The Freeport News’ front page lead on Saturday focused on the illegal dumping of about half a million gallons of waste, including sewage into Bahamian waters by Carnival Corporation cruise ships.
We are now into the second week since the startling news reached most Bahamians via reports out of the U.S. court system. Carnival Corporation was fined $40 million for illegal dumping and probation was also attached.
Our government officials have been hesitant to provide follow-up statements on the highly important national issue. When the news broke, there were initial comments, but no follow-ups. An official press statement from the Government of The Bahamas, via Minister of Transport Renward Wells, promised a further investigation and to take “measures as (deemed) appropriate.”
Wells actually caused Bahamians to be hopeful that firm action would be taken by our governing politicians.
“The Bahamas is carefully reviewing information regarding the alleged discharges originating from Carnival Cruise lines’ vessels within and around the coastal waters of The Bahamas over the course of 2017.
“The circumstances regarding these allegations were made public recently with court proceedings in the United States and the Government of The Bahamas finds these allegations most disturbing. The government takes this matter seriously and as such has engaged all relevant government ministries and departments to facilitate a comprehensive review and to provide an appropriate response commensurate to the actions.
“The allegations, if founded, would be considered serious violations of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships 1973/1978 (N+MARPOL) to which The Bahamas is party,” said Minister Wells in part.
Wells’ communication came almost a week ago, Wednesday, April 25 and since, nothing has come forth from the government on this highly sensitive matter. Perhaps, the explanation would be that the review continues.
Bahamians, however, are wondering about compensation to this country for the illegal dumping.
Is the government holding back and hoping for the issue to die, because of ongoing negotiations with Carnival Corporation about proposed projects, one being a cruise port in East Grand Bahama?
The government owes the Bahamian public clarity on its position, sooner than later.
We warn against The Bahamas being sold out in this instance, for a few pieces of silver.