EDITOR, The Tribune.
A political operative on Facebook claimed that a Progressive Liberal Party Cabinet minister at the Grand Bahama Business Outlook blamed the island’s protracted economic depression on the COVID-19 pandemic, which is patently false. Grand Bahama has been in the economic doldrums since 2001, the year of the terrorist attacks on the US by Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda.
Grand Bahamians are understandably pessimistic about the news of the $200m redevelopment of the Grand Bahama International Airport by a firm out of the United Kingdom and a $300m eco-resort development in West Grand Bahama by Tourism Minister Chester Cooper.
The announcement of $1 billion worth of investments in the pipeline amounts to nothing more than a promise. And Grand Bahamians know all too well that a promise is a comfort to a fool. If the PLP and the Free National Movement have been unable to end Freeport’s economic depression over the past 23 years, what is there to think that the current government will do so in the three and half years left in its tenure?
At this juncture I am done criticising both political parties. What I would like to do instead is to offer an outlandish proposal that I believe will revolutionise Grand Bahama.
Instead of criticising the Port Authority or the Hawksbill Creek Agreement, why not sell the island of Grand Bahama to the US government?
The US currently has five permanently inhabited territories: American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
The first three territories are in the Pacific Ocean while the remaining two are in the Caribbean. The US purchased the Virgin Islands of Saint Thomas, Saint John and Saint Croix from Denmark in 1917 or thereabouts for $25m.
Under Denmark, these islands were dubbed the Danish West Indies in the 17th and 18th centuries.
The US government wanted a presence in the Caribbean. Grand Bahama is just 50 miles off the coast of Florida. It could serve as a military buffer between the mainland North America and thousands of Haitian refugees fleeing their impoverished homeland.
Under US jurisdiction, I am sure that Grand Bahama would experience phenomenal economic growth, similar to what is occurring in the Florida Keys. The government should put this proposal to a referendum to the people of Grand Bahama. Let them decide if they want to align themselves with the US or remain citizens of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.
With Grand Bahama becoming a territory of the US, American citizenship will inevitably follow for the residents of the island, in addition to possibly millions of Americans relocating to the island. Granted, it will be emotionally difficult severing national ties with The Bahamas. After all, Grand Bahamians are Bahamians.
But after two plus decades of an economic depression coupled with the continued vibrant economy of New Providence, Abaco, Bimini, Exuma and other Family Islands, Grand Bahamians are at their wits end with the unbroken promises of prosperity that seems only to elude their island. They’re fed up with being treated like stepchildren.
March 21, 2023.
Flyingfish 2 months, 1 week ago
I'm not surprised about the presences and ideas of "Ameriboos" in the Bahamas, but this is really taking the cake. Why would the USA want a island right next to it for any purpose.
It doesn't really help them militarily, it confuses the immigration situation, and doesn't eliminate the problems that plagued GB development in the first place.
If they want a military base they can just ask to build a new one or expand the one they have already in this country. Secondly, it will stir up the immigration situation evermore in this archipelago. Instead of boats trying to make their way west they'll be doing all types of funny matters to get up the chain. It would give the US coast Guard a bigger job then they have now which I doubt they want. The rest of the Bahamas would be a mess. Evermore, the US doesn't want another Guantanamo Bay, this time instead of terrorist being housed, you get immigrants. Not good in their political climate.
Next thing I'll retort is the issue of Gb development. If you look at the development of the Bahamas historically, Grand Bahama was touted as the least developed island. Its lack of of a natural harbour and its flat terrain has made it a unattractive development. The Hawksbill Agreement may have been flawed but it was just a bubble that struggled till it pop due to the harsh nature of developments.
In reality the one good industry GB is stellar for Lumber is not looked at and turned down due to the mistakes of the past.
But lets say the Handover of GB cause a major boom in their economy. Is really all good? It seems that if the US acquired GB it would just disenfranchise the rest of the tourism industry in the Archipelago as well as ensure that no local Grand Bahamian will be able to afford a house in the coming future. The Bahamian Braindrain will be even more intense and economically the entire country will move closer to ruin.
If you know geopolitics and history you would know that you should never separate islands or archipelagos into 2 states. They'll only be less successful.
moncurcool 2 months, 1 week ago
I highly doubt it would be emotionally difficult for Grand Bahamians to sever ties with the rest of The Bahamas. That tie is already severed. Grand Bahamians go to Florida for everything as is. Just like Abacoians and West Palm Beach.
SO maybe the entire North Bahamas should be offered to the US for sale. Don't think the people in GB and and Abaco would lose sleep over what happens to the rest of the islands.
Sign in to comment
Or login with: