(Tarpum Bay, Eleuthera, The Bahamas) On Saturday evening, March 9th, Prime Minister Hubert Minnis was in South Eleuthera as the main speaker at a town meeting held in Tarpum Bay, where he spoke with the audience of local residents about the recent signing of a Heads of Agreement with Disney Cruise Lines for their proposed port project at Lighthouse Point, which had been approved in 2018.
After the town meeting, the Office of the Prime Minister released the following statement, which provided further details:
“Prime Minister the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis announced today that the Government of The Bahamas has signed a Heads of Agreement with Disney Island Development Ltd for a proposed Cruise Port and entertainment facility at Lighthouse Point, Bannerman Town, South Eleuthera.
The development has a projected investment of between $250m and $400m.
Disney has completed acquisition of the property from the private seller. Approximately 190 acres of the land purchased from the private seller, including the southernmost point of the property, will be conveyed to the Government of The Bahamas for conservation and a national park. The appraised value of the land donation is $6.29 million.
Core elements of the proposed project include low density development and sustainable design, public access and economic opportunities for Bahamians.
Prime Minister Minnis made the announcement during a Town Hall Meeting to update the island’s residents on the government’s mid-year budget statement and the 30th Inter-Sessional CARICOM meeting recently held in St Kitts and Nevis.
Under the Heads of Agreement, DCL will ensure a minimum of 120 Bahamians will be employed directly during the construction of the project.
Disney also has committed to aim for an overall ratio of 80 percent Bahamian workers to 20 percent non-Bahamian workers during the life of the construction phase of the project. This is subject to qualified labor being available and the need to ensure the highest level of technical compliance with international standards
DCL will also create as many as 150 permanent, sustainable jobs with health benefits in a range of positions for Bahamians once construction is completed.
The development will provide a variety of entrepreneurial opportunities for residents of Eleuthera and Bahamians in general.
DCL will partner with agencies to develop training and professional development programs, including the LIM Maritime Academy, Access Accelerator (Small Business Development Center) and the Hospitality Institute of the University of The Bahamas.
Space must be provided for Bahamian vendors on the property for the sale of authentic, high quality Bahamian retail goods, services, souvenirs, arts and crafts, Bahamian T-shirts and other merchandise.
Disney must also give priority to Bahamian owners and operators to provide port adventures for DCL guests while its ships are in port, and will seek to use Bahamian entertainers.
Other elements of the project include the integration of Bahamian cultural and artistic expression into the design of the site and experiences offered.
Related: Approved- Lighthouse Point Proposal submitted by Disney Cruise Line Island Development Ltd.
Disney also will provide all citizens and residents of The Bahamas with access to the property for non-commercial purposes and will collaborate with Government and local communities to meaningfully contribute to initiatives that meet community needs, with a special focus on children and families.
This includes assisting with local schools, assisting with identifying and enhancing tourist heritage sites in South Eleuthera and exploring opportunities to improve medical facilities that serve the residents of south and central Eleuthera.
DCL also intends to increase the number of its ships’ calls at the Port of Nassau and/or the Port of Freeport by 30-40 percent over the number of calls made by DCL ships in 2018.
Construction of the project will not begin until the Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Management Plan are reviewed and approved.
“The Government of The Bahamas is satisfied that it made the best decision in the interest of the Bahamian people, a sustainable future for the people of Central and South Eleuthera and the economic development of the country,” said Prime Minister Minnis.
“The implementation of this project supports the government’s plan of expanding the economy of our country and economic opportunities for our people by promoting development in the Family Islands.”
The Government notes Disney’s record of environmental stewardship and will ensure that the project is implemented in a manner which safeguards the environment and is in the interests of the people of The Bahamas.”
Office of the Prime Minister
March 9th, 2019