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Editorial: Can 150-Year Royal Caribbean Deal Be Changed?

IT IS interesting to see the Davis administration leap into action over the Royal Caribbean lease of Crown Land on Paradise Island.

Just over a week ago, Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis was all smiles and praising the company’s efforts to minimise the effect of its fleet on the environment. Now, after The Tribune reports the details of a potential 150-year lease for a pittance of annual rent, Mr Davis is planning to prevent such a deal, it would seem.

Press secretary Clint Watson said: “What you ought to also understand is we’re not going to do any ad hoc crazy deals. We would have seen the stories in your paper about these leases that go on for years and so forth. That’s not what’s going to be what the outcome is for the Bahamian people, for this administration.”

First of all, we would hope that when this paper published those details, it was not the first time the government realised what had been agreed to.

Secondly, it’s not a matter of not doing any “ad hoc crazy deals”. This deal was signed on May 25 this year. It’s not just one deal either – Royal Caribbean has a seabed lease for the project as well.

From a public relations view, it does no harm for the reputation of the new government with voters if it is seen to be fighting against a deal signed by its predecessors, especially one that has been done with a foreign company while a Bahamian entrepreneur is locked in a legal wrangle to try and get approval – and land - for his business right next door. Where the harm comes is if businesses, local or otherwise, get the perception that agreements that are signed won’t be honoured.

But good luck to Mr Davis for making any headway in substantially changing a deal in both its length and the amount of money it raises – that won’t be easy.

Royal Caribbean has the signed agreement in hand, so it is in a position of strength for any renegotiation, and can always choose to walk away if the deal isn’t right.

Mr Watson says, meanwhile that Mr Davis wants to amicably resolve the disagreement involving that Bahamian entrepreneur, Toby Smith, as well.

Perhaps that might be the key to resolving the matter – finding a way in which both parties can co-exist, especially as Mr Watson says that Mr Smith was granted the land first.

The making of this mess was not by this administration – so the blame for getting us here does not fall on them. Where we go from here will be on their shoulders, however, and it will be interesting to see the outcome – both in terms of length of lease and the amount being paid for it.

Loretta returns

Welcome back to the political scene, Loretta Butler-Turner.

Mrs Butler-Turner has been appointed by the government as a consultant to the Small Business Development Centre – although the eye-catching line is that the long-time FNM now says she has a PLP leaning.

From challenging for leadership of the FNM, to ousting Dr Hubert Minnis as Leader of the Opposition in 2016, she has since lost as an independent candidate in 2017 and now finds herself hired by those she once opposed. It is quite a journey, but however we got here, her voice is welcomed back in the public arena. There are those who agree with her, those who disagree with her, but she has always been a strong voice on Bahamian matters.

For now, she will bring that voice to helping to build small businesses and especially in helping young entrepreneurs to achieve their dreams.

What will the future bring? That we must wait and see.

Comments

birdiestrachan 1 month, 3 weeks ago

It depends on what is in the contract signed by the former PM. The cruise Port wrote the contract and he signed it. They knew who he is. He does not have the ability to think things through.

Dumb and dangerous Who with any common sense at all would sign something like that.

Mrs Butler Turner is qualified for the position. The Bahamas is in need of the Bahamas very best.

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DillyTree 1 month, 2 weeks ago

150 year lease is absurd. It's as good as giving it away as a land grant. This "contract" needs to be held for review, as giving away prime land is dangerous for so many reasons. Do we even know what the actual terms are, and more importantly, what's in it for the Bahamian people -- other than a few more cleaning and waitering jobs? We continue to be sold off cheaply, and our government doesn't seem to care.

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buddah17 1 month, 2 weeks ago

You are right. In an island nation, land is PRIME commodity and it's main asset...

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sheeprunner12 1 month, 2 weeks ago

If Brave can put everything else what the FNM did on hold or under review ...... Why can't he do the same with this RCL deal? Long Island airport is on hold

What's good for the goose, is good for the gander

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tribanon 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Davis knows full well that these shockingly outrageous lease arrangements were born out of corruption instigated by senior officials of Royal Caribbean and therefore they have no legitimacy or validity whatsoever. They were void ab initio from the date of their signing as a result of their grossly unjust and one-sided nature. A thief doesn't get to keep property he has stolen. And yet here we have what by all appearances is a most glaringly egregious (possibly criminal) case where senior officials of Royal Caribbean were involved in instigating and engineering the theft of Crown property from the Bahamian people with the assistance of politicians and other senior government officials well known to be corrupt.

When is Davis going to announce that his administration will be establishing a special commission independent of government to fully investigate and report on the circumstances surrounding these atrocious purported leases of Crown Land/Seabed to Royal Caribbean? The investigative scope of such a commission should extend to all other 'deals' senior officials of Royal Caribbean were concurrently negotiating with senior government officials as well as the circumstance under which Royal Caribbean was able to stealthily buy 13+ acres of land on the western end of Paradise Island.

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tribanon 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Are you trying to tell us in a circuitous way that you're a yellow man? LOL

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TalRussell 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Obviously there is a news blackout imposed on today's mini' convention.
If the media's heir apparent to Minnis, Pintard's two opponents, does each poll out with 133 delegate votes, - Pintard's goin' be in serious trouble and everything else goes unexpecting so like this and that, ― Yes?

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FrustratedBusinessman 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Can it be changed? Possibly so, depending on how it was drawn up. The government is going to pay a fortune in legal fees if they decide to fight it though. I would really like to see the document just to read it for myself without having any media spin. Minnis should be thrown in jail if he really did rent out prime PI property for 150k a year....for a business venture sure to make money at that.

Loretta should have stayed out of politics. Just because Minnis was pure trash does not automatically mean that she would have been any better. Why did she get run out of ruby red Montagu and shuffled into Long Island again? The FNM was screwed no matter which way it went in 2016. We will see if Pintard is any better.

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licks2 1 month, 2 weeks ago

My first "shut-da-hell-up" for yinna is that there is NO 150 YEARS LEASE!! The current lease is for 25 years. . .with another year 25 years option. . .with 4 more interlucatory options all the way to 150 years !! Toby Smith has NO SIGNED AGREEMENT WITH GOVERNMENT. . .CCL HAS ONE!! Why yinna think that Smith did not filed a Judicial Review? Judicial Reviews requires that some law, official process or just plain skullduggry is being done by an official who is given jurisdiction over a certian public or private activity, before a judge will even consider the request!

Farther more, Smith could have requested an interlucatory injunction to prevent government from signing the agreement with CCL last May I think it was!! AII wouwld have prevented the government from "signing away" that land into an "unbrokeable" agreement with CCL while Mr. Smith took the case to court!! For example, because that land will be unrecoverable in the minute event a judge rules in Smiths favor at some later date. . .the ownership of the land cannot be reversed!!

This case is over! Government can apply to have this case struck out because it is not likely to benefit Mr. Smith.

Davis is a lawyer. . .he knows what time it is!!

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