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GOVT WON’T ALLOW RCL’S 150-YEAR LEASE: Brave seeking compromise in Crown land row but says length of deal must change

Prime Minister Philip 'Brave' Davis.

Prime Minister Philip 'Brave' Davis.

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Senior Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

PRESS Secretary Clint Watson said the Davis administration will not let Royal Caribbean International lease seven acres of Crown Land on Paradise Island for 150 years.

He also said Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis wants to amicably resolve the disagreement between RCI and Toby Smith, a local entrepreneur who says he has a lease for three of the seven acres of Crown Land RCI wants to control.

Mr Smith has told reporters that before the election Mr Davis told him he would cancel any proposed agreement to lease the seven acres of land to RCI.

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Mr Watson, however, said the government does not yet have a concrete position on the matter.

During a press conference yesterday, he said: “The previous government, as you would have known, granted two people a lease for the same land, Toby Smith as you mentioned, and, of course, Royal Caribbean. We know you can’t grant two different people the same plot of land.

“Toby Smith... was granted the land first. If you go to court and discuss this, the court will say ‘well, who was granted the land first ought to be the one who holds the land’ so we realise what’s happening even if it went to court.

“We’ve been talking to both parties on this matter. (The) position has always been known by the Prime Minister and that is Bahamians first. That has not changed, it will not change. The agenda of Bahamians always comes first.

 “What we’re trying to do though, because of the nature of the situation, is find an amicable agreement for both parties, for all to be satisfied in this and most importantly, not just for both sides, but for the Bahamian people. Bear in mind this is a Prime Minister and an administration that thinks about the Bahamian people in every decision. So, while you’re dealing with parties on both sides, at the end of the day it has to be what benefits the Bahamian people in the long run.

 “The Prime Minister says he believes he has the solution and he’s going to discuss that soon with both sides and we await to see their response on that, but he believes he has something that will benefit both sides, but at the end of the day will also benefit the people.”

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AN ARTIST’S impression of the Royal Caribbean resort.

 Mr Smith is behind a $2m investment in the adjacent Paradise Island Lighthouse & Beach Club project. In an ongoing court matter, he alleges he has a valid Crown Land lease for two parcels of land included in RCI’s Crown Land lease. He says his lease is legally binding.

 Tribune Business reported this week that the Minnis administration, in an agreement executed on May 25, 2021, effectively gave RCI up to a 150-year lease over the seven acres of land.

 Mr Watson said: “Now Royal Caribbean does own land, some 13 acres and then the seven acres that they were seeking to lease from the government. 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.

 “There is no wrap up of a deal yet, there’s no concretising of a deal yet for both sides.”

Comments

tribanon 7 months ago

Watson and Davis must take the Bahamian people to be fools. Shortening the term of the proposed outrageous lease arrangement will do nothing to solve the many problems associated with letting Royal Caribbean take control of this Crown Land on Paradise Island. And there needs to be a full and proper investigation by a special commission independent of government into all of the following:

1) The role played by senior officials of Royal Caribbean in instigating and 'negotiating' such an atrociously corrupt lease arrangement with the previous Minnis led FNM administration.

2) The role played by Hubert Minnis, Dionsio D'Aguilar, Carl Bethel and 'Dr.' Michael Scott in the 'negotiations' with senior officials of Royal Caribbean that were fully intended to allow such an outrageously corrupt lease agreement to be purportedly approved.

3) The role played by other senior government officials in various departments and agencies who signed the many documents and agreements purporting to have 'legalized' such a grossly unfair and one-sided 'give-away' lease arrangement that is so diametrically opposed to the interests of our nation and the Bahamian people.

4) The circumstances under which Royal Caribbean 'in the dark of night' managed to go about stealthily buying the 13+ acres of Crown Land on the western end of Paradise Island that it already supposedly owns with the approval of both the last Christie led PLP government and the previous Minnis led FNM government.

Prima facie this purported lease deal is steeped in corruption of the worst possible kind and, accordingly, it must immediately be declared void ad initio by the Davis led PLP government. The necessary special commission independent of government must be expeditiously established to fully investigate, root out and hold accountable all senior government and Royal Caribbean officials who played a significant role in the outrageously corrupt acts that sought to attempt to legitimize such an atrocious lease deal with absolutely no regard for the interests of the Bahamian people.

