Tuesday, May 18, 2021


Young Activist Behind Country’s Plastic Ban Wins International Environmental Award

Kristal Ambrose is the young woman that convinced the government to ban single-use plastic items in the Bahamas.

Ambrose was recently awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize for her efforts, the award given to honor grassroots environmental heroes around the world.

Ambrose, the 30-year-old native of Eleuthera led a local campaign, creating an “upcycled” program to motivate students to repurpose plastic waste.

Photo credit: Dorian Curtis Jr. and Jawanza Small

She soon drafted legislation to share with the government on the issue of plastic use in the country and travelled to Nassau in January 2018 to meet Minister of Environment Romauld Ferriera to discuss her solution for the problem of plastic pollution.

Ferreira promised he would address it and later that year, the government announced a plan to address the issue, while banning single-use plastic bags, food utensils, straws, and Styrofoam in January 2020.

Ambrose told UK media, “In the Bahamas, it’s a really big deal because we receive the world’s waste as well as producing our own. This is paradise, until you look closely. Then you see the plastic pollution that washes in with the Sargasso Sea.”

Photo credit: Goldman Prize

Ambrose is studying marine waste in Sweden and wants to use her research to build stronger organizations and awareness in the Bahamas.

“We need to bridge the gap between community and science. It is no good publishing research every year if the information is not going to the people,” she said. “Plastic is just a tool.

“It’s about way more than that. It’s about helping young people to find their voice and recognize we are in this together.”

Ambrose was one of many environmental winners. Chibeze Ezekiel of Ghana was awarded for his four-year grassroots efforts, prompting his government to halt the construction of a 700-megawatt coal power plant. Nemonte Nenquimo of Ecuador led an indigenous campaign to protect 500,000 acres of the Amazon rainforest. Leydy Pech of Mexico, stopped the planting of genetically modified soybeans in southern Mexico. Lucie Pinson of France pressured France’s largest banks to stop financing new coal projects and companies.

NIB Director Steps Down. DNA Wants to Know Why

After the Chief Executive Officer of National Insurance Board Nicola Virgil-Rolle stepped down from her post to take up a new post as the executive director of the Lyford Cay Foundations, the Leader of the Democratic National Alliance Arinthia Komolafe says she is concerned that women placed at the helm of the organization often leave.

What Arinthia Komolafe says

  • In the midst of a major economic crisis, our main social security organization which provides a crucial social safety net for individuals impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic should not be plagued by instability. The NIB has now been plunged into a leadership crisis at a time when unemployment is at an all-time high and the need for government assistance is at record levels.
  • The minister responsible for NIB and the Prime Minister must explain what happened. They must let the Bahamian people know why such a talented and promising Bahamian quit unexpectedly. It is important that we know the circumstances leading to Dr. Virgil-Rolle’s departure, the role of political interference in this resignation and the status of long-overdue reforms at the NIB.
  • This disturbing news comes in the aftermath of the resignations of the former Ministers of Financial Services, Immigration, Health and Finance. What is really going on in this Minnis-led administration?

Who is Dr. Nicola Virgil-Rolle?

  • Virgil-Rolle was appointed the new director at the National Insurance Board in 2018.
  • She left the Office of the Prime Minister in 2018 where she led the Economic Planning Unit and played a role in the government’s Over-the-Hill revitalization plan.
  • Virgil-Rolle is the wife of Central Bank Governor John Rolle.
  • Virgil-Rolle has faced opposition from the line staff and managerial union claiming she and management disregarded staff. In October of last year, workers called for the removal of Virgil-Rolle, shouting, “Virgil got to go, Virgil got to go”.
  • She managed the COVID-19 economic stimulus plan.

It remains to be seen who will replace Virgil-Rolle.