Save the Bays demands 30-day consultation period for EIA regulations

Save the Bays demands 30-day consultation period for EIA regulations
Joseph Darville, the chairman of the non-profit organization Save The Bays.

STB says consultation process a “mockery” and “farce”

NASSAU, BAHAMAS –Local environmentalist group Save the Bays yesterday called on the government to extend the consultation period for the draft Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations.

In a statement yesterday, the organization slammed the government for what it termed unacceptable public consultation procedures and a “mockery” to the process.

Save the Bays said the Ministry of Environmental Health “quietly” distributed the draft regulations to a “handful” of environmentalists who were given until the end of the week to make recommendations.

“Save the Bays is deeply disturbed by this miserably poor effort at public consultation on a matter of such vital importance to each and every Bahamian,” the statement read.

“We are convinced that the government’s aim is to ram this dreadful draft through under the noses of the unsuspecting public.”

The group noted that the five-day consultation period “on any matter of national significance is a farce”, indicating that the standard around the world is 30-days.

“It is totally unacceptable and makes a mockery of the very idea of public consultation”, they added.

Additionally, STB insisted that the government’s “cherry-picking” of who it consults with is “a slap in the face to the environmental community and all concerned Bahamians who care about the preservation of our natural heritage”.

“No administration has the right to decide who the rightful stakeholders are on such an important matter, but rather have a duty to open the question up to the public at large,” the statement added.

Speaking to the recommendations now out for consideration, the organization noted that as they stand, they “do nothing to change any of these utterly fatal flaws in the EIA process as it stands today, and therefore do not appear to change a thing.”

“They appear to be an attempt to solidify the useless system that is already in place, making a mockery of the very spirit of environmental protection,” the group continued.

“These regulations are nothing more than a cynical rubber stamp, and not worth the paper they are written on.

“Save the Bays demands that the consultation period for these regulations be extended to 30 days and the town meetings be scheduled and properly advertised in both New Providence and Grand Bahama immediately.”