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Environment
Minister Ferreira calls on Bahamians to join Keeping Our Bahamas Beautiful initiative

NASSAU, Bahamas (August 29, 2017) – While appearing as a guest on Ed Fields Live, Kiss FM 96.1 radio show on Monday evening, the Hon. Romauld Ferreira, Minister of the Environment and Housing touted the Keeping OUR Bahamas Beautiful initiative and called for Bahamians to join together to get New Providence clean.

“We are proposing that ahead of Heroes Day, we reflect on the national heroes of this country, our forebears who have sacrificed much for us, that we do them honour by ahead of that, cleaning the place up and we want to start now,” said Minister Ferreira.

The Environment and Housing Minister called the state of uncleanliness on the island of New Providence a very serious and vexing problem.

“New Providence is filthy, “ he said, “New Providence did not get to this state overnight and it will take the collective effort of all right thinking Bahamians to do something about it.”

The first step in cleaning up the island he said was getting Bahamians onboard through an aggressive public awareness campaign.

In the first instance he said he wanted to appeal to communities and neighbourhood associations who want to organise themselves.

“If you are a community organisation, a church, a school, a neighbourhood association, or just an army of one, or an army of your family and you are sick and tired of the state of affairs of New Providence we’re talking to you,” he said, “And we’re saying ‘“look the Ministry of Environment, we want to help you to clean this place up, call us for assistance.’”

He said a mindset existed among many Bahamians that someone else should come behind them and clean up after them.   He said he understood the expectations of persons looking to the government to keep the country clean but expressed that it is the responsibility of each individual to have clean surroundings.

As the Minister of Environment he said his ministry was taking the lead in being the drivers behind the cleanup initiative with the hope of all Bahamians buying in to the campaign with little enforcement.

“I think once in every generation there is an issue that falls on all of us to do collectively and certainly from an environmental point of view, this is one of them,” said Minister Ferreira.

Minister Ferreira encouraged listeners to call the ministry for more information and for necessary equipment such as dumpsters to start the initiative in their respective areas.

He said while the state of New Providence did not happen overnight and will not be cleaned up overnight, collaborative efforts will bring about the end goal of a clean island and nation.

“There are some things that bind us and the environment is one of them and in order to clean it up we all need to hold hands, lock arms and take one step forward,” he said.

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Environment
Minister Ferreira calls on Bahamians to join Keeping Our Bahamas Beautiful initiative
NASSAU, Bahamas (August 29, 2017) – While appearing as a guest on Ed Fields Live, Kiss FM 96.1 radio show on Monday evening, the Hon. Romauld Ferreira, Minister of the Environment and Housing touted the Keeping OUR Bahamas Beautiful initiative and called for Bahamians to join together to get New Providence clean. “We are proposing that ahead of Heroes Day, we reflect on the national heroes of this country, our forebears who have sacrificed much for us, that we do them honour by ahead of that, cleaning the place up and we want to start now,” said Minister Ferreira. The Environment and Housing Minister called the state of uncleanliness on the island of New Providence a very serious and vexing problem. “New Providence is filthy, “ he said, “New Providence did not get to this state overnight and it will take the collective effort of all right thinking Bahamians to do something about it.” The first step in cleaning up the island he said was getting Bahamians onboard through an aggressive public awareness campaign. In the first instance he said he wanted to appeal to communities and neighbourhood associations who want to organise themselves. “If you are a community organisation, a church, a school, a neighbourhood association, or just an army of one, or an army of your family and you are sick and tired of the state of affairs of New Providence we’re talking to you,” he said, “And we’re saying ‘“look the Ministry of Environment, we want to help you to clean this place up, call us for assistance.’” He said a mindset existed among many Bahamians that someone else should come behind them and clean up after them.   He said he understood the expectations of persons looking to the government to keep the country clean but expressed that it is the responsibility of each individual to have clean surroundings. As the Minister of Environment he said his ministry was taking the lead in being the drivers behind the cleanup initiative with the hope of all Bahamians buying in to the campaign with little enforcement. “I think once in every generation there is an issue that falls on all of us to do collectively and certainly from an environmental point of view, this is one of them,” said Minister Ferreira. Minister Ferreira encouraged listeners to call the ministry for more information and for necessary equipment such as dumpsters to start the initiative in their respective areas. He said while the state of New Providence did not happen overnight and will not be cleaned up overnight, collaborative efforts will bring about the end goal of a clean island and nation. “There are some things that bind us and the environment is one of them and in order to clean it up we all need to hold hands, lock arms and take one step forward,” he said. ###
