HIGH ROCK, Grand Bahama – Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs the Hon. Brent Symonette the Government of The Bahamas believes the country’s need for economic development must be kept in proper balance with the need to secure its environment and biological diversity.
Mr. Symonette’s comments came as he participated in the re-opening of the Lucayan National Park Bridge and Boardwalk situated in east Grand Bahama. Environment Minister the Hon. Earl Deveaux, Housing Minister and High Rock MP the Hon. Kenneth Russell and Public Works and Transport Minister the Hon. Neko Grant were also in attendance.
The 600ft bridge constructed over wetlands was constructed at a cost of $250,000. The bridge, which was originally constructed about 25 years ago, was severely damaged during the hurricanes of 2004 and 2005 resulting in its closure to the public.
The Bahamas National Trust along GBPA principal Sir Jack Hayward and other corporate citizens contributed to the construction of the new bridge.
A nature lover, the Deputy Prime Minister pointed out that the damage to the bridge and its subsequent closure had been a blow to nature enthusiasts.
“It closed an important and useful window for environmental education, disappointed many in our tourism sector who rightly see this park as a special asset of this island destination and removed from our inventory a favourite excursion choice for many visitors to Grand Bahama,” he stated.
Thanking the Bahamas National Trust for the environmental stewardship it provides, the Deputy Prime Minister said the Government has long valued the work of the Trust in the area of marine and terrestrial conservation, habitat restoration, national park management and the promotion of environmental education.
“Increasingly since the early 1990s you have played an important role in the development of environmental impact assessment protocols used by the Government when reviewing development proposals.
“This has included acceleration in the expansion of national parks, beginning during the 1990s and leading to a doubling in the size of the parks under the administration of the Bahamas National Trust in April, 2002,” he said.
BRIDGE OPENING – Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs the Hon. Brent Symonette was among Government Ministers participating in the opening of the Lucayan National Park Bridge and Boardwalk on Thursday, February 12, 2009. Pictured cutting the ceremonial ribbon is Marlene Knowles, wife of the late David Knowles who was instrumental in building the first bridge damage by the hurricanes of 2004 and 2005. Pictured from left are Glenn Bannister, BNT President; the Hon. Neko Grant, Minister of Public Works and Transport; Colonel John Blashford-Snell, BNT supporter; Mrs. Marlene Knowles; a student from the Freetown Primary School; the Hon. Brent Symonette; and the Hon. Kenneth Russell, Minister of Housing. (Photo Courtesy of Derek Carroll)