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‘What We See Is A Repeat, Or Worse, Of Castaway Cay’

Lighthouse Point, Eleuthera. Photo: Barefoot Marketing

Lighthouse Point, Eleuthera. Photo: Barefoot Marketing

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Deputy Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

ACTIVISTS slammed the heads of agreement tabled in Parliament yesterday between Disney Cruise Lines and the government as a realisation of “our worst environmental, economic and societal fears.”

A joint statement from Casuarina McKinney, of BREEF, Sam Duncombe, of reEarth, Joseph Darville, of Save The Bays, and Rashema Ingraham, of Waterkeepers Bahamas, expressed dismay at the deal.

They branded the deal as a “betrayal” that does not seem to have any “real economic opportunities” for Bahamians.

“It is a betrayal of the promises made of the economic future to the people of South Eleuthera, and a betrayal of the very mandate of transparency and openness on which this government was elected,” the activists noted. “Conspicuously absent from the document are the sections enumerating concessions made by the government.”

The document initially disseminated yesterday to the press in the House of Assembly did not contain the concessions granted to Disney. However, when inquiries were made, the full document which outlined concessions was later sent to this newspaper. It is unclear why this occurred.

“What we see described in this HOA, is a high volume, high impact project encompassing not only massive infrastructure, but substantial and irreversible alteration of the natural surroundings at Lighthouse Point,” the joint statement continued. “What we see is a repeat, or worse, of Castaway Cay, where Disney quite literally manufactured an artificial beach, dredged an enormous channel, and turned what used to be a pristine island of stunning beauty into an amusement park that bears virtually no resemblance to the rest of the Bahamas.

“What we see in this HOA is Disney excluding Bahamians from any real economic opportunities as the company stipulates it will not only construct but also operate all dining and beverage, merchandise and retail, spa, aquatics and recreational facilities at Lighthouse Point.

“In this HOA, we are finding out for the first time that Disney will be leasing the seabed for the next 50 years to build a $250-million-dollar pier, a half-a-mile long, which will dominate the view from their proposed national park.

“What we don’t see is a commitment to applying the highest, internationally-recognised environmental standards, independent of corporate interests and ‘cruise port standards.’

“What we don’t see is any assurance of public access and a level economic playing field on which Bahamians can effectively compete for tourist dollars. What we don’t see is any assurance that bringing 12,000 - 20,000 people to one of the most treasured and fragile sites in the Bahamas can create more than 150 jobs, at best.”

The statement also questioned where the protections were for Bahamian entrepreneurs and the environment in the document.

“Now we see why this document was signed in the dead of night, away from the eyes of the press and the Bahamian people at large,” the statement added.

Comments

TalRussell 10 months, 1 week ago

Yes, yes and yes ma comrades - true no one stretching make out how (6) burger and chicken fast foods locations to be among the most treasured and fragile sites in on all Out Island Grand Bahamaland - nevertheless, they were not just promising pie in sky to create more than 150 jobs, at best - they actually had 500 "Free porters" fragilest paycheques on their payrolls on the very day their lights, freezers and air-condition supply were cut off, true- yes, no?
Why even waste time, make such stuff up, yes, no where hell were the Government's and the Port's rush offer concessions to keep lights, freezers and air condition on to sustain the "500" jobs about to have quickly disappeared, Yes, no?
Still awaiting learn the what hell happened, if anything, to the Power Company's Executive, who allegedly emailed a "Fuc#U" to the Lawyer of record for restaurants chains owners?

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paul_vincent_zecchino 10 months, 1 week ago

Were he alive today to see what's become of his business, Walt Disney would weep.

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birdiestrachan 10 months, 1 week ago

They will lease the sea bed. What they are doing is it similar to what they drag Nygard through the mud for it seems so.

Once again the FNM Government has sold the Birth rights of Bahamians for a small bowl of porridge.. OBAN and now this.,

This is a disgrace. enough to make all Bahamians weep and mourn.

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Chucky 10 months ago

Should use the courts to stop this

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licks2 10 months ago

I find it strange that all who are rowing for the status quo are rich well-off elite who will not give or pol their monies to help the poor people make their lives better. . .???????????????

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DWW 10 months ago

If these groups or their financial backers had a horse in the race there would be crickets.

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