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|who plans the planners...?|
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|Page 1 of 1||Total of 18 messages|
|Posted by:||Feb 25th 2007, 07:49:19 pm|
|speech||i think the point is we people dont know enough about shia or its intentions, their agenda should be more clear out there and in touch with peoples concerns untill it is, shia the master plan will be irrelevant if they dont explicitly communicate their agenda they cannot be surprised at speculation, but hey lets hope the brilanders for briland group can bend their ear and get some of the basic fundemental issues adressed! we have to help ourselves use the support of concerned visitors and w.residents, but its time to be the change in our comunity our selves.concerned i hope you dont feel like i was shutting down you opinion i understand your 'concern' just think we should get througha ll this without pointing fingers too much, however my feeling is that things are gonna get better!i see alot of 'concern' alot of people showing and interest and caring about our future and that is wonderful.|
|Posted by:||Feb 25th 2007, 02:59:37 pm|
|Kimberly||As I understand it from several reliable sources, the costs of the master plan under development are being split 50-50 between Save Harbour Island Association and Nassau central government.|
|Posted by:||Feb 21st 2007, 11:35:31 pm|
|Dake||Concerned .. Yes I agree with speech and would go further to say that your statemnts of SHIA being made up of primarily non-Bahamian winter residents is untrue, there are many many many Bahamian involved in this group. Get your facts straight.|
|Posted by:||Feb 21st 2007, 07:43:37 pm|
|speech||woah!not dissin you right ... i too am concerned but, i dont think these people should be attacked! also one correction the plan is being paid for by SHIA and teh government 50/50. It is gravley concerning that many brilandeers have not been included in the plan preperation, but to say that they intend to starve us after all their work and valid concern for our community is unfair, untrue and un helpful.I respect that you are concerned as too am i but lets go forward by steeping up and confronting these people honestly and proposing our ideas for our future, make the plan OUR plan. just sayin.|
|Posted by:||Feb 21st 2007, 05:40:27 pm|
|concerned||There is a real concern on who is monitoring the planners. Just so everyone has the facts, the Save Harbour Island Association (a group made up primarily of non-Bahamian winter residents) was organized to stop growth on Briland. The company doing the planning is owned by Jim Straw, also a winter resident and member of the Save Harbour Island Association and the plan is being paid for by the Save Harbour Island Association. Setting aside the "spin" what do you think the final plan will do for the people of Harbour Island. Some people are now calling this group, run by winter resident Peter Stanton, STARVE Harbour Island.|
|Posted by:||Feb 20th 2007, 11:24:35 pm|
|Brilandkid||Lord am I dreaming or are we waking up. We need more wake up amoung the Bahamian public. I am involve in a way that will make quite a difference hopefully before the election, all in a positive way nothing at all negetive or in a illegal way all positive and totally by the law that we Bahamians have been taught to respect.
The Government of the Bahamas has taken us for granted let's show'em we eine stupid has they think. Let slap'em silly. To those Greedy developers and greedy ministers we will keep em in our cross hairs, we will have the last laugh. We the people have the power. we refuse to have a Government ministers who believe they are our pimps. WE SHALL NOT BE SOLD. The government do not own us. If there is to be a pimp we will pimp (sell) them. A word of caution to you Greedy Bastards Developers. Still waters run very deep. take us serious.
Now was'nt that sweet HUH???