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Environment
Aug 29, 2017
Environment and Housing Minister discusses portfolio on radio show and outlines plans going forward
NASSAU, Bahamas (August 29, 2017) – In his first sit down interview since assuming office, Environment and Housing Minister Romauld Ferreira as a guest on Ed Fields Live, Kiss FM 96.1 radio show on Monday evening, described his ministry as very large with a dynamic portfolio and discussed the myriad of challenges and outlined plans for going forward. Minister Ferreira called both environmental rights and affordable housing a subset of basic human rights. Touching on housing he said, “Affordable decent housing gives people a chance to live with a certain amount of dignity in their lives and it gives them a chance at the Bahamian dream which is home ownership.” The biggest challenge for home ownership he pointed to on the island of New Providence was the availability of land to meet the needs of the thousands of applications for homes. The other challenge he said was affordable housing whereby the average Bahamian could afford the home. He said the ministry was faced with the need to introduce new technologies to bring down the price of housing by delivering houses at effective price points while simultaneously adhering to building codes. Said Minister Ferreira, “There are literally thousands of people wanting a home so this desire to have a home is a deep and fundamental desire in the hearts of most Bahamians and my job, our job as a government, is to give effect to those desires and those hopes and dreams.” In addressing the environment, one of the many challenges Minister Ferreira explained was the current state of affairs whereby interlocking issues seemingly on name alone appeared to be under the Ministry of the Environment and Housing, when in fact antiquated regulations prevented directives from his ministry. Minister Ferreira used the real problem of oil seeping into the waters at Clifton Pier Power Station as an example. He explained: “The power station is operated by BPL. The oil comes there, it leaks into the ground. Once it hits the water table that water is actually owned by the Water & Sewage Corporation. It migrates through the rock, hits the ocean. The cleanup at the ocean level is actually the Ministry of Transport. If it hits the seabed then you’re dealing with submerged lands, that’s the Office of the Prime Minister. And if there were any kind of excavation involved to get it, you need an excavation permit, that’s the Ministry of Works, that’s Conservation and Protection of the Physical Landscapes of the Bahamas Act. And if you were to build something to help remediate it or recover it then that’s the Building Controls Officer.” Minister Ferreira emphasized that “nowhere in that scenario is a permit issued from the Ministry of the Environment.” He said, “And so we’re in a situation where we need to bring forth into the 21st century the regulations as it speaks to the day to day operating procedures to guide these things from the Ministry of Environment.” Speaking on the New Providence Landfill, Minister Ferreira said the ministry was in the process of issuing Requests for Proposals once again to bring remediation to the problem as only two groups responded to the initial requests made by the previous administration. He said one of the proposals was a waste energy proposal and the other presented a tipping fee scenario where fees would be charged for use of the landfill. He said the ministry will develop terms of reference for the new RFPs and give people sufficient time to understand the processes, to understand the dynamics of a RFP including a financial component and adequate time to submit a comprehensive proposal that would be similar and not incongruent as the two previously submitted. “And as we said before the residents around the landfill have endured a great deal so there’s some human rights issues there that you need to be sensitive to and on top of all of that the landfill is a national asset whether we accept it as such or not,” said Minister Ferreira. Added Minister Ferreira, “I feel very honoured and privileged to have this opportunity to serve as Minister of Environment and Housing. I am an ecologist and attorney. I have devoted my whole life to these issues.” ###
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Environment
Aug 01, 2017
Minister Ferreira forms New Providence Cleanup Planning Team
