back to Environment
- Bimini, Bahamas
Bay Gets Off The Ground
After years of fighting environmental
challenges, the developer of The Bimini Bay Resort &
Casino has finally received approval from the government to
proceed with his plans.
Gerado Capo on Wednesday signed an amended Heads of
Agreement with the government. The agreement assures that
provisions are in place for the protection, preservation and
promotion of the environment.
“The amended agreement represents a significant
improvement over the provisions of the previous one,” said
Prime Minister Perry Christie during the signing ceremony at
the Cabinet Office Wednesday.
“We have undertaken to gain a greater appreciation
for the sensitivity and uniqueness of Bimini’s environmental
habitat and wherever possible to protect the natural resources
of the community,” he said.
The prime minister added that the developer has agreed
to submit regular Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
studies and management plans to the government.
“Plans exist that have been specifically designed to
govern future development opportunities to make certain that
mitigation measures are established for the preservation of
the environmental integrity of that island,” Mr. Christie
Over the years, some Bimini residents and
environmentalists have expressed concerns regarding the
possible degradation the development could cause to the
But Mr. Capo has since indicated that all such
environmental concerns have been resolved in close
consultation with the Bahamas Environmental Science and
Technology (BEST) Commission, to which it has provided
numerous environmental reports.
Initially approved by the Free National Movement
government in July 1997, the 700-acre project has been
substantially scaled back by some 50 percent with fewer
housing units, condominiums and hotel rooms.
The original agreement provided for 930 rooms. The
revised amount is now 410.
There were also provisions for 3,500
condominiums, which have been revised to 1,080. The original
agreement provided for 611 single-family houses. This figure
is now 440.
According to Mr. Christie, such a substantial reduction
has consequently resulted in an overall property density
factor of 3 units per acre, down from the initial figure of
“This is a wonderful testimony to the good faith that
has been established between this government and the
developer…and the winner happens to be Bimini, which will be
second to no destination in The Bahamas. In that context, I
embrace Mr. Capo’s enthusiasm and commitment,” Mr.
The resort will include a small casino, restaurants,
spa, and fitness centre. There will also be an 18-hole Links
golf course and a first class marina capable of accommodating
150 pleasure vessels and mega yachts.
Other features will be a commercial centre, boutique,
marine shop, marina village and beach and swim club.
According to Mr. Capo, the development has proven more
of a success than expected. To date, some $42 million in real
estate has been sold. Additionally, 71 units have been sold,
some of which will be completed in the next 60 days.
One hundred workers will be hired during the
construction phase of the development. An additional 300 persons will be hired to operate the
The developer has committed to using Bahamian
contractors, construction firms, design professionals and to
establishing job training programmes.
“Bimini is a small community, but I still intend to train
those individuals who want to work and to learn not only in
the construction field, but also in the service, accounting,
technical sectors,” Mr. Capo said.
Mr. Capo, who developed the Treasure Cove community in
New Providence, also spoke of other benefits his new
development will bring to Bimini.
“I hope to create something not only to be proud of
but also to do things for the island and its people,” he
said. I think the developer and the people should be married
in a relationship where both sides work hand in hand. We have
to create permanent employment for all Bahamians, particularly
the young generation of Biminites.”
Mr Capo has also pledged to construct a primary school
on the island to accommodate 250 children and he has committed
to purchasing a fire truck and related equipment
Among those on hand for the signing were Financial
Services and Investments Minister Allyson Gibson-Maynard;
Works and Utilities Minister Bradley Roberts; Tourism Minister
and West End and Bimin MP, Obie Wilchcombe; Ambassador to the
Environment and BEST Commission Chairman Keod Smith; and Mr.
Capo’s attorney Valentine Grimes.