|Posted by:||Feb 20th 2007, 10:47:06 pm|
|speech||Its amazing sometimes children are more preceptive than politicians!but hey i feel posative some how, the community will have to unite to solve these problems,Its just everyone is sturggling to make a buck cuase the cost of living is so high its hard to get together not to mention the dispruption and extra pressur brought on by unsuitable development.|
|Posted by:||Feb 20th 2007, 04:05:48 pm|
|snowy||I get it now. And my 9 year old said it beautifully: "You mean my friends on Briland can't flush their toilets at school? Mom, something is really wrong!"|
|Posted by:||Feb 20th 2007, 10:40:08 am|
|thought||Not to rehash what Speech has said – but Basically, our government have sold out big time. They have given the approval to Beka Development group to do whatever the hell they want – for a price. I’m not sure if anyone remembers EDAW, the master planners in this case (and Disney), but in 2001 or 2002 they came down to Briland with the hotel corporation of Bahamas and proposed the development of 5,000 hotel rooms over the expanse of Eleuthera plus 3 casinos and 4 golf courses. We pretty much told them to go to hell. The government is willing to sell all east crown land for 2,800 per acre, allow the same developments as the Atlantis crew, the rights to build and operate airports, asphalt plants, international schools, mortgage companies, utility systems, control road plans and redirect existing roads. Beka want this signed and sealed at least 30 days before the election, which is apparently on the 5th May - I guess they know. They are in bed a many power corporations – Foxwoods, Omni Hotels, Marina Dev Group, Matrix Utilities, Greg Norman Golf, Kings Creek development for time share unites – whom are all eager to get their claws into OUR pie. UBS, Scotia and RBC will be essentially financing these activities with a $930 million dollar loan between them to the myriad of developers. Beka claim they already pre-sold many lots of condo/hotel units and have market of 100,000+ doctors, 52,000+ high golfers, 3.2 million casino members. They will make billions upon billions of dollars on permanently screwing our land and our government is practically giving it away. I don’t know whether or not the people of grand bahama know this is going down but this is an important lesson for us her in Briland. 1. Because it shows how developers like to operate below the radar 2. That our cash strapped government is prepared to sell out it’s land and people and 3. That we should put caution and voice into the proposals that will soon be submitted to that government concerning our very own Master Plan for this Island!|
|Posted by:||Feb 20th 2007, 10:01:49 am|
|speech||good point this discussion is way too confusing ok
the post below is not about harbour island, it is about grand bahama! it is showing how our politicians can be bought.
the posting by 'thought' is the one to read.
the government has taken a loan from the inter american development bank to produce plans, for all the coastal zones in the bahamas. the harbour island 'master plan' is in the process of being drawn up. however, there have be very few people participating in its preparation. 'thought' is simply saying than we need to get involved, and that any plan for the island, should prioritise the basic needs of islanders, before it talks about enhancing tourism. simply put focus on health, electricity ,water, and education before everything else!
|Posted by:||Feb 19th 2007, 09:07:37 pm|
|snowy||Can someone simply explain WHAT is going on? It sounds like from the messages the ENTIRE island is at stake?This is AWLFUL! Someone explain...thanks....|
|Posted by:||Feb 19th 2007, 07:15:56 pm|
|Richard P||someone took the site down!
Beka Development LLC
February 7, 2007
1. Bahamian Government Permits and Approvals:
In early December Beka Development LLC through its Bahamian wholly owned subsidiary Bahamas Golden Beach Ltd. Submitted to the Bahamian Government a full investor package. The application included a summary of the project, the project partners, the development team, the projectâ€™s financial backing and a list of concessions and approvals.
a. Casino License: The Government has committed a contingent master casino license for the remainder of the island. The contingency remaining is Bekaâ€™s ability to complete its definitive agreement with Foxwoods Development Company, Foxwoodâ€™s willingness to manage for Harcourt Development the existing shut down Royal Oasis Casino and Bekaâ€™s willingness to purchase Government crown land at the Golden Beach site for a minimum of $5,000,000 ($2,800 per acre). Foxwoods is not obligated to invest into the Royal Oasis Casino.
b. Environment Approvals: Bahamas Golden Beach Ltd. has engaged the East Bay Group to complete the environmental impact analysis. East Bay Group has expressed no concerns regarding the project master plan and the effect to the environment and is preparing a report for the Government. East Bay Group is well received and respected by the Bahamian Government as they have been involved in a significant number of like environmental approvals.
c. Master Planning: Beka Development has engaged EDAW as its master planners for the property. The property has undergone beach and soil evaluations, a full topo, photography, and environmental analysis including plant life analysis. The Master Planning heavy design meeting is February 14th and 15th. The Phase I Master Plan will be complete in early March. EDAWâ€™s parent company has 20,000+ architects and engineers. EDAW performed the master planning for celebration at Disney, most of St Joeâ€™s work and is the master planner of record for the Bahamian Government.
d. Other Permits and Approvals: The Government is prepared to enter into its standard Heads of Agreement with Bahamas Golden Beach Ltd. To include the following additional rights:
i. All concessions allowed Kerzner, Baha Mar and Ginn.
ii. Right to full access use of the existing harbor
iii. Option to purchase the lease of the entire harbor when the existing lease expires.
