The National Economic Council has given Disney Cruise Line the green light to develop a cruise port at Lighthouse Point, South Eleuthera, the Cabinet Office announced in a statement today.
“Negotiations will now begin on a Heads of Agreement, which will detail the scope of the project, the obligations of the Disney Cruise Lines Island Development Ltd. and the obligations of the government of The Bahamas,” the Cabinet statement said.
“The negotiation of the Heads of Agreement will commence immediately. When concluded, it will be presented to Parliament in keeping with the government’s commitment to transparency and accountability.”
The decision is likely to be met with outrage from environmentalists and other activists, who have expressed concerns about Disney’s proposal, arguing that it would harm the pristine area.
However, at a town hall meeting in Green Castle, Eleuthera, last week, pro-Disney supporters expressed admiration for the company. Many said God has sent Disney to the island.
Disney proposes to develop the property as it looks to double the number of ships calling on ports in The Bahamas by adding three new ships in 2021, 2022 and 2023.
The company already has an agreement for purchase with the current owner of the Lighthouse Point property and has said the project will cost between $350 million and $400 million.
In its statement, Cabinet indicated that the development will “create approximately 150 new jobs and an array of entrepreneurial opportunities for residents of Eleuthera and Bahamians in general.
“Disney will convey approximately 190 acres of the land purchased from the private seller to the government of The Bahamas for conservation and a national park.”