Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Brave Davis yesterday slammed the government for signing a heads of agreement with Disney Cruise Line for a cruise port in South Eleuthera “in secret” and said the PLP would “never have gotten away with this and never tried to”.
On Saturday, during a town hall meeting in Tarpum Bay, Eleuthera, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis revealed that the government signed the HOA last Thursday.
In a statement, Davis said, “The government of transparency and openness has once again failed the test of openness and transparency and flubbed the example of open government.
“Hard on the heels of the fake and phony Oban deal, the prime minister sat in secret and signed the Disney deal last Thursday, March 7.
“No cameras or outsiders were allowed, save for the government’s minders and mouthpieces.”
The Disney project is expected to cost between $250 million and $400 million, according to a statement the government released on the weekend.
The agreement mandates that Disney directly employ at least 120 Bahamians during the construction of the project.
It also requires the cruise line to create “as many as 150 permanent, sustainable jobs with health benefits in a range of positions for Bahamians once construction is completed”.
According to the government, the construction of the port will not start until an environmental impact assessment and environmental management plan have been reviewed and approved.
Davis continued: “The public found out by a release from the Bahamas Information Services.
“The PLP would never have gotten away with this and never tried to.
“So, the questions arise: Is this a secret deal with Disney?”
But the Christie administration repeatedly came under fire for failing to table promised agreements. One such agreement was the memorandum of understanding it signed with Cable and Wireless Communications (CWC) in 2014.
In 2014, then Prime Minister Perry Christie announced “an historic agreement under which the majority economic interest in Bahamas Telecommunication Company will once against rest with the Bahamian people”.
He committed to tabling the agreement signed with CWC for the Bahamian people to regain just under two percent of shares in the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC).
However, he never did.