iv. Right to reopen the secondary airport and to facilitate the arrival of private and charter flights
v. Rights to control the roads plan and re-direct existing roads to fit the master plan
vi. Right to construct all required utility systems
vii. Right to import fuel for development purposes into the harbor
viii. Right to expand and change components of the project and partner in aspects without reapplication to the Government
ix. Right to build a concrete and asphalt plant at the harbor
x. Right to build and operate an accredited International School
xi. Right to build an off-shore medical center including a medical school
xii. Right to establish a Mortgage company
xiii. Right to manage a clerkâ€™s office to record deed transfers, and
xiv. Prohibition from others to access any canals or harbors within five miles of our site.
e. Additional Events:
i. The existing Bahamian Government has elections on May 5, 2007 they would like to complete all the approvals and make a formal announcement at least 30 days in advance.
ii. The Government has allowed Bahamas Golden Beach Ltd. to be the master developer of the entire east end of the island. This includes an area exceeding 100 sq miles.
iii. The Government is willing to sell in the future to Bahamas Golden Beach Ltd. substantially all of its east crown land at the same price per acre as the initial sale.
2. Partnering Relationships and additional development plans:
a. Foxwoods Development Company LLC: Beka Development LLC has supplied Foxwoods Development Company a full set of documents including Foxwoods Branding Agreement, Foxwoods Management Agreement, and the Foxwoods Operating (Ownership) Agreement. These agreements collectively reflect the Letter of Intent documents previously agreed, including fee structures and Foxwoods equity participation.
b. Omni Hotels: Beka Development LLC has a confirming letter from Omni Hotels to jointly own a 400 room Omni Hotel and convention center. Omni is prepared to invest $20+ million into the project.
c. Marina Development Group: A leading south Florida Marina developer who is financially backed by Dillon Reed has offered to purchase the marina site for $28 million and invest an additional $80.
d. LD Partners LLC: Beka Development LLC has a pre-sale site of 20 acres to a group from the Florida Panhandle to develop 500 condo units. The group is experienced and has provided evidence of their financial capability. Their group includes Roy Anderson Construction.
e. Infinity Partners: Beka Development LLC is participating with Infinity Partners in a number of areas:
i. Through Infinity capital Partners is investing a total of $10 million in equity.
ii. Infinity Real Estate is managing the lots sales program. Infinity currently sells over $100 million annually in residential resort lots annually.
iii. Infinity is managing the spec builder program and has brought four major high-end south Florida homebuilders to the resort. This collective group is prepared to build 40 spec homes in the first year.
iv. Infinity has general commitments for seventy-five lot purchases.
f. Kings Creek Development: Beka has entered into a relationship with Kings Creek Development to build time-share units. Kings Creek Developmentâ€™s primary development is in Williamsburg Virginia and generates $50 million in annual revenue. Beka will invest the land and receive $1,000 per week of sales generated.
g. Matrix: Matrix is a supplier of utility equipment including water treatment, water RO plants and electric co-generation. Beka has talked in general and Matrix has expressed and interest in participating in the utilities services. This participation would be a 50/50 JV with modest capital requirement with Matrix originating the financing.
h. Golf Development: Beka Development has agreed in principal to have Mike Riley, previously lead designer for Nickolas, design a links course. Additionally, Beka has had significant negotiations with Greg Norman Golf to design a course to PGA specifications for future tour championships.
posted by @ 20/02/07 12:04 AM Comments (1)
The Rip-off Part 2
Part 2 of the New Ripoff of Bahamian Patrimony by Crisco Butt and Foreign Slimey Developers
3. Financing Commitments: The following are the list of existing and pending financing commitments for the project:
a. UBS: UBS has committed a $550 million 6 year term loan for final land purchase, infrastructure, amenities, the Foxwoods Hotel and Casino.
b. UBS: UBS has a general commitment for a $140 million construction revolver loan of other constructed components
c. Scotia Bank: Scotia Bank is the lead bank in a syndicate with intentions of supplying a $100 million construction loan for the Omni Hotel. The syndicate includes RBC and First Caribbean Bank.
d. RBC: RBC has expressed interest in supplying a $40 million retail space construction term loan based upon anchor tenant leases and has offered to bring the Bahamas a major grocer to the table.
e. RBC: Beka CFO and RBC are in discussion regarding a $100 million mortgage line and methods to sell the paper into the marketplace.
