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You never lose until you stop trying!

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Newsletters

March 15th, 2015

Every journey starts with the first steps no matter how big or small those steps may be.
I should like to thank all the BICEPS supporters of old and those who may now wish to share in our community movement. The concept is a simple one that has proven effective thus far. Our mission is clear: to give those without voice a chance to be heard. Our primary aim is protect our environment, the oceans and the life it supports. In fact, the elements that surely are our birthright and the very basis of life.
Earth -   Detoxify & protect
Air -        Aim to reduce pollution  
Fire -      Monitor Incineration
Water -  Protect our Oceans & the life it supports. Removing plastics is of paramount importance to Biceps World wide.
Our motto is. You Never Lose until You Stop TRYING!
Biceps consists of a loose affiliation of like-minded individuals, associations and foundations who consult and research effective means of finding solutions to the problems we face in this modern day World. No issue is too small and none too big. Amongst our ranks we have, legal advisors, environmental experts, marine biologists political strategists and human rights campaigners.
Biceps, you can contact us on  info@bicepsbonaire.org   www.forumantilles.com  info@ourconfidence.com
Face book
Biceps Worldwide
Balanced International Environmental Protection Society
Spokes person; Sean Paton

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April 21st, 2014

Dear fellow Bicepeans & BICEPS supporters old and new.

First I would like to take this chance to welcome our new European supporters. It is rewarding to see the BICEPS concept grow in number and geographical reach. It should be pointed out that no matter how far afield we go from our island of Bonaire, our finger remains on the pulse of the island and the well-being of its people and nature. Please take the time to read our mission statement if you have not done so before. http://www.bicepsbonaire.org/mission.html

Enough about BICEPS. You'll find all the information you need on our web site www.bicepsbonaire.org and on face-book under the name of Biceps Bonaire.

Allow me to introduce myself. For the benefit of those who don't know me. My name is Sean Paton. I am a 58 year old, a freelance writer and journalist, radio presenter and active environmentalist. The last 12 years of my life were spent trying to protect the nature and the culture of the wonderful island of Bonaire... and the quest goes on!

Almost a year ago I left the beautiful shores of that island to start a new life here in the Azores: a Portuguese archipelago consisting of nine islands.

I crossed the Atlantic with the sailing vessel "Synergy" in just under 14 days. That trip gave me the chance to reflect on my past failures and achievements and a chance to prioritise my goals and objectives in life.

So after a year of living on the island of Faial, with its rolling green hills and rich history, I would like to share both my conclusions and objectives with you all.

During my passage my fear was that we would encounter all sorts of plastic trash and pollution but it wasn't like that at all. The only disturbing thing was the discarded fishing gear buoyed off at regular intervals. Each one representing a death trap below that would only feed the statistics of mankind's mismanagement of the Oceans - but not one human mouth!

The weather was such that we really had to sail hard, and so my thoughts were taken up with all that is involved in the management of a boat under sail. So it was not till the Synergy reached her intended port of Horta that I realized quite how alone and helpless the situation had made me feel. One sail boat came in with six buoys he had cut free for the safety of other sailors, leaving the gear below to do its inevitable damage.

The gloomy feeling that environmentalists are fighting a losing battle merged with my new found solitude to provide a perfect back drop for my depression: a depression that would last till one bright sunny morning after a long night of writing and restless sleep on board the Synergy.

Sitting in the cockpit, coffee in hand, my thought went back to Bonaire and the clean-ups that had become a regular feature of the island. Even more was the thought of the unbreakable spirit of those people who would clean the coastline time and again knowing it would come back! Plastic pollution in our Oceans is a crisis in our time and so the "Clean Oceans Campaign" was born. Along with many other like-minded people and foundations we will endeavor to clean our oceans of plastic debris starting with coastlines and beaches. Our Campaign will start right here on Faial on the 4th of May 2014. Under the Banner "Limpeza Atlantica Faial- Acores": roughly translated - Atlantic clean up Faial Azores.

My time in this first year here has been spent educating myself about plastic pollution, where it goes and how much there is. I have also had to learn about micro-plastics and ocean floor pollution. The lessons are on-going, but already my conclusion is that we can stop this and repair some of the damage if we stand together. Who are we? We are the difference! You can be part of it too-whether you live here or on Bonaire, or anywhere in the world. Take the opportunity to make your own Campaign or join ours.