NASSAU, Bahamas (August 1, 2017) – After several meetings, Environment and Housing Minister, Romauld Ferreira, finalised on Monday a planning team with public and private partners to organise an island wide New Providence cleanup campaign. The Keeping OUR Bahamas Beautiful initiative will be launched on National Heroes Day, Monday, October 9 and will encompass a phased cleanup approach with the island being divided into five zones. The scope of the cleanup will involve removal of derelict vehicles, lot clearances, removal of white waste which are household appliances, and will also incorporate rodent control. “We are determined to educate our people, enforce our laws, and constantly monitor our communities to bring about sustained change in the way our surroundings are maintained,” said Minister Ferreira. The cleanup of New Providence will be supervised by Inspectorate and Solid Waste Management Staff of the Department of Environmental Health Services. “We understand that the aesthetics of litter free communities, clean green spaces and the like  will not occur overnight but we are unwavering in our efforts to make a forceful impact and invite all residents to partner with us in Keeping OUR Bahamas Beautiful” he said. The Ministry of the Environment and Housing in the coming weeks will announce the plans for the launch of the Keeping OUR Bahamas Beautiful campaign. ###
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Environment
Jul 24, 2017
Sustaining and harvesting Bahamian Forests
Harvesting forests in The Bahamas is feasible and an initiative that is getting the full attention of the Forestry Unit. Christopher Russell, director of the unit which falls under the umbrella of the Ministry of the Environment and Housing, said a sustained operation is key for harvesting from forests in the country. He said that during the 1950s the Owings Illinois of The Bahamas Ltd. was licensed to harvest pine trees located on the Pine Islands – New Providence, Abaco, Andros and Grand Bahama and that the harvested pine were used in the United States for the pulp and paper industry in Jacksonville, Florida. Russell said the present pine forest “is a forest that has come back from that activity.” “The idea was to harvest all the pine trees and leave five trees per acre to reseed the forest so all the pine forests you see today, they are not original forests they are like secondary forest and they’ve come back from their parents.” He said the process was not a sustained operation based on sustained yield which he said is the cornerstone for forest management. Sustained yield he explained ensures that the forest is not depleted as harvesting occurs but that regrowth is continuous. “In order for forests to be sustained indefinitely, whenever you’re harvesting you have to find out what is the annual increment and that increment will be removed from the forest and taken in terms of harvesting. So that didn’t happen in the case of Owings.” He said trees have a periodic annual increment whereby they begin as seedlings and grow rapidly, initially in height. “At some point they reach their maximum height growth and then they start putting on diameter,” he said, “So every year trees grow, put on diameter, that increase in diameter is called an increment.” He said, “So you have to find out what is your increment from trees on an annual basis and so that increment is what you would remove from the forest based on certain forest management prescriptions.” Russell said sustained yield begins with resource assessments. He said resource assessments entail staff of the Forestry Unit establishing permanent sample points in the forests by affixing witness posts to a number of trees and using GPS coordinates for locations when data collection is needed. “We would go to this area within a certain radius in the point center and we would flag, identify, measure everything – measure every single tree their height and everything else,” he said. “We would also get information on biodiversity from these areas and then we can therefore quantify what we call the growing stock meaning what is actually the standing volume of trees within the entire forest area using statistical sampling techniques.” Once this groundwork is done, Russell said the next step is to determine what trees should be removed. He said if parts of a forest have too many trees per acre standing then that forest would be classified as dense. If commercial timber production is recommended then “we have to prescribe a certain methodology or technique to coordinate this forest area and selectively take out x amount of trees.” “Let’s say this area has 500 trees per acre it’s too many trees and we want to bring it down to say 200 trees per acre the most, based on data collection, then we have to find the right methodology to take out those competing trees and then maintain the trees that we want to stay,” he said. “So once we have assessed the resource we know what we have standing, we know what is the annual increment from that forest. Therefore, we can decide what percentage of those trees we can take out in terms of volume,” said Russell. He said that one third of the standing volume is usually removed but again noted that the removal of trees has to be based on data collection from the resource assessment. At the end of the day, you take out that volume and then you wait a few more years and you see a difference in those trees,” said Russell, “At some point those old trees will be taken out again but you have to make sure the forest is regenerating again before you move the final crop.” Russell said that whenever any company submits a proposal to remove trees the company’s working plan is reviewed to see if it meets the requirements of the Forestry Unit which is legitimized by the Forestry Act 2010. “If it doesn’t meet our requirements then you are automatically rejected. Your business plan is tailor-made to what we feel is in the best interests of the forest resources and what the forest resources can maintain over a period of time.”
