|Govt to change Mayaguana deal|
Guardian Staff Reporter
Published: Jun 27, 2012
Months after the Ingraham administration amended the Mayaguana deal with the I-Group, the Christie administration is seeking to renegotiate the agreement with the American developers to return part ownership to the government, Minister of State for Investments Khaalis Rolle has confirmed.
“We’re going to look at the deal as it is currently structured,” Rolle told The Nassau Guardian.
“I mean obviously that was something that [Prime Minister Perry] Christie was primarily involved in during his first term in office and always felt that it was good for the country and indicated the essence of a public sector/private sector partnership.
“So certainly we will look at what needs to happen to get the deal back on stream and to get them reinvesting in The Bahamas.”
He added: “The Bahamian people deserves it. We’re going to look at what needs to happen to ensure that the deal gets back to a public sector, private sector structure.”
In 2006, the Christie administration signed a $1.8 billion heads of agreement for a joint venture project with the I-Group for the development. The original agreement called for the transfer of 9,999 acres of Crown Land to be used in the development.
The deal was scheduled to materialize over a 15-year period and the developers were expected to spend at least $14 million within the first two years after the contract signing.
In February, the Ingraham administration signed a new heads of agreement with the developers that reclaimed 5,825 acres of Mayaguana land. The new agreement also severed the joint venture agreement between the I-Group and the government for the 50/50 partnership.
As it relates to the land component of the deal, Rolle said its too early to say whether that would change.
As it stands now, the developers have the option to acquire back 2,913 acres of land in a series of nine options that are all contingent on whether the developer stays on schedule in terms of construction.
The developer will also be expected to invest in or find other developers to invest in the Mayaguana Airport Project; a boutique hotel; boutique lodge resort, and a housing subdivision to include a minimum of 500 home site lots within the development area in order to acquire the land.
Additionally, the developer will be responsible for some or all of the associated roadways, electricity, water, wastewater treatment and telephone/cable infrastructure serving the home site, the agreement states.
A marina and related projects will also be developed at Abraham’s Bay.
According to the current agreement, once the developers cross each threshold, they have the option of acquiring additional land. The developers have just over 2,000 acres of land to start with.
During the renegotiation process, members of the Ingraham-led government harshly criticized the Christie administration for what they termed “the great land give-away”.
During debate on the amended heads of agreement earlier this year, former Minister of State for Finance Zhivargo Laing said the Ingraham administration was effectively reversing the “historic wrong”.