By NICOLE BURROWS
What’s The Pointe? It’s not an inclusive development for the average Bahamian; not to my eyes or ears.
But let’s examine its own description of itself.
Per the development’s website:
“Introducing The Pointe, a world-class lifestyle and residential development in Nassau, The Bahamas. With shopping, restaurants and an array of entertainment, including a performing arts centre, state-of-the-art movie theatre, and bowling, The Pointe is poised to become the region’s most sought-after destination. Designed to delight visitors and residents alike with its vibrant mix of incomparable, accessible experiences, The Pointe is set to transform Nassau.”
Into what? And that’s a serious question, because it’s really hard to tell how this project is fitting into the space it’s intended to occupy.
Come to think of it, why would you want to create something like this at all in this location, with its type being well out of place in Historic Nassau, and in an area surrounded by another area (Bay Street) that is crying out for its own development and revitalisation... the latter of which should come long before you market something like The Pointe as a place where people who want to live the high life can do so? How high is the life when they look immediately around and see squalor?
What will be the average cost of a residence in this development? I’m betting, far above $500,000, ie, bypassing the purchasing power of most Bahamians, at least the ones who are left with any income at all, and the ones who don’t want to be beholden to commercial banks in The Bahamas for the remainder of their natural lives.
Dare I ask, who, on behalf of our government, on behalf of the Bahamian people, was sitting in the board room when this project was presented and decided to be suitable?
The space it will occupy is an historic site. Why would you want to build a glass stadium cruise ship anywhere near this historic site and overpower it in this way? Shouldn’t any architectural efforts made in the development of this property be in harmony with its long-term purpose? So, what is missing from the equation? The harmony of development, or the long-term purpose?
I understand the need for modern development by way of modern structures using modern technology, believe me, I do. But can it not be done with a full awareness of what must be unarguably preserved, with respect for and in conjunction with a larger concept of our nation’s history and culture?
There I go again, assuming that our leaders understand what that means or care at all to consider it.
‘Tro’ tagedda’. That is the best description I can give this enterprise, in the Bahamian vernacular. But then, that should come as no surprise, because it’s also an apt description for our development plans.
With no implementable national development plan to speak of to date, these projects will continue to come along which are most inappropriate, and we are so slow and lazy, lacking initiative and, yes, innovation, that our national development plan will be formulated only on the back end, to match the development going on around it, instead of being formulated ahead of the development sold as beneficial to Bahamians.
Alas, maybe this “lifestyle and residential project” is not intended for occupancy by Bahamians at all, but thousands of Chinese nationals arriving on soon to be direct flights from Shanghai.
And who are we Bahamians to say “no” to anything China proposes, after the generous “gift” of a decrepit stadium from our benevolent Chinese donors. Surely we knew that bought the way into the future for further Chinese conquer, I mean, development on New Providence Island. And, if we didn’t, us peons will keep turning down beds and opening limo doors for the rest of our lives.
I used to joke, when I got back home from university, about how our country would one day be dominated again by another coloniser. I’d always hypothesised that would be America. I’m willing to accept that I may have been mistaken.
But this is what happens when our leaders and government have no real plan and no real intention of doing what is humanly possible to narrow the gap between the rich and the poor in our country. Every once in a while, they will throw the poor people a bone, like a social services debit card, but nothing substantive or enduring to help you change your life for the better and for the long term.
Why couldn’t these Chinese developers put their millions into our educational system? Wouldn’t that have been the ideal partnership to make, if everybody wants to win in the long run? Wouldn’t more intelligent, capable, educated people add value to this country? It would have been noble, to boot, for a society that highly regards its own nobility of purpose.
But I suppose adding value to The Bahamas is no one’s first priority but a Bahamian’s... and even then you have to squint your eye to find a Bahamian who not only feels passionately about that but cares enough to do something concrete about it.
All this money spent could be spent in partnership with private Bahamian businesses, not the government, but as mandated by the government based on a new and sensible prioritisation of investment needs, which do not include tourism, in order to grow small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), while improving the lot of Bahamians and simultaneously providing a return on the investment dollars. The key there, obviously, is to find partners who care about improving our lot as Bahamians, so that we may be better for ourselves and ultimately for their businesses. Oh wait, there was this one guy who just tried that and, look, he got “what the duck get”.
In other words, wake the hell up people! I beg of you. The smaller you sit and the more you bend and cower, the less you will have in your own country, and the sooner you will have that “less”.
What really is your leaders’ purpose for leading you? I am daring you to (honestly) answer that question. They tell you they want a Stronger Bahamas, you ask them why they think they can give it.
Hinting at The Pointe’s unsuitability, a gentleman posted on the Stronger Bahamas Facebook page:
“Question: - Do you think the architectural style is in keeping with the Bahamas’ identity …by the way was it a Bahamian architect who designed this?”
The reply by Stronger Bahamas:
“For questions related to The Pointe, we recommend that you contact The Pointe directly in order to get the best answers to your questions...”
In other words, they don’t know, they can’t say, they pass the buck. Never mind that they tout this development as part of their government’s “success” and fundamental to a “Stronger Bahamas”.
Who can really speak to the suitability of The Pointe?
Where is the Downtown Nassau Partnership (DNP)? Where is the Antiquities Monuments and Museums Corporation (AMMC)? What is their contribution to this transformation on an historic site?
The DNP’s website is currently down, but from other sources I deduce that they are an “interim organisation formed in 2008”, a “joint venture of private and public sectors... to achieve a progressive redevelopment of the city of Nassau”.
One of their main tasks is to “develop a framework for government to legislate a self-financing Business Improvement District that will manage and promote the City of Nassau going forward” ... whatever that means.
Their Linked-In company profile says they exist “to help oversee the restructuring of urban space on New Providence, with primary focus on culture and heritage...” But if they can’t focus on the culture and heritage of the historic site at the British Colonial Hilton, built in 1923, the “most historic site in town”, what is their purpose?
Perhaps more importantly, what about the AMMC... the National Museum of The Bahamas... “the nation’s principal heritage conservation and preservation agency”, per bahamas.gov, the official government website?
The AMMC states that “as the nation’s principal heritage conservation agency, the AMMC is committed to the preservation, interpretation and promotion of national monuments, historical sites, artifacts and ecofacts, which acquire national importance, and inspire public interest by reason of their historical, archaeological, anthropological and/or palaeontological significance.”
So can someone please disclose to Bahamians “the care and management” of our “national, historical and cultural resources” under way at the Hilton site?
What happens when Mr Li comes across some 200-year-old human remains, or some gold coins, or the handle of an 18th century sword, and goes to toss it in the dump because he’s just there to dig up the ground?
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