Nassau, 07 Mar 2016 – Kirkland ‘KB’ Bodie, the musical artist who delivers tough messages to catchy rhythm and rhyme, released his latest Youtube salvo yesterday, taking aim at the government for threatening to replace important land use legislation with a weaker act that he fears fails to protect land or life.
The song ‘Das What Real Bahamians Do’, written, performed and produced by ‘KB’, is the latest in a litany of the musician’s lyrics for the environmental movement Save The Bays and like the others, it puts the conscience of a country on notice.
“Past songs like ‘Hold dey feet to da fire’ were important because they set the tone, making the point that people need to ask for and demand accountability,” said KB. “But today’s release dealing with the Planning and Subdivision Act was far more challenging. How do you make land use rights and responsibilities sexy? How do make the need for an environmental impact assessment for all developments something people relate to, make it fun, and translate the importance of the right to public consultation into a language that makes people care?”
The Act has been a priority issue for Save The Bays, the grass roots environmental organization that has nearly 20,000 followers and friends on Facebook. Environmental attorney and consultant Romi Ferreira, a director of Save The Bays, has been spreading the message of the need to keep the 2010 legislation, speaking to Rotary and other civic organisations, appearing on radio talk shows, at public forums and in paid ‘Say No to PSA’ radio and print ads.
“This bill, the 2015 Planning and Subdivision Act that would replace the 2010 Act that we all fought so hard for and was agreed upon, an Act that was passed unanimously, takes away the rights of Bahamians,” said Ferreira. “It takes away the right to be consulted. It is the legitimate expectation of a community to be consulted, to express its opinions and concerns and for those opinions and concerns to be considered before a decision is rendered that will alter that community’s future.”
Under the proposed legislation, basic rights of public consultation would vanish and the decision to require an environmental impact assessment would be in the hands of a Cabinet Minister for developments of more than 100 lots despite The Bahamas having signed on to a global agreement to the contrary. The 100-lot scenario, says Ferreira, would only encourage developers to build in phases, 99 lots at a time.
While Ferreira looks at the proposed legislation through the eyes of a senior lawyer who has taken environmental and public consultation cases all the way to the Privy Council in London, KB is hoping to get the message across in a way that touches a nerve with a beat that people can’t get out of their heads.
“I don’ get it,” sings KB. “I don’t understand, why the government does give away our land…Y’all voted yes on the PSA, now ‘dat y’all in power, you wanna’ take it way…You shouldn’t change the rules when they don’t suit you, you shouldn’t change the law just for the few.”
Save The Bays, which sponsors the music with a message and the production of videos appealing to tens of thousands of viewers, has picked up the pace for public online involvement of the environmental movement while partnering with several organisations that have long track records in environmental resource management. A petition to keep the 2010 Planning and Subdivision Act is on its website at www.savethebays.bs and a separate petition calling for Freedom of Information legislation and an environmental protection act along with other measures has already attracted nearly 7,000 signatures.
CANARI outlines climate priorities ahead of Cop28
The Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) informed that the Caribbean Climate Justice Alliance, in preparation for the upcoming annual COP28 in 2023, launched its “Caribbean Climate Justice and Resilience Agenda,” outlining the priorities for climate justice and resilience in vulnerable Caribbean small island developing states (SIDS).
In a press release, CANARI highlighted that the agenda recognizes the major threat of climate change to the region as well as aims to louden the voices of the at-risk groups “on the frontlines of the climate crisis and catalyze actions for climate justice and local resilience in the Caribbean SIDS.”
The priorities stated under the agenda are:
- Curbing emissions to limit global temperature
increase to 1.5 ̊C
- Scaling up locally-led solutions for adaptation and
loss and damage
- Improving access to and delivery of climate finance
for frontline communities, small and micro enterprises, and civil society organizations as part of a ‘whole of society’ approach
- Scaling up just, nature-based solutions for resilience
- Supporting a just transition for pro-poor, inclusive,
sustainable and resilient development
- Promoting gender equity and social inclusion
approaches to climate action
- Promoting youth and intergenerational equity as
core to the climate response
- Integrating a rights-based and earth-centered
approach in addressing all these priorities and ensuring climate justice
The at-risk groups referred to in the release include small-scale farmers and fisherfolk, rural women producers, income-poor people, elderly and disabled people, Indigenous and Afro-descendant communities, migrants, and LGBTQIA+ people.
Being cognizant of the severity of the effects of climate change on the Caribbean, CANARI referred to the fact that the very existence of the region is on the line.
“If greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated and global temperature exceeds 1.5 ̊C, the impacts of rising sea levels, more intense hurricanes, rainfall variability, ocean acidification, and other changes threaten the very existence of our way of life in the Caribbean and other SIDS that have contributed the least to global emissions.”
CARICOM Sec Gen speaks on Gender Based Violence
“Everyone must continue to invest in preventing violence against our women and girls (VAWG). It is an investment in our shared future,” were the words of Dr. Carla N. Barnett, CARICOM Secretary-General, as she reiterated the need for solutions against VAWG.
She called attention to VAWG as she gave a speech surrounding the annual campaign “16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence,” which runs from November 25 to December 10, 2023.
Barnett expresses the well-known fact that VAWG is one of the most prevalent issues affecting all corners of society.
“VAWG remains one of the most pervasive forms of human rights violations in the world and cuts across all races, cultures, genders, and educational backgrounds,” she maintained, as she continued to point out the sad reality that this is still a major issue despite regional and global policies.
“Despite the existence of regional and global policies and legislation to combat VAWG, weak enforcement and discriminatory practices remain significant barriers to ending VAWG.”
The Secretary-General highlighted statistics for VAWG, bringing attention to how serious and embedded this issue is in society.
She said that globally, 736 million women—nearly one in three—have experienced violence—physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence, non-partner sexual violence, or even both.
For the Caribbean region, she said surveys conducted between 2016 and 2019 inform us that one in two women experience intimate partner violence, which is higher than the global average.
In continuation, Barnett expressed that the campaign calls everyone to action against VAWG, including “development partners, civil society organizations, women’s organizations, youth, the private sector, and the media.” Also, world governments are being asked to share how they are investing in gender-based violence prevention.
Ending her address, the Secretary-General urged everyone to wear the color orange for the duration of the campaign, as well as on the 25th of each month, “as a symbol of hope for a brighter future where women and girls live free from violence.”
Sea Patrol Vessels Approved by Cabinet, October 11 Meeting
#TurksandCaicos, November 25, 2023 – Her Excellency the Governor, Dileeni Daniel-Selvaratnam, chaired the 26th meeting of Cabinet on Wednesday, 11 October 2023 at the Governor’s Office, Providenciales.
All Members were present except the Hon. Josephine Connolly.
- Approved the Consultation Report on the Proposed Amendments to the Turks and Caicos Islands Immigration Ordinance with amendments and agreed for the amended document to be brought back to Cabinet for final approval for onward submission to the House of Assembly.
- Approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Turks and Caicos Islands Government (TCIG) and Geta Crew Holding Ltd. for a mixed use development project on the island of Grand Turk, with the view of entering into a Development Agreement as per the Encouragement of Development Ordinance and the National Investment Policy.
- Approved the renewal of rental lease agreement, for various Government offices, between TCIG and Waterloo Property Management, Grand Turk.
- Approved the awarding of the following contracts:
- PN 005694, TR 23/13, Furniture and Equipment for NJS Francis Building; and
- PN 005696, TR 22/10, Purchase of Patrol Vessels.
- It noted the update from Her Excellency the Governor regarding the upcoming visit of UK Ministers to the Turks and Caicos Islands.
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