Minister of the Environment and Housing the Hon. Romauld Ferreira said, on October 2, 2019, that the laying on the table of the House of Assembly “the strongest, most robust suite of environmental legislation in Bahamian history” made it an historic day. “I believe that it will go down in history as the moment we began to treat environment stewardship with the seriousness it deserves,” Minister Ferreira said in the House of Assembly. “Today marks the turning point when we say to the world this is our country and if you want to do business here you must respect our environment.”
Laid on the table of the House Assembly that day were the following: Ministry of Environment Bill 2019; Environmental Planning And Protection Bill 2019; Environmental Protection (Control of Plastic Pollution) Bill 2019; The Bahamas National Trust (Amendment) Bill 2019; Bahamas Protected Areas Fund (Amendment) Bill 2019; and Tariff (Amendment) (No.2) Bill, 2019. Minister Dames noted that, in 1987 the Environmental Health Services Act was enacted. That Act, he said, established the Department of Environmental Health Sevrices (DEHS), and as indicated by the fact that it had the word health in its name, it had a public health focus.
“In fact historically DEHS was a part of the Ministry of Health,” he noted. “The world has changed significantly over the 32 years since this law was enacted. We now live in a Bahamas challenged by global warming, sea level rise and climate change, hurricanes like Dorian will only be more frequent and more ferocious.” Minister Ferreira also pointed out three recent initiatives undertaken by the Government through his Ministry.
He said: “We fixed the long-standing fire issues at the New Providence Sanitary Landfill. We stopped the oil leaking into the ocean at Clifton Pier.
And today we close the gap in the law which allowed for unscrupulous persons to get away with damaging our environment.” “I am so honoured and humbled to table these Bills and believe history will judge us aright by what we have done today,” Minister Ferreira added. “I am so grateful for everyone who worked so hard for so long to make this moment possible, including my Cabinet Colleagues, Law Reform Commission, Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition and the countless environmental groups who gave us feedback and direction.”