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DIANE PHILLIPS: Mario’s mad as hell and isn’t going to take it anymore

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Diane Phillips

It’s funny how people spend their lives doing one thing, get really good at it, make a name for themselves, and suddenly they turn up doing something so different you’d think it must be someone else with the same name.

That’s one way to look at what property powerhouse Mario Carey is up to these days. If it were up to me, I would have said Mario Carey is mad as hell and he isn’t going to take it anymore. But he prefers to take the more subtle approach and say if you see something wrong and you know it’s wrong and you don’t do anything about it, you are just as wrong because you are contributing to the injustice.

Right now, Mario Carey, the man most people know as the real estate guru who has, by the way, handled more than $2 billion in sales over a 30-plus year career, is fighting mad about a few things and I guess he has earned enough to speak up, speak out and try his best to get results.

One thing about Mario, he’s not afraid of victimization.

First, he’s mad at foreign appraisers and real estate agents coming in to The Bahamas and working without a licence or affiliating with a local firm. That’s been an ongoing issue for BREA for years and BREA President Christine Wallace-Whitfield has vowed to crack down harder than ever this year. Truthfully, most people don’t get all that riled up about a few lost deals, but if you were a real estate agent trying desperately to earn a dollar especially in hard times and a foreigner came in and stole that dollar, I guess you would be pretty angry, too.

But the other thing Carey is fighting mad about and getting ready to launch a crusade against is foreign vessels coming in and using Bahamian waters for profit.

“The other day I was at Chub Cay and they couldn’t believe there was a Bahamian there,” he said.

Carey has a recording of a Bahamian fisherman being told to clear out of a pond where Bahamians have been fishing for years.

Pond was closed, the fisherman was told and threatened he would be run off by police. Meantime, a man believed to be American was pumping fuel at the marina dock.

This is not particular to Chub Cay. It happens throughout the islands where Bahamians are strangers in their own land, more likely to be an anomaly than a natural part of the culture.

“Ninety five percent of Bahamians cannot even afford to be on one of these boats at a marina in their own country, so who is coming here to fish in our waters, to take advantage of our marine resources for their self-interest and profit?” he asks.

Carey is not xenophobic. He’s made a lucrative living selling property, much of it to foreigners. It’s our fault, he says. Bahamians do not place enough value on Bahamian waters. Florida is fished out, so where do all the fishing boats go? To The Bahamas.

And many of them, entering the country on a $300 cruising permit, which is currently being forgiven to lure more yachting business) or paying a pittance for a fishing licence, are trolling the waters from one end of the islands to the other, sending their tenders out equipped with 14 to 16 or more rods, hauling in more in a day than a struggling Bahamian fisherman might catch in a month. The vessels carry large chillers to store fish, conch and crawfish until they get back to Florida and sell what they caught so easily in The Bahamas.

It isn’t just the boats that come here to fish.

It’s the megayachts and superyachts often purchased as a tax write-off in the U.S., then sent out as charters.

Guests, most of whom fly in on private jets, easily drop north of $100,000 a week and sometimes triple that to experience all that The Bahamas has to offer, to eat and drink onboard with Bahamians getting nothing. Luxurious yachts for charter can carry a crew of 20 or more and Carey does not understand why they don’t have to have a single work permit to operate in the country.

Carey isn’t mad at those who can afford to live well. He just wants to make sure that Bahamians get a share of that rich pie we know as Bahamian waters and their vast marine resources.

He wants to work with government to create a public private partnership and has been impressed by the passion of Michael Pintard, Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources.

He’s met with dozens of boaters, fishermen, NGO’s, financial experts who might fund immediate needs to equip specific law enforcement with nano satellites.

He wants to talk about seabed leases that include safe mooring requirements and he wants us to consider legislation placing individual tracking devices on every vessel entering the country.

That’s an easy call, such devices are inexpensive and disposable.

“We attach a value to so many small things and yet we fail to monetize our single most valuable resource, our Bahamian waters and marine resources,” says Carey, a Bahamian who says you can lock me down, but don’t mess with my fish, a man who made his living selling land but made the passion of his life, diving in the waters he is now setting out to protect.

IT BREAKS YOUR HEART

Jade Shovlin, the beautiful young woman from the UK suffering from cancer whose dream was to swim with the pigs in Exuma, passed away two days ago, still filled with dreams of one day going to The Bahamas. A gift package from The Bahamas was due to arrive at her doorstep yesterday.

Comments

birdiestrachan 2 years ago

Pintard what has Pintard done besides run his mouth like a motor. The peoples time is running out.

It was the FNM Government who increased the amount of seafood boaters could take out of Bahamian waters. the writer of the column knows this.

One day very soon facts and truth will shine brightly again in the Bahamas.

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Bobsyeruncle 2 years ago

Birdie, do you ever make a non-political post on here?

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truetruebahamian 2 years ago

Good piece, Mrs Phillips. Birdiestrachan, take a break and another shot of Kickin' Chicken or whatever other high end wine you wrapping your mouth around.

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birdiestrachan 2 years ago

Ah well if that is the best you can do? then go for it.

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tribanon 2 years ago

Diane Phillips must have received a D- in maths. $2 billion in real estate sales over 30 years equates to an average of $67 million per year. Mario Carey can only wish he sold that much real estate over his career to date. LOL

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moncurcool 2 years ago

And that is not possible?

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DWW 2 years ago

the company yes. the man no.

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DWW 2 years ago

shut mouth catch no fly right?

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