While the recently signed heads of agreement (HOA) between the government and Bahamas Port Investments Limited for the redevelopment of the Grand Lucayan resort and a new cruise port has yet to be made public, environmentalist Joe Darville said he feels confident – based on the assurances given to him – that the project will be completed with “extreme sensitivity to the environment”.
Still, he said environmentalists will be watching the project with eagle eyes.
While speaking with one of the principals of Bahamas Port Investments following the signing of the agreement, Darville said, “I told him that I am very happy that you put into your memorandum of understanding this whole regard for the environment and that it’s going to be made environmentally friendly. I told him I would like to have specifics on that.
“So, he immediately introduced me to the person who will be heading that whole dynamic. Actually, I’m in communication with her and she promises that everything will be done in order to maintain the pristine environment that we have in The Bahamas.”
The sale of the Grand Lucayan for $50 million to Royal Caribbean International (RCI) and the ITM Group – which form the joint venture company Bahamas Port Investments – for the $300 million development, has been heralded by the government as the economic stimulus needed for Grand Bahama.
It has drawn less scrutiny and controversy as the cruise port development project at Lighthouse Point in South Eleuthera, which environmentalists vehemently oppose.
Darville said he believes the project on Grand Bahama can be achieved with less negative environmental impact.
“That can be done, that can easily be done in terms of the development they are going to do there on the property itself. The other part would be the ships coming in at the harbor, which is already happening,” he said.
“So, what they’ll be doing on the property there on Lucaya is going to be done on land and is going to be done according to what they said [with] extreme sensitivity to the environment. And we will be watching that with eagle eyes.”