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Davis Asks - Why Disney Secrecy?

Leader of the Opposition Philip ‘Brave’ Davis. Photo: Terrel W. Carey/Tribune Staff

Leader of the Opposition Philip ‘Brave’ Davis. Photo: Terrel W. Carey/Tribune Staff

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Deputy Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

OFFICIAL Opposition leader Philip “Brave” Davis yesterday criticised the closed-door signing between the government and Disney Island Development Ltd for a multi-million dollar project in Eleuthera, adding it appeared to be shrouded in secrecy.

The Heads of Agreement was signed in private on Thursday at the Cabinet office, but was not announced until days later. “Hard on the heels of the fake and phoney Oban deal, the prime minister sat in secret and signed the Disney deal,” Mr Davis said. 

“No cameras or outsiders were allowed save for the government’s minders and mouthpieces. The public found out by a release from the Bahamas Information Services. The PLP would never have gotten away with this and never tried to.”

Mr Davis called for the HOA to be tabled in the House of Assembly to ensure full disclosure, telling media at a press conference the closed door signing demonstrated a failed test of openness and transparency by the government.

He said questions persisted over the deal, including: the environmental impact study; how Bahamians will benefit; and how the landmark will be protected from ruin by poor developmental practices.

Firing back at Mr Davis, the Free National Movement has insisted the government will table the agreement when the house resumes next week.

In a statement last night, the governing party accused the opposition of a “long history of secret-dealing and non-transparency”.

The FNM further claimed there have been several instances when a Progressive Liberal Party-led administration failed to table HOAs, and allegedly engaged in “secretive negotiations”, namely some of the agreements with Baha Mar and the proposed sale of then-Batelco to the phantom Bluewater company.

“Instead of being pleased for the people of South Eleuthera,” the FNM statement read, “the PLP and its leader Philip Brave Davis are attacking a development that will improve the livelihoods of many in South Eleuthera, who will long remember that the PLP failed to help them in the past and are now criticizing a development that will boost their communities.”

The FNM statement continued: “This transparency and accountability by the FNM is in stark and direct contrast to the PLP, whose current leader served as Deputy Leader in a PLP government that was notorious for refusing to table certain heads of agreement.”

photo

Lighthouse Point.

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis announced the signing at a Town Hall Meeting in Eleuthera on Saturday, and a statement followed from Bahamas Information Services.

The signing effectually gives the nod for the construction of a $250m to $400m cruise port and entertainment facility at Lighthouse Point, Eleuthera.

Calls placed to OPM Director of Communications Erica Wells-Cox went unanswered yesterday.

Following Mr Davis’ rejection of the government’s handling of the deal, leading environmental groups also expressed disappointment the HOA was signed “in the dead of night”.

Environmental groups BREEF, reEarth, Save the Bays and Waterkeepers Bahamas issued a joint statement yesterday renewing expectations for public consultations.

The statement read: “We are very disappointed that such a signing was made in the dead of night, but we are pleased that Disney and the Government have confirmed that no construction will take place at Lighthouse Point until the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is prepared, reviewed and approved.

“It is our expectation that Disney will prepare a world class environmental assessment consistent with the best US and international standards, and that Disney and the government will engage in a transparent and public process reviewing the EIA on the impact of the proposed project at this internationally recognised, very special space.

“We are looking forward to the open public consultations that will be carried out as a component of this EIA, as this issue is of extreme import to Bahamians in Eleuthera and throughout the country.”

The deal allows for the conveyance of 190 acres of land along the southernmost point of the property — a $6.29m value — to the government for establishment of a national park.

Core elements of the proposed project, according to a statement from the Office of the Prime Minister, include low density development and sustainable design, public access and economic opportunities for Bahamians.

Under the HOA, Disney has ensured a minimum of 120 Bahamians will be employed directly during the construction of the project.

The OPM’s statement said the cruise line will also create “as many as 150 permanent, sustainable jobs with health benefits in a range of positions for Bahamians once construction is completed”.

Disney has also reportedly committed to aim for an overall ratio of 80 percent Bahamian workers to 20 percent non-Bahamian workers during the life of the construction phase of the project.

However, the statement said this element would be “subject to qualified labour being available and the need to ensure the highest level of technical compliance with international standards.”

The statement added: “This project is line with the government’s plan to expand the economy of our country and economic opportunities for our people by promoting development in the Family Islands.

“I want to assure all Bahamians of the Government’s commitment to act in the best interest of Bahamians, at all times, in an accountable and transparent manner.”