4. Sales and Marketing: Beka Development has made significant progress in the pre-sales of condo/hotel units and residential lots.
a. First Meridian: Beka has an offer from First Meridian to purchase a block of 200 condo/hotel units.
b. Beka Staff Condo/hotel Units: Beka staff has general commitments for over 200 additional condo/hotel units. Additionally, Beka has been in discussion with Hedge Funds and institutional investors for the sale of additional condo/hotel units.
c. Co-Broker Programs:
i. Beka has built a relationship with a 100,000+ member doctors group to target market.
ii. Beka has built a relationship with a 52,000+ member high-end golf group to target market.
iii. Beka has a relationship with Foxwoods to target market their 3,200,000 casino members
d. Infinity Real Estate Partners: Infinity has commitments for seventy-five residential lot purchases.
e. Beka Staff residential Lots: Beka staff has commitments for fifty residential lot purchases.
i. Troutman Sanders is completing the escrow agreement and sales contract documents. Troutman is also going to be the escrow agent.
ii. 35% of the condo/hotel units are committed without a dedicated sales effort or without the Foxwoodsâ€™ client lists
iii. Condo/hotel pre-sales revenue based upon Beka current position exceeds $220 million.
iv. Residential Lot pre-sales revenue based upon Bekaâ€™s current position exceeds $60 million.
5. Other Possible Relationships: Beka Development has been involved in the following other discussion but has not confirmed a specific relationship. Beka is awaiting response from Foxwoods.
a. Harcourt Developments (Bahamas) Limited: Beka has discussed with Harcourt involvement in the Royal Oasis and Harcourt developing a section of the east end property.
b. Margaritaville: Beka has discussed and Buffet is interested in developing a Margaritaville Hotel and Casino and an entire town of Margaritaville.
c. Nascar: Is in continuing negotiations with Nascar to build a Nascar branded resort on the property. Nascar is reviewing their licensing obligations and has suggested a partnership with an existing major license group.
d. Illich Holdings: Beka through Ken Farino has been engaged in discussions with Illich. They are interested in purchasing land and sublicensing the casino license. They have interest in building an 800-room hotel and casino. Illich Holdings includes Little Caesars Pizza, Detroit Tigers and Red Wings and Motor City Casino.
If anyone has questions regarding this update, please contact your Infinity Representative or Brian Hilbrant (704) 927-5200.
|Posted by:||Feb 19th 2007, 04:09:00 pm|
|speech||STAND UP! THIS NATION IS NOT FOR SALE! TO DRUG LORDS,PLAY BOY MODELS OR DEVELOPERS, BOB MARLEY SAID
"Didn't the people before me, slave for this country? Now you look me with your scorn, and you eat up all my corn. We're gonna chase those crazy baldheads out of town."
BEWARE FNM AND PLP PEOPLE WILL NOT VOTE FOR THEM WHO SELL OUR BIRTHRIGHT!
|Posted by:||Feb 19th 2007, 03:47:28 pm|
|Richard P||Hmm, methinks is best tah read the fine print:
Read that link very carefully, the developers are allowed to change their plans at any time with no re-permitting procedure necessary,they are dictating the terms to the govt, they are aware of election date before Bahamians!!!!! You must stay 5 miles away from the site by water..etc etc etc. SAD STOP ANCHOR DEVELOPMENT!
And the dollar amounts are huge compared to Anna's disputed 400 million. Developers stand to make BILLIONS, yes BILLIONS on just land sales alone...and they are doing it WITHOUT ANY PERMITS!!!!!! Billions and no permits!! DISCOVERY LAND COMPANY HAS NONE!!!!!
they stand to make billions off of your land WITH NO PERMITS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Oh yeah, and kill your reef,steal your land,treat you like animals,and laugh all the way to the bank.