Well that's it for now from me for now. I leave you this contact info should you wish to let us know about your own campaign or if you have questions about ours.

BICEPS; info@bicepsbonaire.org
If you would like to join the campaign here on Faial. noplaticbagsazores@gmail.com

Remember You never lose till you stop trying.

Warm Regards Sean Paton.

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November 15th, 2013

As usual BICEPS is a little late with this newsletter; well, to our own time-frame anyway. As far as apologies go, that will be the closest this newsletter will come to one.

First, I would like to thank our small efficient legal team for their relentless work: work that they give without the headlines or the deserved accolade.

Being an environmental NGO we are not looking to ride the headlines or float on public opinion. Our work often starts after the headlines, and the political advantages gained from headline news, has passed.

BICEPS objectives remain the same as to for. To protect the islands' Coastal & Environmental affairs. To afford those without voice an ear, and to give those that refuse to listen a conscience for their deafness. However as the Oceans know no borders BICEPS knows no limits to where our actions take effect. BICEPS Atlantic Clean Ocean Campaign will now be spearheaded by myself, Sean Paton, using the well-learned lessons gained on our own island Bonaire. May I take this chance to offer a warm welcome to all our new European supporters.  Please take the time to read our mission statement if you have not yet done so. http://www.bicepsbonaire.org/mission.html.

BICEPS. Clean Oceans Campaign

Behind the scenes much water and debris has flowed under the proverbial bridge. The BICEPS initiative has lead us, "BICEPS”, to cross the path of many likeminded people and bodies. BICEPS has followed and supported, and been supported, by many groups. Two groups in particular should be recognized. “Stow It Don’t Throw It” and “Debris Free Bonaire”. The people, groups and NGOs that are working on this issue are ever growing in number and BICEPS is willing to work with all of them. It must be noted that Bonaire has shown exemplary effort and results. S.T.I.N.A.P.A and the Junior Rangers and other environmental groups have been and are an example to the world on what can be achieved with coastal clean ups. Here on the Azores  BICEPS would like to thank  Isabel, G. And “No More Plastic Bags in the Azores”. We look forward to working on the Azores where we hope we can follow the example of Bonaire. Also my sincere gratitude the files: 2013_Pham et al-2013-Abundance of litter on Condor seamount and 2013_Pham et al-2013-Total marine fishery catch for the Azores.

Commission proposes to reduce the use of plastic bags

Take some time for the links below:
http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-13-1017_en.htm
http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-13-945_en.htm

Environment: Commission proposes to reduce the use of plastic bags

Today the European Commission adopted a proposal that requires Member States to reduce their use of lightweight plastic carrier bags. Member States can choose the measures they find most appropriate, including charges, national reduction targets or a ban under certain conditions. Lightweight plastic bags are often used only once, but can persist in the environment for hundreds of years, often as harmful microscopic particles that are known to be dangerous to marine life in particular.

Based on the above information environmental groups should expect much more cooperation from the commercial sector but also from local Government.

Thank you all members and non-members for your ongoing support. For the most up to date information the facebook page (Biceps Bonaire) will give the best results, and our thanks to the facebook team.

Till next time!

Sean Paton
Founder member & Spokesperson. BICEPS.

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September 6th, 2013

Dear members and Non members.

With the global picture of uncertainty that prevails these days it is hard not to become sad and despondent. BICEPS is, has been, and always will be a strong supporter of Sea Shepherd and Captain Paul Watson. The efforts of Sea Shepherd all over the World are making a difference and whilst BICEPS is only a small locally oriented foundation our efforts are, and will, carry on to be both noticed and effective.

Remember two things when a task seems daunting:

1. Together we are strong.
2. Do not forget it was David who slew Goliath (with one stone).

Some years ago after working beside the waste water trenches on Bonaire I contracted serious lung illness that  stays with me to this day and in fact nearly killed me. After a long stay in hospital I returned to Bonaire and made it my task to fight for a waste water treatment plant. This I did - without using my personal situation to pressure in any way -  just using the merits of common sense.

Joined by many willing hands we applied pressure locally and  nationally in Holland and Europe. Our efforts were abused and misinterpreted by local politicians: who in turn were using and being used by large financial institutions in Europe. During these years we were all urinated on from a great height by the ship “Free Winds”,  and the Scientologists,  who used our lax waste disposal laws to their advantage by dumping  thousands of tons of waste water on the island daily.

Eventually we ended up with the current "White Elephant" that cost millions more than the island could afford and is nothing like the facility that is needed. This is the reason why the island will never stop paying for such an  environmental blunder.

It is my pleasure to inform you now that not only a leading  journalist but also some of the experts who helped in those early years have now picked the case back up and the situation is now under review! This is great news as it is in my opinion wrong that the people of Bonaire should be left to carry the burden of this huge mistake. You can also rest assured that the people who abused the situation to their advantage will be brought to book. (You never lose till you stop trying).

BICEPS is being fully informed and in turn we will keep you up to date with this situation.

The action group "No Plastic Bags in the Azores", along with BICEPS ,are now initiating an action intended to take  plastic bags out of circulation. Yes it is ambitious. Yes it is achievable. And yes we will be asking Bonaire and other Caribbean island to initiate the same directive there. Together we are strong. Plastic bags are killing our oceans and the life in them. BICEPS will be working with several local groups and foundations on Bonaire. Watch your local press for details.

So till next time, my thanks to all those contributing to the Face book page and my apologies for the lack of info on the web site. www.bicepsbonaire.org. This will be taken care of shortly.

That’s it for now. Once again thank you all for your support.

Sean Paton

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August 1st, 2013

Dear members, non members and interested parties.

For those of you not familiar with our NGO BICEPS; Bonaire Island Coastal Environmental Protection Society.

BICEPS was initiated as an action group with the intention of working along side existing NGOs with our team of legal and environmental advisors. Although based on Bonaire our supporters and members are all over the World. Please take the time to read our mission statement that you will find on the web site www.bicepsbonaire.org.

The Atlantic ocean is a vast expanse of water that shares its energy, tides and currents with the Caribbean Ocean. It is also a main migration route for many species of pelagic fish and marine life. In fact the two oceans contribute to each other as a life force of interaction. Therefore the Atlantic  ocean is of great importance to the people of the Caribbean generally and, for us, most importantly to Bonaire.

It is with these facts and some other personal reasons in mind that the decision was made for me to stay here on the Azores.

The Clean Oceans Campaign will provide a registration page for both private yachts and merchant vessels to report visible debris and pollution as they make passage through the Oceans of the World. It will also allow them to inform us of size,suspected content, oil, plastics etc. The vessels will not be asked to give their name and port of registry but we would appreciate receiving  those details and will treat them with the utmost confidence. What we will be asking for is the longitude, latitude, the time and date. The information will be fed into a global map where we can establish hot spots and general movement, also the point of entry. If we can identify the perpetrators, legal action will be taken and a name and shame campaign will be in place.

Secondly, along with other groups, coastal clean ups will be in place - Help your Neighbours. What we take from the shore will not go back into the ocean and so will not end up our neighbour's shore line.

In these last weeks I was made aware of the Spanish factory ships that are taking massive amounts of fish from our waters. My current research will I hope cast some light as to the volume of fish that are being taken.

That’s it for now. My thanks for your ongoing support. I trust you find this letter informative. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me info@bicepsbonaire.org.

Sean Paton
Environmental activist

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June 7th, 2013

Hello all Bicepians.

Well, let me bring you up to date with my personal circumstances first.

I now find myself on the wonderful island of Fajal on the Galapagos of the Azores: after a 14 day passage on board the sailing yacht Synergy. The vessel is a fine example of those designed by German frers J.R. and built by W.A Souter Sons. Cowes, and launched in 1974.

The chance to take advantage of this trip was at first a personal opportunity. But, after some thought it became clear to me that this could serve as a double opportunity as BICEPS has a big interest in the Ocean's floating debris and this could the start of a much larger campaign. On sharing this idea with other yachtsmen it also became clear that many of them would like to help, and so the start of the “BICEPS Clean Ocean Program” is now launched hereby... officially!

The project was in fact inspired by two other groups: “Stow it Don’t throw it Project” and our local Bonaire group “Debris Free Bonaire” initiated by “Dive Friends". Both these groups sent representatives to my radio program and on the back of these interviews - and some sleepless nights - the idea was formed. More about this ongoing project, and the results so far will be published shortly, along with details about how you may help.

But first back to our own shores of Bonaire.

Last year BICEPS received over 900 letters of complaint to be handed to the Government of Bonaire with regard to proposed changes to the SPITAL plan or Zoning plan. Biceps along with S.T.I.N.A.P.A. did duly serve the Government with said letters. Now this year S.T.I.N.A.P.A are taking legal action to save the marine park of Bonaire. In my last days on Bonaire before my departure for the Azores I received many calls and mails from members and non-members asking why BICEPS was not standing shoulder to shoulder with S.T.I.N.A.P.A and the Turtle foundation in this ongoing fight?

So, as the acting director of BICEPS, let me explain why we did not take action as yet.

Some weeks after the letters were handed over I requested an appointment with the Government's Mr. Burney Elhage. The appointment was granted for 1500 on one afternoon of the same week. However, Mr. Hans Els -Government advisor, called me to inform me that I should come at 1600 on the same day. Consequently, at the said time I presented myself at the office of the Executive Council. I was led to the outer office of said minister where I was left to wait for nearly an hour whilst said minister held a conference with the other so called “share holders” in this situation (including Stinapa and others). During this time I clearly heard said minister give instruction that no Government office or member of staff should either contact, talk or communicate with BICEPS in any way. I can assure you all that is exactly the policy that was carried out.

Now some of you may think I am being a little vague, and indeed you are right. The reason for this is - that come the day in the court, should either of the two main foundations wish, this will be laid down as evidence for the plaintive... all 900 of them. So the reason BICEPS has not stood publicly with the two main foundations to date is simple. It is my opinion that we would hinder rather than help at this stage. But let me assure all interested parties, BICEPS has in no way turned its back on our brothers in this matter - or the 900 people who laid their trust in us.

I do hope this makes our situation clear.

Sean Paton

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May 7th, 2013 - Open Letter

This open letter is intended for all followers of BICEPS. The next closed letter for BICEPS members will not be forthcoming for at least three weeks. I do hope that this short note will give some understanding of thecurrent BICEPS action.

What I can divulge is that my standing within theSociety has changed and I now assume the office of both Spokesperson and Acting Director. All will be made clear in good time. This year B.I.C.E.P.S will initiate our 'Fisheries and Coastal Protection Program'. Within this masive heading are several issues: some local - with a focus on our little island Bonaire, and some international efforts but "all roads lead to Rome" and our overall goal is to protect the fish and the ocean they live in.

So I will depart Sint Maarten on the sailing vesel "Synergy" on the 8th of May: destination the Azores. The objective is
to montitor the waste and pollution as we cross the Atlantic Ocean during the passage.

It is hoped that the boat's position and some short status udates will be sent to the BICEPS News Team and Ron at Mega fm. Also some news may come up on facebook on the BICEPS page. My apoligies for this short briefing.
Once on the Azores a more detailed report - and how you can help - will be forthcoming.

One Love One Life Live it!
Sean Paton

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August 2012 - Donkeys and Government

Dear members & non-members.

Before I get started, it would seem only right to thank all those people who took the time and effort to stand shoulder to shoulder on this issue. On the face of it, it is clear that a better solution than Haiti as a destination for our donkeys has been found, but let’s take a look at the real story, and the real outcome, you see, as I watched the saga unfold both sides of the story became clear. We all know the story of the Donkeys, here since the fifteen hundreds made redundant by the introduction of trucks and cars and now left to roam the island in search of the American dream “peace freedom and the right to pursue happiness” and in their case water!

Now in defending its plan, and outrageous press statements the Government also gave us some insight into the workings of island Government, commissioner Kroon leading the play assisted by a complete “team” or should I say commission of team players other wise known as none elected civil servants and advisers, the latter holding qualification ranging from PhD’s to masters in business and shall we say academics from all fields of commerce and economy to assist them in this master plan. The first question to be asked is, how did they come up with this harebrained scheme in the first place?

Could it be that in anticipation of the expected outrage from the people who care about this island, its environment, ecosystems, animals and history, not to mention the people that live here that the plan was in fact one of outright manipulation of emotions that would let the Government step away from their financial obligation in this matter?

You see, the advisers working to assist these commissioners are not paid to make good policy; they are paid to assist in the implementation of policy albeit good or bad.

So to help them along here is my idea. First the Government should not embarrass itself by admitting that they do not have the funds needed to help the donkey sanctuary execute a sustainable plan of castration and euthanasia. I have spoken to several of the older islanders who tell me that the main reason for the donkeys coming into town is the search for water. Ground water that the farmers and country folk would pump up for them in the old days when it was dry and no rain fell. Now in these days it is a question mark whether that ground water is polluted or not, so far no one has been able to prove me wrong when I say it is.

Also no one has been able to prove me wrong when I say that the “Free Winds” was and is a large contributor to that pollution of our water table here on Bonaire.

The answer is easy my friends and I did not need a PhD to find it. Go to the Free Winds and make them pay for taking advantage of the island for more than ten years. Use that money to try and put right some of the wrong they have done here, if you are in any doubt, it is a matter of record both on film and scientific testing, that the ship has dumped bilge water from here engine room containing fuel oil waste oil, all nicely mixed with sea water.

It only remains for mo to say to those commissioners; if you need help with this matter BICEPS is willing to assist you in any legal endeavor to make them pay.

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July 2012 - Dear members and non members.

As I sit here compiling this letter a challenge presents itself - let me explain.

First, the newsletter is way overdue, so I found myself writing newsletters in my head before I go to sleep at night; or when I am waiting for an appointment; sat at the bar or walking the dogs. Needless to say when I do sit down to write the letter my mind goes blank. Yesterday morning once again it all came flowing back to me and by lunchtime the letter was written... and then came the power cut!! Had I saved the letter? NO! So here we go again. Bear with me as I endeavour to bring you all up to speed with our current situation.

Some weeks ago the emails started to come in. First one or two, then tens, then, well just too many. All of them outraged, shocked, and hurt by the proposal from Commissioner, James Croon, that the feral donkeys on the island be sent to Haiti. At first I thought it was a joke! But then the mails kept coming and I realised that this was no joke. This really was a brainless scheme that would be carried out regardless of the suffering animals and the animal lovers of Bonaire.

In February 2012 BICEPS was asked to act on behalf of over 600 letters of complaint, bezwaarschrift wijziging Ruimtelijk Ontwikkelingsplan Bonaire - the Zoning plan "ROB". We did take that action and all the letters were delivered to the office of DROB, the event was recorded on film.

In the ensuing weeks nothing was heard. We were ignored. BICEPS received no recognition that the letters were being dealt with. Without going into too much detail, eventually a meeting with the Governor was arranged. This was also filmed. At that meeting the Governor informed us that she had not seen the letters nor was she aware of the existence of our society. I WAS MAD!

The old proverb came to mind! "Don't get mad get even."

It did not take long before I understood that the nine man commission set up to deal with us,BICEPS (well not just us, but matters "economic and environmental"), had been given a brief not to engage... in other words IGNORE US! The governor's own words, "that she had not heard of BICEPS" substansiated that.

Back to the donkeys.

How could BICEPS best help? It was clear that if we took action and stood shoulder to shoulder over this issue we might actually cripple the efforts being made. So, I sat back and took a different approach, working behind closed doors - a lesson that I had learnt from the island government!

Here you will find the press release from the Donkey Sanctuary. All the details are easy to find and there has been enough press coverage that I did not find it of any use to restate the facts, that BICEPS is fully against this intended action. That should be clear.

All the situations that BICEPS is fielding, landfill, waste water and the general mismanagement of the land are of equal importance. A strategy was needed and a strategy was found and that strategy will become apparent to all parties over the coming weeks, exciting hey?

Minister according to Ministre de l’Agriculture des Ressources Naturelles et du Développement Rural: Thomas JACQUES, Ministre de l’Agriculture des Ressources Naturelles et du Développement Rural

Phone (509) 2510-3916
The above is the contact details of the relevant Government department in Haiti, BICEPS will forward the details of all communications with both these and other parties that our new strategy has led us to.Unlike the Government we like to be open in these matters and we believe our members have the right to know what is going on.

After a lot lof research, it would seem that the Island Government is indeed liable for the donkeys AND THEIR WELL BEING, both financially and morally.The Government have no basis on which to ask foundations or welfare groups for funds... neither for castration of or injury to the animals. Our legal team were quite clear about this point.

BICEPS would like to take this chance to thank Ann Phelan for her efforts. As she so rightly put it in her quotation from Mahatma Gandhi.
"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."

That now begs the question where will they send the goats and the indigenous people of the island?

So for now tha'ts the news. Thank you all for your support.

Sean Paton

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Contact us by e-mail: info@bicepsbonaire.org

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© 2011-2013 Bonaire

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