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Disney Urged Not To Kill Eleuthera 'Golden Goose'

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

One Eleuthera Foundation (OEF) CEO Shaun Ingraham characterised Disney's proposal for Lighthouse Point as "killing the golden goose" as he defended the non-governmental organisation's proposal for "responsible development".

Mr Ingraham insisted the "high-volume high impact project" would defile the privately-owned 700-acre peninsula located at the southern tip of Eleuthera, adding there was a "commonsense feeling" that private cruise tourism was not a good economic deal for the country.

"Hear us out and resist the urge to assume that allowing a seventh-private cruise port to be built in The Bahamas is a good thing simply because it's Disney," Mr Ingraham said.

"I think we all know, or at least have a commonsense feeling, that the private cruise port model of tourism is not a good economic deal for The Bahamas.

"Their core business model is to capture and keep all revenue from the private port and to limit passengers' ability to spend elsewhere.

"Our core business model is to empower Bahamians not only through employment but also through real ownership interests and opportunities for growth and advancement."

The OEF statement comes as Disney Cruise Line president Jeff Vahle stressed the mega-operator's plan will only develop 20 percent of the property, with 270 acres set aside for conservation and preservation.

In an op-ed for The Tribune, Mr Vahle said Disney's plan would create up to 150 permanent jobs for Bahamians, adding guests were expected in port three to five days a week year-round.

In a press release over the weekend, the OEF noted the organisation's longstanding push to improve the economic viability of Eleuthera has been mischaracterised by the press.

It further claimed recent media reports have created the perception it is exclusively working to block Disney Cruise Line's acquisition of Lighthouse Point, calling such statements "contrary" to its true purpose.

Mr. Ingraham said: "If you read the papers lately, where we're simply lumped in with 'the environmental groups', you are liable to get the incorrect impression One Eleuthera simply wants to protect the area from Disney and call it a day.

"I cannot state strongly enough that we are not attempting in any way to stifle economic growth. On the contrary, our plan for responsible development around Lighthouse Point and the creation of 190 full-time jobs leverages the area's unique beauty because it is the golden goose.

"It makes no sense to defile the area with a high-volume high impact project; that would be killing the golden goose.

"Protecting Lighthouse Point happens to be the right thing to do."

Mr Ingraham insisted the organisation was "unequivocally formed" in view of creating jobs and an economy to support them.

"We recognise Eleuthera has a real and tangible opportunity to build an economy based on our unique and rich cultural and heritage assets, and we have a proven track record of substantial financial investment and job creation," he said.

"One of our core initiatives, the Centre for Training and Innovation (CTI), is aimed at better preparing our youth for the job market. We did not simply ignore or overlook the fact that in 2015 roughly 70 per cent of our high school graduates in Eleuthera failed to meet the requirements to graduate with a diploma.

"We rolled up our sleeves and did something about it.

"Today, CTI offers professional development courses and certificates in areas of business, construction and hospitality.

"We are currently developing additional courses. It's not good enough to create menial jobs for our youth with little opportunity for growth and advancement. We're not doing anyone any favours trying to develop an economy tailored to untrained workers.

"Instead, we want to create careers and growth opportunities that will break down the cycle of poverty we see far too much of," the release added.

OEF said to date, it has invested nearly 20 million dollars in various job-oriented projects and the fruits of those efforts are apparent throughout the island.

The release noted that the OEF is in the process of setting up a development fund to be made available to local entrepreneurs.

"We've also incubated a credit union to assist in small business creation," the statement read. "We want the people of Eleuthera to have the opportunity to take on ownership and entrepreneurial responsibilities within our special economy."

Comments

SP 1 year ago

Anybody that says this proposed private cruise port is a good economic deal for The Bahamas is in the private cruise companies pockets!

NO MORE private cruise port developements.

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OldFort2012 1 year ago

You don't want a PRIVATE port owned by Disney? No problem. Set up a public company, get Bahamians to invest equity into it and build the port and then rent it out to Disney.

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OMG 1 year ago

And all the 26000 persons in opposition are doing so just to protect the planet. Everyone directly involved has a vested interest whether that be financial or otherwise.

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BahamaPundit 1 year ago

Why is it such a bad idea SP? I've been to Eleuthera and the economy is dead as a doornail.

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becks 1 year ago

There is already a private cruise port in Eleuthera...hasn’t done squat for the economy...why would anybody with a brain think another one would accomplish what the first one hasn’t?

