Once upon a time, I got Dengue fever.

I came in to work (while still experiencing the symptoms of dengue) and found out that the Prime Minister had asked my boss what my agenda was. I was called into a meeting, which I had to excuse myself from periodically because… Dengue. In the end, I received a written warning and had to issue an apology to the Minister of the Environment.

Backstory: In frustration, I had written a letter to the Tribune after finding out about the oil exploration activities on the Bahama Banks between Andros and Cay Sal and having personally experienced the beauty of the Cay Sal Bank, I was understandably angry. The letter was published on August 20, 2011, well after I had sent it and to be honest, I had forgotten about it.

I am now for the first time publishing my responses including my apology and Literature on oil exploration. You can read the original letter in the Tribune.

I continue to think about this interaction as one of the key moments in my scientific career. A point where my conservation “agenda” went hard against the grain, but research won out. I believe I had some influence on Minister Deveaux’s and Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham’s decisions not to continue oil exploration.  But at the same time, I realize the spectre of oil exploration and extraction still linger in the Bahamas. they lost the election shortly after .

Today, I am asking for you to first gain some perspective for yourselves. You can:

  1. Memorize the size of the Bahamas (5358 sq.mi) and the size of the Exxon Valdez spill ‎11,000 sq mi. Yeah, almost twice the size of the Bahamas and that was from an oil tanker, not from a well.
  2. Check your friends list and photos and see if any of them have a photo on the beach or in a hotel or if they work in a hotel or restaurant.
  3. Check to see if your friends work in government (most revenue is from Tourism, therefore their pay is tied to it.
  4. finally, ask a friend how they think they would be impacted if we did explore for oil and start extraction in the Bahamas.

Now, share this with your Bahamian and Caribbean friends, like, comment. Remember to like Science and Perspective on Facebook as well.

With love and perspective,

Leno