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Whose Rights Are More Important?

EDITOR, The Tribune.

I have been closely monitoring the standoff between a local Bahamian entrepreneur and the Free National Movement (FNM) government concerning the leasing of Crown Land on Colonial Beach, Paradise Island.

Here is the issue that is causing some Bahamians in Nassau to get their Hanes undies in a bunch: Royal Caribbean, which has total assets pegged at $27.69bn, as of 2018, wants to lease land on Paradise Island for its $50m Royal Beach Project.

The problem is, the Bahamian entrepreneur wants the same land Royal Caribbean is getting for his $2m project that will hire an estimated 40 Bahamians.

Apparently, whatever adjustments were made by the FNM government that contravenes the memorandum of understanding, initially agreed to in order to accommodate Royal Caribbean, have been rejected outright by the Bahamian entrepreneur and his sympathisers.

Based on my layman’s observations of this standoff between the entrepreneur and the FNM government, I can honestly appreciate why the government would want to accommodate Royal Caribbean, at the risk of appearing to be anti-Bahamian in the process.

Indeed, the principle of English philosopher Jeremy Bentham’s Utilitarianism is at play here, in which the interests of one Bahamian is weighed against the broader interests of thousands of Grand Bahamians, if there are any merits to the claim that the closing of the Grand Lucayan deal hinged on this Paradise Island deal.

If I am reading The Nassau Tribune correctly, this was a point that was raised by both the Bahamian entrepreneur and Progressive Liberal Party Leader Philip Brave Davis. I believe both men are on to something. I wish the FNM government was more forthcoming in this regard.

Be that as it may, at stake is tens of thousands of Grand Bahamians, many of whom have been catching economic hell since the early 2000s, something most Nassauvians cannot relate to. The situation in Freeport has deteriorated to the point where homeless Grand Bahamians, who are living in their vehicles or the abandoned Royal Oasis and International Bazaar buildings, are bathing at either Xanadu or Taino Beach.

Had the FNM government acquiesced to the demands of the Bahamian entrepreneur, Royal Caribbean might have packed up its georgie bundle and said, “forget the Grand Lucayan deal”.

So rather than risk losing a $300m investment that will create thousands of direct and indirect jobs for an economy on life support, the government made the unpopular decision, upsetting the Bahamian entrepreneur and many Nassauvians in the process.

Why risk losing a $300m investment that will create 3000-plus jobs in a dying Freeport City for a project that is projected to create only 40 jobs in financially robust New Providence and Paradise Island?

Rather than putting one Bahamian in New Providence first, the government is simply putting thousands of Bahamians on Grand Bahama first.

In this regard, the rights of the minority do not outweigh the rights of the majority. For the sake of Grand Bahamians, I do hope that the Bahamian entrepreneur will accept the compromise being offered to him, and not engage the government and Royal Caribbean in any protracted legal wrangling, which might imperil the Grand Lucayan deal.

KEVIN EVANS

Freeport, Grand Bahama,

March 5, 2020.

Comments

moncurcool 1 week, 1 day ago

Cruise lines do nothing to benefit the local economy. They do to get more for themselves. How can you say you are for Bahamians, and as soon as one has something, it gets pulled for the foreigner. Guess only for Bahamians if they get the low paying jobs. . While one seeks to weigh the needs of the many against the few, why is it that it is always Bahamians who get the short end of the stick. How many other nations would take a Bahamian over their won national?

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Porcupine 1 week ago

Hey Kevin, It's called living up to your word. Something that seems beyond you. Perhaps it would be better if all of Freeport was given to the cruise lines. That way you wouldn't even have to bother with thinking for yourself. Just listen to the bosses. There are many reasons why Freeport is in the shape it is in. And, I'm absolutely sure it is all other people's fault. As it always is. Kevin, are you drinking the water in Freeport? I am simply looking for a cause of your increasingly illogical arguments and your messages from above. I seriously think you need help, or find out what is causing your condition. Was it the trauma of Dorian? Are there voices in your head? Maybe China could just have Freeport as a payment for all their good deeds for the rest of Bahamians. The greater good, right Kevin?

