Point of VIEW.
purely analytical perception...
Beauty but That's About It.
Bahamas', crystalline waters and incomparable climate make it a postcard paradise.
The more than 700 islands, of which only 20 are inhabited, are home to a population
of 250,000 people. The 100,000 square miles of water that embodies
this archipelago's borders, originate within
60 miles of the Florida coast. This indeed is not only a beautiful country but
also a young one as well, currently being only 30-years
of age. Columbus called it "Baja Mar" or "shallow Sea", a
term used by Spanish Sailors and hence its name, Bahamas. The Island of
New Providence having by far the largest population of all of the islands makes
up over two-thirds of the country's total population. Nassau, the capital city
is located there and the names New Providence and Nassau are often used interchangeably
of A Tale
including the avid followers of Edgar Cayce believe that the first people that
came to this area were those from the lost continent of Atlantis. Numerous of
his advocates that have interpreted his sayings indicate that while he was
in a hypnotic trance he indicated in the early 1930s that Atlantis would be found
between the Bahamian Islands of North and South Bimini. Indeed,
amazingly not far below the surface of the crystal clear water in exactly
the spot he predicated appear to be two columns of rocks neatly arranged and running
horizontal to each other, which continue on for some
distance, forming an enormous letter "J".
Although we don't have a clue
who "J" is, it most probably is some sort
of natural occurrence but fervent believers think
that it is some kind of signal from a higher power. However,
there doesn't seem to be a lot of evidence of any
lost civilization located on this spot. In spite of that fact,
there are many believers in the "Atlantis" old-wives tale that
trek to this area regularly to carry on strange
incantations and other bizarre and mystical actions far too numerous to mention.
David Zink a somewhat credible instructor, who taught
English at the U.S. Air Force Academy stirred the pot by taking some of the stones
that made up the "J" and brought them to a Houston psychic. This
was exactly what was needed to stir the already boiling.
psychic proclaimed, without fear of contradiction that these stones were the collapsed
pillars of a religious temple that had great Karma when it had
originally been constructed. He went on to explain with
substantial certitude that the edifice was certainly erected
some 30,000 years ago by the Atlantisians who brought in labor from the
star cluster Pleiades to finish the work. There is little question
that knowing that those folks from the Pleiades never work for peanuts we inquired
as to what made these people from a far off galaxy determine to work on this particular
project. This question was met with an uncertain stare and we suddenly knew that
we were delving into a subject that was better left alone.
we are in awe over the information that this Houstonian was able to glean from
these water logged stones, we will withhold our skepticism because people from
that part of Texas have a history of being able to see things that many of us
may miss. This has been known to primarily occur on Saturday nights at some of
the local grog shops after the locals have tied on one too many, however the jury
is still out.
probably be some time before we are able to visit Pleiades and check out whether
these folks actually visited the Bahamas and worked the site, but whatever the
real story is, its certainly great for promoting tourism. However, the
numerous tourists that visit this site because of the
tall tales surrounding it are if nothing else themselves
bizarre to say the least. We have been told that it
pays huge dividends to be totally stoned when viewing this unworldly locale. Resident
indicate that the enhanced view become multicolored and three dimensional. Naturally,
the government of the Bahamian Government pushes the
hell out of the theory that Atlantis is located within
the confines of the Bahamas but with folks like these traveling the territory,
it may not help the neighborhood.
is only one dive-shop in Alice Town (The closest jumping off spot to the Bahamian
Atlantis) and that shop is owned by William (Bill) Keefe who stirs the pot just
a tad more by describing some of the characters that come to visit the underwater
Atlantis. "We've seen some things most people would find very strange."
Tim McDonald of the Toronto Star had Keefe expound on what he thought was strange.
these groups came in all sizes shapes and curiosities "including a group
of gay mystics with the snake skin in a decorative box, who sat in a circle and
chanted, then jumped into the water. Or the group that
startled Keefe by pulling out black onyx skulls before exploring the site.'
Anybody that was not pleased with their trip to see Atlantis would only have to
look at some their fellow travelers to have made their day.
