Press on Baker's Bay Controversy

National Geographic Discovery Land Company Press

"Overflow real-estate demand from Florida is flooding the Abacos with second homes, driving up prices to levels locals can't afford. A mega-development on Great Guana Cay has generated sharp criticism for ecological damage..."

"Avoid (Bakers Bay Club) Like the Plague. Abaco, on the north end of Great Guana Cay in the Bahamas, is the provisional site for a 585-acre golf resort with a 240-slip marina, threatening what is one of the most complete coastal and marine eco-systems in the Caribbean..." Chronicle

"...but a San Francisco development company's ambitious plan to build a gated community for well-heeled golfers and yacht owners has set off a full-scale revolt that flies in the face of the government's plans to build mega-resorts on many of the country's most pristine islands.

“They'll come with their poodles with pedicures, and they'll expect us to jump,” said Troy Albury, who runs a scuba diving operation on Guana Cay, one of the Out Islands that form a coral-fringed strand about 200 miles east of Florida."

Bakers Bay Press Caribbean Travel and Life

"...which is one reason the biologist is fighting mad about a contentious and outsize resort elbowing its way onto tiny North Bimini Island. Condos, a marina, and a casino are already underway, and plans call for a waterside golf course. Local Bahamians are worried about their shrinking access to fishing grounds, as the seafloor is dredged and the land locked up in gated communities." "Descendents of the Abaco Loyalists along with expat homeowners - are battling tooth, nail and barrister against a 585 acre project called Bakers Bay Golf and Ocean Club..."

Buffalo News Upscale development has its critics, and the 585-acre luxury housing development Bakers Bay on Great Guana Cay has caused outrage among locals, who are concerned that runoff from the golf course will harm Great Guana’s reef.

The Daily Tar Heel Comments on Mike Meldman

 

"A major donor to the new UNC Institute for the Environment is drawing criticism for what some groups are calling an environmental disaster..."

Following are a number of excellent articles about the Bakers Bay/Guana Cay controversy, as well as some press about 'Rise Up Sweet Island.' This section can be used as a research tool for anybody interested in researching developments on the Great Guana Cay case and its impact on environmental issues in the Bahamas and the Caribbean.

Guana Locals to Bring 10 Issues before Privy Council, June 24, 2009

Guardian Ponders Why Homeowners are Selling Guana 11.21.07

A great article questions why property is being sold on Guana.

New Development to Remove Coral Reefs
08.31.07

New Bahamas development to build beaches and remove coral reefs.

Bakers Bay Club Refuses to Discuss Bribe
07.07.07
At the heart of the conflict are claims from Re-earth spokesperson Sam Duncombe that the Trust’s acceptance of a $200,000 contribution from Baker’s Bay is "entirely hypocritical," and tantamount to the country’s lead environmental agency ignoring the "serious" concerns that have been raised about the development at Baker’s Bay.

Bahamas National Trust Accused of Bribery
07.06.07

The Bahamas National Trust’s decision to accept money from Baker’s Bay is "entirely hypocritical," and is tantamount to the country’s lead environmental agency ignoring the "serious" environmental concerns raised by the Save Guana Cay Reef Association, according to an environmental lobbyist.

Buffalo News has Bad Words for Discovery Land Company
06.10.07

The Buffalo News writes a piece on the Abaco Out-Islands. The author captures the importance of small-scale tourism in the islands. She also observes the irony of Bakers Bay Club.

Save Guana Cay Asking for Freedom of Information
5.16.07
For two years the SGCRA was trying to discover what permits, approvals, concessions and licenses may have been issued to the Baker’s Bay developers by the Hope Town District Council, Ministry of Works, BEST Commission, Ministry of Health and other government organizations, Mr. Smith said.

Government to Abandon Megadevelopment Policy
5.12.07

This is it. This article indicates that the new government is really intending to eliminate the megadevelopment policy of the last government. This truly indicates a gigantic victory for everybody who has been fighting against megadevelopments in the Bahamas.

ASGCR Secures Money to Continue Legal Fight
5.4.07
Despite challenges so far, the lawyer is confident that the Court of Appeal will analyze the case and rule in their favor. According to Smith, their case is very strong and one which the group intends to pursue to the end.

