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News Article
Eleuthera to 'chart a course for growth' at Outlook event

A focus on "stimulating growth" will guide the second annual Eleuthera Business Outlook, which has been slated for April 24th.
The Eleuthera event, the newest of the multi-island series, will take place at Cape Eleuthera Resort and Marina, South Eleuthera, with Prime Minister Perry Christie as keynoter speaking to the theme "Charting a Course for Growth in Eleuthera."
"The theme for all our Business Outlook forums this year has been basically the same--a focus on stimulating economic growth after what seemed to be an entrenched recession, which slowed or put growth on hold in a number of areas," said Joan Albury, president of TCL Group and chief organizer of the Business Outlook Series.
"Growth has certainly been the government's focus this year. It is important for Bahamians throughout the archipelago to hear directly from the country's leader what the government's plan is for their community, specifically, and to be able to ask him questions. We are most grateful that Prime Minister Christie and a number of other strategically chosen speakers have agreed to join us in Eleuthera."
Joining Christie on the podium will be Eleuthera Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Sands, Jr., who will update the audience on the developments in Eleuthera since the last Business Outlook.
"We are fortunate to have the support of the Eleuthera Chamber of Commerce again this year and its dynamic president, Thomas Sands, who has a finger on the pulse of business and society on the island, especially in the south. This is a partnership we hold in high regard because it is so necessary to create the kind of cooperate efforts that will continue to energize the Eleuthera economy. It was, in fact, Mr. Sands who invited TCL to bring the forum to his home island. He saw the value of the Business Outlook programme in pulling together the right players from key sectors to share the necessary information to drive things forward," said Albury.
Completing the slate of speakers for the 2014 Eleuthera Business Outlook are: Christel Sands Feaste, partner, Higgs & Johnson, Attorneys-at-Law; Scott Gorsline, VP operations, Cape Eleuthera Resort and Marina; James Malcolm, VP & managing director, Sand Piper Inn and Destination Schooner Bay Ltd.; Juan Pulido, project manager at Cotton Bay Holding Ltd.; Angela Cleare, founder, ABC Tours & Consulting Co.; Christopher Maxey, founder and director, Cape Eleuthera Island School; Arinthia Komolafe, managing director, The Bahamas Development Bank, and Edrin Symonette, farmer and entrepreneur.

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News Article
Wilson: Eight figures invested in Cotton Bay

Investors in the troubled Cotton Bay Estates project have invested "eight figures", according to its chairman.
Franklyn Wilson said despite the project's recent legal woes and hard economic times, the $200 million development in Eleuthera is still moving forward with support from "some very deep pockets".
Wilson, who is also the chairman of Arawak Homes, said Cotton Bay remains undeterred.
"The reason I have been reluctant to give any specific timelines, is because who knows when the economic conditions make sense," he told Guardian Business. "We are being deliberate and cautious. Development has never stopped. We have simply been pacing ourselves."
The comments come shortly after a ruling in the Supreme Court that denied Cotton Bay's claim to $11 million in performance bonds.
Judge Stephen G. Isaacs sided with CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank (Bahamas), claiming "the bonds are not valid and enforceable against the bank."
The former project manager of Cotton Bay, Penn's Renovation & Construction Company, requested the bonds in preparation for phases one and two of the project. After the work contracts were
terminated, Cotton Bay investors still called in the bond, which was subsequently denied by the bank.
Wilson told Guardian Business that he was disappointed by the verdict, commenting that "it was not a frivolous matter".
"My position is this, nobody sues a bank, a major one like FirstCaribbean, and you do that lightly. We had four different senior attorneys from in and outside The Bahamas take a look at this case, and we were not represented by lightweight council. The judge did not rule in our favor, and that's life."
The Cotton Bay chairman explained that attorneys had sought confirmation through the bank that the bonds were valid. Wilson claimed he received what was interpreted as confirmation, although the document was ultimately deemed improper.
The plaintiffs also asserted the bank's actions through the process validated that the bonds were accepted.
While the court claimed the bonds would have only covered 35 percent of the contractor's cost, Wilson insisted the $8 million bond, earmarked for the clubhouse, represented nearly the entire expenditure. The second bond, coming in at $3 million, was meant for villas valued at around $6 million.
In all, he said the $11 million worth of bonds were for approximately $15 million in contracts.
Wilson admitted to Guardian Business that the ruling serves as another blow to the project.
He said the legal affair "was huge" and "something not taken lightly".
But overall Wilson remained upbeat on the property's future. He insisted that once complete, Cotton Bay will feature "one of the greatest golf courses in the Caribbean".
Work is ongoing on the course and hotel, he explained. The giant clubhouse, which is now the largest building on Eleuthera, is essentially complete, along with villas totaling 54 rooms.
On a personal note, Wilson told Guardian Business he took comfort in the fact that Judge Isaacs defended him amid allegations from the defense that his testimony was "not credible".
Located five miles south of Rock Sound, Starwood Hotels & Resorts first signed an agreement with Eleuthera Properties Ltd. in 2005 to develop the massive project. Comprising more than 100 estate lots, a clubhouse, a private marina and an 18-hole golf course, it was heralded as one of the largest projects ever undertaken by a group of Bahamian investors.

