Plans For New Cat Island Airport Questioned

Thursday 15th, November 2012 / 10:19 Published by

New Bight International Airport

The last time I wrote to you, I was bemoaning the country’s “discovery/saviour attitude” expressed with respect to the donation from the Susan G. Komen organization that was being utilized for the purchase of mammogram machines for government institutions. (As a point of interest for a follow up newspaper article, are these machines operational yet?)

Today I wish to comment on another article in the Business Section of the Tuesday, November 13 edition of The Nassau Guardian under the headline “Cat Island airport to triple capacity”.

I am shocked to read that the government is ‘considering a joint venture’ with Cat Island Partners, the developers of the $220 million Professional Golf Association Village, to design the “new 21st century” New Bight International Airport and that these developers have hired an architectural design firm, Fortitude Design, based in Georgia U.S.A. to design it! Where is the outcry from the Institute of Bahamian Architects, the Bahamas Contractor’s Association and the Bahamian public?

I am puzzled by the comment that the “new facility would use traditional Bahamian architecture and rest relatively low to the ground” (is this feasible in the face of the continuous flooding challenges in our hurricane prone environment?) and I am highly insulted by the comment that “the building code is in line with those used in FLORIDA (my emphasis) so that it can withstand future hurricanes.”

I would have thought that the developer and the architect would be anxious to make themselves familiar with the highly touted stringent building codes of OUR country, and be honoured to use THEM as the benchmark, seeing as Florida representatives had to come over to The Bahamas years ago asking for advice about our building codes after the U.S. devastation caused by Hurricane Andrew!

Proposed design for refurbished New Bight International Airport

The US firm’s spokesman, Tim Kinsey, seemed to be proudly promoting their design (which appears to be a ‘done deal’ since a photograph of the model is in evidence) and it was stated that plans are “being exchanged between both the developer and the government”.

It is astonishing that there was no statement whatsoever on this matter either from the Government of The Bahamas, or any representative of the country. What is going on? Is not an airport an integral part of and testimony to a country’s sovereignty? Where is the control mechanism here – how can we so blithely and completely hand over this important component to a foreign entity?

This newspaper article highlights an unfortunate self-perpetuating set of affairs. It clearly demonstrates once again that we have not stepped out of the enslaving colonial mindset of looking to ‘massa’ to tell us what to do and how to do it while he sits back smugly to watch our submissive gratitude as we cower with hat in hand.

Colonialism is alive and well, and slavery of the mind marches on reinforced by keeping people dumb, debt-ridden and dependent! Until we become the masters of our own fate, self confident, self reliant and self sufficient, this vicious, devastating cycle of dependency will continue.

Wake up, people!

Pam Burnside

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