Opposition concerned about “secret deal” for Prince George Dock

The government is coming under fire by the Official Opposition over the proposed management arrangement in the works for Prince George Dock.

According to reports, a management arrangement for the capital’s busiest port has gone before Cabinet for approval.

However, whether or not the arrangement has gone through the proper process for the selection of the entity to be approved for the controlling post, is the matter at hand.

“It is being hereby demanded that the Government forthwith halt all further discussion in this matter and immediately account to the Bahamian people as to its dealings with the Bahamian patrimony,” said Glenys Hanna Martin, in a statement released to the press Sunday afternoon.

“More and more Bahamians are concluding that this government sees the Cabinet as a vehicle to advance the cause of foreign economic interests and otherwise the interests of a small group of wealthy elite, to the prejudice of the Bahamian people.”

According to Hanna Martin, the lead entity in the proposal is affiliated with Arawak Port Development Ltd. (APD). She questioned whether the government ever publically announced the move or requested proposals for the job.

“Information is being received that the Bahamas government has apparently either agreed to or is poised to enter into a management arrangement with an entity for the management/control of Prince George Dock.

“It appears that the entity has a foreign component, which may include the Arawak Port Development Company Ltd (APD).

“As there has been no dialogue or information-sharing with the Bahamian people as regards their national asset, I ask the following questions:

  • 1) Was a request for proposal (RFP) published or issued inviting tenders for the management of the Nassau Cruise Port? Or was the relevant entity hand-picked by the Cabinet?
  • 2) Do any of the members of Cabinet or their family members have shares in any part of this entity and/or APD?
  • 3) If APD is involved in this management deal, has the government given any consideration to the very negative implications  of putting in place a  monopolistic hold on the major ports in this country: has the government considered that such singular control would place the Bahamian people in a severely weakened position and lead to a grotesque domination of our economy by a handful of people?
    Is the government aware that prudent and circumspect governance would never agree to such a state of affairs?
  • 4) Has the government had any dialogue or discussions with stakeholders such as taxi drivers, hair braiders and the various licensees of the port as to how they will be impacted by decisions made?

“We need answers now,” she said.

Last week Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar told Eyewitness News that the government has made it a part of its policy to “upgrade Prince George Dock”.

“We are very far along in that process and proposals are starting to roll in,” D’Aguilar said.

“Everybody knows that the… customer experience when you arrive via cruise is not exceptional. in our attempt to make it an exceptional experience, we’ve asked interested parties to assist us or to come forward with plans and proposals to see how we can do that.

“So we are in consultations with the cruise companies – advising them on our plans – and they are seeing how they can participate in that plan as well.”