Please allow me space in your paper to add my two cents to the issue of Little Harbour and the current effort to exclude new arrivals.
Firstly my earliest experience in Little Harbour was as a 22 month old baby following events that saw my family take up residence in the cave at Little Harbour alongside Randolph Johnson, father to Pete of Pete’s Pub Little Harbour fame. Of course my early recollections are not very real since this was 63 years ago. My first recollections actually were of my attempts to negotiate help to walk with my three-legged stool along the sidewalk roads at nearby Cherokee sound where my mother soon saw fit to move her young family to more suitable accommodation.
My family never got past the construction of some thatch huts at the top of the cliff overlooking the harbour because of the move to Cherokee, which was mainly because of the interminable sand flies and mosquitoes. The smudge pots, which my mother spoke of simply made breathing hard if not impossible. There was also the problem of potable water, washing clothes and bodies and of course toilet facilities. Better not grab that poison wood leaf.
My mother ended up supporting the family by teaching in Cherokee and making shell arrangements to send back for sale in Nassau to tourists. My father meanwhile assisted Rand with researching the titles to this property so that Rand could secure a permanent homestead. The result was that the Johnson Family came into possession of a great deal of property that has been sold off in great part to provide homesteads to many of those who would now wish to limit the development and use by persons who have come into ownership at great expense just like everyone else and perhaps at even greater cost than most.
It is my view that had the fishes been able to hire Fred Smith at that time Pete would never have been able to set up Pete’s Pub and all of what we see here today would not exist. But development of the environment for his use is the nature of the human and the only moral requirement in my mind should be one of commitment to conservation. “Have dominion over….” is how I recall it being described. I do not recall anything about “cease and desist because I do not wish such a thing in my back yard” or worse still, someone just moving in and attempting to ensure they are the last ones into the neighbourhood. “I don’t want those people living near me.”
These are selfish efforts and they are wicked when they are disingenuously presented under the guise of being environmentally justified with lies, miss-statements, red herrings and subterfuge.
At present Little Harbour comprises a number of well-built homes along with some questionable structures. There has been a great deal of laxity of permitting of structures including many if not all of the existing docks and what used to be docks prior to those hurricanes that have visited over the years. Many of the present residents who might be inclined to “call pot black” need better consider the health impacts of their less than code sewage installations, their garbage disposal, their green waste disposal and generator fuel storage and oil disposal. Yes I said “generator” because almost every resident here has one and they range in size and are likely not to code in their integration to the electric system in their homes. Yes some have solar and some take great pains to be environmentally conscientious but this is likely a minority.
I clean the dump-site at Cherokee and see all kinds of stuff that comes from Little Harbour and Pete is the only resident who I know of to contribute to the needs and expenses of managing the Cherokee Dump site. Little Harbour does not have one and I do not hear anyone in Cherokee (yet) saying that Little Harbour residents should stay away because they are trashing Cherokee. We residents of Cherokee pride ourselves in having the cleanest little community in The Bahamas and we work at it with little complaint.
I digress. Back at Little Harbour there is the Power Plant run by Pete’s Brother Bill. This provides fossil fuel based electric power to all those who wish to arrange to get it. You know about fossil fuels. That’s that bad thing everyone is hooked on and should get away from. So please don’t get the idea that Little Harbour has no fossil fuel consumption. Little Harbour is where the Volvo Company buried its give away car that everyone in the world had to guess where it was to win it. Pete, who can come up with some intriguing ideas and who I love very much let them dig a hole to bury it in. I say this to emphasize that Little Harbour is not the clean tidy oil free nirvana that some would try to present it as.
Little Harbour is a beautiful place and little Harbour is seen by some as the last vestige of a hippy era gone by. But Little Harbour is more than this Little Harbour is a place that all of us should be allowed to share in as it is such a beautiful spot. I recall returning to Little Harbour at age 11 in 1961 at which time we lived in Freeport. My dad and I drove an outboard boat from Freeport to Little Harbour. At that time Rand and his family had built modest homes and a number of beach huts for visitors, some long term and some short term. I recall the carefree hippie environment and the excitement of the remote wilderness feel. It is a memory that has stayed with me as one of my lifetime favorites.
It is this spirit that envelopes and engrosses all who visit Little Harbour and it is the fear of losing this that drives many to a selfish sense of exclusion. But it is this very spirit that draws others near, it is this beauty that others wish to share. Those who would exclude forget that it is this spirit along with guidance from our better nature that ensures that the newcomers will also wish to see to its protection. To wish to exclude, in and of itself, places the naysayers into a category of negativity that is not in the spirit of Little Harbour.
I say that Fred Smith in all his wisdom knows that it is intrinsically against natural justice to bar others from their opportunity to share in the beauty of our world and should direct his efforts towards assisting in the clarification of all aspects of environmental shortcomings or as I have heard it said, something about glass houses and stones, and not simply attempt to frame the argument as “Us and Them” or “Good and Evil”
Personally I have no horse in this race except to the extent that many of my friends find themselves conflicted. There certainly is no way that David Southworth would be able to run any kind of marina with only two people. So any argument that employment would be minimal is not correct. Winding Bay has made Bona Fide efforts to help with the understanding of its hopes and aspirations. I know for a fact that Cherokee Sound carpenters and tradesmen support the idea of this project going ahead. Knowing of the quality of the work and facilities at Winding Bay I am certain that any development done by David Southworth at Little Harbour will meet and likely exceed the standards needed to keep the beauty and integrity of Little Harbour.
Further, I sincerely believe that the presence of the Winding Bay docking facility in Little Harbour will ensure proper docking facilities and amenities and will be far better than smudge pots on the hill and the dangers of Poisonwood leaves to take care of small problems.
I call on all interested persons to proceed with good faith to an accommodation of this new chapter in sharing our beautiful world.