Bahamian Parliament Threatens to Jail Lawyer and Supreme Court Judge in Environmental Scandal
Less than 100 miles from Florida, in the island democracy of the Bahamas, politicians and the police are harassing environmentalists, illegally hacking and publicly releasing their private communications and other confidential information. And, when the Supreme Court ordered several cabinet members to stop violating the conservationists’ constitutional rights, they threatened to jail the judge.
These startling events are laid out by environmental attorney and activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr., chairman of Waterkeeper Alliance, in a new story in EcoWatch, one of America’s top environmental news sites.
Why are civil rights and the rule of law under attack? As Kennedy explains, some Bahamian officials are allied with one of the island’s worst unregulated developers.
He notes that a well-connected billionaire developer who donated millions of dollars to members of Bahama’s government, Canadian apparel manufacturer Peter Nygard expanded the buildings on his private residence by filling Clifton Bay without government permission, damaging its world-famous marine area.
Shortly after a feisty environmental group, Save the Bays, sued Nygard, undercover police raided the home of Nygard’s neighbor, Louis Bacon, a philanthropist who co-founded the Save the Bays. In March, Bahamian cabinet ministers disclosed Save the Bays’ private emails and financial records during an open session of parliament.
The developer-friendly cabinet ministers are attacking the rule of law, stomping on privacy rights, and savaging judges, lawyers and environmental and human rights organizations, Kennedy’s story says, adding: It is time for level-headed leaders in the Bahamas to step in and fix this fiasco before permanent damage is done to the country’s natural environment and international reputation as a scenic destination and secure financial haven.