The PLP takes note of the fact that the Prime Minister intends to sign a Heads of Agreement between Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines ( RCCL) and the Government tomorrow in Freeport for the acquisition and sale of the Grand Lucayan Hotel and its environs.
We await the details of this deal.
However, we note also that the RCCL’s attorney has announced that they have purchased several parcels of land at Paradise Island with a view to developing a dedicated facility for the passengers of RCCL when they come to Nassau.
We note also the comments of the Minister of Tourism castigating Bahamian businesses for not providing synergies with the cruise ship business and regretting in particular that there was not a place that could accommodate 1,000 tourists owned by Bahamian businessmen.
RCCL is said to be looking for other land on Paradise Islandfor their facility. We are advised that the only remaining land on Paradise Island is crown land.
The Prime Minister and his Ministers must therefore answer the question before tomorrow’s signing in Grand Bahama: is the crown land left at Paradise Island a part of the consideration for what is being done in Grand Bahama? We want to be assured that there are no side letters or side deals and that what is being done in Grand Bahama is a straight and open public deal.
We also caution the Minister of Tourism about castigating Bahamian businesses. The fact is the public policy of the FNM has caused the erosion of synergies and business opportunities between the cruise ship business and Bahamian business persons. For example, the destruction of Bahamian entertainment centres on land in Nassau is directly related to the decision of the FNM to allow on board entertainment while the cruise ships are in port.
Instead of castigating Bahamian business persons, the FNM Government and their Tourism Minister should be looking at ways to use public policy to encourage the cruise ship owners to develop their relationships with Bahamian businesses so Bahamian businesses can succeed.