San Salvador, Bahamas — Mr Laing had indicated that there would be no activity taking place on the property to the extent that the Government could stop it, until the Ministry of Finance had come to some determination about who held the Title to the property.
He had promised to return and inform all interested persons on the findings of the Ministry in relation to any Title to properties.
“Clearly,” Mr Laing said, “we have taken a lot of time to gather as much information as we could to make some determinations about the property, all of the claims and speculations about this property on Fortune Hill.”
He also explained that the only reason why he is still involved as Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance is that Treasure Trove under the laws of The Bahamas falls under the responsibility of the Minister of Finance.
Anyone in The Bahamas who discovers anything in the way of treasure has a duty to go to the Minister of Finance and enter into an agreement with the Minister of Finance as to how that treasure can be disposed of, he said.
“It is a legal binding arrangement. It might say that 20 per cent of it must go here, 30 per cent of it must go there; whatever the deal is, there is a negotiation done between the Minister of Finance and the individual or those individuals, and the disposition takes place only after that is signed and only in accordance with that agreement.”
Mrs Beal and her agents have asked for permission to go ahead and begin researching the area to determine any findings in relation to what they believe may be there, Mr Laing said.
She is going to have to apply to the Antiquities, Monuments and Museums Corporation for permission to do her initial speculating, he explained.
“If in the course of her excavating or whatever she does makes any findings, she and her agents will then return and begin to talk to me about what they have found and what is to be done about what they have found,” Mr Laing said.
“You can dispute ownership all you want; that is your business. If you want to dispute it, go to court,” he said.
Mrs Black-Beal and her principals will have the benefit of a letter from the Antiquities, Monuments and Museums Corporation; they will have the benefit of some interaction with the Administrator’s Office and there will be some interaction with the Police so that law and order may be maintained, Mr Laing said.