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A pristine bay in Exuma contaminated in Diesel Spill, Bahamas Gov’t opens investigation

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TheBahamas, July 25, 2022 – Bahamian companies are making significant progress in their effort to clean up a 35,000 gallon fuel spill in some of the most pristine waters in the world: Exuma.

By Thursday afternoon 11,000 gallons had already been removed and the rest is expected to be siphoned out by Friday. The spill was noticed about 4am Wednesday morning during a fuel transfer which was on its way to Bahamas Power and Light (BPL).

Chester Cooper, in acting Prime Minister capacity at the time of the messy spill in his constituency.  Cooper flew into Exuma with a team of ministers and media to assess the damage.  Bahamian-owned, Sun Oil was the source of the diesel leak.

“It was on its way to BPL but ended up here in the cove. We are happy that it appears to be contained,” said Cooper, obviously concerned but expressing relief for the manageable scope of the spill.

In a statement shared with Bahamian media houses Sun Oil said ‘at 4am Wednesday morning crew members onboard the MT Arabian, a vessel contracted on behalf of Sun Oil Limited to deliver diesel fuel, discovered a leak during the discharging process. The crew deployed absorbent pads and containment buoys near the shoreline at sunrise.’

Cleanup is being led by the crew of the vessel with mechanical assistance from BPL whose trucks are holding the fuel.

Utilities Minister Alfred Sears gave this report last week on the cleanup efforts.

“Additional booms are on the way and additional pumps have been secured by BPL to accelerate the process of removal and it will be taken to a waiting ship.”

The fuel is contained to one area, thanks to the booms, said to be the bay of the Exuma Sailing Club.

In photos, while it does appear to be contained, the turquoise of the fuel free water is a jarring contrast with the now brown-black of the contaminated water and residents say the odor is equally putrid and far reaching.

Bahamian Reporter Marlena Leonard said she could smell the odor in the bus on her way to the site and residents told her they could smell it all the way in town.

Aerial images shared by the Bahamian Ministry of Works on Twitter are heartbreaking, showing the extent of the spill stretching from the bay to the open ocean.

Bahamians have taken to Twitter expressing distress, one said

“In the interest of my mental health, I am required to pretend that I did not see news about that oil spill in Exuma.”

Another said, “An oil spill anywhere in this country should spark outrage but something about seeing it happened in Exuma just feels different—“

The was a concerted effort by high ranking officials to see the scene and debrief the media. Officials from Sun Oil, BPL, the Ministry of Environment, Utilities Minister Alfred Sears, various other government officials and Acting Prime Minister Chester Cooper attended the scene yesterday morning. Prime Minister Philip Davis was in Miami at the time attending a CANTO telecommunications conference.

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International Community must address conflict between Israel and Iran

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Garfield Ekon

Staff Writer

With tensions between Israel and Iran at an all-time high, a United Nations affiliated group is urging for calm and dialogue as their violent actions can cause tragic devastation on innocent civilians.

According to Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL), an organisation that is dedicated to promoting peace through civilian-led initiatives, “it is a clear indication that the greatest victims of war are innocent civilians. 

How could those lost lives ever be brought back? What could compensate for the outcry of children and the anguish of the youth in devastated dwellings?,” the group noted in a media statement, adding that  the international community should  take “decisive measures” to address the conflict.

It is also advocating for the establishment of “comprehensive international laws” to safeguard peace for future generations. “HWPL remains steadfast in its commitment to fostering dialogue and reconciliation, offering hope for a peaceful resolution to the conflict between Israel and Iran,” the group said.

HWPL is a non-profit organisation, with a mission to promoting peace through education, and advocacy. It has a global network spanning over 170 countries. The organisation works to build bridges of understanding and cooperation, striving towards a world free from conflict and violence.

According to reports in various international media outlets, Iran and its militant partners on April 13 initiated a large-scale attack against Israel through launching several hundred ballistic missiles and drones. The international society expressed concerns over the possibility of war between the two states, since Tehran’s direct attack on Israel was unprecedented.

