By Inigo ‘Naughty’ Zenicazelaya
There were a few interesting developments on the horizon this past week. Let’s begin.
Making the Pointe
So it seems that China Construction America, the developers of The Pointe downtown, have gone ahead with construction for which they have not been given approval by the Ministry of Works.
When I first read the headline in The Tribune, I thought to myself that there was no way that could have actually happened. Frankly, after the monumental (and I mean that literally) fiasco that now sits on Cable Beach with a sign out front that reads “Baha Mar,” China Construction America (and everyone else connected to that project) should be the last ones getting into any more “mix-ups”.
After reading the article, however, I realised that they had indeed moved beyond their approvals and gone about their business of building on their schedule, on their site, on their terms. Or as we say here, ‘Chile please, they done gone do what they feel like doing!’
In response, the Ministry of Works issued a ‘stop order’ on the project last week, which, by the speed CCA likes to push out construction projects, is basically like pumping the brakes on a car flying 100mph down a hill.
And I bet CCA was surprised that this time the Ministry of Works meant business.
China Construction America has been a presence in this country in some form or other for the better part of five years. Somewhere along the way – and this is just an educated guess – they may have learned that things don’t run so smoothly around here. They may have had an occasion (or two, or two hundred) where they realized that taking shortcuts here and there has no real consequences in this land of bogged-down bureaucracy that is always behind the eightball.
Except this time we weren’t.
The Ministry of Works, while admitting that applications were in but the proper permits had not been approved as yet for further construction, actually dropped a stop order on CCA. Not only were they caught “being fast”, but they were chastised and told to sit in the corner and take a timeout.
Which is actually perfect timing for what is likely to come next.
Many Bahamians are just
now getting familiarised with the plans that CCA has for one of the most historical sites in this country. The British Colonial Hilton, located on the site of the Old Fort Nassau, has a history dating back to 1901. The site itself has roots tracing back as far as 1666. If you’re counting, that’s a whole lot of history.
The pictures that have been around for a little while of the glass and steel “entertainment palace” that CCA wants to encircle the Hilton with are beginning to gain attention, especially on social media. Not to denigrate their plans, but “gross” and “yuck” are just a few of the words that keep popping up. Basically, Bahamians are not impressed, and don’t get the point of
Moreover, I’ve heard persons start to ask who was responsible for the design of The Pointe. Also, who approved that design
for The Pointe. And which Bahamian architects are involved in The Pointe. And “who will let them do what with Blackbeard’s well to put up a parking lot?” at The Pointe.
I have a sneaking suspicion that things are about to heat up with respect to Bahamians voicing their disapproval about many aspects of this development.
Like I said earlier, with 2,000 newly fired workers in the country any company (or persons) connected to the perceived demise of Baha Mar had better be on their P’s and Q’s.
The Bahamas may be 12 hours behind Beijing and slow out the gate sometimes but make no mistake we catch on (and catch up) quickly. All developments
will be viewed with new eyes, and though we seem to love Chinese cuisine a few dumpling rolls are about to be slowed.
For Whom the Bell Tolls
Some people just never learn. Teachable moments notwithstanding, the State Minister of National Security, Keith Bell, made one of the most amateurish attempts at finger pointing I have witnessed in a while.
Apparently, getting rebuffed by the general public for trying to blame teachers, parents and judges wasn’t humiliating enough for the folks in charge of National Security. Now, Minister Bell has decided to ratchet up the embarrassment factor for this administration by reaching back years in time to find a way to pull
the former Ingraham Administration into the mess that is crime in this country.
On his little trek in his time machine, Minister Bell hopped, skipped and jumped over the most relevant political fact with respect to crime today which is the promise the Progressive Liberal Party made while campaigning in 2012. Back then, the PLP told Bahamians that they had the “answer” to combating crime.
Not “a few good ideas“, or even “one trick we could try”, but the “answer”.
I don’t know about you, but after someone says they have the answer there is no more need for a question. (Unless, of course,you’re playing Jeopardy.) And after you have the answer there is certainly no need for finger-pointing.
But here’s a question for Mr Bell: Besides pontificating about nonsense in the Senate, what are you and your Ministry actually doing about crime?
Two days ago, the murder record exceeded that for 2014 with 124 (and counting) on the books. How can you “fix ya mouth” to stand before the Bahamian people talking about the past government without owning what is happening today?
I’m beginning to wonder if Minister Bell has been hanging out with his cousin ‘Tinker’ in ‘Neverland’. Never had an answer, never own up, never will.
Minister Bell would be wise to stop looking for someone to point to and heed the words of poet John Donne forever immortalized by author Ernest Hemingway:
“Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.”
Until next week, laugh now and cry later!