Bahamas Government Protecting the Environment of Bimini
By Llonella Gilbert
BIMINI, The Bahamas -- Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie said the Government and developers will ensure that the jetty and terminal to be constructed for the Bimini Superfast “will neither be obstructive in appearance nor cause damage to the environment, which must be protected at all times”.
The developers will complete, at their own expense, the construction of a deep water jetty and terminal for the berthing of the Superfast Ferry, the Prime Minister explained while speaking at Resorts World Bimini after the inaugural voyage of the Bimini Superfast with passengers from the Port of Miami, Saturday, July 20.
He said, “I do know that in the nature of things in The Bahamas, there will be the rumblings and the beginnings of some grouping that says it is concerned about the environment in Bimini.
“Well, I want them to know that as a prime minister, I anticipated them, I will continue to anticipate them and all of our efforts will be to ensure that even if they want to go to court, we will be able to take them on wherever they want to go and whatever they want to do, because all of our efforts are driven by a commitment to ensuring the maximum effort in protecting the environment of these areas being developed.”
He said it is important to the Government for future generations of Bahamians and visitors to enjoy the island and not have its beauty destroyed.
The Bimini Superfast, which has the capacity to travel with 1500 passengers, made the voyage with 600 specially invited guests, which included the Minister of Tourism the Hon. Obie Wilchcombe; Senior Policy Advisor, Office of the Prime Minister Sir Baltron Bethel and Chairman of Resorts World; the Genting Group (a leading international resort, gaming, cruise line, agriculture and energy conglomerate based in Malaysia), K. T. Lim; government officials and the media.
Prime Minister Christie explained that the developers, which include The Genting Group and RAV Bahamas Ltd. led by Geraldo Capo, have been required to pay a substantial sum of money by Government appointed auditors to conduct an environmental impact assessment study of the jetty and terminal.
He added that the Government has also brought in its own experts and specialists, a well-known international firm from Canada, to do a microscopic examination of what the developers' experts have said should happen and how the development should take place.
“We are taking steps in the best interest of the Bahamian people.”
Minister Wilchcombe said the introduction of the Bimini Superfast represents a new era for the island.
“It is the giant step we have taken toward the economic sustainability of the island of Bimini.”
He also stressed that the people of Bimini would not be left behind as the developments take place.
“The Prime Minister based the entire programme upon causing for the involvement of the Foreign Direct Investment but also calling for Biminites and people of The Bahamas in their respective constituencies to be a part of the developments.”
Mr. Lim explained that the ship has been refurbished at the cost of $100 million.
He said they want to build the jetty and terminal because in the winter the waters will turn rough and the use of tenders to bring the visitors to the island would not be plausible.
The ship is now travelling to the island from Miami daily.
Mr. Lim also explained that the ship would bring a lot of benefits for Biminites and these include getting fresh produce from Florida daily and more tourism dollars as more visitors make their way to the island.
He added, “We want to do more. We are in the process of getting a private jet that will bring people in from Mexico City and New York City directly to you.”
July 21, 2013