Save the Bays (STB) Chairman Joseph Darville said yesterday Carnival Cruise Line’s proposed development for Grand Bahama will be a much needed economic boost for the island.
“It is going to be a regulated development,” Darville said.
“It is going to be sensitive to the marine environment. [Carnival’s Senior Vice President for Global Port and Destination Development Giora Israel] has done this around the world with Carnival [and] anytime they’re dredging the channel to bring in ships they had delicately removed corals that might be in the [way] and transplanted them in a very effective manner, achieving like a 90 percent or more survival rate on the corals.
“So, in light of this type of sensitivity to the environment and in addition to the fact Grand Bahama desperately needs a major boost in the economy, we are inclined to support it fully.”
The development was announced by Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis last week.
The port will be developed in Sharp Rock, just four miles east of Lucaya, and it will adhere to strict environmental guidelines, according to the prime minister.
Minnis said the project is expected to provide more than 1,000 direct and indirect permanent jobs for Grand Bahama.
When asked why the environmental group decided to support this project while opposing Disney Cruise Line’s proposed development in Eleuthera, Darville said, “The concern is that Carnival came with everything transparent, telling us everything about how it’s going to be done, when it’s going to be done, what the impact that would take place [is], how it’s going to be mitigated.
“We haven’t heard this at all from Disney. We just know that they had a meeting in Eleuthera and as far as we know environmental organizations were not invited to ask the relevant questions with respect to what is going to happen to a massive amount of the environment.”
Environmentalists and non-governmental organizations, including STB, were strongly outspoken against Disney’s proposed development of Lighthouse Point in South Eleuthera.
In September, representative for Save the Bays Paco Nunez had said while there is no development that will not impact Lighthouse Point, the development proposed by Disney Cruise Line will not preserve the natural beauty of the 700-acre property.
In October, the government approved the nearly half-billion-dollar proposal.
Yesterday, Darville said, “We know that Carnival has a tradition of preserving any corals that they have to interact with. They have it moved on a timely basis and we were led through the whole program on how they would do this. This has not been the case with Disney at all. Now, maybe they will do that if they get the final permission from government to go ahead, but at the present time there is a mystery.”
Education: Goldsmith, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice
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