[Coral-List] Guana Cay -

Vera DuLaney veradulaney at comcast.net
Fri Mar 17 07:12:13 EST 2006

Thank you for all the writings you do.  I am a Florida resident who 
loves to dive and is horrified at the state of the reefs right out my 
back yard.  We are directly impacted by the bad practices of 
developers.  I agree with everything you are saying.  But there is one 
point that seems out of reach from this community.   If I remember 
right, someone stated earlier that the Land Bay Company received its 
funding from the World Bank, whose own assessment of the "best use" for 
the land was to build a golf course and marina on this tiny island.  If 
the money for the project  flows from the bank to the developer, then it 
is really the bank and their "requirements" for this development that 
are at fault. The developer has little freedom to modify a "plan" once 
it has been funded.   It's appears the developer is taking steps to 
erase evidence of the reef in their literature, so it appears 
intentional on the part of the bank  

Have you read "_Confessions of an Economic Hit Man_"?  The practices 
described in this book are no different than what is happening at Guana 
Cay.  The World Bank is not known for their eco-sensitive projects. I'm 
afraid the only way to preserve the reef is through legal channels - 
make sure the laws are strong and the developers get sued for attempting 
to violate them. 

veradulaney at comcast.net

Erik Gauger wrote:

>Nicole - thanks for your thoughtful reply.  In my experience, the need for
>extremely eco-sensitive development in certain critical areas, and the
>effects of the past 50 years of development in these areas is really just
>now coming to light on a broader scale.  Additionally, just in the past few
>years have we seen developments genuinely fit into this scientific model.  I
>do not see developers as inherently evil, and I believe that with proper and
>tough environmental laws, community involvement, knowledge about the value
>of eco-development, and encouraging conservation groups - developers will
>change.  And consumers are slowly evolving themselves - 'ecotourism' -
>genuine or not - is the fastest growing segment of tourism.  With that in
>mind, the attention to detail that Discovery Land Company has placed on the
>environment would make it a great golf development...in a suburban region of
>There is a good book called "Last Resorts: the cost of tourism in the
>Caribbean."  It looks at the effect of megadevelopments on local communities
>and the environment, and makes a good case for involving local communities.
>It also points out the costs of developments that alter the culture and the
>environment.  Developers develop - but if they are also part of a community
>and scientific groups such as the coral world can be more vigilant as a
>group, we will see this change come sooner rather than later.
>Just to throw a loop in this discussion, and I don't mean to divert too
>sharply from a discussion about coral - I believe that things like taste,
>culture, architecture, etc play closely to environmentalism.  If a
>development appears out of context with the surrounding area, there is
>probably something intrinsically wrong with its sustainability component as
>well.  As a part time amateur travel writer, I mostly sleep in a tent with
>holes in it.  Rarely, however, I get to visit genuine eco-developments and I
>have always been impressed by the attention to detail, the love of the
>culture, the use of sustainable material, and above all how interested the
>clients are in learning about how the development works with the surrounding
>communities and the environment - there is hope.
>The few scientists who have come to the assistance of the locals of Guana
>Cay have helped on several levels; without them it is unlikely the court
>case would be as strong as it is and the developer's P.R. campaigns may have
>silenced the locals.  Scientists and data offer credibility and solidify the
>"Can scientists write/fax articles of concern - relating the possible
>outcomes of this project (mangrove removal, impacts of dredging and
>siltation, increased nutrification from the golf course) to Bahamian
>Yes, and they have and they are.  But these people have full time jobs, as
>do I, and they need more assistance, more research, more baseline data and
>more concerned scientists and citizens taking a few minutes out of their day
>to email somebody, write a letter to www.saveguanacayreef.com, etc.  There
>are lots and lots of people who are on the side of the locals, but the most
>valuable assistance somebody can offer is to elucidate from a very specific
>point of view, quoting from genuine research, and calling the media.
>One more thought, Nicole.  You mention which newspapers can we write too,
>etc.  I have a theory that the types of places where coral reefs tend to be
>are usually too distant, and the story too 'small' for large newspapers to
>visit and report on unless it directly affects their readership.  With that
>said, it is the tourism and travel media that has the budget and best grasp
>on small islands adjacent to coral reefs.  I am absolutely convinced that
>publications like Caribbean Travel & Life, Conde Nast, Islands Magazine, etc
>are the publications that are most qualified (in terms of budget, etc) to
>discuss these types of issues t the audience it impacts.  It is absolutely
>horrifying to see that these types of publications almost universally avoid
>the big conservation issues.  These magazines send the world's vacationers
>off to their destinations - they are the only link between Coral Island #237
>and the developed world.  I think conscious consumers, concerned scientists
>and advertisers can make a point of relieving these magazines of their fears
>to get into real journalism on the areas they cover.  Come on, would you
>rather read about Guana Cay's colorful battle or a puff piece on the lobster
>at Hotel Atlantis?

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