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Handing Control Of Our Port To The Cruise Lines Would Be Like Surrendering To Privateers

The Scoop

When the time comes, I will make myself known as the writer of this piece, but for now, know that I am not in any way vested in either of the parties vying for management of the cruise port in our downtown.

The government of The Bahamas is about to make one of the most important decisions it or any government may ever make. The importance of that statement is even more onerous as that decision relates to our number one and arguably “only’ industry. Tourism.

The last bastion of sovereignty as it relates to our economy rests in the decision the government will make with regard to the granting of the port concession. Just recently the government granted two concessions to cruise giants. One to Disney in Eleuthera, the other to Carnival in Grand Bahama and it is reported another will be granted to RCCL in Grand Bahama as a part of the Our Lucayan deal. These decisions come on the heels of previous acquisitions by the industry in Abaco, Eleuthera, the Berry Island and God knows elsewhere. RCCL has bought up almost all of the western end of Paradise Island and is pushing government to allow them to set up a beach experience there. I am sure the multi-billion dollar development of Atlantis would just love that. None of those enterprises has a drop of Bahamian ownership and Bahamians are relegated to positions of servitude as they are shipped back and forth to the islands for the crumbs the industry refers to as salaries.

And now the likes of Carnival, RCCL, NCL and others have the unmitigated gall to make application to take over the port in our capital. DO NOT DO IT. For years, they have tarnished our image with false allegations of crime rates lower than the crime rates on their own ships. I have sight of the crime report and on numerous occasions police remove either passengers or crew who are in possession of drugs and in some instances firearms. Goodness knows how much contraband is brought into this country via the cruises ship. The FBI, according to this journal, has reported the under-reporting of crime (murders, rapes and assaults) on cruise ships.

The industry has no respect for our leaders and I have witnessed them addressing various Ministers of Tourism in a way that would shock most Bahamians. They have complete disregard for our sovereignty and would use their cartel status to push the government in any direction of benefit to them even if it were to the detriment of Bahamians. I heard with my owner ears when a senior leader uttered that when a cruise industry magnate was dissatisfied with the way an ancillary business deal was not going the way that he wished, he said to the then opposition, “if you want us to shut it down, we will if it will help you win”. That is the power they wielded then. Imagine if they controlled every single port in the country.

These are the people who tell their visitors not to shop in Nassau. Not to take money off the ship. These are the people who make whatever shore excursions we have unattractive because they have to add on their cut for doing absolutely nothing except from bad mouthing it. These are the entities we will be subjected to. Privateers previously defined a warship or person authorised to attack foreign shipping. Will the government give further concessions authorising this bunch to attack our primary industry and hence our economy?

We used to pay them to bring their ships here. Let’s not now give them the port to control and to profit from. This is our last stand.

It is in this vein I believe Global Ports must be granted the concession and for a number of reasons.

  1. They will have some semblance of leverage when negotiating with the cruise industry and that is what the cruise ships are concerned about.

  2. It is ludicrous for the industry to control the port. It is akin to the airlines controlling LPIA. Owning their own port for the singular use of one or two of their ships is one thing, BUT NOT THE CRUISE PORT OF THE BAHAMAS.

  3. Imagine how the cruise ship will treat taxi drivers and the leverage they would have over government to do as they wish with this unruly bunch. Taxi drivers would be lucky to be within a mile of the port.

  4. We understand that Global was selected without opposition by the vetting committee who, by the way, was not even made known to the Bahamian public. If indeed that was the recommendation of the committee, then work with Global to get the best deal for The Bahamas and Bahamians. Make them give shares to the Bahamian people. Retain ownership of the port and give Global a management deal similar to the deal at LPIA.

  5. If the recommendation was made based on the merits of the deal, what would it say to future bidders on government RFPs? That the best man does not win on merit? That surely does not speak to transparency.

Mr Prime Minister and Cabinet, do not allow The Bahamas to become a colony of the cruise ship industry and Bahamians their subjects. Your place in history will be determined by what you do and if you sell us back to masters who come on ships, you may find yourself being compared to others back in the motherland who did the same thing over 400 years ago when they collaborated with those that came on ships.

