[Coral-List] Guana Cay Islanders and the Big Picture

Angie Bancalari-Schmidlapp abanca at bellsouth.net
Thu Mar 16 22:43:33 EST 2006

I have been following this time-consuming discussion and also have been
gathering some info (in the form of a simple google search) on the company,
and found:

1) Their web site: www.discoverylandco.com/ In their section on Baker's Bay
there is practically no mention of coral reefs. LOTS of mentions regarding
Golf and Megayachts. Pretty pdf images of their plans, with crowded house
lots. 400 and some homesites I think I read...you imagine the impact...there
are currently 170 residents in the island (yes, one hundred and seventy)

2) Interesting dialogue on the case at
Mention of some local opinions on this divided issue, and also apparently
the company registered www.saveguanacay.com, and if you go there you'll see
the whole storefront for their "environmental" concerns, EIA, etc. Yep...

3) Bahamas Business News article:
In it, there is mention of an accountant working for the company and making
allusion to how the Bahamas should just abolish working permits for

4) San Francisco Chronicle Article: from FEBRUARY OF 2006:

In it they mention the locals' concerns, and it shows that, like any other
small country in need of the millions, there is a shady side that is hard to
beat: the government... and I quote:

"...his real concern is what the development might mean for the lush coral
reef offshore. Albury heads the Save Guana Cay Reef Association, which has
taken the unprecedented step of suing Bahamian Prime Minister Perry Christie
for leasing more than 100 acres of crown land, without the approval of the
local government, to help the Discovery Land Company build Baker's Bay Golf
and Ocean Club. The Supreme Court begins hearing the case today."

There is obviously a current local opposition that scientists with coral
reef impact experience should pick up on and offer their support. Note the
name of the association, which if it would like to have a web site, would
have a hard time finding a name close to its own. The developer owns it.

I especially like the phrase in the article that says:
"They'll come with their poodles with pedicures, and they'll expect us to

If anyone reading this has ever a doubt that the developers and the future
residents EVER had or will have a true and genuine concern (beyond the
marketing value of such) regarding the environmental impact of the project,
then the world is much, much more naïve than I ever thought it was.

The caliber of people that these projects cater to and the philosophy of
conservation are inherently mutually exclusive. That is the bottom line
problem and that is why we have NO RICH scientists.

Sorry for the lengthy note, it does not help to shorten the time it is
taking to follow this thread.
Kind regards from this grad student.
Angie Bancalari-Schmidlapp

-----Original Message-----
From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
[mailto:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf Of Tom Williams
Sent: Thursday, March 16, 2006 6:01 PM
To: Erik Gauger; coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov;
riskmj at univmail.cis.mcmaster.ca; reefball at reefball.com
Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Guana Cay Islanders and the Big Picture

From: Dr. Tom Williams

I have been gathering other information, below.

Kathleen Sullivan Sealey, 
University of Miami professor
Dean of science and technology at the College of the

Specialist in coral reef fish, 

Wrote the Baker's Bay environmental assessment, 
doubts that the consequences will be so severe.

Team monitoring Bahamas coastline via satellite for
four years 
 with Earthwatch volunteers, plans to keep a close
eye on near-shore corals 
 as an early warning system of any dangerous levels
of pollution on the reef. 
 "an experiment in sustainability for small island

James Risk, a marine biologist hired by the islanders 
more than 40 years of experience monitoring coral

After looking over project's environmental impact
assessment   "the result would be the death of the
reef within three years."

James Cervino, a specialist in reef biology
teaches at Columbia and Pace universities. 
Coral reefs thrive in nutrient-starved ecosystems

Marshall   chief environmental adviser to the prime
Hired away to oversee environmental and community
relations for Discovery Land.

Well respected in his field in Bahamas he stated, 
"I am not a coral reef expert nor do I claim to be
one. I am a Fisheries Ecologist. I can either
collaborate with coral reef ecologist to produce
scientific conclusions or I can cause such 
science/scientist to be funded to produce
scientific-based recommendations and or BEST [emphasis
added] management practices."
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