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March 25, 2006

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sal

Dear God Mr. Allen where did you get your rational from. That Mayaguan landgrab should be admonished in all accord. The heritage of the native folk of Mayaguana will suffer, their whole way of life and independence will change forever more- all in the name of misguided anchor developments.

andrew allen

We have to get away from this idea that black Bahamian out islanders are inferently victims, or helpless objects of whatever developments take place around them. I suspect that mayaguanans will become more affluent and powerful as a result of a development in which their government played a part in planning and acted as a partner. If not, it is our fault alone. That is the crucial difference between joint ventures and random approved projects - we and our government bear a responsibility for their success, rather than merely acting as hosts.

While I agree that the anchor development idea is misguided, my point was that Bahamian government ownership is a step in the right direction.

Of course it is only a step. An ideal policy would be an absolute ban on any non-Bahamian ever owning real estate within the Bahamas and the use of a revamped Hotel Corporation as the owner of all touristic projects involving foreign management.

sal

That joint venture isn't as 50/50 as you would like to believe. All of this for a "boutique" resort?

drew Roberts

"An ideal policy would be an absolute ban on any non-Bahamian ever owning real estate within the Bahamas and the use of a revamped Hotel Corporation as the owner of all touristic projects involving foreign management."

Honestly, and with all due respect, I think this is so wrongheaded it is not even funny.

To deal with the second part first, if the government could keep hands off (yeah right) it might fly but does anyone believe that will actually happen?

Now for the first part, there are other countries that do not prevent Bahamians from owning their land, why should we bar them (their citizens) from owning ours?

(As an aside, when is the government going to free up and make it easy and cheap for Bahamians to invest abroad? If we were free to go over and make a killing in other countries, be it in their stock markets, or in their land, I think we might not mind so much them doing hte same here.)

In the Bahamas, we are blessed with something that we really fail to take advantage of. We have multiple islands.

Now, this is far fetched, but it should be food for thought.

Why not have one island where foreigners can own land and another where they can't?

Why not have one island where foreigners can come and work with only a tourist visa and another where they can't?

Why not have one with a flat income tax and one with no income tax?

Why not have one where a property gets a thirty year exemption on stamp tax due on sale with each payment of stamp tax on sale and one with our normal stamp tax requirements?

Why not have one where the local residents set and raise their own taxes and send 20% to the central government and one with our normal ways?

Then we can sit back and see which ones actually work best for us.

If we were wise, when deciding on one of the above, we would let the residents of an island vote for the idea to be implemented on their island.

Is this underlying idea at all clear? Or like my daddy used to say, is it as clear as mud?

What about these thoughts?

1. The government can never sell land to foreigners. Only private Bahamians can do that (with an exception to be explained in a second.)

2. For anything over a typical lot size, the government can only sell land via a public auction.

3. For the first time that a piece of land passes into foreign hands, government approval is required. Once a piece of land has been approved by the government for foreign ownership however, this piece can be resold again and again to locals or foreigners without any further government approval needed. (This is the exception to 1. above.)

How do you all think it would play out if we were to implement the above three points?

all the best,

drew

andrew allen

I actually agree with much of what you say about different policy for the different areas of the Bahamas. We are blessed (like the US) to have sufficient geographic and developmental diversity to take such a federalised approach to policy. But unlike the US, we have stuck to a centralised model that does not allow the growth of divergent (competing) economic development models.

The obvious benefit of that would be that a process of competition leads to the evolution of best policies across the board, or at least ones that fit local circumstances.

Of course I can agree, for instance, that different islands should be free to implement their own land use/investment policies, rather than having them imposed across the board.

But since we do not have any prospect of that happening with the present sort of people who govern us (PLP and FNM), we must do the next best thing. This means facing that the consequences of the foreign land-grab now taking place indiscriminately around the Bahamas will one day lead to a disaster of huge proportions.

The fairness\reciprocity notion is not convincing. We have our own needs and are at our own level of development. Other countries can do as they like, but we can and should prevent their citizens from swallowing up the Bahamas before our own people have the means (or, more accurately, the mindset) to secure a fair share of it.

In Exuma, Eleuthera and other places, foreign speculators and real estate agents and developers are going wild.

I personally know of many instances where pure speculation is being disguised in various ways in order to get by the investments board.

Incidentally, many, many countries have an absolute ban on foreign ownership.

I have no doubt that when the tragic consequences of the present landgrab are counted, a future generation of politicians will (perhaps belatedly) follow suit.

sal

Mr. Allen why are you off the opinion that black outislanders are "inferently victims" of development they have no control over. All outislanders are not black as you know, look at the Guana uprising- not a black face in sight. Or are you of the opinion that only black faces allow ourselves to get swing?

drew Roberts

So, how about something along the lines of points 1 to 3 near the end of my post?

I do agree that we do not have to allow others to own our land just to reciprocate.

I just think that there is no need for an outright ban.

If we can convince those same FNM and PLP powers to implement a ban, we can also convince them to do something more sensible instead. Or is that really so much pie in the sky?

In these instances you speak of, who owned the land prior to the purchase by the foreign speculators/investors?

all the best,

drew

(+1)/10 to email me

Sorry for leaving this emailing info off of the previous post.

Dwight Major

Dear Sir:

The Government rants and raves about the I-group in Mayaguana, please ask them why an investor who who intends to initally hire 20 times the amount of persons and create a new industry in Long Island (the Bahamas) has been refused. Please see

www.seacrystal.com

Seeing that our representive is niether the sharpest tool in the shed and lacks the courage to promote it I shall have to commence the battle for Long Island.

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