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.