10th October 2011
MAYAGUANA AND THE ‘I-GROUP’
In the 20th September 2011 edition, the Nassau Guardian carried a story under the caption headline: “Mayaguana HOA to be approved” ( http://www.thenassauguardian.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=12964:mayaguana-hoa-to-be-approved&catid=40:business&Itemid=2 ).
This makes for interesting reading and some rather convoluted logic.
The FNM Government has been saying for more than four years that they were upset that the recent PLP government “gave away” land in Mayaguana in the joint venture project with the I-Group. Their four year effort at ‘talk’- which translates to ‘negotiation’ when referring to FNM talk- has resulted in taking the government out of a joint venture ownership of 9,999 acres (where the government owned 50% of the equity in the joint venture and therefore 50% interest in the land or 4,999.5 acres with I-Group owning 4,999.5 acres, again 50%).
The new FNM deal gives the I-Group 5,825 acres in two grants of 2,912.5 acres each, or an additional 825.5 acres in order for the government to leave the venture. The FNM is claiming that they have taken land back to Bahamian ownership, albeit through negotiations, but this seems rather a ludicrous assertion to make since the government will now ‘own’ 4,174 acres whereas under the PLP government agreement the Government of The Bahamas, in fact, ‘owned’ 50% of 9,999 acres or 4,999.5 acres which is 825.5 acres MORE than the FNM government has said it will ‘recover’ to ownership by The Bahamas government with no potential for profit sharing in the ultimate build out other than through taxation.
I recall recently that Minister Zhivargo Laing explained to us how 49% ownership of something was the same as owning 51%. Please call to mind his famous statement that “49% is the same as 51%” in attempting to explain away the BTC sale. I also remember Minister Alton Turnquest explaining the increase in the fee to cross the bridge to Paradise Island some years ago. You might remember that folks were able to purchase bride crossing tokens for 25cents each and the rate for crossing was increased to $1.00- a quadrupling BUT Mr. Turnquest very kindly explained that since the ‘official’ fee was $2.00 bridge users would be, in fact, saving $1.00 each time they crossed the bridge not ‘really’ paying an additional 75 cents! I am still trying to wrap my mind around these two explanations.
Hopefully, the Chairman of the Hotel Corporation, Mr. Michael Scott, or the Minister responsible for relations with the Hotel Corporation, Hon. Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace, will explain this new version of FNM maths. Since I like both these gentlemen very much, I trust they will disavow the new maths and speak truth.
I look forward to the ‘clarification’.
Philip P. Smith