Basra Chairman Eddie Whan Sets the Record Straight, Clears BASRA Name

Originally published in The Freeport News |

Eddie Whan, Chairman, Bahamas Air Sea and Rescue Association (BASRA) Grand Bahama set the record straight regarding a recent video, which was widely circulated across social media over the weekend, of Coral Beach following BASRA Grand Bahama’s 49th Annual Swim Race on Saturday, August 17.

While many, in their comments, were of the view that the enormous amount of trash left behind on the beach was as a result of the BASRA event, Whan categorically denied that BASRA Grand Bahama had nothing to do with the garbage left behind.

In fact, Whan revealed that he along with members of the BASRA family and others, assisted in the clean-up effort the following morning.

Additionally, disparaging posts regarding Whan’s stance towards racism were also mentioned, which he again vehemently refuted.

Speaking with this daily on Monday, August 19, Whan expressed, “On behalf of BASRA, the Board of Directors, BASRA Grand Bahama, myself and my family, we would just like to clear up and make it known that we have seen the post just like everyone else has, scattered all around Facebook and, in general, most of it is all hogwash.

BASRA does not discriminate against anybody

“BASRA does not discriminate anybody, anyhow, anyway, any form – black, white, yellow, pink or purple. I can speak on behalf of family and myself. Anyone that wants to point the finger at anyone of us and say anything racial and say that we are in any way, shape or form, they do not know us.

“To set the record straight, anyone that knows me personally knows better. There is not a racist, prejudice bone in my body and I take sincere resentment to people insinuating that or hinting it, or otherwise.”

Garbage and fights was from a competing event

With respect to the mounds of garbage that was collected on Sunday on the beach, Whan explained, “Yes, there is a function that happens to the east of us and has been going one for some four years now. It progressively gets bigger and worse, every year. When I say worse, we have no problem with having fun … when I was younger, I do not think anyone had more fun than me.

“So, I am all on board for fun, but what I am not on board with is when you go there, have fun and there are fights, bottles on the beach right down the road from where we are having a family fun day.

“Again, please do not get me wrong; I am fully on board for fun and having a blast; however, we just ask that you be respectful with it. That is the word I am going to use, respectful with it,” Whan suggested.

He maintained that on Saturday ambulances had to called to collect youngsters, for various reasons, and transport them to the Rand Memorial Hospital.

“We know, I know that it did not happen at our function. It did not happen at BASRA Grand Bahama’s function.

“We know where it happened, and I would like to think that the organizers down the beach would please, in the future, think ahead and put themselves in the predicament.

“Respect your beach; respect your country.” — Eddie Whan

“Secondly, respect your beach; respect your country. I saw the pictures being circulated and if you want to know the God’s honest truth, what you saw on Facebook with the little bit of garbage you saw on the beach, and I say a little bit, even though it was a lot.

“It was a little bit compared to what was there and had already been cleaned up by the time the person took his camera out to take the pictures. He should have been there about 40 minutes earlier when there was really garbage on the beach; before we had the 70 bags of garbage already filled and sitting on the side, ready to be picked up.

“We cleaned up the entire beach, their side and ours. Justin Snisky and his three kids were there, myself, my fiancé and Sanitation Services, along with two other gentlemen that do not want their names mentioned,” he added.

According to Whan, the men said they were not at either event, but they wanted to do the right thing. “They told us they wanted to do it for their country and their island, not wanting any recognition.

“Sanitation Services’ workers were the best; they brought in their tractor and raked the beach, made probably about 15 trips with bags … that is how much garbage was out there, by the way.

“The clean-up took place on the morning of Sunday, August 18. That is what upset me; someone went out there at around 7:00 a.m. because my fiancé ran into the person on the beach and asked them what they were doing. That is when he said it was remnants from BASRA, and we told him that it was not remnants from BASRA; it had nothing to do with BASRA.”

Whan said that for the last 49 years, the function is held that day, organizers close up that night and return the following morning to clean the beach.

By 11:00 Sunday morning the beach was spotless

He stressed that by 11:00 Sunday morning the beach was spotless. “And so, whoever took those pictures took them at 6:30 or something to 7:00 a.m. that morning and then posted them. Even when they took them there was 70 bags worth of garbage collected. That beach was not like that the entire day.”

He continued, “We did not mind helping to clean, but it is not fair. We cleaned up another’s mess because we knew ‘BASRA’s Swim Race was going to be blamed for it. BASRA had nothing to do with that, but we knew that because it was the same day as our event we were going to be blamed.

“I challenge the gentleman that was out there taking all of those pictures and putting it on Facebook; put your phone down, grab a bag and use your hands to pick up garbage instead of spreading totally false propaganda all over social media. Use social media to say, ‘Look at these people out here, working and cleaning.’ That is what he should have done or bent down and picked up some garbage himself.

“Finally, we beg everyone, have your fun but do it respectfully and please clean up after yourself. Be responsible for those attending your event, especially, those under age. Put yourselves in parents’ shoes, because it is not a good feeling, it is really not,” concluded Whan.