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Blackbeard’s Cay owner ‘knows nothing’ about retail plans

Majority owner declines comment on possible shopping offering on private island
  • Abner Pinder.

Guardian Business Editor

Published: Oct 21, 2013

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A part-owner of Blackbeard’s Cay, a controversial private island off New Providence to which cruise ship passengers can purchase daily passes, has denied any knowledge of plans to construct a retail village or other shopping amenities on the property.

Meanwhile, majority owner Samir Andrawos, a St. Maarten businessman, declined on Friday to comment on the claims that such plans may be in the works for the project, which is located on Balmoral Island.

Former Spanish Wells Chief Councillor Abner Pinder, who has a stake in the project along with former PLP MP and Cabinet Minister Charles Carter and Andrawos, said that during a visit to Nassau last week for several days he was told “nothing about” any such plans by Andrawos.

His comments come as rumors are circulating of plans to create a retail village on the island, which some downtown merchants fear would suck cruise ship passenger demand from Bay Street.

However, while Pinder said he could not confirm if there were plans to build a retail village on the table, he also could not deny such a possibility.

“I can’t tell you it isn’t true, but I would’ve thought he (Samir Andrawos) would’ve brought it up,” he said.

Andrawos, owner of St Maarten Sightseeing Tours, was brought in by the Blackbeard’s Cay owners last year to turn around the island’s fortunes and has overseen its re-opening as a daily sight-seeing option for cruise ship passengers in Nassau this year.

He bought a majority stake in the business, including the existing lease for the island.

Contacted for further comment yesterday, Andrawos declined to offer any and directed this newspaper to Charles Carter. Carter was said to be out of office for two weeks on Friday.

Blackbeard’s Cay has come under fire from environmentalists for its decision to house dolphins in the cay in conditions which it is alleged are not adequate – a claim strongly denied by its owners. Additionally, it has raised the ire of downtown retailers, who have expressed fears since before the latest rumors of plans for a retail village on the island that it would create competition to downtown Bay Street, drawing visitors away from its restaurants and stores.

Pinder said that as far as he is aware, business is going “pretty smoothly” on the island since it re-opened. Visitors are able to purchase day passes, which include a boat ride to the island, for $54.99 per adult or $34.99 for children.

The excursion is offered on Carnival Cruise Lines’ website, where visitors can choose between this and other offerings such as an Atlantis Aquaventure day pass and lunch, which sells for $179.99 per adult or $145.99 per child.

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