University of North Carolina Student Paper Offers Sharp Criticism for Michael Meldman, Discovery Land Company and Bakers Bay Club
4.21.07
"We'd love to know how killing the reefs embraces the natural grandeur, and exactly what local traditions will the multi-million dollar mansions, golf course and marina be celebrating? It seems unlikely that the 150 Bahamians who live on Grand Guana Cay and rake in an average $21,300 per year are accustomed to the golf and yacht club lifestyle."

Woods Hole Scientist Responds to UNC Tarheel Article
04.18.07

Dr. Cervino writes a letter to the editor of the Daily Tarheel. "In response to Tuesday's article, "Donor attracts flak for plans," I am a scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and professor at Pace University. My specialty is coral physiology, pathology and health."

Michael Meldman attracts UNC Flak

04.12.07
University of North Carolina's "The Daily Tar Heel" comments on the irony of Michael Meldman environmental scholarship at the University of North Carolina. "...A major donor to the new UNC Institute for the Environment is drawing criticism for what some groups are calling an environmental disaster."

Ingraham says Christie Betrayed Bahamians

04.12.07
"Five years later they have handed over thousands of acres of Crown Land to foreigners for residential developments for more foreigners. Five years later, deserving Bahamians are still waiting in that long Perry Christie line to have their applications for Crown Land processed," he said.

"Five years later, our environment is under assault and wetlands are being filled in to make way for golf courses and homes for foreigners."

US Group calls for End to Guana Cay Development
03.02.07
Global Coral Reef Alliance President calls for immediate end to the Bakers Bay Club. "The Bahamas needs sound economic development that protects its environmental resources, but this is a classic case of the sort of developments that have been allowed to cause untold damage in the past and which should no longer be permitted, now that the cumulative damage is clearly visible, and will be made far worse by climate change in the near future," he said in a five-page release issued to The Guardian.

Guana Cay Residents Continue Fight to Be Heard (PDF)
02.25.07

Bakers Bay Development Model Branded a 'Fool's Paradise' (PDF)
02.25.07
This is another wonderful article by Neil Hartnell. Sums up the issues today eloquently. Hartnell interviews both Tom Goreau and Fred Smith.

Ginn Project Raping Bahamas Land
02.23.07
"It would be lamentable, indeed, if the Christie administration is not requiring the Ginn Corporation to observe our laws and regulations regarding the protection of our environment," Russell said. "And it would be a scandal if the Christie administration is permitting Ginn to do in The Bahamas what it does not do, indeed cannot do, in the United States of America."

Rage over Mayaguana Land Giveaway
02.23.07
"The PLP has sold off at fire sale prices almost 10,000 acres of prime real estate on an island of about 300 people," said Mr Foulkes, who is the party's candidate for the MICAL constituency in the next general election . "Most of that land will be split into lots and sold for second homes for non-Bahamians." Said Mr Foulkes: "You do the math; and while you're adding up the PLP's betrayal of our national trust, don't forget a single acre can be divided into several lots. These lots will be sold off at outrageous prices -- and profits -- to the foreign company."

Guana Cay Battle Continues
02.23.07
"The Association opposed applications by the Discovery Land Company (the developer) to Hope Town District Council for six permit applications for projects ranging from $600,000 to $1.6 million for buildings at Great Guana Cay."

Sellout
02.16.07
Outlining his policies if he were to become elected Prime Minister, Hubert Ingraham states, "The wetlands upon which our rich marine life – our conch and grouper and lobster – depend are being filled in to make golf courses for these new gated communities. They call that investment and development. I call it a sell-out."

PLP Anchor Projects Criticized
02.05.07
The Bahamas Journal writes about the FNM stance on PLP Megadevelopment anchor projects. "Central and local authorities will work together to assess the developmental possibilities, educational and training requirements and infrastructural needs of each island as well as the environmental and social impact of proposed developments," the FNM said. "Unfortunately, the PLP has bought into the vision of some foreign developers who believe The Bahamas is 'on the verge of being discovered.' That is why the PLP has given away huge swathes of prime and pristine real estate."

FNM Openly Criticized Bakers Bay Club
02.03.07
The FNM Party is beginning to reveal parts of their platform; and hints at a heavy sustainable development plan:

"What exactly is proposed for Bakers Bay? Why is it that the Prime Minister's chief advisor on the environment has conveniently been retained as the environmental consultant by the developers of Bakers Bay? Where is the transparency in all this?

This PLP Government is a duplicitous government and they must be put out before they do serious and irreparable damage to The Bahamas."