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MaryMack53 1 year ago

Though Eleuthera's economy is dead, its beauty and mystery should be protected. Why not take a more sustainable route? Eco friendly hotel or wildlife University? There are more creative approaches to developing Eleuthera. Disney is well established and can exploit another island in the Caribbean that is desperate. The Bahamas isn't the place! This port development should stay in Nassau. Prince George Wharf needs a makeover and that should be made a priority. Also, if this Disney deal see's the light of day. There is no guarentee these tourists will spend any money to help build Eleuthera economy and destroy this island.

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OMG 1 year ago

Do you live here Mary. Every company that invests all over the world doesn't necessarily exploit . In many countries such the government will put in roads, infrastructure and tax benefits just to encourage companies to come in. You have many ideas, but the people in S Eleuthera have suffered for years and can't feed their kids or have electricity turned on because of the beauty and mystery.

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becks 1 year ago

OMG....And yet after many years in operation the existing cruise port hasn’t improved things so why would you think another cruise port a few miles away would be any different.

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MaryMack53 1 year ago

Born and Raised. Also we're not discussing at the moment how other countries have been benefited from roads and infrastructure! Road and infrastructure is not guaranteed. Focus on the Bahamas. The Bahamas speaks for itself. Lets see the bigger picture here for once! We have all suffered. S Eleuthera is not the first! Everyone has been wheeling and dealing and still we have nothing to show for. Long term thinking is right way.

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darla 7 months, 2 weeks ago

I am investigating what positive effects Disney Cruise Line has had on other areas in the Caribbean. So far, I have not found any evidence that Disney, using islands in the Caribbean, has in any way brought jobs, education or prosperity to local residents in any of the sites it invades.

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killemwitdakno 1 year ago

Disney cannot go ne t to local tourism / celeb island. Point blank. Try Freeport.

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Islandboy100 1 year ago

Because its bad for the Bahamas and Bahamian people

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bogart 1 year ago

.....hhmmmmmmmm.....Mr. Shaun Ingraham doesnt want Disney there in fear of Disney killing the Eleuthera ....'golden goose'.........he also talks about large number of Eleuthera students failing to meet requirements to graduate from school wid a Diploma....question...jus asking.....does Mr. Ingraham know what the Eleuthera ....'golden goose' ...is....???

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darla 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Have you identified anywhere that Disney Cruise Line operates which has improved local educational facilities and student performance? Have you any evidence that the local residents have improved their financial well being because of Disney's operations?

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Islandboy100 1 year ago

Disney is disrespectful to the Bahamas and Bahamians for years they bring people to Nassau and tell there passengers not to spend any money with locales ./tell Disney to get out and let's build our own cruise ships

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Sickened 1 year ago

Someone with money needs to copy Viking Cruises model - and size boats - and start a 7 day Bahamas only cruise.

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DDK 1 year ago

That makes MUCH more sense!

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BahamaPundit 1 year ago

From what I've seen of Eleuthera, he should call it "Eleuthera's golden desert." It's one of the quietest places on Earth. You can hear a pin drop for miles. If anything could be said to have the potential of being Eleuthera's golden goose, it would be Disney.

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Naughtydread 1 year ago

You have obviously never been to lighthouse beach. You probably can't even swim. STOP SELLING YOUR COUNTRY OUT TO FOREIGNERS FOR PEANUTS.

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becks 1 year ago

I’ll ask you the same question I asked the other day Bahama Pundit...why would you think Disney will be the golden goose for ELEUTHERA if the already existing cruise port just a few miles down the road at Princess Cruise Lines Princess Cay did nothing to uplift and lay Golden Eggs for south ELEUTHERA???. Nobody wants to actually answer that question because....because the answer is staring everybody in the face at Princess Cay....it does nothing except give a few Bahamians toilet-cleaning jobs while the cruise line rapes the land and sends their profits back to the USA. Try not to be a sucker yet again.

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darla 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Hearing a pin drop is a bad thing? Disney Corporation is for it's shareholders and it's shareholders ONLY. I have been unable to find anywhere the Disney Cruise Lines operate whereby they have improved the standards (financially or educationally) of the local population. If you do not like solitude and quiet, you can visit Miami, Nassau and a myriad of other overcrowded, garbage producing areas and enjoy those surroundings. Enough beautiful beaches and islands have been invaded by people wanting to change them to? A Mess. The promise of jobs and improved education, because of Disney, is another Disney fairy tale.

