We are the Bimini Blue Coalition, a partnership of local residents, homeowners, community leaders and stakeholders, all working towards keeping Bimini’s water the bluest in The Bahamas. We wanted to welcome the Genting team to Bimini and offer some respectful suggestions regarding your new business venture on the island. As you likely know, the Bimini Bay Resort has long been at odds with the people of this island and has generated an enourmous amount of negative publicity for Bimini. Despite what you may have been told, most (if not all) of this controversy could have and should have been avoided.
People here understand the importance of tourism, and welcome new investments to the island as long as they display a basic respect and understanding of what has established Bimini as an attractive tourist destination for the last several decades. This basic respect and appreciation for what has continued to grow Bimini’s tourism industry is what has often seemed to be lacking from the RAV Bahamas team, and Genting has an incredible opportunity to make positive strides towards better melding the new Resorts World Bimini into the local community.
There are two key issues at hand that our group is particularly concerned with, the first of which is the proposed cruise ship terminal off North Bimini. This proposal suggests compromising or diminishing proven features of Bimini’s tourism product (our beaches; our reefs; the clarity of our water; etc.) for the sake of an unnecessary convenience to your resort. It takes away from what everyone loves about Bimini, and would damage the existing tourism industry that has made Bimini attractive to investors like Genting and others.
As you may be aware, there is an online petition against this terminal, as well as several paper copies circulating around the island.
As we previously mentioned, all of this controversy and negative publicity can be avoided by simply developing a smarter plan for getting guests to the island. Keep in mind, we are not against expanding the airport for more flights, nor are we opposed to the Balaeria fast-ferry service that ran earlier in the year. This is because neither of those things would take away from what Bimini has to offer the residents and visitors here, nor do they damage the natural beauty of the island.
If Resorts World Bimini was to consider alternate ferry/cruise ship plans (ex: employ several smaller boats so that passengers could be brought directly into Bimini’s existing harbor, rather than one 1500 passenger boat) you would not suffer such large public outcry. If you were to utilize the government dock in Alice Town for your ferry service, that would be a tremendous benefit to everyone and no one would oppose such an endeavor, though it seems as if your purchase of such a large boat likely makes that unrealistic. Perhaps employing two or three ~500 passenger boats would be a more sensible option that one 1500 passenger boat?
The second issue that our team is focusing on is finalizing the full protections for the North Bimini Marine Reserve. Bimini was deemed the highest priority site in all of The Bahamas back in the year 2000 for a Marine Protected Area, and the North Bimini Marine Reserve was finally declared in December of 2008. We are currently trying to get the formal designation of this area finalized, but the RAV Bahamas team have held up this process for years. Having an officially recognized Marine Protected Area right out your back door will only make Resorts World Bimini more attractive to guests and investors. You will have the easiest access to the enormous wealth of that area, as well as some of the best views of this pristine Bahamian landscape.
Last year, a letter was sent to the Prime Minister asking for the final approvals for the North Bimini Marine Reserve to be established. The letter was signed by all of Bimini’s bonefishing guides, numerous church leaders, local government officials, resident researchers, and the management or ownership of every resort and hotel on the island, except for the Bimini Bay Resort. Formalizing these protections will benefit every individual and business on the island, as well as safeguard our existing tourism industry that relies on our reefs and waters remaining healthy and bountiful. If Genting declared their support for these protections it would be an enormous benefit to the island, as well as your reputation in the region.
We want Resorts World Bimini to be successful, and we can envision the resort being a leader throughout The Bahamas if certain steps are taken. We welcome a dialogue between your team and the wider community of Bimini, and hope you will make some serious considerations as to your resorts ability to turn the page on the controversial past of the Bimini Bay Resort.
Bimini Blue Coalition
bimini.blue.coalition (at) gmail.com