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Lighthouse Project Will Be Good For Everyone

EDITOR, The Tribune.

Dear Bahamians

Today, it is me asking you for your support, tomorrow it might be you asking me for my support. Bahamians do a great job at supporting each other. We must stand with each other.

Paradise “Hog” Island Lighthouse & Beach Club seeks to restore the Lighthouse, Keeper’s Quarters and build a dock. Further east we shall develop the Beach Club on Colonial Beach with a second dock on the harbour side. Bahamians and our guests will have access. The land shall remain as Bahamian Crown Land. None of this restoration and development will cost the Bahamian public a penny: this is all privately funded with Bahamian money.

This project will provide greater beach access to our beaches for Bahamians to enjoy in a safe, beautiful environment along with our guests. All employees will be Bahamians. Indirect employment opportunities will be created for Bahamians. We want this to be an example of how successful Bahamians can be once “allowed” (by government) to have the opportunity.

Us Bahamians have demonstrated time and time again how great we can be in the face of disasters and challenges: we jump up, band together and get the job done. Whether it’s helping whole islands or individuals when there are social wrongs we help without hesitation. From Abaco, to Grand Bahama to a youth selling coconuts. We do not need to be asked by those in authority or instructed to do so; we do so willingly and manage it harmoniously far more effectively than “going through government”. We have a whole support system that works well: some go right to the front lines and, just as importantly, others support with cooking meals, working logistics and calling contacts, etc. At the end of it we gratefully return to our homes and there is no formal recognition but we all believe in our hearts we did the right thing and take reward knowing we helped fellow Bahamians with a kindred spirit.

Look at some of the heroes that emerged in Hurricane Dorian, many of them, superheroes; they didn’t have capes, they didn’t receive some official title, recognition or banquet. We have risked our lives, jumped on boats, jet-skis, flatbed trucks, planes, you name it: we get it done with determination and togetherness and zeal. We are tough and resilient however why should we be tested and even over extended and reduced to merely having faith and hope that we will come through a challenge.

We are not satisfied with foreign projects getting the red carpet treatment and we get the red tape. We are also not satisfied that we are number 119 on the list of Ease of Doing Business: crudely put: the yard stick of how government holds us up in our progression.

We Bahamians must band together for what we are trying to achieve. Bahamians are smart and qualified. Foreign projects often export the revenues made in the Bahamas, save for some jobs cleaning toilets. Foreign companies satisfy their foreign shareholders with massive profits. How does that help us get out of the economic hole while “they “ might tote that we should be happy with the creation of toilet cleaning jobs?

This doesn’t represent Bahamians nor how we want to be represented!

I was grateful as a Bahamian having begged and begged for eight years (not making a penny), sent many proposals, presentations, meetings, thousands of emails, spent tens of thousands of dollars, been through close to a hundred government employees as well as more than fourteen government agencies, and we aren’t even in business yet!

The government of the Bahamas all the way up to the Prime Minister states that Crown Land is for Bahamians. Despite my many requests the PM refuses to meet me. Given the suggested 30% unemployment I thought he would welcome such a meeting.

Bahamians apply for Crown Land to be able to farm, operate fishing lodges, open family island boutique hotels, etc. There are many Bahamians waiting and having to watch Crown Land given to foreign interests. The Crown Land is being hoarded and controlled by one person, the Minister in charge of Crown Lands: The Most Honourable Prime Minister

Should the Government of the Bahamas have to be taken to court by Bahamians to have an agreement in place “honoured”? They insist that us, mere peasants, call them “Honourable” and “Most Honourable”: honour your written commitments! How much impedance and resistance does the government of the Bahamas wish to put in a Bahamian’s way to create opportunity for Bahamians?

TOBY SMITH

Lighthouse Keeper,

Paradise Island Lighthouse & Beach Club Co., Ltd

No.1 Paradise Island

Comments

Porcupine 1 year, 11 months ago

Toby, You are correct. Why is it that Bahamians have to fight like hell just to improve themselves and their country? Worse, why do they have to fight their own government? Your experience illustrates the complete lack of concern for "The People". Just who are the people we need to keep asking for help in helping our country move forward? Too many are on the take. Far too many Bahamians, our leaders top among them, are on the take. We cannot legislate morality. We cannot even legislate transparency and accountability. There are some answers to these problems. The problem is that they are being made illegal by governments around the world, including here. This is a heavy price to be paid for not paying attention. But, a short look at history would suggest that all is not lost. There are ways to fight for justice. They are not always legal, but I am not here to advocate for that type of behaviour. I am just saying that there is a world of difference between the way you have been treated by your government, and justice. Justice is central to our belief system. It is not owned by any government, here or abroad. We must focus on justice and be forceful against those who stand in our way for reasons of ignorance or greed. Read your history. Any positive change in a society, throughout history, came from upending the governments hold on power. People came together and said enough is enough. Read your history.

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hrysippus 1 year, 11 months ago

I have to question how this " greater beach access to our beaches for Bahamians to enjoy in a safe, beautiful environment along with our guests", just how are the Bahamians going to get access to Mr. Smith's beach? How do they get across to Paradise Island? How much will the ferry ride or parking cost? What will be the cost to go onto his what will become his privately owned beach? The government needs to be very careful with this; talk is cheap, always.

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