Cruise Ports International (CPI) and its coalition of four leading cruise companies will work to minimize the crime problems in the country and help to portray Nassau in a positive light to cruise passengers, CPI President Gerald Strachan told Guardian Business yesterday.
This comes as a letter from the captain of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCCL) ship Anthem of the Seas warned passengers on December 26 of the possible dangers in Nassau.
The letter warned visitors to avoid places like The Sand Trap, Fish Fry and Over-the-Hill after dark.
The letter also explained that visitors to Nassau, like visitors to all major foreign cities in the world today, need to be mindful of their personal safety.
This kind of warning is not now uncommon among major cruise lines that frequent islands in the Caribbean. These warnings are also issued about The Bahamas frequently by the United States Embassy in Nassau.
Strachan said he and the coalition of cruise companies want to help to change misconceptions related to crime in the capital, and will work feverishly to do so, especially if they are the successful bidder to redevelop and operate the port of Nassau.
“I want our people to benefit,” said Strachan.
According to a press release issued on Wednesday, CPI is already working with local entrepreneurs on tours, including tours that include the “Over-the-Hill” area.
“The growth in tours is expected to provide an additional 1,050 permanent, full-time jobs annually and entice cruise ship passengers to come off the ships to support local shopkeepers, restaurant owners, straw vendors, beach vendors, hair braiders, watersport operators and others, many of whom will be invited to own shares in the new port,” the release notes.
In the release CPI states if it becomes the successful bidder, it will create the Cruise Port National Development Fund, which will contribute $1 million annually to education, healthcare, environmental sustainability and small business development.
CPI also intends to offer shares in the port through Royal Fidelity Bank & Trust.
“We are making sure that our port will be both majority-owned and majority-managed by Bahamians,” Strachan said.
“Four members of the seven-member board of the operating company, including the chairman, will be named by CPI. Our partners also understand that we must act in our country’s best interest. So for this reason, ITM has already pledged to Bahamianize their local management team after the fashion of Nassau Airport Development Company and as rapidly as possible.”