by Larry Smith
Every now and then we work ourselves into a frenzy based largely on hearsay and conspiracy theories. Eventually the controversy du jour settles down and is forgotten - until the next time.
There are several of these perennially contentious issues, but the one I want to discuss here today is aragonite.
At the recent ‘We March’ protest downtown, activist John Bostwick argued that our almost inexhaustible aragonite resources could solve our economic problems.
And hackles were raised a few weeks ago when American news reports seemed to suggest that Florida officials were about to steal Bahamian sand for their beaches.
A couple of years ago, union leader John Pinder and others made the preposterous claim that aragonite exports could not only pay off our national debt but give every Bahamian a $50,000 cheque.
“We’re talking about moving from being borrowers to lenders. What China is to the rest of the world, the Bahamas could be to the Caribbean,” Pinder said confidently.
At the same time, lobbyist Kay Smith was touting a $50 million investment in East Grand Bahama to mine aragonite for export and manufacturing. She did not reply to my recent email asking about the current status of that grandiose project.
Meanwhile, the government has said it is investigating the whole aragonite issue with a view to updating all the rules for resource extraction in the Bahamas.