New UN resolution on Caribbean Sea seeks to protect, preserve it
02.02.07
The Bakers Bay Club nightmare has helped bring international attention to the plight of the environment of the Caribbean. An article from Caribbean Net News reports on this, "On December 20, 2006, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution entitled: "Towards the Sustainable Development of the Caribbean Sea for present and future generations" (A/C.2/61/L.30). This resolution differs from previous resolutions (54/225, 55/203, 57/261 and 59/230) adopted by the UN in that its declared objectives are unequivocal. Upon careful examination, the resolution is an achievement in light of efforts made almost a decade ago by organizations in the region including CARICOM and the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) to secure the recognition of the Caribbean Sea as a special area in the context of sustainable development by the international community. It is timely to highlight the main points presented in this new resolution."


Powerful Warning from FNM about Anchor Projects
02.02.07
"According to the Opposition party, the PLP has closed its ears to ordinary citizens – academics, environmentalists, civic activists, economists, cultural leaders, business people, union leaders, religious leaders, columnists and journalists – who have issued urgent warnings about the proposed mega-anchor project rush into the Family Islands.

The consensus, the FNM claims, is that the country had better be careful how it throws around an anchor because it can destroy a coral reef, land on someone's fish pot, or drop in such deep water that it will pull us under and drown us.

"Even though many of their plans have not materialized, the PLP's goal is obviously to pursue hyper-growth, rather than sustainable development, and they are willing to alienate tens of thousands of acres of Bahamian land in the process," the FNM charged.

The official Opposition party points out that one of the most important questions to be decided in the 2007 election is the kind of economic model which should be used to ensure planned, sustainable development which will attract needed and appropriate foreign investment, dramatically increase Bahamian ownership of the economy while protecting our culture and preserving our environment for generations to come."

Anchor Projects Costs Higher than Expected
02.01.07
Interesting Neil Hartnell article from The Nassau Tribune warns of development companies in the Bahamas learning that their developments cost much more than they ever expected. "The experiences of the Four Seasons Emerald Bay resort provide a salutary warning for other investors contemplating, or in the stages of constructing, similar mega projects on other Family Islands.

These include the Boston-based I Group, joint 50/50 partners with the Government on Mayaguana; Montana Holdings’ $700 million Rum Cay project; numerous projects on Eleuthera; and the Ritz Carlton branded Abaco Club at Winding Bay and Discovery Land Company’s Baker’s Bay development in Abaco."

Irreversible Damage
01.28.07
"According to the FNM, the PLP's anchor project schemes can have many negative and irreversible cultural and demographic effects on Family Islands and much of the local culture is in danger of being lost forever."

Bye, Bye Mayaguana
01.25.07
An excellent article by Ian Strachan on the irony of the Bahamas' government administration giving away its land to foreigners. The article discusses the 9,999 acre giveaway on the island of Mayaguana.

Christie is Dangerous to the Environment
01.19.07
"...During the past four years we, along with countless other Bahamians, have had the opportunity to witness the performance of the Christie government. Our conclusion is that things have and are coming apart in his administration..."

Deputy on Anchor Concerns
01.19.07
"His questions echo those of Bahamas Chamber of Commerce President Tanya Wright who recently suggested the Family Islands develop local chambers of commerce to stimulate business thinking. She also asked government to develop a more island-specific approach to each of the anchor projects."

Ingraham on Anchor Projects
01.19.07
A powerful article from the Bahama Journal in which opposition leader and friend of Great Guana Cay lashes out against the Perry Christie Administration for the Bakers Bay Club type developments and their impact on the Bahamas:

"Mr. Ingraham said the PLP is not as committed to enhanced environmental protection as it claims it is. The FNM leader said the government delayed the planned reconstruction and upgrade of sea defences around the country.

He said instead, the PLP continues to approve new developments in low-lying flood prone areas and approve environmentally questionable excavations and dredging in sensitive marine zones.

"They hijacked the Family Island tourism development programme of every previous government in The Bahamas and sought to rewrite it as an original," he said.

"In the process they alienated thousands of acres of Crown Land for residential development by foreigners; they stalled the development of small, Bahamian-owned and operated hotels and guest houses in the Family Islands that were encouraged and promoted by the FNM; and they placed in jeopardy the sustainable development of fragile environments on our sparsely populated islands."

Mr. Ingraham said Bahamians are losing out on a vast number of business opportunities, and said acres of publicly-owned land is being handed over to foreigners, placing it beyond the reach of many Bahamians."

