CUT IT OUT: Businessman slams “non-Eleutheran” opposition to Disney’s Lighthouse Point project
“The negativity must stop and the voices of Eleutherans need to be heard”
Sands decries “more concern about stopping Disney than focusing on the growth and development” of South Eleuthera
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — A prominent Eleuthera businessman yesterday pushed back against opponents of Disney’s Lighthouse Point project, urging the “non-Eleutheran lobby” to redirect their efforts to other opportunities on the island.
Thomas Sands, a South Eleuthera businessman and real estate developer who also serves as the island’s Chamber of Commerce president, in a statement expressing his personal view on opposition to the Disney Lighthouse Point project, suggested that much of the opposition to the project has come from those with no ties to South Eleuthera or any real interest in its economic development.
“I have had an opportunity to review the proposal, meet and get to know the Disney team and gauge the likely impact on my economy — an economy which has been on the decline for many years,” said Sands.
“I am a resident, a South Eleuthera business owner and real estate developer who is passionate about my island and who has spent years working on and personally investing in various opportunities that I believe would help my community.
South Eleutherans have been promised many things in the past that, although efforts have been made, for various reasons, have not fully materialized. Those in this community know that Lighthouse Point has been privately owned for a number of years, as well as openly marketed for sale, and has sat undeveloped until Disney expressed an interest in the development roughly three years ago.”
He noted that since then, many counter proposals have been presented.
Sands noted: “In light of the fact that Disney has purchased the land and conducted a thorough, three-year-long environmental impact assessment (EIA), it seems unconscionable that there continues to be all of this outside (non-Eleutheran) lobbying against.
“I would note that the same level of effort and follow-through was not made prior to Disney’s involvement. In many respects, there seems to be more concern about stopping Disney rather than focusing on the growth and development of our community.”
He added: “I personally invite all of those who oppose Disney because they have another plan to go out there and find another property and show Disney how it’s done.
“There is an abundance of fantastic real estate across the island that needs development and the more projects that come on stream, the more opportunities there will be for Eleutherans.
“I believe that most Eleutherans love the environment and ecology of our island just as much as those who visit. We love our families, too. We want our children to grow up here and have opportunities to not only eke out an existence here, but also have a good quality of life, to excel and to succeed at home.
“With this in mind, it seems important to add to the conversation the point that this discussion is multifaceted, not just about a cruise port and not just about the environment. It is about the livelihoods and sustainable development of an island community. I do not want to be misunderstood.”
Sands said: “Allow the process being carefully undertaken by our government to continue unhindered so that a proper determination can be made. The negativity must stop and the voices of Eleutherans (especially South Eleutherans) need to be heard and we need to move on.”