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A meeting for persons of the entire South Abaco community (which includes Cherokee Sound, Casuarina Point, Bahama Palm Shores, Schooner Bay, Crossing Rocks and Sandy Point) was held on February 26 in the Crossing Rocks Primary School. The goal of the meeting was for the South Abaco community to meet with persons from Schooner Bay Ventures Limited to discuss differences that had risen and make plans for the way forward.

Chamber of Commerce Meeting Addresses Schooner Bay Commons Land Discrepancy

Schooner Bay Commons Dispute

A meeting for persons of the entire South Abaco community (which includes Cherokee Sound, Casuarina Point, Bahama Palm Shores, Schooner Bay, Crossing Rocks and Sandy Point) was held on February 26 in the Crossing Rocks Primary School. The goal of the meeting was for the South Abaco community to meet with persons from Schooner Bay Ventures Limited to discuss differences that had risen and make plans for the way forward.

The result was, however, disappointing to those in attendance since no one from Schooner Bay Ventures Limited showed up. Though, many people from the South Abaco community were in attendance. The meeting was chaired by Administrator Lavon Harris-Smith and Vado Bootle, Vice President of the Abaco Chamber of Commerce.

The meeting was opened by Jacqueline Estevez, Chief Counselor for South Abaco, who welcomed all present and expressed the hope that the evening’s dialogue would prove very successful in bringing the community together and fostering good relations, thus furthering the economic situation of South Abaco.

She remarked; “Schooner Bay has a lot to offer South Abaco and we invite you to voice your concerns and help us to understand your issues.” However, as the meeting progressed it became obvious that no one from Schooner Bay Ventures Limited was going to be in attendance.

Ms. Lavon Harris Smith stated that the goal of the Bahamas government is to stimulate the economy and that the issues with Schooner Bay and South Abaco needed to be addressed in order that the economy of South Abaco could become stimulated.

Mr. Bootle recognized that this would be a delicate task addressing the concerns which have arisen regarding the Commons and Schooner Bay Ventures Limited. He informed the persons present that 100 acres of land situated within the southern boundary of Schooner Bay was granted to the people of Abaco in 2010 by The Bahamas government and designated the ‘Commons.’ An annual license for this land was granted to Schooner Bay but the foundation never registered this in the registry of The Bahamas so it is not a valid document. This Commons land was granted for the use of all of the residents of Abaco and for a wide variety of uses.

Mr. Bootle further stated; “We will seek to establish a proper foundation to manage the Commons in another meeting to include all areas of South Abaco and guidelines will have to be adhered to. The Bahamas government wishes to have the Commons land utilized by Bahamians and it is sad that both sides are not here. The Chamber’s desire is for everyone to exist peacefully but, unfortunately, no one is present from Schooner Bay to shed light on the recent issues which have arisen. Since Miss Gascoyne, Counsel for Schooner Bay Ventures Limited, who had asked Tracy Kelly of Driftwood Farms to vacate the Commons, is not present, the matter cannot be concluded at this time.”

At the close of this meeting a further meeting to set up a proper Foundation was scheduled for Thursday, March 10 at 6 PM in the Repentance Ministry Church, Crossing Rocks.

“We need persons present who represent every community,” stated Mr. Bootle.

Following a vote of thanks and closing prayer the meeting was adjourned.

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