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Environment
Jun 28, 2017
High costs to remedy problems at Clifton
More than $1.3 million was spent by the former administration on the Clifton Remediation Project with nearly $1.7 million now needed to correct the problem(s) at the Pier. “Under the previous administration, and as of March 17, 2017, the government spent $1,302, 247.44 on the Clifton Remediation Project,” said Hon. Romauld Ferreira, Minister of the Environment and Housing. “The contracts with CH2M Hill will cost an additional $1,490,311.00 when completed and this does not include the additional $125,000 the company is asking for in its proposed management proposal and the $65,000 for its participation in constructing a wall.” Minister Ferreira was giving his contribution to the 2017/18 Budget Debate at the House of Assembly. He said that Bahamas Power and Light (formerly BEC) will be requested to share the cost of the remediation. Minister Ferreira said CH2M Hill was engaged in a contract with the previous administration and a preliminary report was issued in June 2016. “The report identified BEC as the only source for oil leaking into the marine environment,” he said. For several years citizens and visitors to the marine environment at Clifton Pier and the underwater sculpture gardens at Albany, lodged complaints to the government regarding the presence of oil in the immediate surroundings. Then near the end of 2013 there were accounts of large amounts of oil in the marine environment which led to the ministry engaging G&N to install containment booms along the cliffs at Clifton. The Environment Minister said correcting the problem by installation of the booms was only partially successful due to inclement weather and inexperience. He said discussions then ensued between the previous administration and Caribbean Systems International to stop the seepage of oil. CSI proposed excavating five feet below the water table to construct a wall to the surface of the land area. Minister Ferreira said the proposal was not accepted because the area has subterranean caves which would prevent the construction of the wall. As a result, he said stakeholders in the area including various oil company executives and BEC executives met to discuss short and long-term solutions. A short term measure was to purchase additional booms which were later installed by BEC personnel. He explained that Morgan Oil Marine, a company in Grand Bahama submitted a proposal to remove the oil from the subsurface and barge it. He said permission to relocate the barge was not granted due to age of barge and it having a single hull. As it stands, Minister Ferreira said CH2M Hill was re-engaged by the previous administration and submitted a management proposal for four contracts to conduct additional investigative work to the tune of an estimated $125,000. He said the bridge contracts were signed for the following: Marine Tier 1 Ecological evaluation assessment Off-site sampling and product finger printing assessment Remediation system design proposal Site characterisation proposal   Minister Ferreira said a preliminary report on the off-site sampling was received by the Ministry of the Environment and Housing on April 25. He also noted that a fourth proposal from CH2M Hill for the construction of a wall on the seaside cliff and a conceptual design for non-aqueous phase management behind the new pier structure was submitted. He said that both submissions were forwarded to the Ministry of Works and Urban Development as a new wall and pier will change the dynamics of the work. He added that once analytical work is finished the company will be able to determine the source(s) and “I shall give a report to the Bahamian people as soon as the report has been submitted to the government.”            
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Environment
Jun 27, 2017
Minister Ferreira visits New Providence Landfill
PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                                                                  June 27, 2017   NASSAU, Bahamas (June 27, 2017) – Environment and Housing Minister Romauld Ferreira recently visited the New Providence Landfill on Harold Road. Minister Ferreira noted that in assuming office he recognised that the landfill would be one of his most pressing matters to address. Minister Ferreira’s impromptu visit was to conduct a ground truthing exercise of the area. “I wanted to make a firsthand assessment of the state of the landfill after having read all of the technical reports and request for proposals (RFP’s) and to prioritize our short term and long-term measures,” said Minister Ferreira. The Environment and Housing Minister noted that the terms and names at the landfill and cells described in reports were not congruent with the same terms referred to by the Department of Environmental Health Services and “we want an element of consistency and adequate manpower and equipment moving forward.” Minister Ferreira also used the opportunity to personally thank DEHS personnel for their services and risking their lives to extinguish the extensive fire which started in March of this year at the site. ###
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Environment
Jun 12, 2017
What it would take to create national forest estates
It’s often hard to start from scratch. Laying the foundation is sometimes wearisome and not without setbacks – but the benefits of doing it right the first time outweighs the hassle of unnecessary problems in the future. Just ask Christopher Russell, a 34 year veteran in forestry and current Forestry Unit Director.   