Categorized | National News

Disney Not Labeled as ‘Bully’

Bahamian environmentalist Sam Duncombe defended Compass Point Owner Leigh Rodney this past Sunday in an op-ed charging that the government did not label Disney Cruise Lines as a “bully”. 

She said 30 years of advocating for this country’s long-term welfare has taught her “one abiding, unalterable truth” and that is “Bahamian satire writes itself”. 

She was referring to comments made by Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar warning the American co-owner of the Compass Point Resort not to “bully” the Bahamian government.

The businessman reached a tipping point last week, after having enough of the archaic way of doing business in the country. 

Ms. Duncombe said Compass Point employs 60 Bahamians and serves quite a number of long-stay visitors here in the capital. 

This is the same visitors the minister said spend 20-25 times more than cruise ship tourists. 

She added that the government’s attitude towards Compass Point compared to the government’s attitude towards the proposed Disney Cruise port at Lighthouse Point is completely different. 

She said the government did not accuse Disney of bullying, even when Disney, on the eve of government’s yes or no decision about Lighthouse Point, threatened to pack up and go away if the project was not approved. 

Further, she said no one accused Disney of bullying when it insisted on “no taxes of any kind on any form of revenue generated from the project for at least 20 years, no import duties or levies on any materials related to the project, no real property taxes for at least 20 years,  no obligation to improve local infrastructure.”

“The company was given the right to build its own private power, water and sewerage plants,” Ms. Duncombe added. 

 She also said there is no obligation to ever participate in any revenue-sharing formula, discretionary authority to determine the number of Bahamians hired and a soft target of only 120-150 jobs, despite the fact that the company forecasts up to one million annual visitors. 

The company, she said, also has discretionary authority to determine the number of vendors allowed on premises and the type of goods they can sell, monopoly on food service and various other activities, no prohibition against penny-pinching commissions on tour operators, no meaningful contribution to workforce training – which is $20,000 over five years, and lastly, no commitment to a cash-friendly environment. 

She said, “So Disney will be free to use its onboard credit systems to control financial interface between its passengers and local vendors.”

 Ms. Duncombe said if Minister D’Aguilar is serious about pushing back against bullies, “maybe he should take another look at the Lighthouse Point deal.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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