Friday, March 10, 2006
By MINDELL SMALL, Guardian Senior Reporter email@example.com
ABRAHAM’S BAY, MAYAGUANA - In a rally-type speech yesterday, Prime Minister Perry Christie told Mayaguana residents that the I-Group’s $1.8 billion resort condominium development will bring major business opportunities to that remote south-eastern island. Mr Christie was speaking at the new terminal building at Mayaguana airport in a “Celebration by the I-Group and the Hotel Corporation of The Bahamas.”
“This is now a new opportunity for you to increase, improve and extend what you are able to earn, the quality of life you are able to lead, and the travel you are able to do,” he said.
On Tuesday, the I-Group signed a Heads of Agreement for the project, a partnership described as a 50/50 joint venture between the Massach-usetts-based group and the government. A year ago, the group formed the Mayaguana Development Company (MDC), to carry out the work. MDC president Stephen Roy said the I-Group had been looking at other islands in The Bahamas to build the resort but chose Mayaguana because of its ideal topography.
“We have good, hard rock for the runway and we have a level area where we can actually make a 16,000 feet runway, which would be the longest runway in the world,” he said.
“The reason the U.S. military was here back in the 60s was military planners also saw that the basic infrastructure could be put in Mayaguana with fewer challenges. And I believe that it can be the economic jump-starter for [the] whole south-eastern Bahamas.” Although a handful of the island’s 297 residents expressed disapproval over the project, none of them wanted to be interviewed. Reginald Charlton, a local businessman, said he had no problem with the development itself but explained that he did not like the way the government was moving ahead with it. “I am not comfortable with the way we are being treated. We are just now finding out today the depth of the investment,” he said.
“We need the investment because there is a lot of hardship on this island but you have people who were born here and grew up here and have not been told what is going on.”
But Member of Parliament for the area, Alfred Gray hit back at the criticisms, saying the government had fully consulted Mayaguanians about the project.
The project will cover 9,999 acres and is expected to take 15 years to complete. The new runway will reportedly be ready later this year.
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