Thank PERRY for this scandal that's even BIGGER than ANNAGATE!
|Posted by:||Feb 19th 2007, 03:02:26 pm|
|speech||CORRECTION:we will have NO right to complain that we were excluded from it.|
|Posted by:||Feb 19th 2007, 03:00:35 pm|
|speech||BRILANDERS!ha i challenge you ...Talk dat! next time instead a chattin bout dese ppl wan run tingz, an you een have no say, get up and contribute!think you ya future man! not to reject all our visitors and redidents who care deeply for our community, but brilanders especially! everything is here, its long but read it and take time to read, it tell you r friends and family to read it! and say what you think. If briland people dont enter this discussion we will have right to complain that we were excluded from it.further think about it dont just row and carry on, really think about the future and what we can hope to have and what we must protect and conserve. Then your words and ideas will go far, if we let our hatreds. prejudices and grudges get the better of us we will destroy our selves our community and our future! i think matrin luther king said this one.
'we must unite as brothers or perish as fools!'
Brilanders! don sit up and watch the change be the change! ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE!
|Posted by:||Feb 19th 2007, 12:18:18 pm|
|MSHills||Here here! FANTASTIC Post!|
|Posted by:||Feb 19th 2007, 09:49:07 am|
|thought||For several weeks some of us have waited in anticipation for the proposals concerning the Master Plan for Harbour Island. The carefully controlled development of this Island is perhaps the single most important thing we can place our hopes in to secure the continuation it’s beauty and charismatic people. The Master Plan, formulated by a steering committee composed of members of Briland’s local government and community, members from SHIA (see posting on Briland.com “signed the people”) and the representatives from the ministry of environment and energy, aims to be a ‘road map’ to the sustainable socio-economic development of Harbour island; a way to imagine and realize how Briland could be 30 years from now. Through a series of meetings (the 30th of which was on Thursday 15th February) with different members of the public the steering committee has constructed a several proposals that will be submitted to central government and if adopted could see the first true concerted effort in the Bahamas at planning and controlling development in small island communities. While these are clearly admirable and well needed actions, the proposals that were outlined in the most recent meetings at best seem to be ill informed, rushed and the premises and focus on which it is based fundamentally flawed. The purpose for this posting is simply to estimate whether I am alone in my interpretations, to stress importance of feedback on these proposals and stimulate discussion about what is potentially deciding the fate of the island that is my home, the people that are my family and friends and the future that I hope my children can enjoy. I will briefly outline the points made in these meeting for those of you that may not have attended them and then highlight what I see to be their underlying problems.
The presentation begins with a look at Briland from above illustrating the functions – residence, hotel, commercial – of the current dwelling on harbour island, drawing attention to the likewise untouched areas of land and identifies the key historic sites on the island. The main issues that have arisen in these meetings are then summarized – Dock traffic and parking, Infrastructure and Land development, Housing affordability, waterfront development, Garbage and waste management, Education and culture, Economic development and employment opportunities. Without doubt, I think we would all agree that these are some the key issues that face our Island in future and commend the attention given to them. In face of these, the steering committee has composed several proposals.
1. The separation of freight and people transportation to provide relief to the traffic congestion that occurs on the Government dock. Achieved by either a second dock at the power plant site or the following amendments to the government dock. In the short term the construction of a smaller jetty to extend out from the dock in front the landing to cater to for the water taxis and a pedestrian walk way to run next to the dock to connect to Bay Street. The silt that has built up from the Bohengi’s daily disturbance of the sea bed will be dredged and used to construct a ‘welcome park’/garden in front of the Harbour Lounge and Fig Tree that will landscaped and function as possible site for the straw market. In the longer run the government dock will be extended for freight delivery, the customhouse renovated, a new site for the ministry of tourism constructed and the possible creation of a second access point to the dock that would run from Murray Street. No plans were shown for Power Plant site.
2. The encouragement of civic centers along a route that leads from the government to the beach access point between Sip Sip and Ocean View Hotel, This would include the creation of historic museum on the ground floor of the Commissioners office and the development ministry of education’s property that extends from Batelco to the opposite hilltop. The development that was suggested was an auditorium to display of art, music and drama and to hold classes to encourage these activities.
3. The establishment of zones to set the tone for future development in certain areas. The main areas being a historic district that encompasses most of bay street and town centre. Two resort districts, one running from Pink Sands to Runaway Hill and another by the “new” Marina or Hammerheads Bar including the undeveloped land by the old runway. And likewise the waterfront zone and the establishment of mooring sites through out the bay as an alternative to future marina development.