He will tell you that he’s up to the challenge of establishing national forest estates in The Bahamas. With the latest forestry legislation, Russell and his team are meticulously going step-by- step through each procedural forest prescription, all determined to properly develop the forest resources in The Bahamas with sustained yield being the cornerstone upon which they manage. Russell said there are four steps – identification, declaration, presentation and having the lands vested. “What we have to do to achieve managing our forests based on sustained yield concepts, is to first identify appropriate areas in the country and declare them national forests,” he said. The identification process he said would involve ground proofing exercises to identify encroachments on forest areas to prevent land conflict issues from arising once national forest estates are established. “We are going about that process now of identifying areas of forests in the country initially on the Pine Islands [Abaco, Andros, Grand Bahama and New Providence] on crown land that meet certain criteria in terms of them being best suited for forestry development, including commercial and recreational activities and for conservation purposes.” Once the areas of forests are identified they next have to be declared and presented by law as national forests. According to Russell the Forestry Unit has produced the maps to show where the proposed boundaries should be for the national forests. He compared the legal process of getting the areas legally defined to that of land purchases. “When you’re purchasing a piece of land and you have to have a conveyance document showing the descriptions of boundaries, the same must apply here and has to be verified by the Lands and Surveys Department, as they’re the ones who are supposed to be describing these boundaries on our behalf” he said. Following these steps Mr. Russell said the Minister responsible for crown lands will in turn have the lands vested through a resolution of Parliament, after which “we have control to go ahead and carry out our various activities on these lands”. “So there’s a process to get us to the point where we have these national forests declared and then they will be gazetted and everybody will know where these areas are,” he said. Russell said a public awareness campaign will occur next as the campaign will be instrumental in providing residents and members of the public with vital information on lands that are identified as National Forest Estates and the laws that pertain to such areas. The director said once the areas are identified, declared and presented by law as national forests and public awareness of these areas have taken place, then management plans for the areas will be developed. He said the foundation for Management Plans was laid in 1986 during an initial attempt to declare national forest estates and get the Forestry Act enacted. “It didn’t happen then but we did a management plan so that’s our foundation document because it does describe how to manage our forests,” said Russell. He said each area has unique attributes and the management plan will provide directives on how to best manage the areas. “In terms of areas that have certain commercial production forestry, certain areas that we ought to conserve for preservation, wetland areas that have to be protected as well, the mangrove systems we identify, certain areas of mangrove systems such as broadleaf forests we all have to look at. “Once we know what we have on the ground we can prepare appropriate plans and strategies to manage these forests areas, build capacity within the country and be a model for the rest of the Caribbean,” said Russell. He said there has to be a buy-in of all the relevant stakeholders acknowledging that he and his team have already met with these stakeholders. Russell said the government is committed to establishing national forest estates and completing this exercise, which was already presented to the United Nations. “We are mandated by law to do it and we have obligations and conventions to do this and also with the Paris Agreement which we recently signed with respect to climate change, forestry is one of our major mitigation efforts.”        
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Environment
Jun 09, 2017
Varying Measures in Motion to Tackle Landfill Problems
The Environment and Housing Minister presented short, medium and long-term measures to address the problems at the New Providence Landfill during his contribution to the 2017/18 Budget Debate at the House of Assembly on Thursday. Minister Romauld Ferreira noted that in assuming office he recognised that the landfill would be one of his most pressing matters to address. For years successive governments have failed to properly manage and create an effective fully engineered landfill. On March 5, a massive bush fire that began behind a local business spreading to the periphery of the landfill and quickly advancing to neighboring communities resulted in the evacuations of nearby residents. The fire burned for nearly month. A subsequent preliminary report from the Pan American Health Organization indicated serious health impacts on residents in the area. In the interim, Minister Ferreira said a communication programme focusing on health implications from the fires at the landfill would commence. He said refresher training courses in the handling of hazardous waste and use of personal protective equipment would be offered for workers from the Department of Environmental Health Services attached to the landfill who were all previously trained under the Solid Waste Management Project. The Environment and Housing Minister revealed that enhanced and constant monitoring would take place along with the provision for pay loaders and protective equipment for first responders to prevent fires and fight any ensuing fires. Further, Minister Ferreira said the landfill in Grand Bahama and other landfills will be studied to create a feasible plan for the New Providence Landfill. “Once this plan has been agreed, a new request for proposal (RFP) for the management of the landfill will be issued,” he said. Minister Ferreira said the RFP will take into account policies and regulations for non-recyclable, non-decomposable and hazardous waste all focused on proper engineering of the New Providence Landfill. He said medium term goals entail emergency plans being formulated in consultation with the wider community and a national public awareness campaign in conjunction with the Water and Sewerage Corporation to discourage the use of private wells. Regarding long-term goals, Minister Ferreira announced that the government of The Bahamas would correct the septage and sludge handling facility located next to the landfill and install ambient air monitoring to better assess the impact of the environment and human health. Minister Ferreira pledged that once the RFP process is completed he would inform Bahamian citizens of the results.      