Comments

Well_mudda_take_sic 9 months ago

And to think the dimwitted doofus Minnis promised us time and time again while campaigning during the run up to the last national election that a government led by him as PM would be the most transparent government the Bahamas has ever had. If there's one thing we now all know for certain, Minnis is not to be trusted. He made absolutely no effort whatsoever to use his bully pulpit as PM to get both the Bahamian seller and foreign buyer (Disney) to agree to fully transparency with the Bahamian people of this government approved transaction. And we all know what happens to Bahamians when the agreements behind government approved deals are kept secret. That's right; we Bahamians get royally screwed! LMAO

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licks2 9 months ago

Where were you when this horse was getting beating in the public?? As usual yoon have a dang clue what is going on. . .or you don't give a flip what is going on and just want to hear you run ya mouth. . .YOON GIVE A DAMN WHAT COMES OUTTA DAT MOUTH. . .I am glad the PM don't listen to "wind sputters" like you. By the way. . .you keep talking about full transparency. . . please tell me what you are talking about by that word!!

I am convinced that you have no idea what that word means in business deals. . .in view of private enterprises right to privacy. . .the balance between public right to know and all legitimate restrictions therewith and private persons right to keep their business private and limitations on public exposures contained in protocols with doing business with governments!!

Use ya common sense fer once. . .go do some research fer once in ya life on this site. . .

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Well_mudda_take_sic 9 months ago

The private parties to this transaction (one being a foreign corporate interest) would have happily succumbed to much greater transparency being in the interest of the Bahamian people had Minnis used his bully pulpit and not been so eager to keep all of the more significant and material details fully cloaked in secrecy. You probably believe, under your warped view of a democracy, that even the opposition in the HOA should never have sight of all the relevant agreements before their final execution in such a government approved transaction. LMAO

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licks2 9 months ago

The rule that governs private-to-private business transactions in the Bahamas are the same ones governing government-to-private business transactions. . . done by public servants experts in these matters. . .politicians only sign. . .then they present their deals to the HOA. . .there is where Davis, you and me can whatever he want and we the general details. . .the rest is kept away for good business practices purposes! As for cloak in secrecy. . .any information for public consumption you can get. . .but no yinna lazy tails. . .yinna people just keep saying be transparent. . .but would not go look for yasef!! They put the information in the papers, business section etc. . . if ya want to get more information. . .GO DO YA OWN LEG WORK. . .THE POLITICIANS THEM WILL ONLY GIVE YOU THE SURFACE INFO. . .THAT IS ALL THEY HAVE. . .THE TECHNOCRATS ARE THE NUTS-AND-BOLTS PERSONS WHO CAN GIVE DETAILS!! BY THE WAY. . .BULLY PULPITS EXIST ONLY IN THE WORDS OF OPPOSITION POLITICIANS. . .THE NONSENSE MR DAVIS IS NOW SAY WILL SHOW YA THAT. . .BPL, POINT, BAMSI, BAHAMAR, CWC 2% people investment shares, ETC. The PLP with Mr. Davis as DPM and MOW NEVER TOLD US ANYTHING. . .NOT EVEN IN THE HOA. . .ZILCH!! The famous stop-review-and-cancel policy of the FNM governments was made because of the PLP total secrecy and corruption ways of dealing with the public. . .WITH MR DAVIS SITTING IN THE BIGGEST SEATS. Right now there are information that government hold about you, your family and any business dealings it has with you and or ya family. Not because you are dealing with the government and I am the government I have a right to see every and all bits of information my employee. . .the government. . .is holding on you!!

If I want more than surface information. . .the courts will give it to me. . .only if it is material to my wel-being or safety etc. . . so why yinna does act like this don't apply to government-private business dealings. Yinna stay following nonsense. . .

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Well_mudda_take_sic 9 months ago

You're obviously very fond of, and I dare say close to, the Dimwitted Doc. You certainly seem to be his number one die-hard troll on this website. You should therefore know that very few of us are holding our breath for that Freedom of Information Act we were promised. And most of us know full well that your paymaster will ensure it has no teeth whatsoever by the time it gets enacted, assuming it ever gets enacted. LMAO

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sealice 9 months ago

He know's all the reasons the PLP used why not just insert one of those weak ars excuses??

But really this deal shouldn't have even been allowed and now the Flucking Rat gets to hire their own paid for environmental "consultants" to spend a weekend in Eleuthera on vacation and call that enough research because they know everything anyways and we bahamains is dumb and will bend over and prostrate ourselves for them in our flowery uniforms cus we need bartender and asswiper jobs so badly....

