Battle looms between West End investors, Govt. silent

JOHN MacDONALD, IVRC/Old Bahama Bay Resort and Yacht Club, President

There has been an eerie silence on the part of the Free National Movement Government, while a serious battle looms between long-time West Grand Bahama benefactor Island Venture Resort and Club (IVRC) and proposed investor Grand Palm Beach Acquisitions which operates under Skyline Investments.

The Freeport News exposed this issue recently and yet the government has, thus far, failed to function transparently in this instance, with the people of Grand Bahama, and in particular the residents of West End, especially those employed at Old Bahama Bay, a subsidiary of IVRC.

The government with a large entourage, led by Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis, paraded into West End proper and touted its networking with Skyline Investments (Grand Palm Beach Acquisitions) towards signing a Heads of Agreement (HOA).

The deal the government heralded was the re-birth of the old Ginn Sur Mer property; accompanying hotels providing over 200 rooms; residential structures numbering some 1,000; a casino; and a major shopping and restaurant/lounge complex.

A two-and-a-half-billion dollars ($2.5b) projected financial package was announced. There was no mention of the existing, vibrant operation, Old Bahama Bay, which sits on the extreme end of West Grand Bahama. In fact, based on the declarations by the government at the time, Old Bahama Bay was not significant in the negotiations or related talks.

John MacDonald is president of both the Island Venture Resort & Club (IVRC) Limited and Old Bahama Bay resort & Yacht Harbour Limited.

“I questioned as to how the Bahamas Government could be so negligent in their investigation of what is actually under contract,” said MacDonald.

The Freeport News has been informed that this apparent oversight created a situation whereby a subsequent incident was indicative that Skyline representatives felt empowered, with jurisdiction at Old Bahama Bay. In an exclusive communication, it was disclosed to this newspaper that an individual, said to be representing Skyline, had a troubling altercation with Old Bahama Bay employees.

“The situation became so severe that Mr. MacDonald (John) had to demand that (the individual) leave the property immediately and never return,” The Freeport News was informed.

It is understood that Immigration authorities were brought into the picture and the individual who reportedly was representing Skyline/Grand Palm Beach, is now a part of an official Bahamian Immigration report.

Also, adding fuel to the fire reportedly, was the request of Skyline to lease the fuel docks and Customs facilities at Old Bahama Bay for the sum of just $1 dollar per year. Clearly, leaving Old Bahama Bay and its owning company (IVRC), out of certain talks between the Bahamas Government and Skyline, has led to a lot of complications.

Apparently, some of the Skyline investment expansion phases, outlined by the Bahamas Government through the prime minister, actually are proposed to be built on property owned by IVRC. The situation seems quite calamitous, of catastrophic proportions.

The incident involving the purported Skyline representative has caused great concern for the employees of Old Bahama Bay.

“All management (personnel), staffers, and vendor contractors of Old Bahama Bay need to be assured that (such an individual) is never allowed to work and continue to be disrespectful to working Bahamians in their own country. We cannot continue to allow investors and (investment representatives) into this country who treat Bahamians in this manner. All management personnel, staffers and vendor contractors need to feel that their future is brighter than what they have been experiencing over the last three or four weeks,” lamented a statement, in part, provided The Freeport News.

The Freeport News understands that the incident has been communicated in full to the Government of The Bahamas through its own representatives.

Up to press time on Thursday, The Freeport News had no information that the government had responded in the full interest of allaying the fears of all of the Bahamian employees at Old Bahama Bay.

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