Tad of History
back in to the real world, the Spanish were the first
Europeans to set foot here but it was the British that
settled in and took over the place. In the late 60s and early 70s, the sun began
to set on the British Empire and like ducks neatly set in a
row, England began returning
its Caribbean contingent to the locals. Jamaica,
Trinidad, Tobago, Barbados, Guyana all preceded the Bahamas in getting their freedom.
Because of this, by 1973, Lynden Pindling, a London trained lawyer who became
the country's first elected premier was well equipped
to take charge.
One Step Back in Time
first inhabitants of the Bahamas were probably the Siboneys, a fishing clan that
arrived in the Bahamas from the Yucatan Peninsula via Florida. On the other hand,
when Columbus landed in 1492, he found the Arawak Indians who practiced a strange
culture called Tainan. These people, the Laukku-cain, or Lucayans (Island People)
fished and cultivated cotton. However, Columbus was hardly looking for cotton
or fish. There was little question that his benefactors in Spain had not
sent his expedition half-way around the world to bring back enough food for a
fish-fry. They were after bigger game and so was Chris. Isabella
would have his neck if he was not able to bring back a more significant prize
for her after she had hocked the royal jewels to finance his folly.
Columbus mucked around in
the Bahamas for a while looking for gold and stopped at what later
became known as Santa Maria de la Conceptcion (Rum Cay) Fernandina (Long
Island) and assorted other islands and cays. Disheartened that unlimited golden
riches were not readily available, Columbus set
sail for greener pastures. He was well aware that his financiers,
King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, would have no interest in the beauty and serenity
of the magnificent country he was
leaving. They were only interested in hard cash which would
give them the financing desperately needed to deploy a navy that could
destroy the much hated English. Thus, Columbus, after
searching for a time, pulled up his stakes and continued his quest for gold and
jewels in more promising climes.
the Spanish had literally no interest in colonizing the Bahamas, they did
find the Lucayan population useful in
forcibly helping them build fortifications in
Hispaniola (now Haiti and the Dominican Republic) and Cuba. Thus, the Bahamas
were drained of their population and the Lucayans became the first Spanish slaves
in the New World. However, others would soon follow. The
Spanish were if nothing else, equal opportunity slave masters.
natives were sent to other emerging Spanish colonies as well, where they were
put to work farming, mining precious ores and working the pearl fisheries.
when the opportunity presented itself. During this period of Spanish
forays into the Bahamas, the first of what would be a series of shipwrecks occurred.
A fleet of seventeen Spanish frigates found the bottom of the ocean of Abaco in
1595 through a combination of poor navigation and capricious weather.
The Spanish were unable to master the sea, the English or the other Europeans,
they were forced to settle on taming the peaceful Indians of this and other regions
in the Americas.
was a great deal of difference between the Spanish and English colonial efforts.
While neither of the two seemed to have much interest in making close
friends of those that they colonized, the Spanish were
only intent only upon draining the various
territories they visited of whatever precious
metals it contained, pulling up stakes only when they were convinced that the
natives could produce no more. However, the English admired
these trinkets as well, but along with their greed they had a plan. By
controlling the sea-routes, they could effectively let the Spanish and Portuguese
break their backs by working the land, but once they set sale
with the holds of their ships filled with plunder, the English could
readily pluck the little dainties from their clutches in a more civilized
manner. Something kind of akin to plundering the plunderers
or robbing from the rich and keeping it. Effectively this was called piracy
and the English, whether it was their navy or their privateers were
substantially advanced at this pastime.
the Spanish showed had shown little interest in the
Bahamas, the English, who had already colonized both Bermuda and Virginia, fully
realized the strategic value of the geographical location
of the islands. They removed of a group
of settlers from Bermuda who were not happy with the way Charles 1 was telling
them how to conduct themselves and shipped themselves en
mass to the Bahamas. They were led by the inimitable,
William Sayle, the former Governor of Bermuda, the small
band of 70 settlers and 28 slaves set their sights on Eleuthera. In spite of a
tragic accident in which the band almost drowned, they ultimately made it to shore,
However, this did not occur before their supplies
had been hung up on the reefs surrounding the island.
