots often occur in the legs, which causes them to swell. You might even experience blood clot symptoms such as pain and difficulty breathing.
- Lower back pain and shortness of breath.These are symptoms of advanced testicular cancer, meaning the cancer has spread to lymph nodes behind your stomach. Shortness of breath also may signal that the cancer has spread to your lungs, which may make it harder for air to move in and out.
- Breast growth or tenderness.In rare cases, hormone changes also can cause breast tenderness or growth of breast tissue. Some tumors can secrete high levels of a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), which stimulates breast development.
If you experience any of these symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor right away, Dr. Gilligan says. If your physician diagnoses you with epididymitis or orchitis and the symptoms do not resolve quickly with antibiotics, request an ultrasound to evaluate for a testicular tumor.
“While up to 95 percent of men with testicular cancer are cured, it’s important to get care quickly if you’re experiencing symptoms because testicular cancers usually grow fast,” Dr. Gilligan says. “If there is disease, the earlier it is treated, the greater than chance for success.”
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