NASSAU, BAHAMAS – After being slammed by the Opposition and environmentalists for not allowing the media to attend last week’s Heads of Agreement signing for Disney’s proposed development at Lighthouse Point in Bannerman Town, South Eleuthera, the government announced last night that in the interest of transparency and accountability, the Heads of Agreement will be tabled at the earliest meeting of the House of Assembly on Wednesday, March 20.
“The Government announced the signing of the Heads of Agreement at a Town Hall meeting in South Eleuthera on March 9, 2019, out of respect for the island’s residents,” outlined a statement issued from the Office of the Prime Minister.
The government said, “Immediately following the announcement, the Office of the Prime Minister released an extensive press release outlining key points of the Heads of Agreement, including:
- Construction of the project will not begin until the Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Management Plan are reviewed and approved.
- Approximately 190 acres of the land purchased from the private seller, including the southernmost point of the property, will be conveyed to the Government of The Bahamas for conservation and a national park. The appraised value of the land donation is $6.29 million.
- The creation of 120 construction jobs, and 150 permanent jobs with health benefits in a range of positions for Bahamians.
- A variety of entrepreneurial opportunities for residents of Eleuthera and Bahamians in general.
- Access to the property for all citizens and residents of The Bahamas for non-commercial purposes.
- Integration of Bahamian cultural and artistic expression into the design of the site and experiences offered.
- Disney will partner with agencies to develop training and professional development programs, including the LIM Maritime Academy, Access Accelerator (Small Business Development Center) and the Hospitality Institute of the University of The Bahamas.
According to the government, this project is in line with the government’s plan to expand the economy of The Bahamas and economic opportunities for its people by promoting development in the Family Islands.
“I want to assure all Bahamians of the Government’s commitment to act in the best interest of Bahamians, at all times, in an accountable and transparent manner,” the statement concluded.
The proposed Disney development has a projected investment of between $250m and $400m and thus far, Disney has completed the acquisition of the property from the private seller.
Under the agreement, Disney Cruise Lines (DCL) will ensure a minimum of 120 Bahamians will be employed directly during the construction of the project.
DCL will also create as many as 150 permanent, sustainable jobs with health benefits in a range of positions for Bahamians once construction is completed.