Another way possible
“Don’t do it,” is the stern advice given to the prime minister by the Coalition to Save Clifton on the proposed Disney development at Lighthouse Point, Eleuthera following a recent visit to the site by members of the coalition.
In a press statement the coalition has unequivocally stated its fundamental opposition to the establishment of private tourism enclaves operated by the cruise lines in The Bahamas. “Not only is this model of development unsustainable, but it makes little economic sense, while it is damaging to the social, cultural, environmental and other interests in The Bahamas” said Rev. Dr. C.B. Moss, chairman.
While visiting Lighthouse Point the delegation also visited the nearby Princess Cays cruise port and was shocked at the way Bahamians, who wanted to share in the economic benefits, were being treated. Another cruise ship port, Half Moon Cay, is also located only a few miles away.
Why should the government be willing to approve a third such facility in the immediate area? In fact most, if not all, of the existing cruise ports in The Bahamas should be closed or operated by or for Bahamians.
It is obvious that the cruise industry has bullied the government over the decades into granting it a bigger and bigger slice of the Bahamian tourism product, in addition to increasing concessions. It is the position of the coalition that the cruise industry is a partnership between the cruise lines and The Bahamas. Revenue generated on the cruise ships should be for the cruise lines, and revenue generated on land should be for Bahamians. The cruise lines cannot keep all on-board revenue as well as most of the on-land revenue.
The government must operate from a position of strength and stand up to the cruise industry, the statement continued, and inform them to either accept the formula for fair revenue sharing or consider sailing around The Bahamas, which of course they will not do since The Bahamas is the linchpin to their billion-dollar industry. They need The Bahamas more than The Bahamas needs them.
Also of great concern is the negative cultural, social and environmental impact should this ill-conceived project be approved. Indeed there are local people in Eleuthera who are prepared to replace the Disney proposal with one that will provide more jobs and sooner than Disney, while not damaging the environment and maintaining the social and cultural integrity of the Bahamian people. This local project will be sustainable and very importantly will empower a great many Bahamians.
The statement closed by calling upon all Bahamians to loudly and clearly say to the government, “Don’t do it.”
– Rev. Dr. C.B. Moss