By YOURI KEMP
Tribune Business Reporter
A Bahamian entrepreneur said Royal Caribbean Cruise Line (RCCL) is on a losing streak in The Bahamas now, should re-evaluate their future.
Toby Smith, principal of Paradise Island Lighthouse & Beach Club Company, told Tribune Business RCCL has not been successful in executing their projects in The Bahamas.
Mr Smith was speaking out after the RCCL/ITM Group’s highly touted deal to buy the Grand Lucayan Hotel in Grand Bahama finally fell through, leaving the property in limbo and question marks surrounding RCCL’s viability for the island.
Mr Smith, who is currently embroiled in a Crown Land controversy with RCCL on Paradise Island, said: “My alarm is now, where exactly does RCCL stand for Paradise Island and their application to the Department of Physical Planning to change that side of Paradise Island from residential to commercial and also where do they stand with their application from the Department of Environmental Planning and Protection?”
“... They do need to apply for approval. I need to know if the previous administration already approved them despite numerous objections expressed at the limited time RCCL were looking to have feedback.
“They only held one conference call each and that was just a pitch and they were limiting Bahamians to one question and two minutes each.
“So, as far as the Grand Lucayan is concerned RCCL didn’t succeed in getting the port deal in Nassau, so far they haven’t succeeded in getting the port deal in Grand Bahama and definitely didn’t get the Grand Lucayan deal, Prime Minister Davis said he will cancel any Crown Land lease deal on Paradise Island for RCCL. So, throwing all of those dollars around town recently hasn’t proven to bear any good results for RCCL.”
Praising the current Philip Davis administration on its courage to stand up to RCCL and “looking out for the best interest of Bahamians,” Mr Smith added: “If RCCL wants to continue to take advantage of Bahamians they are finally having some pushback and their self-proclaimed Royalty isn’t getting them anywhere.”
Mr Smith has “secured” some funding for his $2m Lighthouse and Beach Club project on Paradise Island. “Investors have told me in the past that they want to see the validity of my lease. I hope to resolve this issue with the help of the current Progressive Liberal Party administration and there are investors looking to place money that is poised for this type of investment in historical and cultural tourism,” he added.
“We are in the process of a second round of financial discussions with potential investors and so far the response has been extremely encouraging.
“There’s very limited opportunity for institutional and high net worth Bahamian investors, besides government debt, and publicly traded equities on BISX. In order to manage their risk and allocation to those typical investments, this is an alternative investment in venture capital with strong cash flows that is supported by millions of tourists arriving just a four minute boat ride away.”