[Coral-List] Guana Cay and the Bahamas National Trust

Erik Gauger erik at notesfromtheroad.com
Sun Jul 1 15:11:13 EDT 2007

I think I need to send this from this email account:

Dear Coral Group,


As you all know, I have posted updates from time to time on the
efforts to save Guana Cay's coral reef from a golf
megadevelopment called the Baker's Bay Golf & Ocean Club.  The
short update is that the former administration - the one which
encouraged massive, uncontrolled development throughout some of
the Bahamas' most pristine areas, has been overthrown - many in
the Bahamian media believe that the Guana Cay issue, and other
similar development vs. environment issues, were responsible for
the downfall of the previous administration.  Also, the Guana Cay
court case is currently awaiting a result at the appeals level.


But I am writing to ask some advice and help.  For those of you
who have been reading my blog (
http://www.notesfromtheroad.com/guana.htm ), you know that
Discovery Land Company - the developer behind Baker's Bay Club,
now that they no longer have the express support of the federal
government, are dangling money in front of the underfunded
Bahamas National Trust, and to a lesser degree, the local Abaco
NGO - Friends of the Environment.  Although Friends of the
Environment is neutral on the issue of Great Guana Cay, it
receives donations from Baker's Bay Club and Baker's Bay
employees speak at Friends' functions; allowing them a sort of
pulpit to show Abaconians that their development is indeed


The Bahamas National Trust is an independent, self-funded
organization in the Bahamas which is responsible for managing the
Bahamas' parks.  A few days ago, the Bahamas National Trust and
Baker's Bay Club announced that they had joined in a partnership.
Baker's Bay Club offered $1.2 million to the severely underfunded
Bahamas National Trust - but, that money is available only based
on the Bahamas National Trust's behavior. In other words,
Bahamians are concerned that the BNT has been successfully
bribed.  If they are to criticize Baker's Bay Club, or if Baker's
Bay Club loses in court, then the funding stops.


The joint press release included some shocking quotes from
members of the Bahamas National Trust: "We saw firsthand the
company's daily monitoring of the project by its in-house
environmental management team and observed the very careful
approach taken to preserve thousands of indigenous plants and
animal habitats." Mr. Carey said.


Baker's Bay Club has already destroyed much of the island's only
mangroves area, a mangrove river system which is invariably tied
to the coral reef and seagrass habitats.  However, visitors to
the Baker's Bay Club do not see this destruction.  They are
brought to a nursery, where orchids and bromeliads are plucked
out of the unique terrestrial habitat before it is bulldozed.
Visitors and journalists come away impressed with Baker's Bay
Club because of all these 'orchids that have been saved.'  People
in lab coats are everywhere, tending these orchids.  And somehow,
Baker's Bay Club is able to pass all of this off as conservation,
even though these orchids and bromeliads are common in the
Bahamas, and creating nurseries has nothing to do with
conservation!  The message of danger to the coral reef, sea
turtles, mangroves, seagrass beds, migrating bird habitats, etc
is not reaching the Bahamian people.  And the statements by Eric
Carey and Glenn Bannister of the Bahamas National Trust reveal
severe lack of knowledge of the real issues at Baker's Bay Club.


Because of this, I'd like to present both the Bahamas National
Trust and Friends of Environment with a set of statements,
because I believe they would all find these statements to be true
if given the honest chance to answer them.  I don't believe there
is anything wrong with asking these institutions to answer these
questions.  There is nothing wrong with asking institutions for
their position on such an important issue, is there?  


I have created a website with the express purpose of displaying
these questions.  I hope that members of the scientific community
as well as business leaders in the Abacos will 'cosign' this
letter with me.  However, I'd like to ask your help in helping me
write these questions:


Here is the link:


www.notesfromthesea.com <http://www.notesfromthesea.com/> 


Thank you again for your help,



More information about the Coral-List mailing list