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OMG 1 year ago

One Eleuthera basically stops at Tarpum Bay. Mr Ingraham must be congratulated on several projects but one wonders why after all these years we now hear about One Eleuthera and plans for developing the area in question. Who are his backers, and why do we not hear about Cotton Bay development or does Mr Ingraham not feel its newsworthy enough.Of the supposed 26000 petition sigantures most have to be from foreigners not native Eleutherans.

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becks 1 year ago

Nothing to hear about Cotton Bay from Ingraham and One ELEUTHERA because it has nothing to do with One ELEUTHERA , it is Frankie Wilson’s project...better ask Frankie why nothing happening at Cotyon Bay.

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OMG 1 year ago

Oh but isn't it about providing jobs and the community. What is the plan for One Eleuthera specifically, and the "economic zones". If there is a plan and money ready then tell the public and do it.

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bogart 1 year ago

Just google or try any of the major search engines...Disney...social responsibility....Forbes..etc....... Disney comes up as one of the top companies social responsible..healthy living...healthy lifestyles......their brand and profits are based on this proven successfull format...!!!! Almost every child on this planet loves some Disney character showing what is good exemplory healthy lifestyles. .........future tourists...investors......There are other US companies who do very wel on the social responsibilityl..GM....DELL.APPLE...STARBUCKS..LevibStrauss.... THE govt has been trying hard to ........create jobs for many pore people who have none..nada ...nothing........yet despite trying to get one of the documented premier socially responsible investors to invest in South Eleuthera.............there are FACTIONS who are exploring erry opportunity to block ...the efforts. .....curiously as though dis ONE SINGLE.... particular spot is the most beautifullest spot in the entire 700 islands....rocks....an ...Cays...in the entire Bahamas...... Then of course come 3 1/2 years...election people will again be saying what yall done fer Eleuthera people...???? ....of course common sense.....any big company has a... PLAN B....which might be competition Turks .....or Cuba..who can use socially responsible companies to invest......

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OMG 1 year ago

One Eleuthera has completed several notable projects which include the fire/ambulance station aand training college but in all the years it has been in existence has it made noticeable inroads to the unemployment and poverty down south. Creating sustainable well paying jobs in bulk is difficult even for Governments. That being said I am sure everyone would like to see exactly what alternative One Eleuthera has to Disney.

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bogart 1 year ago

......Incredible after years of trying to sell this piece of land described ...now today all of a sudden by all these factions that siddenly appeared as beautiful...?.....whichinin just about erry Bahamian could also name other places........ 3. tings comes to mind on Eleuthera golden goose ... 1.after feeding the Eleuthera golden goose dey wants to kills it so dey can collect all the eggs inside it ....but that is the end...no goose no farm 2. Starve feeding the Eleuthera Golden goose to save money but the goose dies and the farm is lost 3. Starve the Eleuthera Golden goose to save money....but then the Golden goose jumps over the fence for more food next door .... Wid so many smart people ...hard to understand why no compromise....work together ....

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Suzi1020 1 year ago

We love the beauty and the people of Eleuthera. Although I do not live there, I count the days until I can go back again. We buy goods from the locals when we visit and have made so many new friends there. We love the peacefulness and the beauty and I feel safe there. My husband and I renewed our wedding vows at LHP last year because of its beauty and I know it's easy for me to say please don't let it be destroyed because I am not one of those families struggling to put food on the table or looking for a job. Disney will cause ecological destruction and I don't think anyone wants to see that happen. What was promised when Princess Cay was created? How many jobs were actually created? Was there a deal in that for the people of Eleuthera? Why are passengers being told not to cross the fence at port and that its dangerous or not to buy goods from the locals? It's like that at every port because cruise lines wont be responsible for guests outside of that fence and want the goods to be purchased from their own people. What is going to make things any different at LHP with Disney. My heart goes out to the people of Eleuthera that need the jobs to be able to support and feed their families so if the deal with Disney goes through, I hope the promises of all these jobs are kept. My heart still hurts knowing the destruction Disney will cause to the beauty that God created.

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sheeprunner12 1 year ago

Well ..... If Eleuthera doesn't want a Disney cruise port, please let them come to south Long Island. After all, the cruise ships pass by our beautiful Cape Verde white cliffs and beaches daily.

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