Nothing short of the above would adequately serve the interests of our small nation and the Bahamian people.

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Proguing 7 months ago

Tribanon, do you really think that executives of RC would take the risk of violating the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act for a beach? My feeling is that this was just a badly negotiated deal by the former government.

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tribanon 7 months ago

YOU'RE DEAD WRONG. Your belief could be further from the truth.

The big untold secret is that many of these cruise ship enterprises have made use of friendly juridictions around the world to organized themselves in such a way that they are not subject to most US federal and state laws, especially the US federal Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. These ruthlessly greedy enterprises long ago perfected their ability to avoid US anti-corruption laws aimed at stamping out the bribery of foreign government officials in much the same way that they have avoided US taxation and most US laws targeted at stopping the cruel abuse of labour.

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tribanon 7 months ago

2nd sentence, ".....could not be..."

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ThisIsOurs 7 months ago

After they dumped sewage in our waters and claimed they did it cause they ~" couldnt read the maps". I'd think they'd do anything for profits

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licks2 7 months ago

Take it from me. . .this deal lenght will not change! After all. . .their lease is not for 150 years. . .it has a 25 years duration. . .with multiple "options" for ending their relationship if either the government or RC wants out. . .for any reason. . .usually if the business een giving them plenty money like they expected!! Yinna should check some of them other deals made by government with other companies them!! For example, our current PM was "involved" in the BAHA MAR lease deal that was "fixed" so the Chinese Government "own" thousands of achers of government prime land if the developer defaulted for any reason!! As night follows day. . .them Chinese them "saw that big hole" in that agreement and took steps to "make sure" the developer defaulted in short order!! Them Chinese them got the owenership of that land and then lease "they new land" to another Chines company. Bam! Bush crack. . .land gone!! I like Mr Davis so far. . .but this "swing" is so blatant. . .even Doc Minnis can see through it!! The hands is quicker than the eyes here!! Lol!!

I know of a white man who "leased" crown land on west bay for 99 years. Don't let people them "talk fool" around yinna heads. . .that lease "moves" in 25 years chuncks!!

But. . .that een the kicker here!! Toby Smith "get swing". . .the PM said that "they will cut the time down" on the lease!! SO THEY HAVE A BINDING LEASE AYE??

Clint needs to "shut he mouth". . .he mixed right up. . .like conch salad!! Heen making no sense. . .MORONIC STATEMENTS GONE-TO-BED!!!

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John 7 months ago

But. . .that een the kicker here!! Toby Smith "get swing". . .the PM said that "they will cut the time down" on the lease!! SO THEY HAVE A BINDING LEASE AYE??< . They may cut the time off the lease and they may also cut Tobys portion of the land out the lease. At least they talking. ScrewFace Minnis wasn’t checking.

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licks2 7 months ago

Bouy why don't you "talk what you know bout"? They een talking nothing!! Them fellas them "done" have that lease. . .the government can't change a dang thing except them fellas them "wan deal wid dem". What da hell you think Toby Smith is in court for right now. . ."TO PROVE THAT HE HAD AN ENDOSED LEASE SIGNED BY GOVERNMENT"!!

Let me "learn ya" a lil thing or two here!! If Toby had a signed agreement with the government then he have a case. . .if not. . .he lunch done gone bye bye!!

Toby did not file an interlucatory injunction or a judicial review before or after the signing of the agreement!! Any lawyer will tell you that this indicates that "heen gat no law they break" to "take his land from him".

Toby field a motion(s) to have the court look into his "whinny" tantrums!!

Him and his lawyer "done know" what time it is. . .or they would have already filed their interlucatory request for an injunction to prevent RCCL from starting any activity on their land since last May!! NOTICED THAT I SAID: "THEIR LAND"? The judicial review request would have shown that Toby thought that the government violated some law or behaved in a bad way in their official capacity to swing him out of the land in question!! His legal team never did so!! Honey. . .they een shed!!

Legally, that's a done deal your majesty. . .IT OVA!! The government can't change anything that RCCL een want changed fella!! RCCL now call the shots on that deal man!!

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John 7 months ago

Brave Davis must be aware of harlots and backstabbers and political prostitutes. It was women who brought men down in the Bible and nothing has changed since then. If you don’t believe me ask Loretta Butler/Turner. Nothing has changed since then. Yea, ya see

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