By Oswald T. Brown/BAHAMAS CHRONICLE
NASSAU, Bahamas — A $5m commercial faming venture that involved a former US ambassador to The Bahamas was yesterday identified as one of three competing investment proposals targeting North Andros, The Tribune reported on June 18 in an article written by Business Editor Neil Hartnell.
“Documents obtained by Tribune Business name Ned Siegel, an ex-US ambassador to this nation under George W Bush’s administration, as a partner in an ‘American-Bahamian partnership’ seeking to lease 25,000 acres of land from the Crown and Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation (BAIC) in the Twin Lakes area on Andros,” The Tribune’s article noted.
It added: “Mr Siegel did not return Tribune Business’s call seeking comment yesterday, and several sources suggested he may no longer be involved with a project that is thought to have been formally submitted to the Bahamas Investment Authority (BIA) for the necessary government approvals last year. It is thought that the project has stalled in the approvals process, with some sources — speaking on condition of anonymity — suggesting the Government would be unlikely to lease such a vast amount of land to any investor. However, the COVID-19 pandemic and the Government’s drive for food security may revive interest in it.”
According to The Tribune’s article, “The Bahamas Agricultural Resources (BAR) project, detailed in a paper dated from January 2019, lists US father-and-son duo, Benjamin and Jamin Simmons, who have extensive farming interests in Louisiana, the Carolinas, Maryland, Georgia and Uruguay, as principals in the project alongside Mr Siegel. Also named as their “Bahamian partner” is James Edgar Curling, owner of sand miner Tycoon Management.”