I was interested to read in the Abaconian (Feb. 15th) that the Heads of Agreement for the Abaco Club’s current owners, Southworth Development, was “heavily negotiated for several years”. When one looks at Southworth’s wish list for this HOA, presented to Government in April, 2014, one can see why it took so long.
Here are just some of the things that Southworth asked for at that time:
-Exemption from customs duty on all materials, equipment, etc.
-Exemption from stamp duties and excise taxes for all materials, equipment, etc.
-Exemption from property taxes for 30 years.
-Exemption from taxation of any earnings, including rentals etc., for 20 years.
-Waiver of customs duty and stamp tax on any vehicles, including golf carts.
-Waiver of customs duty on livestock.
-Waiver of taxes on fuel.
-27 long-term work permits and residency cards.
-Landing fee concessions at the airport.
-Whatever Crown Grants were deemed necessary.
-Permits to dredge Little Harbour.
-Permits to mine sand from Little Harbour to put on the golf course and Winding Bay beach.
As Southworth Development has declined to make the HOA available to the public, there is no way to know how many of these demands were included in the final version. Presumably, since it took over two years of hard bargaining to finalize, most of them are now in the HOA.
Moreover, Mr. Southworth’s claim that the Abaco Club has “invested several million dollars in the Abaco community” seems somewhat unlikely. Southworth purchased the Club from Marriott International, so the purchase money did not even stay in the country, let alone in the Abaco community. The developer apparently does not intend to pay any duty or taxes to Government, so there will be no revenue for Abaco from that source. All proceeds from real estate sales, and potential dock slip sales, go straight into the developer’s pocket. And the marina would be constructed on two acres of harbour bottom (which is Crown Land), not on “property owned by the Abaco Club”, as stated by Mr. Southworth. It would be a private marina for Club members only, and certainly not available to, or in any way of benefit to, the Abaco community.