Nassau, Bahamas - The Minister of
Agriculture, Marine Resources and Local Government the Hon. V. Alfred Gray told
fishermen that the Government has agreed to purchase 11 new vessels for the
Royal Bahamas Defence Force to be able to better police Bahamian waters.
Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Local Government the Hon. V. Alfred Gray (right) meeting with Arawak Cay and Potters Cay Fish Farmers July 23, at Pilgrim Baptist Temple, St. James Rd. At left is Rena Glinton, Under Secretary. (BIS Photo / Raymond A. Bethel)
Speaking at a meeting with the fishermen
at Pilgrim Baptist Temple, July 23, Minister Gray explained that the RBDF only
has four boats that are operational, making it difficult for them to be on the
lookout for poachers.
“So most of the problems we are having
right now are a result of the Defence Force not having the sufficient number of
vessels it needs to police the Bahamian waters,” he said.
Poaching was one of the main concerns
the fishermen discussed with the Minister and senior officials from the
Ministry during the early morning meeting.
Undersecretary, Rena Glinton; Deputy
Director, Marine Resources, Edison Deleveaux and the Director of Agriculture,
Simeon Pinder, also attended the meeting.
Minister Gray said Prime Minister the
Rt. Hon. Perry Gladstone Christie has charged the Minister of Foreign Affairs
the Hon. Fred Mitchell, Minister Gray and other agencies of the Government to
travel to the Dominican Republic and speak with that country’s government
concerning its nationals poaching in Bahamian waters.
He noted that most of the foreign
nationals poaching in Bahamians are from the Dominican Republic.
Minister Gray said the Bahamian
Government believes that getting the Dominican Republic’s government involved
will go a long way in deterring poachers from that country.
Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Local Government the Hon. V. Alfred Gray tells fishermen of the Government's plans to equip the Royal Bahamas Defence Force to better patrol Bahamian waters. Pictured from left: Edison Deleveaux, Deputy Director Fisheries; Rena Glinton, Under Secretary; Min. Gray; Simeon Pinder, Director of Fisheries. (BIS Photo / Raymond A. Bethel)
The Minister also warned the fishermen
not to approach Dominican Republic boats and get involved in a confrontation.
“Normally when they come out to sea like
that, they are armed and possibly dangerous, because they are going out looking
for fish and they do not intend for anybody to stop them.”
Instead, he advised local fishermen to
use caution and contact RBDF officers as soon as they are able to pass on the
Minister Gray also said that some
Bahamian fishermen are guilty of breaking the laws as well when they ask for a
permit to hire a Dominican Republic national to work as a boat captain, but
then turn around and have him diving instead.
He urged the Bahamian fishermen not to
help foreign nationals by breaking the law.
Minister Gray also told the fishermen
that they should register with the Government so that they can receive
exemptions and other benefits offered by the Government.
He added that to qualify for the
exemptions and benefits, they must also, as an individual or as an owner of a
company, obtain a business license after registering.
“We do offer exemptions off certain
items for fishing and the Government does not ask you for a thing back; when
you make your money, it is your money.” Minister Gray said, “The only thing we
ask you is to be legal.”