NASSAU, BAHAMAS — St Anne’s MP Brent Symonette said while he has nothing to do with his nephew’s proposal for mining in North Andros, he believes some of the public furor to the proposed project stems from a continued “demonization” of the Symonette family.
Bahamas Materials Company Limited is headed by Cameron Symonette, the Symonette Group’s chief executive, and his joint venture partner Ted Baker of the US-based Blue Water Industries.
The pair are seeking a 40-year lease over 5,000 acres of Crown Land to carry out the North Andros mining project.
There is also an upland real estate development component to the proposal.
Golden Isles MP Vaughn Miller, the opposition spokesman on natural resources, has said the Progressive Liberal Party does not support the proposal.
Asked if he believes the criticisms of the project were racially or politically motivated, Symonette said: “I have nothing to do with what Cameron is doing, I hardly even know what he is doing, but I don’t see why my son or my nephew of any extended member of my family, if they’re over 21, they’re Bahamian, can’t go into business and do what business they want on their own merit.
“Should we prejudice a former prime minister’s family because one is a lawyer and one is a hotelier?
“They’ve been successful in their own right.
“So, if they want to demonize us because we’re, what do you say, it’s a racial issue, that’s a sad day in The Bahamas.
“I would have thought after all these years of Independence; I mean my passport says Bahamian. I don’t know what anyone else’s says.”
“At some point, and I have said this many times and I’ll say it again, there are very few of the old want they want to call Bay Street Boys that are still even living in this country, and my family just happens to be one of them.
“So, if you want to demonize us, go right ahead.”
Symonette said he spends most of the day fielding calls from Bahamians seeking help.
He said he seeks to assist as many people as possible, and lamented what he called the hypocrisy of some.
“So, you can’t demonize my family on one side of the coin and then expect benefits on the other side,” Symonette said.
“It’s a certain hypocrisy by those people who are using; I saw a very sarcastic video somebody put out on YouTube about aragonite mining. The dots did not join up on social media. The dots didn’t join up, but people heard what they want to hear.
“The dots just don’t join up in you look at it. The timeframe differences just don’t add up, but everyone loves watching it and forwarding it. And I’ll just end by saying dog don’t bark at park car.”
As it relates to Bahamas Hot Mix, Symonette said the company has no links to the Andros proposal.
He said the asphalt, which requires very strong rock, to build roads and airports has to be imported because it is not readily available in The Bahamas.
“There is no connection that I am aware of, but I am not in the know, between mining in Andros and anything else,” the MP said.
This article has been changed to reflect the correct mining proposal for North Andros