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Environment
Jun 08, 2017
Affordable Housing on the way
In his contribution to the 2017/2018 Budget Debate, the Hon. Romauld Ferreira, Minister of the Environment and Housing revealed new plans for home constructions including information on the government’s proposed rent-to-own programme. Minister Ferreira also announced that over $300,000 were earmarked for repairs of government rental units. “During this budget cycle the Department of Housing will complete 300 homes in the Carmichael Village Sub-division,” said Minister Ferreira, “Two million dollars will be expended to cover the costs of the same development.” He said the housing project will be completed under the government’s private venture with 72 homes being completed in the new Carmichael West Sub-division. He announced the Department’s scheme to build 10 low to mid income family residential homes in the Fox Hill area and that plans were underway to develop nearly six acres of land off Faith Avenue also into low and middle income residential subdivisions including two additional blocks of government rental units. “Presently, there is $345,391.79 of committed funds for the repair of rental units,” revealed Minister Ferreira. With regard to the rent-to-own programme, Minister Ferreira described the programme as meaningful, allowing occupants to simultaneously rent the home with rent payments being applied to the purchase price of the home. The rent-to-own homes will be constructed on land opposite the Coca Cola Plant off Sir Milo Butler Highway. “It is our view at the Ministry of the Environment and Housing that such a programme will go a long way to broaden the base of those in poverty,” added Minister Ferreira.
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Environment
May 16, 2017
Welcome Minister Ferreira
The Permanent Secretary (Acting), Department Heads and all staff at the Ministry of the Environment and Housing extend a warm welcome to our new Minister, Romauld Ferreira. Minister Ferreira, an attorney by profession who specialises in Environmental Law, arrived shortly after eight o’clock today for his first day on the job. He was greeted by Mr. David Cates, Permanent Secretary (Acting) and staff before heading to Cabinet to start his first full day in office. Welcome Minister Ferreira!    
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Environment
Mar 20, 2017
Special Assembly and Tree Planting Ceremony at Anatol Rodgers
Environment and Housing Minister Kenred Dorsett plants an avocado and a mango tree on the grounds of Anatol Rodgers High School today with Principal Myrtle McPhee (left) during a tree planting ceremony as students and Forestry Unit officials look on. The tree planting ceremony followed a special assembly where Minister Dorsett promoted the benefits of forests to mark the start of Forest Awareness Week. His planted trees also contribute to the ambitious goal of the Forestry Unit’s 10,000 trees planted by year end campaign.
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Environment
Mar 13, 2017
First Cohort of YEC Programme Graduate
More than 30 Naturalist and Horticultural Apprentices in the much touted Youth Environmental Corps Programme  graduated today in a commencement and awards ceremony held at the Retreat Garden, Village Road. This first cohort of YEC graduates engaged in hundreds of hours of coursework and hands-on training to reach their milestone. During his commencement address, the Hon. Kenred Dorsett, Minister of the Environment and Housing encouraged the graduates to be prepared – for the unexpected; for when their desired outcome is not achieved and for winning once they commit to their life’s journey. “Life is unpredictable,” he said, “Graduates you have to be prepared for the curveballs.” He continued: “The Naturalists were eager to start the countdown to their 300 hours of specialised training and the Horticulturalists were anxious to begin their four week training and skills programme. But Hurricane Matthew hit and that was your curveball.” Minister Dorsett said despite being initiated into the programme days before Hurricane Matthew slammed into New Providence, the YEC graduates stepped up to the plate and “as the saying goes you hit it [curveball] out of the park”. He told the graduates to expect that their plans will not always work out the way they hope. “If you always received your desired outcome then perhaps you would have less of an impetus to give your very best in all situations,” he said. Minister Dorsett asked the graduates to contemplate on the hard work and determination they needed to reach graduation. “Graduates, you have to be prepared to win by committing to the journey,” he said. He told the graduates that winning was not an absolute and that past performance was not a guarantee that the results will be the same again. Instead, he said “Being prepared to win means during the next course in your career path, your efforts may need to be doubled.” Bahamas National Trust Science and Education Officers and First Aid Technicians at Doctors Hospital provided training for Naturalists. Topics covered included, Introduction to Marine Ecology; Bird Biology; Plant Biology; Climate Change and First Aid. Graduates in the Horticulturalist Programme engaged in courses that covered Introduction to Horticulture, Plant Identification, Propagation and Nutrition among many other topics, taught by Mrs. Yasmin Johnson, Coordinator and Mr. Mark Daniels, Parks Manager BNT. The Youth Environmental Corps is a work programme created and funded by the government for young adults between the ages of 19 and 39 years to learn valuable skills in administration and trade jobs and environmentally friendly professions such marine management, plant identification, naturalists and park management.
