Save The Bays, the fast-growing environmental advocacy group, reported that it has reached a major milestone, after having 6,000 verified signatures on a petition calling for strong environmental protection measures and a Freedom of Information Act.
“This is phenomenal,” Save The Bays CEO Lindsey McCoy said.
“It shows that people really do care about the environment, and they want it protected. Save The Bays was only formed last year and the reason we have met with such success is that we are hitting a chord that is important to the people who call The Bahamas home. The environment matters.”
According to Ms. McCoy, the landmark 6,000-signature achievement occurred ahead of schedule.
“We actually underestimated how much excitement and interest environmental issues would generate and, like with our Facebook page that is now at nearly 17,000 Likes, reaching 6,000 signatures on the petition happened well ahead of our dream target date.”
That 17,000 Facebook likes is believed to be a record for a Bahamian-registered NGO.
The petition that drew so many to sign calls for an Environmental Protection Act, a Freedom of Information Act, an end to unregulated development and to oil spills, protection of conch and creation of the long-promised marine park at Clifton Bay.
Ms. McCoy said directors would decide shortly how best to present the petition with the signatures to government.
“It will be done in a very public way,” she said.
“The invitation will be extended to all of our community partners who are doing all they can to protect the environment in their communities or in their roles.”
Those partners include large and long-established organisations like the Bahamas National Trust, The Nature Conservancy, BREEF, Earthcare and reEarth, as well as smaller groups often created to fight for a backyard issue threatening their environment, the coral reefs or fish, conch and crawfish supplies.
Save The Bays has made its cry as the voice of the environment heard from regular radio shows to the courts.
It has filed several legal actions, including matters affecting Bimini, oil pollution at Clifton Bay and issues surrounding Nygard Cay.
The Save The Bays CEO said most signatures came through the petition posted on the Save The Bays website at www.savethebays.bs.
But many people, she noted, signed at events including the Freedom of Information Act demonstration in Rawson Square in March when the leaders of both the Free National Movement (FNM) and the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) signed.
One of the signatures that has attracted the most attention – that of legendary screen star Sir Sean Connery.