Joseph Darville

Joseph Darville named Save The Bays Chairman

Respected educator, co-chairman of the Bahamas National Drug Council and well-known environmental and human rights advocate Joseph Darville, M.A., has been named chairman of Save The Bays, the fast-growing grass roots environmental movement with more than 18,000 Facebook friends and followers.

Mr. Darville, a native of Long Island and resident of Freeport, Grand Bahama, takes the helm from Fred Smith, QC.

“This is a critical time for safeguarding our environment which is coming under increasing pressure and I can think of no one better positioned to lead the charge of protection and preservation than Joe Darville,” said Mr. Smith. “I have worked with Joe for more than 30 years on sensitive human rights and environmental issues and I never cease to marvel at the progress he makes in his own politically neutral, dedicated way, packed with purpose and passion.”

Mr. Darville will head a distinguished board of directors that includes leaders in the environmental movement internationally as well as locally including Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., president of Waterkeeper Alliance.

“We welcome Joe to the chairmanship of Save The Bays at this critical juncture, helping to raise awareness about how fragile our nation’s resources are,” said Save The Bays CEO Vanessa Benjamin. “Joe will help guide us through a labyrinth of issues that we are working on in court and in the court of public opinion — Crown Land, unregulated development, pollution in Clifton Bay and protection of coral reefs among them.”

Save The Bays, launched less than three years ago, has helped lead the siren call and growing demand for an effective Freedom of Information act. Hundreds, including journalists and members of other civic minded groups and Save The Bays community partners, are part of the growing movement demanding the right to information and the government has recently stepped up the pace of draft legislation for review. Save The Bays has said from its start that transparency is the very root and foundation of democracy.

“We would like to thank Fred Smith who has done an incredible job bringing these issues to the public’s attention during his term as chairman,” said Ms. Benjamin. “Fred is actively engaged in complex legal battles to resolve these issues so we are even that much more appreciative of his attention to the need to make everyone realize that environmental protection is not something you leave to scientists and marine biologists. It affects all of us and we all must care. Fred has helped make us care even more.”

Mr. Darville called the appointment “one of the greatest honours and one of the most important tasks of my life.” Having recently completed intensive training along with the CEO Benjamin under Al Gore to become a Climate Change Reality Leader, Darville is expected to place more emphasis on climate change.

A former teacher at St. Augustine’s College and Queen’s College in Nassau, he spent eight years as Director of Workforce Development at the Grand Bahama Shipyard following his retirement from education. He has held many offices, including Past Vice-President of the Bahamas Union of Teachers, founding member and Past President of the Bahamas Counselors Association, Past President of the Grand Bahama Mental Health Association, Past Vice President of the Caribbean Federation of Mental Health, Founding member and Chairman of Operation Hope, [volunteer drug prevention, education & rehabilitation program], Co-Chairman of the Bahamas National Drug Council, Founding member and Past -President of Grand Bahama Human Rights Association; presently vice-president, Founding member of the Caribbean Human Rights Network, Administrative Vice-President of the Freeport YMCA for past nine years.

He is an Advanced Master/Teacher in Reiki training, a natural energy healing method, as well as a teacher of Transcendental Meditation. He has received numerous awards for outstanding service and achievement in teaching, communication and citizenship, including the Commonwealth of the Bahamas Silver Jubilee Award for Outstanding Contribution to National (Community) Development. He is married with two children.

www.savethebays.bs

Save The Bays environmental group disrupted by “paid-for mob”

Two directors of Save The Bays, the environmental advocacy group, have asked for police protection after a rally in support of a Freedom of Information Act was disrupted on Friday night in downtown Nassau by what they claim was “a bought and paid-for mob”.

Fred Smith and Joseph Darville said last night in a statement that they fear for their lives after allegedly being targeted by aggressive groups of young men holding menacing and defamatory banners bearing their names and faces.

The rally, in Charlotte Street, was held in conjunction with a number of community partners, including the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce. “What happened on Friday night was disgusting,” Mr Smith said. “A peaceful gathering in support of freedom of information was nearly hijacked by a bought and paid-for mob sent there to intimidate and cause trouble.”

Mr Smith claimed it was not the first time this had happened. “Considering the increasingly sinister tone of their messages, many of us are now very afraid. We call on the Commissioner of Police to intervene and protect us before someone gets hurt.”

According to Mr Darville, a group of men, on a flatbed truck blaring music, arrived carrying banners but were turned away by a senior police officer. However, they returned and the Save the Bays director confronted them.

“I pointed to my own face on their banners, and told them there is no way they could know what we stood for and be there protesting against us,” he said. “In the end, these young men admitted they had no idea what it was all about. Many of them dropped their signs, even before police again asked them to leave.”

Mr Darville said some of the men claimed to have been asked to attend the protest by individuals working for fashion designer Peter Nygard, who has a long-running dispute with his neighbour, Louis Bacon, a Save The Bays supporter for which Mr Smith is the lawyer. Some wore shirts and others waved placards bearing slogans about Mr Bacon. At one point, star Bahamian boxer Taureano Johnson appeared at the scene.

Friday night police confirmed that the men had no permit to protest.

http://tribune242.com/news/2014/dec/08/plea-police-protection-after-mob-interrupts-protes