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News Article
Christie declares Eleuthera economy on upswing

Declaring that tourism is on the upswing in Eleuthera, Prime Minister Perry Christie said yesterday that phase one of the Cotton Bay development in South Eleuthera is 75 percent complete and the developers have already invested $90 million to date.
"The resort aims to re-establish the legacy of the jet-setting families of the 50s, 60s and 70s that frequented the club community, making them homes away from home," said Christie at the Eleuthera Business Outlook at Cape Eleuthera Resort and Marina.
"Cotton Bay will feature world-class golf courses that will attract golf enthusiasts from the world over. It will offer luxurious amenities, including two oceanfront hotel sites managed by Noble House Hotels and Resorts.
"To continue to enhance tourism on the island and support the Cotton Bay development, particular attention will be given to airlift in South Eleuthera."
The prime minister said Cotton Bay is a good example of a development that attracted the interest and investment of Bahamians. Franklyn Wilson serves as chairman of Eleuthera Properties Ltd.
Christie also reported, "We are well advanced in our negotiations with the Samiento and Four Seasons interests for a Four Seasons branded luxury resort also here in South Eleuthera.
"My professional advisors will meet again next week with Four Seasons representatives with a view to wrapping up the terms of a Heads of Agreement for approval by the National Economic Council."
Christie said from January to December 2013 a total of 249,017 visitors came to Eleuthera.
"However, I feel that we can improve on this number and will improve on it with the development of a few new resorts on the island," he said.
Christie said that as an island, Eleuthera continues to embrace its role as a leader in hospitality and position itself for major revitalization.
That revitalization has already begun, with developments such as The Cove, and Eleutherans are reaping the benefits, he said.
"However, there is much more that is being done to ensure significant growth in Eleuthera, and the government is continuously working to make Eleuthera a first choice destination for tourists, both foreign and domestic," Christie said.
"While the government will necessarily play a pivotal role going forward, there is no question that dedicated efforts must also be deployed by the private sector to further the development of Eleuthera's economy and community."
Christie said as Eleuthera grows, the right course must be charted for responsible engagement with these treasures. Such beauty should not and must not be spoiled in the name of advancement.
The prime minister encouraged Bahamians with roots in Eleuthera to build second homes and to resettle in Eleuthera.
"We see this happening in places like Governor's Harbour, Palmetto Point, Windermere and other parts of the Island," he said.
"In addition to building homes there are business opportunities to be embraced and community programs in which to become engaged."
Renaissance
Pointing to the ongoing development of the Bahamas Agricultural and Marine Science Institute (BAMSI) in North Andros, the prime minister said this revitalization of farming is meant to impact all islands.
"In Eleuthera, we are looking to reintroduce large scale production of the world-famous sugarloaf pineapple," he said.
"This revitalization will help to significantly impact the Eleutheran economy and it will also support a thriving tourism economy.
"In fact, the revitalization of farming can go a long way in supporting all types of tourism. In the story of the sugarloaf, there are exact reasons why the pineapple export failed, all having to do with the cost of production.
"We hope to find innovative ways of mitigating costs and modern ways of increasing production to meet the demands of smaller hotels and resorts.
"Specifically, my government would like to see and support the re-establishment and re-imagining of the pineapple industry in Eleuthera. And we would like similar re-visioning to be done for all agriculture in Eleuthera."
He said while the course for tourism is set and bodes well for the economy of Eleuthera, there are other developments and changes that will and must happen to ensure growth in Eleuthera.
The building of a new hospital in Palmetto Point will go a long way in serving and supporting the immediate community and populations for the whole Island, the prime minister said.
He said the land has already been acquired with plans being drawn for a hospital that meets local and international standards.
"This should provide a boost for meeting the basic medical needs of residents and visitors alike," Christie added.
"While we work towards an economic renaissance in Eleuthera, we must remember that the pineapple is the symbol of hospitality throughout the world.
"As a significant part of engaging the hospitality community in the revitalization of Eleuthera, the government's National Training Programme is gearing up to train locals.
"This program will help to facilitate the education and skills development of the workforce with extensive training initiatives and standardization of service levels. Upon successful completion, persons will be provided with valid certification."
The prime minister declared, "With help from the government, public private partnerships and significant investment from both Bahamians and foreigners, this island is on a course headed for major economic growth. For this growth we require the cooperation of the entire Eleutheran community to stay the course."