Anchor Projects do not have to be Billion-dollar Hotels
01.19.07
David Johnson, deputy director-general, BMOT is interviewed in this excellent piece by Neil Hartnell on why anchor projects do not need to be these monstrosities envisioned by Prime Minister Christie and realized by Michael Meldman of the Discovery Land Company.

Cordevalle News
01.18.07
This article details how Discovery Land Company uses lobbyists, lawyers and public relations to its advantage on environment and community issues. The article references dozens of press. Cordevalle, formerly 'Lion's Gate', is a sister golf development to Bakers Bay Club.

Anchor Project Raising Concerns
01.16.07
"...The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce is calling for the Christie administration and the Bahamian business community to reevaluate their broad support of Family Island anchor projects.

The "macro view" the government has taken in attempting to stimulate Family Island economies from Nassau may eventually backfire, corrupting the culture that "makes our tourism product so diverse and marketable," said Chamber president, Tanya Wright."

Prime Minister Fears Labour Shortage
01.16.07
This article hints at the confusion being created by the megadevelopment anchor project goals of the Christie Administration.

Bimini Bay Anchor Project Hints at Coming Conflict
01.16.07
"The multi-million dollar project, which sits on the northern tip of the tiny island, is designed to be all-inclusive, leaving visitors with little or no reason to venture off the grounds.

Bimini establishments are clustered toward the southern end of the island. While many locals fish for a living, there many depending on profits from privately-owned businesses.

Sarah Lee Pinder, employed at a local beauty salon, said tourists don't visit in town as much as they did before. "

Ginn Project -
11.28.06
"It would be lamentable, indeed, if the Christie administration is not requiring the Ginn Corporation to observe our laws and regulations regarding the protection of our environment..." A project similar to the Bakers Bay Club project is lambasted for similar environmental issues.

Bakers Bay Protest
10.10.06
This article is an example of Bakers Bay trying to use the press to deflect the environmental concerns.

Save the Bahamas Meeting
10.03.06
Freeport News discusses the success of the Save the Bahamas Coalition Meeting.

CaymanNetNews - mentions Guana Cay in emotional appeal to balance environment and development.

National Geographic Traveler
8/29/06
weighs in on Bakers Bay Club.

Miami Herald
8/28/06
writes about pros and cons of development in the Bahamas.

Atholl Island - Concern over golf courses is spreading all over the Bahamas: "We urgently request a meeting to have our minds put at rest that our government will make the right decision to save Athol Island, protect our coral reefs and the livelihood of all the tour operators," the letter read. "Do we have to remind all our Ministries that the number one industry in The Bahamas is Tourism?"

Guardian Weighs in on Privy Council denying Bakers Bay Club.


Bakers Bay Developers To Lose $440,000 Per Week - August 10. Discovery Land Company was last night facing the possibility of losing $440,000 per week after the Privy Council upheld the injunction stopping all new work at its $175 million Bakers Bay Golf & Ocean Club development, with the project's opponents claiming the decision was a "recognition and validation" of their right to due process...

Greg Waugh - August 3. speaks on the dangers of megadevelopments in the Bahamas.

Pre-trial Press - August 9. Press from the morning before Discovery Land Company lost the Privy Council attempt. "The Government and San Francisco-based Discovery Land Company will today attempt to overturn the Privy Council injunction that stopped work on the $175 million Great Guana Cay development, the developers alleging that it could cost them $440,000 per week if it is upheld."

Anchor Megadevelopments under Scrutiny - August 8. Bahamians in the public and private sectors have expressed concern over who is overseeing the anchor developments currently underway and who will oversee those in the pipeline.

For instance, environmental lobbies are livid over what they see as the rape of the land to make way for developments like Gerardo Capo’s Hilton property on Bimini, and the multi-billion-dollar Ginn development in West End, Grand Bahama.

News on the Privy Council Decision - the latest from the Bahamas Journal on the decision in July 2006 to halt all construction at Bakers Bay Club until Supreme Court case has been decided.

British Virgin Islands locals fight against a golf course development. Opposition to golf courses breaking out all over the Caribbean.

Environmental Suicide? "In recent years, scores of environmentalists have rallied against big business developments that they say have placed local wetlands, beachfronts and marine life at risk."

Discovery Land Company launches Fig Tree Foundation. In order to conquer and divide, Bakers Bay Club developer attempts to silence and woo Guana Cay locals.

