Categorized | National News

“Freeport’s Economy Held Hostage”

Grand Bahama  Attorney  Carey Leonard  blames  Hutchinson Whampoa for what he calls the appalling state of Grand Bahama’s economy. 

He  said  the Chinese  Company  has been holding the island economy  hostage  for years. 

Mr Carey, a former President of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce  said, “Hutchinson has separated each thing;  they have a hotels division, a land division and a port division and each one operates separately in their own siloes.

“Nobody  knows  or  looks at any sort of cross ideas of how they can help each other and they’ve done  the same thing to Freeport and have just isolated each one of  those groups and that is exactly why  the economy has gone downhill,” he said.  

Hutchinson is a big player in Grand Bahama – after all, it  owns 50 per cent of the island’s airport, 50 per cent of the harbour and the container port as well. 

As far as Mr. Leonard’s sees it, its huge stakes, certainly doesn’t make it a good investor.

He said, “I’m not pro-Chinese investment at all when I see how they have  behaved in just about everything that they’ve invested in this country,  because it has not been for the benefit of Bahamians.”

The lawyer  who has lived in Freeport for  twenty years  said “I would take both of them, (the harbour and the airport) I would do a compulsory acquisition of them and I would buy Hutchinson out.” 

“They can keep their container port if they want to, that’s something that they run all the time anyway, but otherwise I would take the harbour and the airport from them.

“There is precedence of  the government doing a compulsory  acquisition of a privately-owned airport, let us not forget that South Eleuthera Properties used to own Rock Sound Airport and the government, I can’t remember in 1993  or  94 or something like that,  did a compulsory acquisition of the airport.

“The law is all set out,  because South Eleuthera Properties took the government to court to make sure that they got reasonable compensation,” he said.  

Mr. Leonard was a guest on the Radio  Love 97 daily talk show “Issues of the Day.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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