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News Article
Banking mogul to build 30M resort on Eleuthera

Approval for a $30 million development in Eleuthera is being welcomed whole-heartedly by its soon to be next-door neighbor, Cotton Bay Estates.
Franklyn Wilson, chairman of the high-profile project, revealed that Luis Carlos Sarmiento, a Columbian billionaire, has reignited his ambitions on the island to construct a luxury resort.
With an estimated net worth of $10.5 billion, the banking mogul's project, combined with Cotton Bay Estates, has the capacity to "without question create the golfing capital of The Bahamas and the Caribbean".
World-class golf courses designed by professionals are intended to be the centerpieces of the neighboring resorts.
In its final cabinet meeting before the election, the government reportedly approved the Columbian's $30 million project to build an 80-room resort, golf course, spa, shopping area, restaurant and bar.
"If it happens it will be fantastic for our property," Wilson said.
"It would mean Eleuthera will have the two best golf courses right next to each other - the two best in the Caribbean. It is a tremendous thing for Eleuthera Properties Ltd."
According to Wilson, Sarmiento purchased the old Cotton Bay Club from Eleuthera Properties Ltd. in 1995. While there were plans for a "significant development", Sarmiento didn't share the same vision of the government. Any disagreements have apparently been resolved, however, and Guardian Business understands that Sarmiento has been negotiating with the Four Seasons to run the new resort.
After the approval, Ingraham said the project would mean more government investment in Eleuthera to bolster public infrastructure.The airport, roads and utilities may be poised for expansion, creating further stimulus to the economy and employment opportunities.
Wilson told Guardian Business that Cotton Bay Estates and Sarmiento's project have agreed to "significant cooperation".
"Firstly, if they have a golf course, and we do, clearly it makes us work together to find ways to let the golfing world know that these exist. Second, we'll talk to the same market - high-end luxury. They do not have a marina, whereas we do. A lot of people who come will want access to a world-class marina," he added.
Wilson felt the issue of water supply is a challenge both developments must tackle. The rise of both resorts has the capacity to reduce costs, he explained , through their "synergies".
"The two of us together will be exceptional for The Bahamas," he said.
Wilson, who is also the chairman of Arawak Homes, told Guardian Business last month that Cotton Bay Estates remains undeterred despite some recent setbacks.
"Eight figures" have so far been invested in the project, although he has expressed reluctance to place a specific timeline on the $200 million development's completion date.
He emphasized that Cotton Bay benefits from some "very deep pockets".
Located five miles south of Rock Sound, Starwood Hotels & Resorts first signed an agreement with Eleuthera Properties Ltd. in 2005 to develop the massive project. Comprising more than 100 estate lots, a clubhouse, a private marina and an 18-hole golf course, it was heralded as one of the largest projects ever undertaken by a group of Bahamian investors.

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News Article
Attorney questions how family island businesses will access accounting services under VAT

