Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Brave Davis yesterday fired back at Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar who accused him of being irresponsible when he promised to cancel a lease agreement for Crown land the government is negotiating with Royal Caribbean International (RCI).
“Comments attributed to the minister of tourism in today’s Nassau Guardian only validate public sentiments about this Free National Movement administration: they lack the conviction and moral courage to advance the best interests of the Bahamian people,” Davis said.
“This is a bad deal; it is not in the best interest of Bahamians and the next Progressive Liberal Party administration will cancel it.”
On March 3, the government signed a heads of agreement (HOA) with RCI for the sale of the Grand Lucayan on Grand Bahama.
That agreement has not yet been made public.
The PLP has opposed the deal since it was revealed last week that RCI is eyeing leasing 10 acres of beachfront property at Colonial Beach, of which the government owns about 17 acres, for a $50 million attraction on Paradise Island.
The Nassau Guardian understands the government is moving forward with the lease. It is expected to be finalized by the Office of the Prime Minister in the coming weeks.
On Monday, Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar fired back at Davis for making an “irresponsible” promise to cancel the deal, noting that the project will be “enormously impactful” for The Bahamas.
“The leader of the opposition should also really think and get the facts and the thought process behind the government’s decision before he spouts off from the mouth,” D’Aguilar said.
“This government is into responsible management of our economy in the best interests of all Bahamians and not just a select few of cronies and supporters.”
But Davis said, “In stark contrast, at the core of the next Progressive Liberal Party administration will be the promotion of people-oriented policies — I call that policy ‘economic patriotism.’
“As prime minister, our administration will meet the high expectations of the Bahamian people to negotiate deals that protect our environment, promote Bahamian ownership, and advance our social and economic interests.”
If approved, the project on Paradise Island, which will be called the Royal Beach Club, will open in late-2022.