NASSAU, Bahamas, Mar. 10, CMC – The Government of The Bahamas has signed a heads of agreement with Disney Island Development Ltd. for a proposed cruise port and entertainment facility on the island of Eleuthera.
The agreement announced by Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis, will also include an entertainment facility and has a projected investment of between US$250 million and $400 million.
According to a government statement, Disney has completed acquisition of the property from the private seller and approximately 190 acres of the land purchased from the private seller, including the southernmost point of the property, will be conveyed to the Government of The Bahamas for conservation and a national park.
The appraised value of the land donation is $6.29 million.
Core elements of the proposed project include low density development and sustainable design, public access and economic opportunities for Bahamians.
Minnis made the announcement during a recent Town Hall Meeting to update residents on the government’s mid-year budget statement and the 30th Inter-Sessional Caricom meeting recently held in St Kitts and Nevis.
Under the Heads of Agreement, DCL will ensure a minimum of 120 Bahamians will be employed directly during the construction of the project.
Disney also has committed to aim for an overall ratio of 80 percent Bahamian workers to 20 percent non-Bahamian workers during the life of the construction phase of the project. This is subject to qualified labor being available and the need to ensure the highest level of technical compliance with international standards
Disney Cruise Line (DCL) will also create as many as 150 permanent, sustainable jobs with health benefits in a range of positions for Bahamians once construction is completed.
The development will provide a variety of entrepreneurial opportunities for residents of Eleuthera and Bahamians in general.
DCL will partner with agencies to develop training and professional development programmes, including the LIM Maritime Academy, Access Accelerator (Small Business Development Center) and the Hospitality Institute of the University of The Bahamas.
The agreement also states that space must be provided for Bahamian vendors on the property for the sale of authentic, high quality Bahamian retail goods, services, souvenirs, arts and crafts, Bahamian T-shirts and other merchandise.
Disney must also give priority to Bahamian owners and operators to provide port adventures for DCL guests while its ships are in port, and will seek to use Bahamian entertainers.
Other elements of the project include the integration of Bahamian cultural and artistic expression into the design of the site and experiences offered.
Disney also will provide all citizens and residents of The Bahamas with access to the property for non-commercial purposes and will collaborate with Government and local communities to meaningfully contribute to initiatives that meet community needs, with a special focus on children and families.
DCL also intends to increase the number of its ships’ calls at the Port of Nassau and/or the Port of Freeport by 30-40 percent over the number of calls made by DCL ships in 2018.
Construction of the project will not begin until the Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Management Plan are reviewed and approved.
“The Government of The Bahamas is satisfied that it made the best decision in the interest of the Bahamian people, a sustainable future for the people of Central and South Eleuthera and the economic development of the country,” the Prime Minister said.
“The implementation of this project supports the government’s plan of expanding the economy of our country and economic opportunities for our people by promoting development in the Family Islands.”
The Government notes Disney’s record of environmental stewardship and will ensure that the project is implemented in a manner which safeguards the environment and is in the interests of the people of The Bahamas.