D’Aguilar open to meeting with Compass Point owner

Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar said yesterday he is open to meeting with the owner of Compass Point resort to discuss the ease of doing business in The Bahamas.

However, the minister said he will not have a solo meeting with the resort owner.

“Some of his complaints and issues, as it relates to ease of doing business, are industry-wide,” D’Aguilar told reporters outside Cabinet.

“As you know, [the] government has to be widely consultative, so I’m encouraging him to come as a part of the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association [or] Bahamas Chamber of Commerce. These are all private sector organizations that have this concern.

“I don’t want to limit myself to having a discussion with one operator. He should come as part of a body and I will certainly ensure that those persons are in the room when we have a meeting.”

The minister said Leigh Rodney, the owner of the resort, is imposing “certain conditions” on the meeting.

“We’re working through those to allow that meeting to happen,” D’Aguilar said.

“However, as a government minister, I don’t want to be dealing with a single operator.”

Earlier this month, Rodney, who is an American, took out a full-page ad in The Tribune and gave the Minnis administration an ultimatum, threatening that if the government does not fulfill its promise to make the ease of doing business better in The Bahamas before the next election, he will close the property, putting 60 people out of work.

Rodney said in the advertisement that he has been trying to get the government to address his concerns for two years without success.

He said that “the top leaders of this country” – Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis, D’Aguilar and former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, among others – had already been made aware of his request.

On August 6, Minnis told The Nassau Guardian he will not be moved by threats from foreign nationals.

“This government and this prime minister will not be moved by threats by any foreign national or anyone; threats by anyone,” the prime minister said.

Minnis appointed an Ease of Doing Business Committee in his first year in office after a 2017 World Bank Annual Report listed The Bahamas as 119 out of 190 countries for ease of doing business.

In June of this year, Committee Chair Lynn Holowesko said the committee was disappointed that the government had not enacted more of its recommendations on how to improve the country’s ease of doing business, adding that her committee has also continued dialogue with the World Bank to get The Bahamas’ ease of doing business ranking markedly improved this year.

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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