The Lighthouse Point Partnership submitted to the Prime Minister, in his capacity as Chairman of the National Economic Council, a plan to build a Bahamian-owned eco-resort on Lighthouse Point. The plan is designed to generate sustainable dividends and employment for the Eleuthera community, diversify the Bahamian tourism product for long-term stop-over visitors and expand the GDP of The Bahamas.
Lighthouse Point Partners comprises the One Eleuthera Foundation (OEF), Leon Levy Foundation, The Island School, Bahamas National Trust, amongst others.
In seven years of operation the One Eleuthera Foundation has accomplished much. It is the largest non-governmental Bahamian employer in South Eleuthera. The Organization established a tertiary school, the Centre of Training and Innovation, which provides technical training, operates a training hotel, restaurant and a teaching farm. It supports the operation of The South Eleuthera Mission which provides tutoring and teaching resources for primary and high school students. It supports South Eleuthera Emergency Partners which provides ambulance and fire emergency response services to the community. It supports the Eleuthera Arts and Cultural Centre (formerly the ‘Lil Prep’). It established the One Eleuthera Cooperative Credit Union. Finally, it provides funding for scholarships as well as funding for many local initiatives and NGOs on Eleuthera.
The OEF Social and Economic Development Model combines Bahamian entrepreneurial talent and donor funding by second homeowners and Bahamians. The model is operationalized through a non-profit/cooperative vehicle. This social enterprise model is a viable option for other communities in our country.
In my capacity as Chairman of the One Eleuthera Foundation, I believe that this model can advance our partnership’s goals. Our goals include deepening Bahamian ownership of the economy, empowering Bahamian communities and increasing the global competitiveness of the Bahamian tourism product in the area of heritage and eco-tourism.
The Lighthouse Point Partnership has mobilized the financial resources to purchase the 800 acres of Lighthouse Point land. The land will be vested in a non-profit entity (in perpetuity) governed by directors/trustees nominated by community stakeholders in Eleuthera. Bahamians will own the land, not for conservation only, but for sustainable and responsible development.
The Partnership has attracted three Bahamian hospitality brands and will invite other Bahamian-owned hotels/attractions to participate. Private venture capital and advisory support will be provided to ensure that Bahamian artisans and entrepreneurs in tours and water sports can own the amenities and attractions at the resort. This will ensure sustainable sources of employment for Bahamians on Eleuthera and and provide a stimulus for Bahamian businesses throughout the island.