Government requests of AG Office, penalties against Carnival

Very tentatively, the Government of the Bahamas is moving towards the point of possibly hitting Carnival Corporation with penalties for the illegal dumping of sewage and other waste into Bahamian waters.

It has been established through court proceedings in the United States and other reports that cruise ships under the banner of Carnival Corporation were guilty of the illegal dumping. A U.S. court fined Carnival $40 million and put in place was a five-year probation. The dumping related directly to the United States, we have been made to understand, is a separate issue.

Indeed, a source informed that the near 500,000 gallons of sewage in Bahamians waters is another matter, and the one at hand for Minister of Transport and Local Government Renward Wells and his Cabinet colleagues to deal with.

In the House of Assembly on Wednesday, Transport Minister Wells had somewhat strong words for Carnival Corporation and disclosed that the Attorney General’s Office “has been engaged to assess the extent of criminality in these actions and to determine what remedies are available based upon Bahamian environmental protection laws and any applicable international maritime conventions and law of the sea.”

With emphasis he said: “Our environment, our waters will not be compromised.”

By all appearances, an amicable arrangement will be reached. The government of The Bahamas has not been issuing statements of outrage. Diplomacy has been high.

On the part of Carnival Corporation, according to an official statement carried in its entirety in The Freeport News on Wednesday, there is the interest in settling the issue and maintaining the good relationship with The Bahamas.

“We feel even one incident is one too many. Let there be no doubt that Carnival is and has always been committed to protecting the environment and is fully cooperating with all relevant Bahamian authorities to resolve certain concerns. To be clear, Carnival as a company, would not intentionally or knowingly violate the sanctity of the Bahamian environment,” said the Wednesday statement, in part.

It is obvious that both parties are eager to move forth in the spirit of congeniality, with the understanding that there are business dealings ahead.

The communications over the last few days were needed and necessary. Now, the Bahamian people know that efforts are definitely ongoing on their behalf. Hopefully, transparency will be the order of the day in disclosing the full details of whatever compromise the government comes to with Carnival Corporation.

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