The group barely survived the landing
itself but without supplies they were in terrible shape. And if that wasn't enough,
once ashore they found to their amazement that somehow,
King Charles I had already claimed the Bahamas for England.
In A Name?
Bahamians were not exactly the kind of people you would want to
mix with at a Church social. Slave trade, piracy and other forms of illicit
commerce were the highlight that drove the economics of the Bahamas for
the next two centuries and such luminaries as Edward Teach, "Blackbeard",
called this land of shallows, reefs and headlands, home
after he determined that there would be sufficient prey to support his voracious
appetite for treasure and torture. The local Government
made things easier to get into piracy by calling it privatering and giving those
engaged in the profession legitimacy by issuing "Letters of Marque"
for a small fee and a large share of the plunder. Thus, there
were never really any pirates in the Bahamas in spite of what you have read in
all of the history books on the subject, they were all social butterflies known
in the better circles as privateers. By changing the verbiage the Government had
cleaned up the entire island chain and all of its inhabitants. These folks suddenly
had become god-fearing, church-going gentle-folks.
in spite of this grammatical cleaning job, this could be called the age
of piracy in the Caribbean because the English just loved to envision
the Spanish Galleons being attacked on a regular
basis by the cutthroat inhabitants of the Bahamas. In order to further facilitate
this avocation, the British Government created an authority that began legitimately
licensing the Bahamian pirates to kill and plunder. (And here we thought 007 was
the first) During this period, the pirates fared reasonably well, but the people
were not sharing in the spoils of one of Bahamas few "legitimate" enterprises.
However, there were occasions when everyone could enjoy the spoils.
For Fun and Profit
those not rich enough to equip a galleon with at least the mandatory forty-canons
or supply enough blood-thirsty murderers to man the pirate ships were forced to
watch their more enterprising brothers plunder and kill Spaniards from the beaches.
Moreover, the landlubbers got theirs only when large Spanish fleets ran
aground and then these landlocked villagers
could pillage the carcass of a sunken ship to their hearts
content. To increase the number of ships that could be salvaged even before
their time, the resourceful natives would erect portable beacons that captains
thought would guide them to a safe harbor, only to have their ships run
aground on a always waiting reef.
500 Spanish ships met their end in the waters of the Bahamas;
most were victims of the privateers but those relegated to weaving intricate traps
from land also got their share.. On the other hand, this
had become a wild and wooly place in which, by this time most of the law
abiding citizens had already fled to Great Exuma. These
were wimpy people that they could no longer handle the pillaging, rape
and debauchery of the pirates who had turned downtown Nassau into a massive drunken
brothel. You will always find some of these types in any
the pirates when they couldn't find any
Spanish boats to plunder went after their comrades with
reckless abandon. Whether plundering the Spanish, or doing in their
own kind, the islands' many limestone caverns provided the plunderers with convenient
treasure caches. However, this strategy only worked
for a while. The pirates feeling their oats also
took over the management of the Islands, installing their own puppet regime to
enhance their status as law-abiding citizens. On the
other hand, word quickly spread that anyone venturing within a hundred miles of
Nassau would probably be turned into shark meat. This
did not improve public relations, and people looking for vacation
spots were soon dissuaded to travel elsewhere. Moreover, resourceful ship
captains learned to avoid this area like the plague.
This caused an economic downturn and soon the people became unruly.
and Other Evil Does Arrive
the fame of the Bahamas spread, pirates of all shapes and sizes gravitated to
the Islands, hoping to find fame and fortune in the bloodiest
of all businesses of that time. Almost all of the buccaneers whose stories
appear in the history books made their presence felt in the Bahamas. Moreover,
each of the Pirate Captains had a favorite spot to hole up in when their working
day was over. Elizabeth Harbor beckoned the horrendous, Captain Kidd who aptly
named his refuge Kidd Cove. Where else would Pirate Captain William Catt
bury his fabled treasure but on Cat Island. The British buccaneer, Captain George
Watling strong-armed his way into San Salvador Island and renamed it Watling Island,
which was particularly upsetting to Anne Bonney, who was already solidly entrenched
there. Andros and its ever treacherous seas beckoned the menacing Captain, Henry
Morgan, who believed that no one had the courage to follow him into his home away
from home because of its dangerous shoals and his cut-throat henchmen
and for the most part he was correct in that assumption.
