Letters to the Editor: Occupy Crown land

Letters to the Editor: Occupy Crown land
Sir Sidney Poitier Bridge. (PHOTO: THE BRIDGE AUTHORITY)

Dear Editor,

Thank you for allowing me to express myself in your esteemed publication. I am the developer behind Paradise Island Lighthouse & Beach Club, an all-Bahamian project. I have been asking, begging, writing, texting, emailing, camping outside of House of Assembly and Cabinet for more than nine years. Finally I was offered a Crown land lease by the government of The Bahamas in 2020, which I accepted in its entirety.

I spent nine years trying to crack this nut and finally held it in my hand and all of a sudden a foreign, multinational “Johnny-come-lately” cruise corporation is trying to snatch it out my hand. I am not against foreign investment; I am against foreign investment exploiting The Bahamas!

Do you support Bahamians trying to make an honest living and provide opportunities for other Bahamians? We sure do. We will only be hiring Bahamians and that money will circulate in The Bahamas. We will provide direct and indirect employment for a broad skill set.

The government of The Bahamas has its foot on the neck of Bahamians trying to make a success of themselves. It is not the funding, business model, planning, talent, ambition nor determination components that are missing in our project — it is simply a government making poor decisions for hundreds of thousands of Bahamians. Does this sound familiar and ring true to you? I need your support in taking action.

Are you tired of seeing foreign investors coming here and getting the red carpet treatment? Welcomed into meetings with the prime minister, solicited for campaign funding and looking to appease foreign investment from a position of weakness? Watching foreign investors leverage the desperate situation this government has put us in?

What these cruise lines want is our Bahamian Crown land for their crews to come ashore and work, when there’s unemployed Bahamians; exclusivity; work permits; and to not have the Bahamian labor laws apply. They don’t want to play by the same rules that Bahamians are subjected to. They don’t want Bahamians mixing with “their” crowd. Not pay VAT (value-added tax), not pay business license fees and don’t want to pay at least a minimum wage for Bahamians, so they say we’re too expensive.

They sit in their million-dollar boardrooms and tell Bahamians what is best for us. They’ve been making billions for decades from passengers drawn to our natural resources and then ship the money straight out the country and leave us fighting for crumbs!

Bahamians are doing their best at providing excursions. Why do we have to pay a massive commission to cruise ships for us doing all the work? It’s a shakedown! Do we need a cruise ship bringing 9,000 people on it and directed to the cruise ship’s beach club and compete against what Bahamians are offering? NO!!

Isn’t them having their “own private island” enough, when it’s Bahamian Crown land? And where the money generated there goes straight out of the Bahamas and doesn’t circulate the Bahamian economy?


Thank you. May the light shine on.

Toby Smith,

Paradise Island Lighthouse & Beach Club Co Ltd

  • To have your letter to the editor published, email eyewitnessbahamas@gmail.com. Please note letters should be under 500 words and refrain from using profanity, slurs or otherwise offensive language.


Amen. I agree with this article. I cabt begin to express the length of time it has been since my mum applied for crown grant for farming purposes n still to this day nothing. They dont care about bahamian ownersip. They let foreigners come n do as they plz.

The government needs to invest in bahamians, there are too many talented person’s in this country. We can create our own stores without having to import from China or elsewhere, if given the chance. Also, Bahamians need to learn to support and not sabotage each other. If one person is thriving, help them and when it is your time, you too will get the help you need. But the government has to be on board. When I see young men in the street selling fruits, l try to purchase because they are trying. There are a lot of talent here but the foreigners and tourists seem to have more of a say what happens here than its own people and that is sad. Leg is get together Bahamians and talk and make a change for the better in our own country and show the foreigners that we can stand together and we can create quality things that are exportable that can only be purchased here in the Bahamas. We can do it, if given a chance. Let’s do this!!!!

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