PI developer slams gov’t for Crown Land lease

Paradise Island lighthouse.

Paradise Island lighthouse.

• Luxury beach club would devastate company plans

• Lease to Royal Caribbean in ‘breach of an agreement’

• Smith files writ to AG seeking explanation 


Tribune Business Reporter


THE businessman fighting to develop part of Paradise Island has accused the government of siding with Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s plans for a five-star beach club on the island that would devastate his plans.

Toby Smith, principal of Paradise Island Lighthouse & Beach Club Company (PILH), in a statement to the media yesterday, asked: “On August, 24, 2021 Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines (RCL) publicly announced their Town Hall meeting via zoom in conjunction with the Department of Environmental Protection and Planning (DEPP) for their Royal Beach Club.” How is it that RCL is proceeding with the government when there is a pending court action?”

Mr Smith filed a writ on May 18, 2020, calling for the Attorney General to explain the government’s “breach of an agreement” for the lease of Crown land that Mr Smith says was leased to him before the government turned around and granted a lease to RCCL.

Mr Smith said: “Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines in their virtual town hall meeting held on April 28, 2021 met a lot of objections and resistance from concerned Bahamians, during which RCCL presented a slide stating ‘Royal Caribbean Crown Land Lease’ illustrating an area of land on the western portion of Paradise Island that is not only Bahamian Crown land, but also a portion of which that is contained within Paradise Island Lighthouse & Beach Club’s Crown Land lease. When pressed a number of times by participants on the call for RCL to state whether what they were illustrating was correct: did they indeed have a ‘Royal Caribbean Crown Land Lease?’ RCCL’s James Doink advised that they did not. It was misleading and disingenuous to present a slide stating the Crown land was RCL’s while by their own admission proved they in fact did not.

“It seems as though the government and RCL have not been deterred in their negotiations because Jay Sneider of RCCL advised me in June, 2021 that they had ‘within the past couple of days’ received a Crown Land Lease from the Office of the Prime Minister and emailed the site plan to me, citing the plan was contained within RCCL’s lease.”

After subsequent months of wrangling with RCCL, Mr Smith is now saying RCCL is advancing even further on his leased property and wishes them to cease and desist.

 Said Mr Smith: “Clearly Prime Minister Minnis favours foreign over Bahamian. Paradise Island Lighthouse & Beach Club Co. Ltd. had to wait seven years to be offered a lease by the Government, liaise with over 100 government workers, run around to 15 government agencies multiple times and made to break through roll upon roll of red tape.

“On the other hand, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines applies for Crown Land and within a few short months announces they have a Crown Land Lease which runs over the all-Bahamian Paradise Island Lighthouse & Beach Club project. Prime Minister Minnis is a sell out of the Bahamian people and clearly prefers to meet with foreign investors and campaign financiers and shun Bahamians.”

 He also said: “The ‘site survey plan’ that B. Jay Sneider provided to PILH in June 2021, citing it was contained within RCL’s lease, is a complete botch job and was originally drafted for illustrative purposes and given to Paradise Island Lighthouse & Beach Club. It was then subsequently bastardized and denotes it was ‘Prepared by Thomas Ferguson, Surveyor General’ however, Mr  Ferguson has since been removed as Acting Surveyor General. Since the Department of Lands & Surveys conveniently falls under Prime Minister Minnis’ portfolio: what does he have to say about all of this?

“Could the Prime Minister, as Minister responsible for Crown Land please assist the Bahamian public with the truth by releasing the steps that were taken to offer Paradise Island Lighthouse & Beach Club their Crown land lease that was accepted in its entirety on January 9, 2020. Please include the memos circulated throughout the multiple government agencies asking them to draft the lease and issue it to PILH, let the public have the information for them to decide if the Prime Minister has acted in good faith. In fairness please also provide the documents that led to him offering a lease to RCCL and let the Bahamian public decide who acted in good faith, but more so too: who did not.”


truetruebahamian 2 years, 8 months ago

We're with you Toby and will boycott RCCL.


LighthousePointEleuthera 2 years, 8 months ago

Lighthouse Point Protection Coalition stands with PILB. Send a message to Minnis during this election. We do t re-elect sell outs who take every opportunity to support foreign entities over our home grown entrepreneurs. Minnis and his henchmen did it at Lighthouse Point in Eleuthera and gave Disney the keys to our kingdom, and he’s doing it again. You ain’t Rockin’ Doc! You suckin’ swamp!


hrysippus 2 years, 7 months ago

RCL have the experience and the financial resources to make this project a success, creating many jobs. The money for this development will also likely come from outside the country which will leave more internal monetory reserves for other projects.


ThisIsOurs 2 years, 7 months ago

Toby apparently has the resources to make his money a success and his money will stay in the Bahamas


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