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themessenger 1 week ago

This man is deranged and amazingly uninformed. The cruise line has been quietly buying up the western end of Paradise Island for years, but not satisfied with the lion's share they also want the rest which Toby Smith has spent eight years of time,money and effort negotiating in goodwill with the government to seemingly snatched away from him at the eleventh hour. I have to wonder, Kevin, what your position would be if you were wearing Toby's shoes especially in light of our politicians shining example and snowy clean when FOREIGN " investors" open their wallets.

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hrysippus 6 days, 3 hours ago

Hey Messygyner. I have almost certainly mixed more concrete in the hot sun than most, used a Makita 38lb jackhammer to dig holes more than most, shingled and tiled roofs more than most, but you are correct about not ever having worked humping garbage cans all day. I do not know Mr. Smith at all but you not find anyone in the country who has ever put anything in any of my pockets. Now, can you say the same? I thought not.

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themessenger 5 days, 18 hours ago

What say Syphilis looks like somebody corn get mash and just so ya know I've spent more than thirty years in the construction industry so I know a thing or two about picks and shovels, concrete and drywall and have even used a jackhammer, Makita, Milwaukee and Bosch, more than a few times. As for someone putting something in my pocket, yes I'm still doing that earning my money the hard way, I still working for it.

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hrysippus 5 days, 4 hours ago

hey MessyGin, you missed the point again. I was saying what people saying is Toby's hard work; having tea with the GG and things, just is not hard work compared to mixing concrete. I have mixed concrete, you are saying you have too which might or might not be true; but what you gotta admit is true is that it is true hard work. Not like tying one flag on one lighthouse one time. I hope you are able to understand this now what with all your drywall and picks and shovels experience. Picks? really?

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hrysippus 1 week ago

I see posts declaring hoe hard Toby Smith has worked on this project and how much money he has spent. Frankly I do not believe it. How much money has he spent and on what has he spent it? Tying a flag onto the lighthouse, arranging a call on the governor general to get his face in the newspapers, and removing one small boat load of trash is not hard work. Mixing concrete in the sun is hard work, reporting to work at 4:30 am to hump trash cans all day is hard work. The money the cruise ship line has invested is serious long dollars, soo I ask again just what has Mr. Smith done that warrants him receiving a large parcel of some of the most valuable real estate in the Bahamas?

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themessenger 1 week ago

You strike me as an individual who has never lifted a shovel nevermind mixed any concrete. And the closest you've probably come to lifting trash cans would be putting out your own garbage. You do strike me as one of those Bahamians who's pockets are always open to anyone who might put something in them. You obviously don't know Mr Smith.

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TheMadHatter 6 days, 13 hours ago

One Grand Bahamian is easily worth 1000 ordinary Bahamians. That is an unshakeable fact. Notice the old term "grand" to mean $1000. A thousand. And a thousand x a thousand is a million which is what Freeport people are really worth. Everyone knows the capital of the Bahamas should have been made to be Freeport in 1967 - but there was politics at play (as always) - and so now we have 70% of the country jam packed into a dirty, crime filled cesspool, and somehow people have been brainwashed into thinking that is a beautiful.

If Nassau people are truly upset with this article, and my comments - why not rally together and petition the government to remove Grand Bahama as a part of the Bahamas and offer it back to England? Or to the USA of which it is already a part for all practical purposes.

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DWW 2 days, 12 hours ago

hawsbill creek agreement = throwing lots and lots more good money after bad. the implications for western PI be damned. until the free-port is eliminated nothing will change in that town. it is a failed economic concept. lets move on.

Western PI - everyone know there is a moratorium on crown land grants with waterfront. has been for 17 years now since Ingraham came back for the 2nd time and it came out that the PLP gave away tons of prime Bahamas beachfront real estates. Am i wrong?

So what changed that both a cruiseline and guy with the phone number of hte GG both get crown land grants? i guess Minnis and Turnquest are happy to give it all away for pittance.

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