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Massive clean-up exercise in Coral Gardens

Keeping Grand Bahama clean, green and pristine is a message promoted by several organizations, including the Keep Grand Bahama Clean Committee (KGBCC), which has partnered with a number of stakeholders over several years.

Over the weekend (Saturday, April 1) groups participated in clean-up initiatives in a few communities, including Coral Gardens.

Partnering with Coral Gardens’ community activist, Ricardo Major for the clean-up event were Pan American Development Foundation (PADF), Urban Renewal 2.0 Community Policing Unit, RBPF Defence Force Rangers and residents of the area.

Tons of trash and debris was removed from the apartment complex yards and along the street, piled up and collected by Sanitation Services.

Assistant Superintendant of Police (ASP) Henry Rolle, with responsibility for Urban Renewal 2.0 Community Policing Unit, Grand Bahama spoke with this daily about the clean-up initiative.

“Today is the start of our campaign, Litter Free Month, and we are partnering with the Pan American Association along with Ricardo Major, who is a resident of Coral Gardens, with the mission of cleaning up this area,” Rolle explained. “And as you can see the Defence Force Rangers and other community-minded persons are participating in this massive clean-up exercise.”

He noted that the initiative was not only important as it moved tons of trash and debris from the community, but it also addressed a number of environmental issues in the area.

“We hope to address these issues assiduously by removing all of the garbage and debris that is already a breeding ground for rodents in this community.”

Rolle thanked PADF for its donation to Major and residents of Coral Gardens to carrying out the weekend clean-up exercise.

He also extended thanks to executives of Sanitation Services that came on board, “… they are removing all of the debris and trash collected. At the end of the day, we want to see a very healthy and clean Coral Gardens.

“As you know with this type of garbage and filth around, it breeds crime and that is one of the major concerns – for the police and residents. So as of today, hopefully, this area will see some productivity in terms of its condition and improved environment.”

Major, who is also principal of Genesis Academy Program SURE, shared that the initiative came about because of a program he participated in PADF. “I wrote an action plan for a community clean-up initiative, where it involved a community walk-about with our Community police officers.

“And culminating today with our full clean-up, we will also have a post clean-up meeting where we will be distributing garbage bins to our residents. However, the whole object of our effort today, is to have a clean and safe environment for our students, children and families to live in.”

Major noted that too often residents reside in communities where trash is, “all over the place. Now with the police department, the Keep Grand Bahama Clean Committee and a number of other agencies to assist in this project, we are pleased to clean-up our area.”

Speaking to the participation of the young people in the exercise, Major said, “having young people involved in this initiative was very important. It is very important to drive this message home to our young people, but more so even the residents.

“What I would have done, we had a meeting (prior to the event) that would have encouraged young people and adults that are residents to get involved. The object of the action plan that I sent in was really to show how we can improve the lives of young people … making a safe environment for them.

“So just having them involved, giving back to the community, even communities they don’t live in, I would think teaches them good humanitarian skills.”

Charo Walker-Morley, Country Coordinator for PADF was on island for Saturday’s event said, “PADF is an international non-profit organization that is headquartered in Washington, DC.

“In The Bahamas we are based in Nassau and we carry out several international development projects throughout The Bahamas, projects that are aimed at improving the well-being of people.”

She explained that this particular project comes under PADF’s Resistance and Prevention Program, which is a Social Crime Prevention Project.

“The aim is to prevent crime from happening, stopping it before it even becomes a problem. This is a clean-up campaign in the Coral Gardens neighborhood, and you may ask what does a clean-up project have to do with crime?

“Research has found that an un-kept environment, a poor environment can contribute to crime and the fear of crime. So as part of our strategy to work in the community and prevent crime, Ricardo Major, who is a volunteer facilitator with the project and a resident of Coral Gardens, decided to come up with this initiative to clean-up this environment.”

Questioned about the involvement of the young people, Walker-Morley said that their involvement is crucial, because this program is very much targeting young people.

“We do outreach programs in schools where we speak to young people about gang activity, about abuse, about conflict resolution. But this is practical, it allows them to be a part of building up their communities and seeing the importance of partnering with adults.”

She noted that through the initiative, the youngsters also get the opportunity to contribute positively to their society.

Rangers’ Junior Instructor, Tosinique Roker said that some 16 Rangers came out for the clean-up campaign. “I am happy to be a part of this initiative, we not only get to see the kind of environment others live in, but we get to assist in a positive effort.

“It’s very important we participate as this is our island, we must spread the message of keeping it clean and it is very gratifying at the end of the day to be involved and help our brothers and sisters in keeping their areas clean.

This article appeared in the Freeport News.

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