the story called "Bahamas' forts tower above island's booty," which
appeared in the Washington Times written by Jack Biesterfeld, it was said that
Blackbeard had his crew build a tower on the highest piece of land overlooking
the ocean so that he could terrorize passing ships. This Tower, now
strangely called Blackbeard's Tower was built in 1706. "According
to legend, the tower was built by the notorious Blackbeard, alias Edward Teach,
who headquartered in Nassau around 1706 so he could spot passing prizes or interloping
competitors." The tower at time became a problem at times
ladder going up to the tower was not for the fainthearted and a false step could
well cause the climber serious injury or even death. Drinking evil concoctions
was an habitual method for passing away time while waiting for a new quarry to
arrive. The shifts on the lookout point were about two-hours in length and when
someone that had two much to drink tried climbing to the top, it was always a
question whether they would make it or not. In addition, when in their drunken
state, many of these men would tend to see something that just wasn't there. Often
a call would go out to all of Blackbeard's men that an armada was headed right
for them when all that existed would be the fog rolling in. This mistake was for
the most part punished by a severe flogging as well it should have been.
Legislating Away the Pirates Who Have Done Much
1718 the British somehow got religion and decided that
it would be the right thing to do to eliminate piracy. It was not
much of a stretch when they determined that Woodes Rogers, a pirate himself, would
know how to handle his own kind and he was soon appointed Royal Governor.
Rogers made an auspicious beginning by pardoning those that agreed to
give up the so-called good life and join him in putting
down the pirates. Many succumbed to his overly generous offer. However, Blackbeard
and an accomplice, Roger Vane, along with their friends were not convinced that
going legit offered suitable rewards and had to be forcibly engaged in combat.
In a brutal sea battle that soon ensued they were both
ultimately killed off the coast of Virginia. The Captain of the British
ship, the Pearl, Lieutenant Robert Maynard, beheaded Blackbeard and displayed
his glowering head on the tip of the Pearl's bowsprit. If it wouldn't have
been so bad if the head started to smell up its surroundings,
the head probably could have led
the Pearl into many more battles, it would have represented
a powerful signal to the opposition. In later life Maynard was known to remark
that this worst thing that ever happened to him was losing Blackbeard's head and
he was probably right.
all of the governors that followed Rogers had his fervor about bringing the evil
pirates to justice. Another of Her Majesty's appointments, Governor General Cadwallader
Jones was unquestionably a member of this cliché and
was known to be a bit overly friendly towards the plunderers.
However, this relationship was rather disturbing for everyone
on the island's piece of mind. Moreover, rumors
aside, one day the governor was actually observed taking
a payoff from one of the pirates and the people went
bonkers. They threw the old curmudgeon into chains and were about to tar and feather
the governor when a group of his cronies came to his aid at
the very last moment. This dramatically changed the
course of the uprising and the unruly citizens were convicted of sedation
by a handpicked jury of the governor's peers,
six pirates and two drunks. In reality the pirates were also
drunks so in effect it was a jury of eight drunks, six of whom were pirates.
Man and His Toys
time marched on, John Murray, the Earl of Dunmore needing
a better climate for his gout was appointed Governor General of the Bahamas
by the Monarchy some time after Rogers had made his substantial headway into eliminating
the endemic piracy. However, oddly enough, Murray never had
toys as a child and was deeply into fortress
building. However, that wasn't his only problem as he was
also more than a little tetched about just about
everything else as well. For this passion his occupation
soon earned the nickname, Murray's Mad Obsession. While
there was no real justification for having one fortress literally resting on another,
it kept Murray occupied for long stretches of time and the people were able to
go about their business without being bothered with his insanity. Moreover, the
forts were substantial and later served as a tourist attraction.
