NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines (RCL) has approached the government over leasing a portion of the beach to the west of their Paradise Island property to create a tourist attraction, Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar has confirmed.
The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) yesterday questioned whether the crown land on Paradise Island is being offered to Royal Caribbean as part of the consideration for the Grand Lucayan deal.
The government signed a Heads of Agreement (HOA) with Royal Caribbean and ITM theGroup for the sale of the Grand Lucayan Resort and Casino today.
D’Aguilar said: “RCL has acquired private property on the Western end of Paradise Island. Obviously the government owns the beach to the west of their private property. They have approached the government about leasing a part of that beach to add to their private land they own to create an attraction.”
“The government’s desire is to use crown land to impact as many Bahamians as possible,” he continued.
“When you have a company like Royal Caribbean come along obviously they have the financial resources and experience in building attractions. There is employment opportunities for Bahamians working for them and the entrepreneurial opportunities to provide features that are reserved for Bahamians like watersports and the like.”
D’Aguilar said: “When large investors come in, a number of Bahamians and Bahamian entrepreneurs can feed off that development.”
In a statement on Sunday, the PLP questioned whether the crown land left at Paradise Island is a part of the consideration for what is being done in Grand Bahama with the sale of the Grand Lucayan.
“We want to be assured that there are no side letters or side deals and that what is being done in Grand Bahama is a straight and open public deal,” the PLP statement read.
“We also caution the Minister of Tourism about castigating Bahamian businesses. The fact is the public policy of the FNM has caused the erosion of synergies and business opportunities between the cruise ship business and Bahamian business persons.”
The statement continued: “For example, the destruction of Bahamian entertainment centres on land in Nassau is directly related to the decision of the FNM to allow on board entertainment while the cruise ships are in port.
“Instead of castigating Bahamian business persons, the FNM Government and their Tourism Minister should be looking at ways to use public policy to encourage the cruise ship owners to develop their relationships with Bahamian businesses so Bahamian businesses can succeed.”