Monday, May 26, 2014

The Bahamas Beautiful

Me, Minister V. Alfred Gray, the Boss, and Director Michael Braynen
Last week I was in The Bahamas with Rick MacPherson and my new boss to meet with government officials and NGOs in Nassau, The Bahamas to discuss the shark sanctuary they declared in 2011.  My employer sponsored a number of efforts in the year immediately preceding and following the declaration and we are looking to see if there are any ways that we can continue to be involved.  In short, the answer was yes.

I wish I had seen more of the islands.  I spent most of my time in a conference room and a whole day at the airport trying unsuccessfully to get to Bimini.  Hopefully next time I'll be able to get in the water and see some sharks.

The Boss, Minister Kenred Dorsett, Me, and Mrs. Coral Miller
The creation of the shark sanctuary in The Bahamas was an important one.  At the time, a Chinese company that was exploiting sea cucumber resources made its intention known that it wanted to start collecting shark fins.  The government responded by banning all commercial shark fishing.

In many islands passing a law is a simple matter.  I know this all too well being from Saipan.  The hard part is implementing the law over the course of your lifetime -- and your children's lifetimes.  That also includes finding funding for implementation when priorities like keeping the power on and the schools open take precedence.

Civil society and the private sector don't have the power to govern (cynical opinions about the US Congress aside), but there's definitely a role for us to play.  I honed those skills when I worked with Cinta, Gus, Tina, Reina, Ken, Marites, and all the others to create and manage Beautify CNMI for four years.  In this new chapter of my life I get to see how those skills apply to other places in the world.

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