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Environmentalist warns of a third possible Rubis leak

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The Bahamas, 23 Jun 2015 – A leading environmentalist has called for a full investigation into a third suspected fuel leak from a Rubis station in New Providence.

Ecologist & Attorney Romi Ferreira, a director of fast-growing social and environmental movement Save The Bays (STB), said highly toxic and environmentally destructive substances may have leaked, or may be continuing to leak into the ground at Porky’s Service Station on East Street South.

“What seem to be test wells, some perhaps recently drilled, along with mobile recovery tanks can be observed at the station,” Ferreira said. “It would seem they are attempting to recover whatever spill material is in the ground – whatever hydrocarbon it is, either gas or diesel – as part of an ongoing exercise.

“This is precisely the same methodology that Rubis used at Marathon, they installed similar types of test wells and a recovery system utilizing the same types of tanks. In fact the tanks can be observed as a part of the soil vapor extraction system Rubis currently has running in Marathon, on the property of a resident who lives at ground zero of that disastrous spill of 24,000 gallons of gas.”

In the Marathon case, public awareness was raised about the grave health and environmental dangers associated with the leak, but only two years after residents were exposed to harmful, cancer causing chemicals.

Ferreira said the recently revealed Sandyport case, and now this East Street South example, force Bahamians to ask how many other leaks have managed to elude public scrutiny.

“How many families are being slowly poisoned without their knowledge, while fuel companies and the government maintain their silence?” he asked.

“Not only do these leaks point to a culture of poor environmental stewardship, they also speak to a fundamental lack of transparency and accountability on the part of both the company or companies involved, and our elected leaders.”

Ferreira said it appears that Rubis and the government learned nothing from the Marathon case, and insisted Bahamians have a right to know when their health is being placed at risk.

“Fuel companies and the Ministry of Environment have a duty to make residents and businesses aware of what they know, as soon as they know it.

“This is what happens in other jurisdictions around the world. Why are Bahamian lives considered less important? When will our government officials take environmental pollution seriously and move to protect us from its serious consequences?

“As with the Sandyport case – which itself only recently came to light through the efforts of concerned residents and businesses – STB calls for a full and open investigation of the situation at East Street South. What’s more, the people whose lives and livelihoods may be affected by this third possible leak should be informed of what the company and the government know immediately.

Test wells at Porky’s“Further, we call for increased attention to be placed to the physical state and integrity of all facilities and infrastructure that stores or transports fuels and other volatile hydrocarbon substances throughout the country.

“The time for playing hide-and-seek is over, government officials and fuel companies must come clean about any possible dangers to the public health and the integrity of our environment. They cannot be allowed to play with people’s lives.”

Magnetic Media is a Telly Award winning multi-media company specializing in creating compelling and socially uplifting TV and Radio broadcast programming as a means for advertising and public relations exposure for its clients.

Caribbean News

Barbados bestows Humanitarian Award on PAHO director Dr. Carissa Etienne 

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By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer

 

#Barbados, November 25, 2022 – The newest recipient of Barbados’ Humanitarian Award is outgoing Pan American Health Organization Director, Dr Carissa Etienne.  The government of Barbados grants this award to frontline workers who were instrumental during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Upon receiving the award, Dr. Etienne expressed her gratitude for the recognition, noting, however, that she was more grateful for the opportunity to have served on the island. She also praised Prime Minister, Mia Mottley for her diligence in leading the country and regional involvement during the pandemic.

Humanitarian medals were also given to Frontline workers who risked their own safety to ensure the needs of the public were met. Those who held supporting roles on the frontline received humanitarian lapel pins, and those who made generous donations were given humanitarian plaques.

Dr. Etienne highlighted one major lesson from the pandemic, “we are only safe when the weakest among us is also safe”.

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Bahamas News

Bahamas and Turks & Caicos Immigration Ministers make appearance on TCI Radio Talk Show

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TheBahamas, November 25, 2022 – “We have a humanitarian concern of course but we can only absorb so much” was how Fred Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Public Service in The Bahamas addressed the issue of the UN constantly nudging Caribbean countries about the deportation of migrants and recommending that it not be done.

He was speaking Thursday November 24 with Cheryl and Zhavargo on First Edition which airs on RTC FM.

While acknowledging that the UN offices likely ‘have to do what they do’ Minister Mitchell  explained that the current irregular migrants trying to get into the Bahamas did not fit the bill of ‘refugees’ as defined by the UN.

“We have a treaty obligation that says that if people have a fear of persecution in their home country that we have an obligation to take them in as asylum seekers. The people who come through on these boats from the south of us are not asylum seekers. They are afraid of poverty and that’s a difficult issue but in a legal sense we’re not obligated to embrace people on that basis.”

He cited a study that had found, on any given day there were around 7,000 illegal migrants in The Bahamas trying to get to the US maintaining that his chain of islands had to take a stand on the issue.  The Foreign Affairs minister acknowledged that  TCI was in an identical situation, citing also the the cultural effects of irregular migration.

“There is a cleavage which has developed in our own society over this; people are very concerned that we could lose our identity if we do not get on top of it.”

Earlier this year Arlington “new sheriff in town” Musgrove, Minister of Immigration and Border Services in the Turks and Caicos had described statements calling on surrounding countries to do more to assist persons fleeing Haiti as “reckless and misguided.”

“Haiti has a population of 11.6 million people. How could any small developing state like the Turks and Caicos Islands assist that number of people or even the smallest fraction of them? We have a population of some 47,000 persons, and our health care, education and other social systems remain fragile and could never withstand an influx of refugees. This would be a risk to our very own livelihood,” he had said.

He was interviewed in the same show on Thursday prior to Mitchell and expressed a similar determination to crack down on illegal migration.

“I want to stress this. If we catch anyone harbouring illegals, it could be my mommy, she’s going up. We cannot tolerate this. We’re catching the sloops so my Haitian brothers and sisters should stress to them don’t waste your money we’re sending you back.”

Turks and Caicos, this year passed a law, doubling fines and prison times for individuals harbouring illegal migrants.

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Bahamas News

Former Bahamian Cabinet minister defends record amid ongoing police investigation

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By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer

 

#TheBahamas, November 25, 2022 – Former Youth, Sports and Culture Minister, Lanisha Rolle is reportedly currently under investigation due to several allegations that came up during her tenure; she however knows nothing of this alleged criminal investigation.

After the minister resigned – unceremoniously –  in February 2021 with little explanation, the ministry was locked down by the Prime Minister for an audit of the National Sports Authority, which fell under her ministry.

Auditor General Terrance Bastin revealed that unauthorised contracts had been issued, some of which were later forwarded to the NSA for payment. Three cheques to contractors were also found, which were paid to individuals and then collected by a senior ministry official.

Despite the allegations, Rolle said she upheld cabinet standards and good governance during her tenure. She added that a minister is not always aware of “everything in a ministry at any given time.”

Rolle said she has not yet been approached by the RBPF regarding the audit findings.  Having served as a member of the Police Force for 11 years herself, Rolle told a crush of media on Wednesday (November 23) that she continues to trust that they will follow the legal process and in due time, the truth of her innocence will be revealed.

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