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July 12, 2011

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Frederick Gottlieb

What is the point of legislation being enacted if the provisions contained therein to protect the environment and physical landscape are not observed and, more importantly, the penalties provided for therein are not enforced?

Perhaps you should have a close look at what is happening on Abaco. For instance:

1. Significant acreage of Crown land along the Great Abaco Highway has been denuded of natural vegetation (e.g. pine trees) and replaced with car wrecks and other junk. Why and how this is being allowed to happen no one knows.

2. Large amounts of litter continue to appear along both sides of the Abaco Highways North and South of Marsh Harbour, yet no one, to the best of my knowledge, in recent years has been prosecuted for littering.

3. Numerous hills (some as high as 40 feet) are being systematically demolished in order to provide material used in the construction industry. I doubt that, in most cases, the persons or companies involved in this activity have even applied for licences. I, personally, have on several occasions brought this destructive activity to the attention of officials at the Ministry of Works and even to the relevant Ministers, yet it continues unabated. These hills not only enhance the scenery but provide natural barriers (e.g. to hurricanes) and, given that global warning is occurring, may provide much needed higher ground for future generations of Bahamians.

The government (FNM and PLP) appears to suffer from the delusion that causing numerous laws to be enacted, notwithstanding that little or nothing is done to enforce them, is synonymous with good Government.

To quote the Roman philosopher, Tacitus: “the more numerous the laws, the more corrupt the nation”.

larry smith

There is no question that a solid legislative foundation is required to address these issues. But the failures throughout our society are heartbreaking, and progress is by inches no matter who is in charge. I don't know what we can do to promote enforcement beyond pointing out the problems. You have wide experience in government, what do you suggest?

larry smith

Yes, but if laws are not obeyed and not enforced they are basically rendered meaningless.

If government officials (including the responsible ministers) are not prepared to ensure the observance and enforcement of laws, then the only possible solution I see is to bring their failure to the attention of the public.

The next time you are in Abaco, I would be happy to drive you around and/or take you up in my plane so you can see for yourself the environmental degradation that is taking place.

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