‘All Your Islands Are Belong To Us’
While World Bank President Robert Zoellick warns that the world is “one shock away from a full-blown crisis,” China has broken ground and taken over the economic future of the Bahamas.
The Nassau Guardian summed it up nicely: “The Bahamas has fallen fully into the embrace of China. And the rising empire has been kind with its gifts … What Bahamians must understand is that when China lends, and it contracts its own workers to do the job, a significant amount of the money borrowed goes back to China with the workers who build the project. They pay their workers with money we borrow … The Chinese also keep their workers in self-contained on-site camps when they are sent abroad. We barely get them to visit our stores to spend the money we borrowed when they are working in our countries.”
In an insightful commentary on the upi.com website, Arnaud De Borchgrave, UPI Editor at Large, notes that when China invests in developing countries, Chinese labor is part of a “no-ticky-no-laundry” deal.
Indeed! For the $3 billion Baha Mar project on Cable Beach – 15 minutes from Nassau’s international airport and 30 minutes from downtown Nassau – China originally said it would require 8,150 of its own workers on site. Bahamians had a fit. After the Bahamas government complained that the influx would discombobulate the local labor market, the two countries compromised on 6,150-strong Chinese labor force.
Also in Nassau, the Chinese are completing construction on a national stadium, building a road from the airport to the new Baha Mar project and building a $10 million chancery to handle the influx of Chinese labor. China is also spending $70 million on improving Nassau’s international airport as well as handling numerous construction projects in the Family Islands.
China estimates the Baha Mar complex over the next 20 years will result in $5 billion in incremental tax revenue and a cumulative $11.2 billion to Bahamas domestic product. By then, China should be irreversibly entrenched in the strategic archipelago.Baha Mar, china, construction