THE PEOPLE OF SMITH’S POINT SETTLEMENT OF EAST GRAND BAHAMA EXPOSES FRED SMITH AS AN ENVIRONMENTAL TERRORIST
Chairman of Louis Bacon’s “Save the Bays,” otherwise known as this country’s serial and vexatious environmental litigant, has had the tables turned on him and will now have to answer to allegations set out in an Amended Writ of Summons filed in the Supreme Court of The Bahamas on 10th June, 2016.
The Plaintiffs, Fred Mather and Michael Grant, can trace their unbroken lineage in Smith’s Point Settlement over a span in excess of 150 years. Fred, on the other hand, is not a native of Smith’s Point Settlement and has only lived in his residence, located just down the coast from the Settlement, for less than 10 years.
The Plaintiffs’ claims are against Fred and his companies, Smith Point Limited and SeSaChe Limited “…for damages arising from the Torts committed negligently or intentionally by…them, including but not limited to nuisance arising from their continuing improper and/or unreasonable and/or unwarranted and /or unauthorized and/or unlawful use of property known as Lots No. 9 and 10 of Fortune Bay Subdivision, East Grand Bahama, The Bahamas (“the offending property”) with respect to the 2006 construction or insertion of a fifteen (15) foot high groyne at Smith’s Point Settlement…built by the First and/or Second and/or Third Defendants or at their instance on the offending property and extending outward from the offending property into the sea and over the seabed contiguous to the offending property for more than Two Hundred (200) feet such that it has been substantially interfering with the enjoyment and use…” of the property of the Plaintiffs and their extended families throughout the Settlement. To-date, it does not appear that Fred received the proper governmental authorization to construct the subject groyne.
In the Amended Writ, the Plaintiffs contend that Fred’s primary intention when constructing the groyne was to create a new, private and exclusive beach for himself. This was accomplished by trapping sand that would have previously and naturally been dispersed along the entire mile-long beach of the Smith’s Point Settlement, located westward of the subject groyne. The Plaintiffs also allege that Fred also sought to degrade and devalue the properties of the Settlement in hopes of compelling certain Smith’s Point Settlement residents to relinquish occupation of their respective properties and abandon this Settlement.
The Plaintiffs also contend that “…by virtue of the continuing Nuisance created by the said groyne, the Plaintiffs are being denied access to beach areas or the ability to pass and repass such portion of the beach previously enjoyed by the Plaintiffs and their families…”. The Plaintiffs further complain that Fred used “…private security guards and his large guard dogs as a means of continuing to exact intentional and unlawful intimidating acts against the Plaintiffs and their families from attempting to access, pass or repass along the portion of the beach which is cordoned off by the aforesaid illegally constructed groyne.”
Brief History of Smith’s Point
The traditional grassroots community of Smith’s Point Settlement is known to be the only of numerous small settlements located in East Grand Bahama that resisted the various, seemingly oppressive tactics of the Grand Bahama Port Authority (“GBPA”). The GBPA has, since its 1955 acquisition of thousands acres of land which would become the City of Freeport, overtly tried to get the people of Smith’s Point Settlement to move from their homes and remove themselves from what is believed to be the best natural beach in Freeport.
It was not until the Father of our Nation, Sir Lynden Pindling curtailed GBPA’s aforementioned efforts via his July 26, 1969 “Bend-or-Break” speech, that the GBPA backed down from its overt attempts to push the people of Smith’s Point Settlement out of what Sir Lynden then specifically referred to as “an old Bahamian Community.”
The GBPA sold certain rights to developers, and are believed to have collectively continued their objective of pushing the people of Smith’s Point Settlement off of their ancient land. Over time, the GBPA have acted in concert and have resorted to more clandestine tactics of driving residents of Smith’s Point Settlement by charging for utilities which were originally expected to be provided free of charge in perpetuity.
Enter Fred, who has now been the Attorney for The Grand Bahama Port Authority for more than 25 years.
Purpose and Irony of the Litigation
By virtue of this Court action, the Plaintiffs seek reliefs that include orders requiring Fred to remove the groyne, restore the coastline to its original state and to compensate them for the physical damage as well as the loss of their private enjoyment of their property as a result of the significant damage and ongoing accelerated erosion that can be easily seen on the down-drift side of the groyne.
Additionally, “…the Plaintiffs seek an injunction to restrain the Defendants, their agents or assigns, from any further obstruction of…[their]…rights…to enjoy free use, in including free access or passage along the beaches at Smith’s Point as had been enjoyed by [them and their] ancestors for generations prior to the insertion of the said groyne.”.
The Amended Writ raises serious concerns about the hypocritical stance of Fred, as it appears that his leadership of the “Save The Bays” organization and association with its creator (the American hedge fund mogul, Louis Bacon), is designed by the duo to gain political leverage in The Bahamas. A part of that objective is to upstage the Progressive Liberal Party Administration and bring other private development projects in The Bahamas to a screeching halt. Interestingly, like Fred’s apparent illegal activity, Louis Bacon is known to have illegally built underneath his Lyford Cay home called The Point House, a smuggler-type boat basin that opens into the Bay of Clifton at the southwestern end of the Island of New Providence.
Louis Bacon’s illegally built marina and smuggler-type boat basin underneath his Lyford Cay house.
The obvious irony is that the Amended Writ alleges that Fred has conducted himself in such a manner that is the exact opposite of the environmental conservation ideology perpetuated by the Save The Bays organization and Louis Bacon. Again, it does not appear at this time that Fred obtained the appropriate authorization for his conduct, therefore it is upon Plaintiff’s information and belief that Fred has acted and continues to act in contravention of the Conservation and Protection of the Physical Landscape of The Bahamas Act, 1997 and may be liable for all consequences resulting from that breach.
Timeline satellite images and up close photographic images showing the extent of the erosion are below: