The United States and The Bahamas Renew the AUTEC Agreement Ensuring Continued Operations on Andros Island

WASHINGTON, DC – On Wednesday, November 2, United States Ambassador to The Bahamas Her Excellency Nicole A. Avant and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, The Hon. Brent Symonette participated in the official signing ceremony to renew the official agreement between the Government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas and the Government of the United States of America regarding the Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center (AUTEC). The agreement renews the five-year lease that will take effect January 26, 2012 to January 25, 2017.

In November 2010, U.S. Ambassador Avant visited Andros where she was able to tour the AUTEC facility and participate in a ‘meet-and-greet’ with both Bahamian and American employees. Her visit in November also included briefings on AUTEC’s environmental stewardship, their extensive sea life and coral reef monitoring efforts, the positive economic impact of the base in Andros, and AUTEC’s record of partnership with the local Andros community.

The economic impact of the AUTEC facility’s presence on Andros – from leasing, local purchases and jobs – is in the millions of dollars. It is the largest employer in Andros, providing jobs for more than 200 Bahamians. AUTEC also has a summer internship and scholarship program with the goal of encouraging young people to return to Andros.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, The Hon. Brent Symonette with Her Excellency Nicole A. Avant, United States Ambassador to The Bahamas following the official signing at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

AUTEC has put extensive environmental protection and management policies in place at the facility, which meets both Bahamian and U.S. law and international standards. AUTEC remains committed to the proper management of native flora and fauna, monitoring of sea life and coral reefs, as well as marine mammal monitoring. AUTEC also conducts bi-annual coral reef assessments that are shared with the Bahamian authorities. On-base efforts include the protection of the nesting habitat of the West Indian Whistling Duck – one of the rarest birds in the Americas – and elimination of the intrusive Australian Pine, designated by the Bahamian government as undesirable.

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