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August 20, 2004

Her Majesty’s Prison

A Festering Crisis of Vanity

When you think of the Bahamas, maybe you think of Palm trees, groomed white sand beaches. Shallow aqua water. Casinos and hotels. I’ve seen the $500 a night resorts like Old Bahama Bay (formerly Jack Tar Village) where they charge $126 U.S. dollars for a knit cotton shirt and run a Zamboni across the beaches in the mornings to erase the footprints from the sand. But that isn’t the Bahamas that I know.

The islands that I’ve seen in the Bahamian archipelago are hopeless, low, limestone clumps overrun with palmettos and red mangroves, populated by a festering, crisis of vanity bent on raping the islands to eek out a desperate living. Boiling in a crucible of sun scorched third world poverty, they unleash a preternatural genocide on the marine world around them, fishing for lobsters, conch, mutton snapper, sea turtles - anything they can harvest from beneath the waves they kill and grill. The natives do not practice catch and release. Nothing is thrown back.

I’ve seen turtles as large as dining room tables upside down on the beach, flippers flailing helplessly in the air, waiting to be carved into steaks. Piles of raped conch shells as tall as houses. Boston whalers filled from stem to stern with rock lobster tails.

For the rest of the story buy my book "Killing Strangers.

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Posted by Peenie Wallie on August 20, 2004 at 06:41 PM


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