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In attendance were Minister of Environment and Housing The Hon. Romauld Ferreira, Christopher Russell (Director of Forestry), Under Secretary in the Office of the Prime (OPM) Montez Williams, South Abaco Island Administrator Donald Rolle, South Abaco Chief Councilor Jackie Estevez, Friends of the Environment (Olivia Patterson Maura), Ms. Martinborough - Housing, OPM Office Manager Gayle McIntosh, Bahamas National Trust (David Knowles), Nancy Albury - AMMC, Anita and Stephen Knowles, Brian Kakuk, and Silbert Mills. Photo: Bahamas Forestry.

Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy Unveiled

Minister of The Environment and Housing, Romauld Ferreira was on hand to unveil the new sign designating a portion of South Abaco’s forest to the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy (QCC) to be enjoyed by generations to come.

While pledging his continued support for Abaco and their environmental concerns, Mr. Ferreira lauded the efforts of the Forestry Department for pursuing the designation for the Blue Hole Conservation Forest which has been in the works since 2015.

“What I see here is what the environmental movement is really about; NGO’s, Government and Concerned Citizens coming together to protect a representative sample of the ecosystem of Abaco,” he said.

He said he that all parties “have to come together because we all have a mutual interest a stake.”

Mr. Ferreira remarked that he enjoys coming to Abaco because of the diversity of both the ecosystem and the people.

“Diversity is a source of strength and a constant reminder that no matter our differences we all have to share this island and country, and build this country together.”

He acknowledged that some will think of it as taking away a swath of land, however; “we are securing a future and preserving a heritage.”

He added that if we can get enough people thinking about the environment and how we can care for it then “we can get that critical mass to make the changes that we all want to see.”

Christopher Russell, Director of Forestry noted that “the Queen, as part of her remit, is committed to raising awareness within the Commonwealth of the value of indigenous forests and to saving them for future generations.”

The Prime Minister of The Bahamas, The Hon. Dr. Hubbert A. Minnis MP, committed The Bahamas to the QCC, nominating the Blue Hole Conservation Forest (32,774 acres) as its dedication.

The forest forms part of a network of sites in The Bahamas to be dedicated as part of their national forestry conservation strategy.

He said that this area was identified as an indigenous forest that has extreme significance – as this area has unique geographical features, including a number of blue holes

The sign reads:

Blue Hole Conservation Forest

Officially Dedicated to the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy

by The Most Honorable Dr. Hubert A. Minnis

Prime Minister of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas

on the 6th Day of April, 2018

Unveiled by The Minister of the Environment & Housing

Honourable Romauld Ferreira

Dated this 22nd day of March 2019

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