This was the thrust of the presentation and as such seems to be were most of the efforts in terms of planning have been directed. There is much I agree with – the custom house needs to be redone, something must be done about the traffic on the dock, the mooring idea is interesting, our cultural heritage should be preserved and development must checked without to much loss to our economic well being. And to be clear I do commend the effort and dedication that has given to these proposals BUT I do feel that they are perhaps not truly in tune with the economic niche that has made Harbour Island successful, the best interests of her people or truly sustainable in the long run.
UPSIDE DOWN, BOTTOM UP PLANNING…?
My intention in this paper is deal with the actual content the proposals, but feel that something should said quickly about the poor turn out at these meeting, their un-facilitating structure and the deficiency in communication about these meetings. The presentation seems structured around the selling of ideas as opposed to their facilitation. Why were there no surveys or other quantitative research techniques because the Qualitative approach certainly seemed to be of low quality? Likewise I had heard nothing of these meeting until the 28th had passed. Why weren’t they announced on the radio, television or Newspaper? These proposals were bashed out in fancy drawings in the space of about 20 minutes and they expect people to understand them and give valid input back? Hire a few people to go around to house and engage our community person to person. Just a thought.
The first thing that jumps out from presentation is the obvious contradictions that lie within the proposal – the government dock and harbour front area are at the centre of their proposed historic district and any expansion will completely alter that coastal area, not mention the disruption that those alterations will cause to an already chaotic dock. Forgive me but it seems hypocritical to ask marinas not dredge when we ourselves will do just that. More fundamentally, proposals to expand the dock seem to be aimed at catering to the problems rather than addressing at the underlying causes – the excessive amount of construction that has increased in recent years, poor organization of freight times and pure lack of coordination of vehicles on the dock. Why are we making it easier for these developers to turn our Island into a construction site? Why are the freight companies deciding when the should to our Island? What happens when all the building stops? Is this not a plan for the people of this Island? ‘Destroying to create’ is the approach that is being adopted here and while something needs to be done about the traffic and parking issues but the permanent destruction of the historic first port of entry for the Bahamas is not the answer and I am surprised it is being proposed at all. And what about their talk of the commercial dock near the power plant? Apparently the first draft of these proposals will go in on February 26th on the same day as the site will be assessed for the first time for it’s potential as a dock. So no fancy drawings of that area will be submitted to the government.
WHY SO RUSHED…?
This asks a different set of questions of these proposals. What on earth is the rush? This is essentially a guideline that will lay the foundation for policy on this Island for the next thirty years, why must it be completed in four months? In November of last year, the Inter-develop Bank of the Americas (IDB) approved a loan for 3.84$ million dollars. TO secure these funds the government must demonstrate that it is hired planners to formulate a “master plan” and compose a “steering committee” for the management of Coastal zones. Sound familiar? There is an election in 5 months. Is anyone else connecting the dots? Romora continues to put the pressure on. They were out petitioning last week. Pink Sands looms on the horizon. Don’t we have right to say “you wait for us – we’ll tell you when we’re ready”. If we the people of Briland are truly at the center of this plan, why can’t the time be taken to get it right regardless of elections, loans and pending developments?
WHAT HAS MADE BRILAND SUCCESSFUL IN PAST…?
These questions lead to my second reservation about these proposals, namely that their idea of what tourism Briland should offer is completely out of sync with what has made it successful and unique in the past. There is nothing novel or unique about the civic centers or theatres or museums – they are sanitized presentations of culture. Why would anyone go to them when you can experience that first hand talking to natives, watching kids play in the streets or sing and dance in the church. We could build the most spectacular concert hall but it wouldn’t come close to the beauty or uniqueness of watching the local band practice on the street corner. Why spend millions on trying to put something to behind glass or on the stage. Briland is a stage and it has performed with flying colors. Did we not win the Conde Nas traveler best island award. Why do these planners think they can improve on that? Why are they trying to develop tourist attractions, rather than trying to sustain what has attracted tourists in the first place? Their proposals seem informed by the assumption that the majority tourist that visit Briland are first-timers, why else would they be talking about cultural routes, new tourist offices and welcome parks. Their idea of the Briland tourist seems to be the ‘day-tripper’ model - the tourist that comes off the bohengi, is greeted by the chaos, mail boats, truckers and fork lifts, gets a map, a golf cart and wonders around the island. The proposals thus seem to cater and aim to encourage this breed of tourist. I think this needs to be questioned. I think many of our tourists are repeats – they don’t traverse the confusion on dock and get on little historic and cultural routes, ending on the beach - they hop into a taxi and go their hotel or rental house and engage socially and financially with the island for a longer period of time. As sign just off the dock says ‘Harbour Island: Home of friendly people” – this is our home and we share it with the world and we, the people, are perhaps the most important tourist attraction, without us Harbour Island is just another Island with a beach. Why spend thousands or millions in creating welcome parks or gardens, auditoriums, museums when we struggle to wash our children, put food on the table, buy medicine or health consultation and waste money fridges and fans that are fried by our erratic power supply. How friendly will we be if this continues? Statistics show how these frustrations exercised in the increasing abuse of our children, our bodies and our environment. I’m sure we all noticed the increase in the number robberies and violence. We sadly experienced a murder here only several weeks ago. We are the priority not the facilities that tourist will use and see. Why does the reverse seem so much more important to the steering committee?