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licks2 9 months ago

Why they want yinna to bend over backwards. . .they don't need that. . .they just need to stand on the side and leave yall to talk all kind of chicken scratch and muddy up the water with stupid talking and so lil bit of thinking until yall so confused and jumbled up. . .then they just need to us yinna laws and "pluck" yinna things right from under yinna backsides. . .all the while yinna still rowing like stupid chirrins them. . .then when the contracts done sign. . ."hey. . .whada"? Yinna do that over. . .I een see that!

Too busy talking dumbness! Hell yinna lleader of opposition tell yall that the PLP did not. . .ever hide anything from the Bahamian public. . .THE MAN WHO "FRIG-UP" BAMSI TO THE TUNE OF 100 MILLION!! Then he come to us and tell us heen know what we thought we saw. . .they een never did hide anything from us!! Now the man or woman who come to us with that crap must think we stupid. . .or he is!

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TheMadHatter 9 months ago

Davis didn't pass and implement the Freedom of Information Act - so now it's time to suck teeth. Minnis them will be begging for info next time cause they ain't passing it either.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 9 months ago

Meanwhile, we, the Bahamian people, are the real losers from all of the cloak and dagger secrecy behind these 'deals'.

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licks2 9 months ago

Speak for yasef. . .you lost. . .they hid the information from you. . .right in the news papers etc. . .that deal was beat to death more than the Clifton point controversy. . .now you still asking for the information. . .or saying it hide from us!! The difference between me and many of yinna on this site. . . I read and research as a matter of course. . .a trait left over from my job. . . when I write conclusions and present them to clients. . .very seldom I miss a vital point. . . all taken from documents review, semi structured interviews, content analysis and decades of structured thinking and reasoning experiences. Believe you me. . .nothing is hid from you. . .it depends what kind of thinker you are!! If all you can see is what is said or written word for word. . . you are exploitable bad. For example, "the Bahamian people are the losers. . .for all the cloak and daggers". . . behind these deals! From these you are the loser to me. . .why? This statement says that either you are and insider . . .thus making you a threat because you are holding information from us. . .or you are just a loud mouth wannabe. . .shooting out hot air. . .thus making you a threat by adding non-helpful information to the mix. . .! Conclusion given your past and propensity to shoot off ya mouth. . .you een got nothing worth the while. . .or you will shoot off ya mouth! You will be good for spreading information mind you. . .but they can't gee you vicarious or sporous information. . .they have to give it to you straight as they would a baby. . .therefore, you don't know nothing. . .not an insider! For making serious decisions, information from you when you have it is good though. . .you would be the persons a negotiator will focus on at the table. . . salt and sweet water coming from the same fountain. . .the key is knowing what is sweet and what is salted!!

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Well_mudda_take_sic 9 months ago

Most people posting to this web site know you are a Minnis-connected (paid) troll tasked with injecting as much confusion, mayhem and misinformation as possible in an effort to dampen or drown out the voice of those who have very legitimate concerns for public consumption. Thankfully most commenters and readers now completely ignore whatever is written under your handle, as well as the handles of others like you with your same intent. LMAO

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licks2 9 months ago

There you go again. . .talking off the top of ya head! Most people here know that I am a Minnis paid troll? What juvenile response! If something I say is favorable makes me a Minnis paid troll. . .then who pays you to talk nonsense? The PLP? The DNA? The confusion you feel is based on the crap you normally place on this site. . .it is called rebuttal. . .they are healthy for good dialogue. . .you bring your information. . .and common sense usually shot you down. . .typically. . .you get shot down dead in the trash heap of good reasoning skills!

As for nobody listening. . .YOU ARE RESPONDING FREQUENTLY TO THEM. . .so do you mean that you are just blindly responding to them without reading them? Show ya muscles like a good and credible commentator or feel the pinch of good listening and reasoning skills!

It een no big deal. . .just use logic and leave ya dumb political bias at the door and stop writing so much tom foolery! That's my aim. . .mash up stupidity place here by lazy political light weights who attempts to cloud everything with nonsense!!

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TheMadHatter 9 months ago

You must not have read the part where it says the HOA will be tabled in the House next week. Old tactic. Next week never comes. It's always "next" week.

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licks2 9 months ago

I agree. . .when they say. . ."it coming" or "we ger investigate". . .that usually means "till yinna forget". . .

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truetruebahamian 9 months ago

Minnis has screwed my country, my island and himself. Now, to get him out before his wrecking ball policies smash what is left of our once beautiful country.

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joeblow 9 months ago

The only question Davis should be asking himself is why is he messing up the only chance we have to get rid of Minnis!

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Well_mudda_take_sic 9 months ago

Both Minnis and Davis must go.....corrupt politicians like them have all but destroyed our country.

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licks2 9 months ago

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