By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
A well-known QC yesterday accused the Christie administration of “putting the cart before the horse” over the $200 million agreement for Carnival Cruise lines to develop a port in east Grand Bahama, arguing that the location was “perverse” given Freeport’s economy is “near death”.
Fred Smith QC, the Callenders & Co attorney and partner, told Tribune Business: “I would certainly be opposed to such scale of development in east Grand Bahama, especially when Freeport’s economy is on the verge of collapse.
“We already have a port and the infrastructure and the tourist facilities in Freeport to accommodate cruise ships. I call on the Prime Minister to be transparent and disclose the full details of this proposed agreement to the people of Freeport and the Bahamas.
“The problem with all these self-contained touristic developments and cruise port facilities is that they are divorced from the rest of the economy. Freeport’s economy is near death right now.”
Prime Minister Perry Christie said on Monday that the Government has entered into an agreement with Carnival Cruise Lines for the establishment of a $200 million port in east Grand Bahama.
“Once again the cart is being rolled out before the horse,” Mr Smith said.
“Before the Government can commit to concessions and Crown Land, there must be be Environmental Impact Assessments, consultations with the public, consultations with the East End district council and with environmental NGOs.
“It’s not that I am opposed to development in any part of the Bahamas; it’s just that you can’t keep doing the same thing that does not work. Freeport sustains the entire Grand Bahama economy, and creating a self-contained, isolated cruise port facility at East End is perverse given the state of Freeport’s economy.”