WHAT DID THEY FORGET…?
Out of the 9 or 10 slides on the presentation 3 where directed at the dock proposals, 2 at these civic and cultural developments 2 were aerials photos of Harbour Island, and 2 or 3 looked at the proposed zones and one summarized key issues. Our planners are being paid $150 thousand dollars. Are the proposals above where the money is being spent? Where is the evidence that our planners are doing anything to address the issues are clearly the priority – water and energy infrastructures, affordable housing, garbage and waste management not to mention the things they have ignored completely price controls, Haitian immigration or job security. Maybe there are proposals to deal with these issues, but we sure haven’t seen them. Powers cuts are still as regular tide, the city water still tastes salty, our local school have had for longest time no running water, our cesspits are overflowing, our trash is still litters the streets and is now polluting one of the prettiest sites on Eleuthera. These are clearly the most important issues. Why do our planners want to talk about welcome parks and museums? Lets face reality people. We live on a rock in the middle of the Atlantic. We are bursting at the seams. We don’t need anymore building until we get the infrastructure to the standard that can accommodate us, the people, who live here 12 months a year. Plain and simple. Why isn’t the thrust of this plan aimed at facilitating this? Why isn’t the steering committee discussing these more difficult issues and gathering information to help solve them? Surely these basic elements should be the departure point of any sustainable plan and I for one would like those efforts, if they are being made, to be presented so that they can be acknowledged.
QUALITY OF LIFE OR THE QUALITY OF TOURISM….?
The single biggest disappointment and flaw of these proposals is not so much what issues it has brought forward or even what they have failed to address but rather that they envision tourism as the sustainable future of this Island. They have nerve to argue that we need a plan because tourism is volatile and competitive industry but yet encourage its continuation as the primary activity for this Island. Such a wobbly foundation is surely not wise in the formulation of supposedly sustainable plan? Furthermore these proposals in their preoccupation with tourism, do nothing to empower us as a community, rather they merely breed our dependence on foreigners, their national economies and decision to come to our island. This alienates us from home and our community, reducing Briland to a product to be packaged, sold and strips her people to everything but their labour. Our experience with tourism thus far is already showing signs of this – look at Valentines, Coral sands, Pink Sands and all the other large employers – who give their workers minimum wage, no ownership in their businesses the work for and would rather employ foreigners for the high paid white collar jobs. Not to mention the fact the profits from these developments head outside our borders. Some people have called tourism a plantation industry – I don’t think they’re far off the mark. The inflated property market likewise give incentives to those locals who actually own property to cash out of the community. Our children are already out-cashed with prices in the hundreds of thousands and millions. Tourism success on Briland has pumped up the prices and pushed us out. It has undoubtedly given us much, but it is taking a lot too and pushing it on this island for another 30 years is unsustainable to the character of our community and our quality of life. I for one want to see a future where the young people of this island can at least have the opportunity to buy their Island back. Let us explore the potential entrepreneurs of our young and encourage them to act and create business opportunities for the people of this Island. Let us hear proposals that inspire us to trust and work together as a community because that has been the beauty of Harbour Island and it is the beauty that we have kind enough to share with the rest of the world. To you planners, to your proposals, presentations and plans I say walk softly because you walk on my hopes and my faith in this beautiful Bahamaland. To the rest of us that will have to live with the consequences of these plans and proposals I say in the spirit of Bob – “get up, stand up don’t give your rights, get up stand don’t give up the fight.”
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