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Press Statements
Mar 08, 2017
Statement on Sunday's Massive Fire - House of Assembly
March 8, 2017   The Hon. Kenred M.A. Dorsett Minister of the Environment and Housing Commonwealth of The Bahamas   Statement on Sunday’s Massive Fire   CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY   Mr. Speaker, I rise in this Honourable House once again by God’s grace and mercy. I acknowledge that over the past 72 hours I have not publicly expressed it and I dare say we as a people have not vocalized enough, our thanks to the Almighty, who has by His mighty hand delivered us out of catastrophic circumstances with life and limb still intact.   Mr. Speaker, On the morning of Sunday, March 5, when my agency, was alerted to the fire, which, Fire Chief, Superintendent Walter Evans has now confirmed started in bushes in the immediate vicinity behind the Epic Battery Fire Trail Road location, the Fire Department was contacted and the Department of Environmental Health followed its fire containment protocols. Due to the dry environment and the strong winds, the fire spread from the area behind Epic Battery on Fire Trail Road to the bush and coppice west of Epic Battery and to the eastern periphery of Jubilee Gardens and also to an area of the New Providence landfill to the north west of Epic Battery in less than an hour of its first sighting. I was immediately on the ground to ensure that my fellow Bahamians living there were out of harm’s way. On route to the New Providence landfill, I visited Jubilee Gardens and made contact with Captain Russell, the Director of NEMA, instructing him of the potential threat of a catastrophic event due to the dry conditions and strong winds. My colleague Mr. Leslie Miller, representative of the area of Tall Pines was on the ground and the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie, Prime Minister of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas was on the ground leading the way to ensure that necessary evacuations in the Jubilee Gardens Subdivision were in effect. The Royal Bahamas Police Force and Royal Bahamas Defence Force assisted with securing and monitoring homes in Jubilee Gardens and the evacuation process.   Mr. Speaker, The bush fire spread to an area on the eastern periphery of several businesses including propane gas companies, along Gladstone Road. By Sunday evening, due to strong winds and embers, the fire spread to an area across Gladstone Road, west of the Royal Bahamas Police Force Shooting Range and Aquinas College. The fire at the New Providence landfill, spread to the green waste disposal area and flying embers spread to the existing tipping floor. To date several families including children were evacuated as a result of the fire, with the assistance of the Department of Social Services. The Ministry of Health and Health Officials including Clinics were on standby to provide medical attention to residents and persons impacted by the fires. Ambulances were also deployed to the scene to provide immediate assistance to those who may have required medical attention. As Prime Minister Christie stated on Monday, assessments will be conducted on all homes and businesses impacted by the fire in an effort for the government to provide necessary assistance. And again I want to reiterate that no homes were destroyed during the blaze as erroneously reported on social media but from the naked eye considerable soot and smoke damage appeared evident throughout the Jubilee sub-division affected.   Towards this end, while no definite date can be given for the return of residents affected by the fire, Fire Superintendent Walter Evans advised me yesterday that significant improvement has occurred in the area, namely the visibility level increasing and color of smoke changing which makes breathing bearable for residents.   Mr. Speaker, We are now four days in – since the unfortunate burning of bush and coppice and the landfill began. We have extinguished the bush fire which threatened Jubilee Gardens by using fire trucks and heavy equipment. However, the Fire Department remains present and vigilant. In relation to the fire which entered the landfill from the bush, containment efforts have yielded great results through the use of fire trucks, water from existing wells and new and expanded wells, water trucks, water pumps and hoses, heavy equipment, human resources and significant fill cover to reduce oxygen. That work continues.   Mr. Speaker, To ensure that no stone was left unturned, I also reached out to the Government of the United States for assistance. Those discussions continue.   