Categorized | National News

American Family Wins Land Case

An American family with Bahamian roots recently won a case in the Supreme Court, which declares them the rightful owners of more than 1,200 acres of land spread across The Bahamas.

Three of nine grandchildren, who hail from Stone Mountain, Georgia, are the beneficiaries of Elsie Agalla Franks, a Bahamian who migrated to the United States.

The grandchildren travelled to New Providence for the ruling.

According to one granddaughter, Claudia Cyrus, on Friday the registrar ruled that the 1,239.6 acres of land belongs to Franks, who in turn willed the land to her nine grandchildren.

However, Mrs. Cyrus said although her family was always aware of its Bahamian roots, it was not until recently that they learned about the land they had inherited and the squatters who had taken over.

“It’s very important for us to get this situation cleared up,” she added. “It is important that our children and our children’s children have a legacy to look forward to and to know that they have a legacy right there in The Bahamas. This is what our grandmother left for us.”

“It’s not often that a family such as ours gets to leave a legacy.”

Mrs. Cyrus said although it took four expensive plane tickets to travel to The Bahamas, she and her family vowed to preserve their family’s legacy and promised to go to great lengths to do just that.

“We found out in September 2010 through a meeting with a local attorney here that this was a case of fraud,” Mrs. Cyrus said. “We’ve been fighting this case since then and doing our own investigation before that, beginning in 2010.”

Another of the grandchildren and beneficiaries, Cynthia Calhoun, said during the family’s research they uncovered that their grandmother left land throughout Abaco and New Providence.

She listed the plots of land as outlined in the court’s ruling.

They include more than 300 acres in Knowles Drive off Harold Road in New Providence, 30 acres in Lower Turtle Creek in Abaco and 20 acres in the vicinity of Turtle Rock, Abaco; 700 acres in the northern coast of Great Abaco, Bahamas, 91.62 acres in vicinity of Turtle Rock, Abaco, another 40 acres Joe Creek, Abaco; 40 acres in the vicinity of Turtle Rock, Abaco and 18 acres in Joe Creek, Abaco, Bahamas.

The Harold Road property was locked in a legal battle for years with the Harold Road Land Development Company (LANDCO).

Unlike other tourists, Mrs. Cyrus said she and her family never really got the chance to enjoy The Bahamas the way they wanted to, due to lengthy court wrangling.

“This is our second time here in The Bahamas to deal with this issue,” Mrs. Cyrus added. “The first time we were here, we were here for vacation but seeing that we had to take a look at the different things that we were hearing about when we were growing up, we had to pursue what we wanted to know about our grandmother.”

The family said they have not yet visited the various properties but added that they plan to do so soon.

In court Mrs. Cyrus and her family said that no one even showed up to contest their claims.

They say they are now on a mission to meet the people occupying the space.

“That’s a battle that we’re willing to take on,” she added. “But we have to take it one step at a time, one day at a time, one situation at a time,” she added. “We are here to restore her legacy.”

Now that the court proceedings are done and the Franks family has won its case, Mrs. Cyrus said they will now enjoy what The Bahamas has to offer – sun, sand and sea.

“We’re going to the beach,” Mrs. Cyrus said. “This is indeed a celebratory moment and we will enjoy the rest of our time in The Bahamas.”

The family is hoping that anyone who is familiar with these pieces of land will contact them while they are still in town at 455-7320. They can also email the family at

The family heads back to Georgia on Wednesday at 6:00 p.m.

Multiple calls to Supreme Court Registrar Donna Newton, the official who oversaw this case, were not immediately returned.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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