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February 20, 2008


Virginia Balance

loved your column in today's Trib about Eleuthera. Its a case of history repeating itself....the hotel industry there has a history of boom and bust. I always thought it would be interesting to write a paper about that and try to understand why it happens over and over again.

Ken Lam

The original Cotton Bay Club is owned, as you say, by Sarmiento. He and his family spend time at the old Kaiser homestead on the property, but the hotel is not being used.

There are still about a dozen homes on the rise overlooking the ocean which are owned by the wealthy families of the original purchasers like H. G. Searle, the drug manufacturer.

Since about 1000 acres of the original estate of about 300 0acres was purchased from Eleuthera Properties, only the main house was refurbished and the golf course is just discernible - everything just sits.

It is surprising because one would have thought that there was a requirement for the foreign investor to have done a development by this time.

The remainder of the property is still owned by Eleuthera Properties who are developing a portion to the north. They also retain the right to use the name Cotton Bay.

Perry Joseph

Excellent piece on South Eleuthera. Linked to it on my site. Missed seeing the Mission House and will check it out. Thanks.

pj / www.eleuthera-map.com


Thanks for the memories ... have linked your story to the Briland Modem messageboard.


Interesting history, will put a link to it on the "Eleuthera Websites" page of www.eleuthera.com.


George Major

Nice job telling this story of Eleuthera. Great historical rendition. Brings back many of the memories of my childhood in Eleuthera. A pleasure to read and compile.

Bob Knaus

Interesting. Compare the outcome of Mr. Davis' real estate investments in Eleuthera with the ones he made in Coconut Grove, Coral Gables, Pinecrest, and Weston.

Infrastructure and institutions do matter. The Bahamas lacks these. Caveat Emptor.

larry smith

Here is an account of Eleuthera's historical woes from the late Albert Sands - excerpted from a speech he gave in June, 2002:

Prior to 1939 Eleuthera was virtually a mere fishing village where farming and fishing was the order of the day. But that did not mean that the people were lazy; the people were aggressive and very ambitious. In fact, everything that happened, there were all the entrepreneurs were local, there were packing houses virtually in every community.

1939: Arthur Vining Davis, an American entrepreneur, very wealthy, Alcoa owner, steps on the scene, brought to the island by Sir Harold Christie. Davis fell in love with Eleuthera...He bought all the land there was.

Our forefathers gave up their farms, they gave up what they were doing, and went to work for Arthur Vining Davis. That’s where I think our problems began, as far as entrepreneurship was concerned.

And so Trippe came with his group and he bought the holdings of Arthur Vining Davis. And everything was going well, we had two Pam Am flights a day, one originating in, um, New York, the other in Miami, and we thought that Eleuthera had arrived.

In the process of that ’67 came along, there was a change in government, the masses came into their rights for the first time.

And then, the period of the 80’s came. And America- the American economy really went into a tailspin. everything that we had going here was being funded from over there. Nothing here was making any money...Rock Sound and South Eleuthera is virtually back to where it was when I was a child.

From 1992 I went to (the FNM) government, and begged them—I didn’t beg for anything for me, I begged for the people of Eleuthera, for the Cotton Bay Club, I begged for the government to help with that, to help the 200 people be kept employed there. And they refused.

We must now put politics behind us. PLP and FNM is done. And it is now the people of Eleuthera. Are we bold enough to rise to an occasion to do something to work together as a comprehensive force to pool our ideas in essence to pool our resources and move to the next level?

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Ken Holtermann

This was a very interesting article and very sad at the same time.

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