Minister Dorsett Announces Completion of Legislative Drafts for the Establishment of the MOE and DEPP
The Hon. Kenred Dorsett, Minister of the Environment and Housing on Wednesday announced the completion of legislative drafts for the establishment of the Ministry of the Environment and Department of Environmental Planning and Protection.
“The proposed legislation once passed will ensure that there will always be a Minister responsible for the environment and matters related thereto like climate change and sustainable development,” said Minister Dorsett during a press conference held at the Ministry of the Environment and Housing, Charlotte House.
He continued, “The new Department of Environmental Planning and Protection henceforth referred to as DEPP, will have the overall responsibility for regulating matters relating to environmental policy, planning and protection, and will be under the control and management of a Director General who will have the technical responsibility of the DEPP.”
The draft Ministry of the Environment Bill 2017, outlines the functions of the Ministry and also makes provision for an Environmental Fund into which funding from our grants will be deposited; proper auditing and reporting for such accounts; and an Environmental Advisory Board comprised of representatives from the public sector, civil society, institutions of research and education and non-governmental organizations.
The draft Environmental Planning & Protection Bill 2017 will create the DEPP and the role of the BEST Commission will be integrated into the DEPP. This legislation among other things provides transparency for Environmental Impact Statements, Assessments, Management Plans and issuances of Certificates of Environmental Compliance. Further, it provides for appropriate penalties for environmental offences – individual penalties up to $120,000 or two years imprisonment or both and companies committing environmental offences may be penalized up to $15 million or up to 25 years imprisonment or both.
“As a progressive people it is imperative that we have an agency with proper frameworks in place to coordinate the environment in The Bahamas,” said Minister Dorsett, “Today, we are one step closer to achieving these goals of national development.”
The completed drafts are presently available for public consultation on the Ministry of The Environment and Housing Facebook Page and the Bahamas Government official website www.bahamas.gov.bs . They will remain open for public feedback until March 14.