Experts have pointed out that the attack on Israel was Iran’s response to an airstrike on the Iranian embassy in Syria on April 1, which killed seven military advisers including three senior commanders.

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CTO’s Sustainable Tourism Conference Presents Dynamic Study Tours to Promote Sustainable Practices

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The Caribbean Sustainable Tourism Conference (STC 2024), slated for April 22-24, 2024 in Grenada, will feature a series of exclusive study tours aligned with the conference theme, The 5 Ps – People, Planet, Prosperity, Purpose and Partnership. These tours have been thoughtfully curated to offer participants an enriching and unique opportunity to delve into innovative sustainability practices and glean insights intended to catalyze transformative action for a more resilient and sustainable Caribbean.

STC 2024 is jointly hosted by the Caribbean Tourism Organization in collaboration with the Government of Grenada, through the Grenada Tourism Authority, and will welcome a wide range of participants, including government officials, tourism professionals, environmentalists, members of the media and researchers.

This valuable addition to the conference will allow participants to visit various sites and interact with local communities, gaining firsthand knowledge of best practices in sustainable tourism management, conservation efforts, and community engagement. 

Study Tour Options:

  • The Underwater Sculpture Park/Grand Anse Artificial Reef Tour: Led by Aquanauts Grenada, guests dive into the intricate ecosystem of the Underwater Sculpture Park and Grand Anse Artificial Reef and learn about sustainable practices aimed at protecting and preserving these vital marine habitats.
  • Grand Etang Nature Tour: Dr. Guido Marcelle, an esteemed botanist, guides participants through the lush rainforests surrounding Grand Etang Lake to explore Grenada’s rich biodiversity and gain valuable insights into rainforest conservation efforts.
  • The Rasta Roots Expedition: Immersive Journey into Rastafari Culture and Lands: Led by Ras Ginga, an elder of the Nyahbinghi Tribe, guests experience the Rastafari culture firsthand, learning about organic living practices and farming practices of Grenada’s Rastafari community, complete with a taste of local culinary delights.
  • Mt. Parnassus Plantation and Cocoa Pod Botanicals: Experts Michael Jessamy and Tricia Simon guide participants through the cocoa and spice plantation, uncovering innovative applications of these crops in cosmetics and health products.

The conference’s diverse program, comprising presentations, panel discussions, workshops, study tours and networking opportunities, aims to foster collaboration and facilitate knowledge sharing to advance sustainable tourism in the Caribbean region.

Event sponsors and partners include interCaribbean Airways; Royal Caribbean International; Silversands Grenada; Six Senses La Sagesse, Grenada’s newest resort; and LINK Strategic Partners, an international strategic communications and community engagement consulting firm with offices across the U.S. and in Manchester, England.

 Visit caribbeanstc.com for further information about the conference and registration details. To learn more about the Grenada Tourism Authority, visit puregrenada.com.

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RTCIPF Observes World Down Syndrome Day

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On March 21st, 2024, the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force joined the international, regional and local communities in observing World Down Syndrome Day. 

Officers showed their support by wearing brightly coloured and mismatched socks to raise awareness. 

The head of the Safeguarding and Public Protection Unit, Assistant Superintendent of Police Grantley Williams, Training Manager Mrs Odessa Forbes and Media Relations Officer Denyse Renne visited the SNAP Centre and interacted with the students.

In a message to the TCI community, the RTCIPF noted that stereotypes perpetuate stigma and hinder inclusion, preventing individuals from reaching their full potential. 

Instead, the RTCIPF calls for individuals to foster an environment of acceptance and support where everyone is valued for who they are. 

By breaking down barriers and challenging misconceptions, we can create a more inclusive society where individuals with Down Syndrome are empowered to live fulfilling lives and contribute meaningfully to their communities and, by extension, the TCI. 

As law enforcement officers, we must protect and serve all members of society, regardless of their abilities. 

Let’s work together to ensure that individuals with Down Syndrome are treated with dignity and respect and that their rights are upheld.

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