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Gb Off The Beaten Path? Is That All?

EDITOR, The Tribune.

Last week, the Government rolled out the “come work or study from the Bahamas for a year” invitation. A commendable idea to stimulate the struggling economy.

However, as part of this initiative I was alarmed to see Joy Jibrilu, our Director General of the Ministry of Tourism proclaim “if you’re seeking serenity or seclusion you can head for Mayaguana or San Salvador or if you’re looking for an off the beaten path stay, you can opt for Grand Bahama, Eleuthera or Long Island.” Holy cow – is this what it has come to? I was both dismayed and indignant that this is to be the Ministry’s new message to promote Grand Bahama.

But then I thought I might put together a small guide book to be handed to each of these working visitors on arrival to enlighten them of our history and the current status of our beautiful island. It might read something like this:

“Welcome to Freeport, Grand Bahama, the country’s second city – population approximately 55 thousand. If you want to explore, head south from downtown to visit the once iconic Xanadu Beach hotel. This crumbling ruin was built in 1968 and was once home to the reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes and the playground for Frank Sinatra’s Rat Pack. Now closed for over 20 years the battered main structure looks like it might collapse at any moment.

“When driving through the neighbouring Bahamia subdivision, you might get a glimpse of what were two top notch 18 hole golf courses, now completely overgrown and obsolete. Just up the road on West Sunrise Highway you will see the remains of the Royal Oasis Resort and Casino.

“For many years these 1000 rooms offered guests vibrant entertainment, and a vast casino with Las Vegas style shows. However having never reopened since the hurricanes of 2014 the Tower features broken windows and gaping holes while the Country Club – opposite – is all but buried in the bushes.

“Its immediate neighbour is the once famous International Bazaar, a five-acre complex showcasing the architecture of half a dozen countries and designed by a Hollywood set director. Its merchants offered goods from around the world in authentic surroundings together with a variety of ethnic restaurants. Its demise finally came in 2012 and most of the buildings have since been vandalised and it is now suggested unsafe to visit.

“Just along on the Mall is Freeport’s only “skyscraper‚” Casa Bahama. This sad 18-story apartment building was built in the early 1970’s, has been abandoned for years and most residents believe it should be imploded much like the Bazaar and Royal Oasis.

“Take a trip to the east and stop in at Lucaya. Here on a beautiful beach you will find three closed hotels, two of them for the past four years. These 1300 rooms offered visitors a variety of vacation options which included the Port Lucaya Marketplace just across the street. Once a happening destination with shops, bars, restaurants and a straw market, you will find only a handful open fighting for their survival. Please patronise to help their cause- you will be made to feel very welcome.

“If deserted beaches are your thing, head east to Gold Rock, particularly spectacular at low tide. En route you will probably miss the Lucayan Golf and Country Club. This once immaculate 18-hole championship course was designed by Jack Nicklaus and is now an overgrown memory of glories past. Further down the road is the Garden of the Groves, dedicated to the visionary founder of Freeport, Wallace Groves. Fortunately, this is one of the few ‘attractions’ still in operation and well worth a visit. Adjacent to it you probably wouldn’t know there was once the spectacular 18-hole Shannon golf course –now just a jumble of weeds and bush.”

“Accommodations”: This might be a challenge. There are a few gated communities (expensive) and a number of boarded up decaying apartment buildings for sale. The local realtors should be able to guide you. If all else fails, pitch your tent on a beach and hope to pick up wi -fi from a nearby building.

“Getting there”: American Airlines has a daily flight from Miami and Silver Airways a couple of flights a week from Ft Lauderdale. Book early, seats are limited. You will get the ‘island vibe’ immediately you land as formalities with local officials take place in little more than a lean-to shed.

All this might sound a little depressing, but the locals are friendly and appear to be very resilient despite widespread unemployment, countless hurricanes and an economy that has been in decline for over three decades.”

So on reflection Joy Jibrilu is right after all. Grand Bahama is more than just “off the beaten path” – it’s a former paradise that has been bludgeoned to death.

CHRIS PAINE

Freeport, Grand Bahama,

November 3, 2020.

Comments

longgone 2 months, 2 weeks ago

It is indeed terrible what has happened to Freeport---It is the epitome of political power at its worst.

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JokeyJack 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Around about 1987, the Bahamas Government decided to "Bahamianize" the teaching profession. They refused to renew work permits for all of the teachers in Grand Bahama that were from Australia, New Zealand, England, Canada etc. When the new school year rolled around, students were met by teachers from Guyana, Jamaica, and other southern Caribbean nations. One wondered where all the new Bahamian teachers were.

Essentially what happened was, all the white people were sent away. When Syntex chemical plant closed later on, essentially what happened was all the white people were sent away. When Laker airlines stopped coming and supplying the casino with players and the Princess Hotel closed, essentially what happened was all the white people were sent away. Laker was condemned for the high crime of painting a Bahamian Flag on its tailfin. When the government starting sinking its claws more and more into the running of Freeport instead of allowing the GB Port Authority (owned by white people from England) to do their job, essentially what happened was all the white people were sent away. When VAT was applied to Freeport without regard to the Hawksbill Creek Agreement (designed by a white man), the final nails started to be put in the coffin.

Now, all the wonderful structures that you named which require money to maintain have been crumbling for years. The death of Freeport as prophesied by a famous leader who said he refused to have "a country within a country" should be no surprise. The island was beginning (in the 1970s) to look more and more like Ft. Lauderdale (like a white people place) and so it had to be destroyed.

You, the writer, are looking at these economic problems as if they are a bad thing. I wonder if the government agrees with you? As you read many comments on Facebook these days you kinda get the feeling that the general view of the population is "Less white people, more happiness." Do not assume the people are unhappy. Don't assume what their values are.

Now with the almost certain election of Biden/Harris in the USA, you can look forward to the same tactics coming into play there. The "squad" of 4 now has 7 members with the addtion of Cori Bush, Jamaal Bowman, and Mondaire Jones. You will begin to see the same destruction of Freeport begin to play out all the across the USA - and it will happen MUCH faster than it did here. Following that, will be the world's downfall led by France and Germany. The general feeling seems to be that once the white man is eliminated completely, then the entire world can be happy.

Heck, even whites want to eliminate whites, as made clear in the following article:

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...">https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...

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