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The Minister of Tourism claims he is keeping “a close eye” on the private destination islands owned by cruise ship companies to make sure they don’t suck all the tourism away from Nassau and Freeport.
Well, I don’t believe Mr. D’Aguilar.
Didn’t Carnival Cruises recently say they want to build another private island in East Grand Bahama, even though they already have at least one in The Bahamas? The community is against it, but as far as the public knows, the deal is still going forward.
And exactly how is the minister going to stop our tourism dollars being drained away to private cruise islands, which are designed to keep all the profit for the cruise companies so they can then ship it out of the country?
That is the whole point of such a development and the minister’s hands are tied unless he starts restricting their ability to go to these islands.
But we all know that will never happen. This government is too scared to tangle with the cruise companies, big boy Carnival especially.
These companies regularly hold the country hostage with threats that they will stop coming to our ports if we do not obey their wishes. They use our dependence on their tourists to get whatever they want from us.
For years and years our tourism industry was based on the idea that we need to bow and scrape, bend over backwards to please some rich foreign person or group. The time has come to start managing our own destiny for the benefit of Bahamians.
We have to ask ourselves, what has a company like Carnival ever done for The Bahamas?
Why should they get to do whatever they want around here? They have brought tourists, sure, but nearly all of the profits go to the cruise ships, which have basically replaced the more wealthy, stop-over tourists with their working class passengers, who spend much less in shops and restaurants.
We don’t owe them anything. They got rich off of us, not the other way around. Go tell them that, D’Aguilar!