Minister Sweeting Toured BAMSI

BAMSI officials lead a tour of the property in North Andros.

From: Bahamas Information Services

Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs the Hon. Clay Sweeting bemoaned the “heart wrenching” state of the Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute (BAMSI) stating that the property on North Andros has been neglected over the last few years.

The minister’s comments came after he toured BAMSI recently with Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry Leonardo Lightbourne, who is also the Member of Parliament for North Andros and the Berry Islands, Permanent Secretary Joel Lewis and other ministry officials.

“It was important for us to tour BAMSI to get a sense of what has been accomplished or what hasn’t been accomplished, and getting to a point where that institute could really be what the intention was during the Christie Administration. We want to get to a point where we are not competing with farmers but we are assisting them with knowledge, expertise, supplies and they could really be a part of this national effort to feed ourselves,” he said.

“It was heart wrenching what we viewed. The structures are there but unfortunately it seems that it has been neglected over the last five years. Simple things such as providing electricity to the institute hasn’t been accomplished and it seems that it has just been sitting there dormant. It reminded me of the ghost cities in China where they built cities and just leave them. My intention is to revive the vision for that institute by first providing electricity for the campus.”

Currently, the campus is using generators to provide power. BAMSI is also renting units for students to live in. “Once we get that university up and running, we can invite other universities such as the University of Miami to see what we are doing and we can take more students. Currently,

the dorms are 95 percent complete. Once we get that completed, we can really start the city in North Andros with the intention of what it really was supposed to do and that alone will bring economic impact,” Minister Sweeting said. The aquaculture and live farms are also suffering because of lack of electricity, according to the minister.

Minister Sweeting also visited the Packing House and a government mechanical shop that also requires electricity. He added that he is also looking to modernize several areas at the packing house.

“I spoke with the staff there about not only processing the products, but also canning and bottling products that they can sell,” Minister Sweeting said. While he noted that BAMSI has the manpower to be successful, the institute should be restructured.

“We met with the staff and got a general consensus of their concerns. They want some direction and they want to see BAMSI succeed. Once we provide the proper direction and the right management structure it should run efficiently. That was the concern that a lot of the staff had there – that there didn’t seem to be enough structure. Once we do that, we can really provide something extraordinary,” Minister Sweeting said. BAMSI officially opened its doors in 2014.

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