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One Eleuthera 'Has Not Made A Major Offer For Lighthouse Point'

The view at Lighthouse Point. Photo: Barefoot Marketing

The view at Lighthouse Point. Photo: Barefoot Marketing

By RICARDO WELLS

Tribune Staff Reporter

rwells@tribunemedia.net

THE One Eleuthera Foundation has not made a substantial offer to buy Lighthouse Point since 2009, according to the group's CEO Shaun Ingraham.

In an interview with The Tribune yesterday, Mr Ingraham said while a second offer never really materialised, talks with the property's owner - The Related Group - remained ongoing.

Research by Tribune Business uncovered a 2008 press release announcing a joint venture between The Related Group and Meritage Hospitality Group for an 884-acre site in South Eleuthera that was previously owned by Bahamian businessman, George Baker.

One Eleuthera is locked in a public campaign to block Disney Cruise Line's acquisition of the property.

The cruise company has taken preparatory steps to acquire the historic site for the construction of multi-million-dollar cruise port, promising a $400m spend.

However, Mr Ingraham yesterday said his group has worked behind the scenes for much of the past decade to spur interest in Bahamians acquiring the site among government officials, residents and other conservation groups.

"Over time, we gained the support we needed," he told The Tribune.

"The second time we were in negotiation, there wasn't a number tossed around. It was us making a case to have certain areas zoned and protected."

As a means to strengthen those odds for adequate zoning and environmental protection, Mr Ingraham said his group also petitioned successive governments to take steps to zone segments of the property as environmentally protected areas.

"We wrote the government. We met with successive governments. We were trying to work along with the government to do this, particularly the last two administrations," he said.

"Every government made a commitment to conservation, but we knew we had to do a lot more to truly protect the site.

"Hence, a second attempt to acquire the property," Mr Ingraham added.

When asked specifically about the asking price for the property, Mr Ingraham said numbers varied over the last few years.

"It was at $33m at one point. We realised that we could do that. Then it came down to $25m. We kept at it. We are still at it," he said.

Mr Ingraham was asked when he was made aware of Disney's interest in the property, he responded: "I can't remember exactly when we were made aware, but once it came to our attention, we knew it was going to take a lot.

"The anxiety for us is that (Lighthouse Point) is a special space," he said.

"It was never about stopping Disney or going against the government for us; it was always about ensuring that Lighthouse Point in given back to the people without restriction.

"That is what this has always been about. That is what our plans have tried to show. We want the point for Eleuthera," he added.

Comments

OMG 4 months, 1 week ago

So now we have environmentally protected areas or is it economic zones, or do we have the money or we have access to the money ? All the while my family and friends have no jobs while you and others collect nice salaries and spend time and money cultivating what in most cases is foreign support.

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becks 4 months, 1 week ago

If you think Disney is going to make an economic difference to south Eleuthera then I have a number of bridges to sell you...cheap. Disney will make no more difference to the economy of south Eleuthera than Princess Cay has in all these years. At the very best there will be some temporary construction jobs digging ditches and then maybe 20 or 30 low-paying toilet cleaning jobs once the facility is open. Meanwhile a beautiful piece of Eleuthera will be destroyed along with the fishing in the area. And forget about you or your family ever being able to walk that beach or fish of those rocks again...

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truetruebahamian 4 months, 1 week ago

I hope that OMG and his or her brain has been enlightened by Becks.

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OMG 4 months, 1 week ago

Interestingly "Becks" a group of black Bahamians did walk the beach about two weeks ago only to be asked by a white woman "what are you doing on this beach". Funny how we have heard nothing to rival the present publicity by One Eleuthera or the other 30,000 signatories for the last 20 years. Furthermore it would be nice and enlighten all of us including t t Bahamian, if there were explicit and concrete facts from both sides. At the moment Becks seems to have cold hard facts that only 20 -30 will be employed, One Eleuthera has the money,,doesn't have the money, plans economic zones (what exactly does that mean). I assume both of you realise how dire the employment situation is in South Eleuthera and to date One Eleuthera has not provided a whole lot of employment.

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becks 4 months, 1 week ago

OMG....and I hope that group of Black Bahamians told that white woman to carry herself. Once Disney builds their cruise port nobody, black or white except Disney employees and Disney passengers will be able to walk that beach, that is a fact due to international port and security treaties. As for knowing how many Disney will employ...not hard to figure out based on past performance by Disney and the other cruise lines.....he’ll just look a couple of miles down the road at Princess Cay to see how many Bahamians are employed full-time. The evidence to know and see how this project will turn-out for the Bahamas and Bahamians is all around us to see if only people would open their eyes and look past the ends of their noses and Disney’s shiny fantasies. Btw..I live on Eleuthera and know first hand how bad the economy and employment situation are, especially in South Eleuthera.

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sheeprunner12 4 months, 1 week ago

Why is no one holding the Miami billionaire (who presently owns the property) feet to the fire for the property just sitting there for all of this time??????? ........... and ask the Bakers why they sold it to the billionaire in the first place ............ Bahamians have no one to blame but themselves.

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MaryMack53 4 months, 1 week ago

We need change but not this kind of change to occur in Eleuthera.

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sheeprunner12 4 months, 1 week ago

Why has South Eleuthera MP Hank Johnson not uttered ONE word on this issue??????? .............. Who has his tongue ??????? ........... or is he just a wutless coat suit in Parliament???? ........... It seems that Ingraham (OEF) is the de facto MP.

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