Comments

John 1 month ago

And depending on who get ‘fix’ it may still happen.

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concerned799 1 month ago

As the cruise industry grows their leverage over island nations goes UP. So why did we agree to dredge the harbour to allow bigger ones in?

If despite MORE cruise visitors and bigger ships crime still goes UP, then clearly not enough of the tourist dollars see shore. No surprise as the hotel is all the ship and the workers on board all foreign too.

So why is it rocket science to not just block them buying the port but kick them out of the Bahamas period (ideally in concert with other nations). OPEC for oil, why not the equivalent to stand up to the cruise ships and get tourism working better for the Caribbean?

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briland6 1 month ago

I was shocked to see the Tribune allow an opinion piece published without a ownership of who was writing the piece. Letters to the Editors, Op eds, ect. should always be signed. If the Tribune has a definite opinion on this matter let them identify themselves by publishing the opinion under the Editors signature. Shame on the Tribune, let's not lower these standards.

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Clamshell 1 month ago

Hear! Hear! Well said! If you don’t have the guts to put your name on the piece, it should NOT be published. The Tribune’s rapid loss of even the most basic journalistic standards is SHOCKING.

And it’s not just the opinion pieces — their “reporters” these days just seem to base their news stories on whatever they can copy from social media on their iPhones. Horrid!

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 month ago

The cheap skate owners of The Tribune pay their employees very little relatively speaking. The newspaper is run like the plantations of yesterday, with a master 'owner' family and all of their slave Bahamian staff. LMAO

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truetruebahamian 1 month ago

Cruise ships are evil advantage taking entities whose greed,corruption and influence benefits none but themselves.. One Bahamian company which I worked with went under because of their terrible practices. They would keep over 50% of a day ticket price, make unreasonable demands and when told to change their practice of doing this - they outright said that they could and would shut us down in retribution by telling passengers not to use our facility, and they did. They did not care about anything but themselves. The Cruise directors are nasty and not to be trusted - but they are also in it for themselves.. Bad bad juju all around.

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DDK 1 month ago

Good letter, excellent points. Cruise ships and their greedy owners have destroyed countless destinations. By the time the host countries learn the extent of the damage, it has already been done and the cruise owners have already taken the money and split. Like all mega corporations, they have become so huge they just don't care about the environment, their employees, or their customers. They have already been given far too much of our Country. Any more, particularly in the capital, would be a death knell for our Islands. Hope, for once, our leaders to do not succumb to temptation and complete the sell out of our Bahamas.

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DiverBelow 1 month ago

Cruise ship have the innate ability to hypnotize government personnel with their 'potential passenger numbers' & potential economic impact. Where is it? If a third of those cattle-boat-visitor numbers stayed for 2 overnights, the economy & tourist product would be greatly increased. (air flight in, taxi airport to hotel, 5-6 meals & bar, 2-hotel nights, excursion or two, shops, taxi hotel to airport, airport tax, air flight out).

Considering how cheap the cruise clientele are (cheap cruise begets cheap client) & particularly how easily their sheer numbers can overwhelm any reasonable service staff at any shop or restaurant; it amazes me that this demeaning practice is tolerated by the locals! An issue in all cruise ship visited ports in the Caribbean. Be Proud of your tourist product!

Then there is the issues of refuse, water discharges, engine/generator exhaust while sitting around the pool at the British Colonial. Wind most always is from the east.

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Islandguy 1 month ago

So no need to hit the cruise lines again - this covers it all! They serve only themselves - that is why there are so many private islands 100% control. Why do cruise guests leave behind less $ - because they are controlled on where and how and who with they spend.

BUT

What about GPH? A TURKISH company who have declared they want to create Turkish Embassies around the Caribbean on Islands who don't know even where Turkey is!! - Thats quoted from the GPH boss in his countries newspaper!! Does not feel like respect for Bahamians or anyone they want to control.

There is another one, where is the Bahamas bid in all this - very quiet....

And so recommendation made 1 month ago - Does 'mulling it over' mean waiting for money tree to bear fruit?

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