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Privy Council Orders Bimini Dredging to Cease

An injunction from the Privy Council on Friday ordered that the controversial dredging in Bimini to accommodate Resorts World Bimini Bahamas be discontinued immediately.

In documents obtained by the Journal on Friday, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council said after consideration of the appellant’s application, who in this case is listed as Bimini Blue Coalition Limited, for conservatory orders and after hearing submissions from all parties involved on May 22 and 23, it was ordered that until further order by the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court, that the dredgers, Resorts World Bimini Management and RAV Bahamas, be “enjoined from continuing to excavate or dredge the seabed at North Bimini.”

“The respondents could apply to the Court of Appeal at the hearing which is set for June 4 or in the meantime, apply to the Supreme Court for variation or discharge of the order,” the Privy Council ruling read.

Meantime officials at Resorts World Bimini Bahamas issued a statement on the injunction Friday afternoon stating that the resort has temporarily ceased the dredging in accordance with the Privy Council injunction.

“We have all permits in hand and will provide the necessary documentation to lift the injunction expeditiously so that we can continue to provide Biminites with jobs, complete the construction of the cruise pier and open the full destination resort that Biminites and tourists alike are looking forward to,” the release read.

The dredging in Bimini has been the source of much talk recently as some residents expressed concern that the activity would permanently damage sea life and other natural resources and that it was being done without the proper authority.

However, last week Environment Minister Kenred Dorsett released a press statement noting that The Government of The Bahamas remains committed to the protection of the Bahamian environment.

He noted that the government is taking all necessary steps to mitigate any environmental impact with regard to the dredging.

However, Executive Director of The Bahamas National Trust (BNT) Eric Carey, said the BEST Commission, which is mandated with monitoring the project and ensuring compliance with the laws of The Bahamas and best environmental practices, is not properly managing the dredging in Bimini noting that the developer has failed to contain the spread of siltation.
He said the BNT receives countless calls by the hour from many concerned Bahamians.

The Free National Movement (FNM) also expressed concern about the dredging, and stated that they encourage economic activity, which may create business and employment opportunities for Bahamians, it should not be at the expense of the country’s natural resources.
The Opposition called on the government to act swiftly.
In a press statement issued over the weekend, the FNM said the recent injunction issued by the Privy Council underscores the government’s failure to protect the natural resources in Bimini.

“This Government’s clear incompetence and flagrant abuse of power has resulted in the highest court questioning the validity of a permit, which was presented (Friday) at the Privy Council but dated yesterday, although dredging started sometime ago,” the released read. “How is it that the government who always maintained that the dredging had all the necessary permits produced to the Court a permit which was only issued (Thursday).

“The court ruling is evidence that the Christie Administration has neglected their duty once again, causing not only damage to our international reputation but what may be permanent damage to Bimini’s seabed and dive and fishing industry. This government must come clean and answer the questions raised by the court in particular the sudden production of a permit which did not exist just a few days earlier when the matter was being heard before the Court of Appeal. The government at that time argued that no such permit was necessary even though they knew better. In addition, the government must fully comply with the law and apologize to the people of the Bahamas, in general, and Biminites, in particular for their dereliction of duty.”

Resorts World Bimini Bahamas is a multi-million dollar, luxury gaming facility set to open in North Bimini in the fall.
The dredging is being done to make way for a ferry terminal that will allow the docking of cruise ships.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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