Locals harassed at beach - "Bakers Bay Development is once again the target of heavy criticism from Grand Bahama Human Rights President Fred Smith for allegedly not allowing Bahamians to enjoy the beaches of Guana Cay."

Letter from Michele Perrault - International Vice President of the Sierra Club and two time Chairman of this 800,000 member conservation group commends The Nassau Guardian for researching the science behind the islander's case against the Discovery Land Company.

New Challenge To Guana Cay Project - As the developer is allowed by the Court of Appeal to begin work, the islanders announce they will be appealing to take the case to the Privy Council; the governing body in England which acts as an impartial Supreme Court to commonwealth countries.

Challenge To Guana Cay Project Will Continue, Project Opponents Vow The Bahama Journal, which is responding to a public release from the Guana Cay residents, prints some important facts.

Creating Tourism Linkages - The Nassau Guardian starts to genuinely question Discovery Land Company's odd motivations.

Developers Need Guidelines - another great article by Huggins.

Development and other ills - talented business editor of The Nassau Guardian gives a condemning portrayal of the Bakers Bay Club, calling 'a people's way of life threatened'.

Guana Cay Fight Takes a New Turn - Save Guana Cay Reef makes a bold move to request that the developers be committed to jail.

Fresh Opposition - During a fundraiser in Guana Cay on Sunday, the Association displayed huge signs on the beach to let interested buyers, tourists and visitors know how they feel about the development, which they said would lead to the "desecration of their environmental heritage."

San Francisco Chronicle - February 13, 2006. Teresa Castle writes an excellent article for the 11th largest US newspaper and one of its most credible.

The London Telegraph - reminds its readers to avoid the following like the plague..."Abaco, on the north end of Great Guana Cay in the Bahamas, is the provisional site for a 585-acre golf resort with a 240-slip marina, threatening what is one of the most complete coastal and marine eco-systems in the Caribbean (www.saveguanacayreef.com)."

Grist Magazine writes, "(Rise Up) Sweet Island is a narrative about a tiny West Indian island called Guana Cay, the pristine coral reefs around it, a proposal for an "ecologically sensitive" golf course on it, and the corruption and absurdity that ensue. It's difficult to summarize but fascinating to read and sumptuously illustrated. Check it out."

Bahamas Press on Court Case against Discovery Land Company

Guana Cay Court Case on Hold - February 16, 2006: Current situation as the judge falls ill and locals request to go back to court of appeals.

Discovery Land Company in Court
- February 13, 2006, article describes today's court case.

Damaging Testimony - a revealing article from the Freeport News.

Nassau Guardian - a powerful letter to the editor. "We are currently discussing this situation with legal counsel and will evaluate our options in the World Court. This wanton destruction of one the most beautiful reefs in the world amounts to crimes against humanity. "

Bakers Bay Terminates Employees - an interesting article about the Bakers Bay Club laying off employees at Christmas.

500 Million dollar project on Hold - first news of the first court case showdown.

Guana Cay Lobby - editorial from the Nassau Guardian: "This is what democracy is all about. Everyone must be allowed to have their day in court and they must be heard, otherwise the system is a mockery."

Continue Fight to Bitter End - from the Freeport Journal

Guana Cay Project Stopped - an article from the Bahamas Journal

Prime Minister Christie Government - is being accused of corruption. If true, it would explain a lot.

An account of the first protest in Nassau - gives a good background of the situation from Spring 2005.

Specialty and Tourism Press

Unfarralon.info - Guana Cay is not alone. A coalition of environmental groups and concerned citizens are fighting Farallon (the investment group behind Discovery Land Company) on several other issues.

The Bahamas Map - also contains links to development issues in the Bahamas.

Sea Turtle Restoration Project - a plea from the Sea Turtle Restoration Project: "The dredging for the marina will destroy 70 plus acres of mangrove and fish estuary. The fertilizers used to nourish the golf course may kill the third largest barrier reef in the world, which is just 50-feet offshore."

Miami Herald - ''...Sustainable tourism is critical to the future development of tourism in the Bahamas...''

Boating Community - the boating community starts to chime in Guana Cay.

Discovery Land Company executive calls for the Bahamas to give up work permits. This is in line with the idea that foreign developers in the Bahamas will try anything to hire foreign labor. Recently, it was discovered that a developer in Bimini had hired Mexican labor.

Mayaguana - similar trouble in the distant Bahamian island of Mayaguana, as locals realize 9,999 acres of their public land are being sold by the federal government to a foreign developer.