Mr. Speaker, Through concerted efforts, 18 hour plus shifts and extra manpower, I am happy to report that containing the fire at the New Providence Landfill is resulting in much success.   Mr. Speaker, I want to take this time to offer public thanks to Fire Chief, Superintendent Walter Evans, and the Royal Bahamas Police Force, Commodore Tellis Bethel, and the Royal Bahamas Defence Force; the Fire Department of the Airport Authority; Youth Environmental Corps Apprentices; Members of the Public Parks & Public Beaches Authority, Water & Sewerage, Bahamas Power & Light, the Department of Social Services, the Department of Health, the Ministry of Works & Urban Development, the Ministry of Youth, Sports & Culture, heavy equipment and trucking companies and contractors, Aquapure Water, the Director of the Department of Environmental Health Services, Melony McKenzie; Senior Deputy Director Thomasina Wilson, and all of the hardworking, dedicated and committed DEHS Staff for working around the clock to return residents to normalcy by extinguishing fires at the landfill and the bushes in the surrounding area.   Mr. Speaker, Smoke elimination efforts continue, in the bushes east and west of Gladstone Road and the New Providence landfill. While we may speculate as to the cause of the fire, the Royal Bahamas Police Force has not determined conclusively how it started. However, they have confirmed that it did not start at the New Providence landfill. Notwithstanding the above, wherever the fire started, it spread and has adversely affected residents and businesses near and far. The government and all of its agencies and our private sector partners will continue to work until the fire and smoke are completely extinguished. A new temporary tipping floor has been completed under the guidance and instruction of our consultant engineers and today the landfill resumes tipping of all waste streams excluding construction and demolition waste. Another tipping floor is being completed, also under the direction of our consultant engineers, which will enable us to resume full waste receiving activities next week. Bins for electronic waste, hazardous waste, plastics, tyres and white waste will be placed on the landfill to ensure that such wastes are not tipped into the landfill. In a few weeks additional bins will be placed at the entrance of the landfill to enable tipping of wastes under 100 lbs to be facilitated thus ensuring that private vehicles and trucks do not have to enter the landfill. Green waste, will be diverted to a specified area under the control of The Bahamas Public Parks and Public Beaches Authority. Green waste will be sorted and mulched. The material will be made available for the use of farmers and for island wide beautification. The public should also note that mulch from hurricane debris is now available at the Department of Environmental Health Services on Farrington Road and contact should be made to that office for persons interested in accessing the same. One of our major shipping partners, will visit the New Providence landfill later this week and we will begin placing all used tyres on the Nassau landfill in containers for shipment out of the country.   Mr. Speaker, The Government has completed a comprehensive plan for the New Providence landfill. It outlines all efforts that will be undertaken at the New Providence landfill to solve the challenges faced. Currently, the public should be advised that additional water wells will be drilled, trenched and capped around the entire site to better facilitate fire fighting efforts. In addition, a buffer around the entire site will be cleared to ensure ease of access and mobility for security monitoring the perimeter and proper perimeter security fencing and checkpoints will be established to eliminate illegal entry into the New Providence landfill. Methane extraction technologies will also be used to mitigate against future fires in areas that have been covered and compacted. The public should also note that after 13 years of no compaction taking place at the landfill, when the DEHS took over the New Providence landfill a fews weeks ago, we tested and then employed the use of a compactor for daily operations.   Mr. Speaker, We remain resolved and committed to extinguish all of the fires and eliminate all of the smoke. By the direction of the Prime Minister, the Government will also assist all residents and businesses impacted by the fire and our assessments will begin in earnest once the fire at the Nassau landfill is out. Our prayers, thoughts and actions are all directed toward our brothers and sisters who live in Jubilee Gardens and the surrounding areas. They deserve our focused attention our kindness and compassion.   Thank you Mr. Speaker.    
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