The upcoming Eleuthera Business Outlook will soon be addressing family island-specific value-added tax (VAT) queries, like where local businesses can find accounting services to prepare for VAT, whether developers who access concessions under the Hotels Encouragement Act will be subject to VAT and how tax liabilities arising from a "myriad" of family-owned businesses will be determined.
Taking place on April 24 at the Cape Eleuthera Resort and Marina, Higgs and Johnson partner Christel Sands-Feaste - along with a wide variety of speakers - will speak about the proposed tax, looking at topics ranging from tourism to entrepreneurship and farming.
The business-centered conference is being organized by The Counsellors Limited (TCL) in conjunction with the Eleuthera Chamber of Commerce (ECC), at a time when ECC President and realtor, Thomas Sands, said there are signs that the island, like a number of other family islands, is beginning to "emerge" from the protracted economic downturn.
Sands will speak at the event on the importance of local entrepreneurs being ready to capitalize on the spin-off opportunities that arise from larger developments, and the role of the government in incentivizing island business growth by providing a "level playing field" to both domestic and foreign developers in terms of tax concessions and incentives.
At a press conference held on Friday, Sands said he is hopeful about the island's prospects, particularly in light of significant activity in the vacation rental sector and a spike in interest in real estate purchases.
"Being in the real estate business, and I've been in the business for more than 20 years, you can see the signs of things to come, and it's very important to begin to plan when you see those signs. So the signs that we have as indicators are the vacation rental business.
"Over the last couple of years, that is an area that has been seen to find its growth. It's continued to subsidize the lack of hotel rooms in the island of Eleuthera, and through the Internet and the use of websites, like Homeaway.com and individuals who've been very creative in marketing, they have been able to essentially replace that lack of inventory. New vacation homes have been built over the last five years although we've been in the recession, and I think it has raised the standard of accommodation available.
"As of last year, we began to, in our personal business and in consultation with other realtors, to see some indication of new real estate interest. Of course that doesn't always turn into sales...but when you see the level of interest begin to be raised after no activity for years that's a good indicator."
Sands noted a number of recent larger-scale developments, in the form of the Cove Eleuthera Resort opening, which he described as "the first boutique high-end resort to open on the mainland of Eleuthera in probably 30 years," as a "step forward" and a confidence boost for the local economy. He argued that any successful large scale development in the family islands will also need local businesses to step in to provide auxiliary services.
Sands-Feaste said she hopes to use her presentation at the Business Outlook to provide practical examples to business operators in Eleuthera - whether they be vacation rental operators or 'mom and pop' shops - of some of the issues surrounding VAT, "so they are informed, they have the opportunity to ask questions, and they feel that they have some good insight into what is proposed at the moment."
"Some of the issues, with regard to VAT, are applicable not only to Eleuthera, but other family islands. For example, with developers who would qualify for Hotels Encouragement Act benefits, under the current regime they would be subject to VAT, so it impacts pricing. In the family islands, there are additional costs associated with development; it's more difficult to get there, the cost of labor is higher, the cost of fuel is higher, so it has a knock on inflationary effect.
Sands-Feaste said that with many family island business operators involved in, not one, but a variety of local businesses, they could be subject to conducting a "complex calculation" in order to determine their tax liability. Furthermore, with most accounting firms based in New Providence, and many local business operators not used to having to travel to the capital for business purposes, there is a "practical issue" to overcome as businesses seek to comply.
She added, "The timing of rendering invoices could be problematic. In the family islands, the businesses tend not to be, or a smaller proportion of businesses tend to send invoices on a monthly basis, most people sort of render an invoice as they provide services; so, again, the fact that VAT needs to be paid by the 21st of the following month will impact cash flow, which is more acute in the family islands for businesses, in terms of how invoicing will be done," said the attorney.
Completing the slate of speakers for the 2014 Eleuthera Business Outlook are: Prime Minister Perry Christie; Scott Gorsline, VP operations, Cape Eleuthera Resort and Marina; James Malcolm, VP & managing director, Sand Piper Inn and Destination Schooner Bay Ltd.; Juan Pulido, project manager at Cotton Bay Holding Ltd.; Angela Cleare, founder, ABC Tours & Consulting Co.; Christopher Maxey, founder and director, Cape Eleuthera Island School; Arinthia Komolafe, managing director, The Bahamas Development Bank and Edrin Symonette, farmer and entrepreneur.
Bahamian booking engine, BahamaGo.com will partner with The Counsellors for the event.
The Second Annual Eleuthera Business Outlook is open to the public, but requires registration. Those interested in attending are advised to contact the Eleuthera Chamber of Commerce or The Counsellors Limited.

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News Article
Supreme Court rules against Cotton Bay
Supreme Court rules against Cotton Bay

Developers behind Cotton Bay Estates Limited have come up short in a Supreme Court ruling that denies the validity of $11 million worth of performance bonds.

The ruling, filed on behalf of Judge Stephen G. Isaacs, sided with CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank (Bahamas) and Penn's Renovation & Construction Company, claiming "the bonds are not valid and enforceable against the bank".

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Business Listing

Cotton Bay
Real Estate,Real Estate Developers,Marinas & Boat Docks
  • Cotton Bay
  • Rock Sound
  • Eleuthera, Bahamas
Business Listing

Davis Harbour Marina
Marinas & Boat Docks
  • Cotton Bay
  • Rock Sound
  • Eleuthera, Bahamas
News Article
Fishing Report: get ready for the muttonfish bite coming up after the full moon.
Fishing Report: get ready for the muttonfish bite coming up after the full moon.

Nassau: Captain Adam Russell reports that the fishing offshore of Nassau has been a bit slow this week but the yellowtail snapper fishing on the reefs has been good...

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News Article
Fishing Report
Fishing Report

The local charter captains have reported that the offshore fishing has been a bit slow with a few mahi and tuna caught this week...

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