forts were built on literally every bluff on the main island to keep away an enemy
that did not exist. More and more money was expending in this
maniacal pursuit until it caused a major depression in the Bahamas, nearly
sending the country back into the Stone Age. His delusions of an ever approaching
enemy left the treasury barren and it was most interesting to note that
at one point there was not even enough money left to
purchase cannon balls with which to fight off the invisible enemy should they
have ever arrived. However, there is a happy ending to the story, two-centuries
later, these forts have become highly acclaimed tourist attractions. Many have
said that Mad Murray was just a tad ahead of his time.
the flip side of this story is that without piracy, the Bahamas were left
without an income source and in spite of various economic incentives put forward
by the government, the natives seemed to have little interest in working for a
living. However, just as everyone was beginning to despair, the Bahamian economy
got another much needed lift when the British abolished the slave trade,
at least everywhere else in their domain. It seems that whenever anything
was banished by the British anywhere in the world, the
Bahamian's would be there to fill this
as it had provided aid and comfort to the pirates before
them, the Bahamians seeing a wonderful opportunity invited the
illegal dealers in human flesh to the island to ply their wares
in this country. It was an absolute natural,
The Bahamas were conveniently located relative to the
slave markets in the Southern United States; blockade running and contraband
dealing, a very profitable profession had
only gotten substantially better when the Civil
War began. It was during this period of intense human
suffering that the Port of Nassau, in particular, real
prospered. The Bahamian trade in
human flesh became enormous and the dealers determined that
working these folks day and night was not in their own best interests. It was
determined that they should be giveen a day off
here and there, eventually they were even
given a three day vacation from work on the plantations in order to be
with their families. This long weekend became a festival
called Junkanoo, the name of which was derived from
"John Canoe," the name of an African tribal chief who won the right
for the slaves to celebrate. Eventually, Junkanoo became a formalized holiday
in which there were parades, costumes, prizes and music. Many have favorable compared
Junkanoo to the Madi Grais in New Orleans or Trinidad.
Bent For the Illegal
slave trade was a natural for the Bahamian people because of the fact that the
islanders had a propensity for the illegal and were wizards at boat making. When
put side-by-side, the two talents combined for an unbeatable
combination. The island's woodworkers were able to create magnificent ships
that could fly like the wind and this dramatically
aided the delivery to the South of supplies for ports blockaded by Union Forces.
Many of these blockade-runners became folk-heroes, at least in downtown Nassau.
However all good things have to come to an end and the
Civil War turned out to be far to short for the Bahamian's taste. Before
the Islands had a chance to economically recover, the
Civil War had ended, sending many
of the Island's workers back into the unemployment lines waiting for another disaster
to hit somewhere in the world.
if things could get even worse, they soon did. When navigational aids such as
lighthouses and beacons started to go high-tech, new lighthouse installations
along with a highly refined art of cartography that had
been raised to a higher level and in turn this combination
was responsible for protecting shipping from landing
on Bahamas unfriendly shoals. This in turn resulting in a level of shipping
safety unseen in the history of that region. Without the occasional grounding
or sinking, accidental or induced, an economy that had literally nothing else
going for it sank into its worst doldrums ever. "What are we to do?"
said the people who now had no slaves to trade, no ships to sink, no boats to
loot or any friends to pillage. Despair had become the order of the day.
One More Time
times continued to plague the Bahamas until Prohibition began in 1919. Around
the same time, Florida industrialist Henry Flagler built a train that went from
Miami to the Florida Keys, making the Bahamas considerably more accessible. This
made the Bahamas the designated tourist destination for the filthy rich.
Luckily for the
Islanders, only those American legislators who had passed
the Act had lost interest in drinking, and prosperity indeed
returned to the Bahamas. The country became a destination
point for liquor from all over the world headed illicitly heading for the
states. However, just as the Bahamians were digging out from
their economic problems, Prohibition was repealed and was almost
immediately followed in the United
States by the "Great Depression." Things had begun to look really
bleak for the Bahamas when at the worst possible time they
became even worse; in 1939 a plague decimated the sponge crop, which had
been one of the few remaining sources of hard currency. About that time, ill
fortune also hit Flagler's railroad when the most severe hurricane of the
twentieth century turned the railroad ties into tooth
picks and the rails into man hole covers. The railroad would never
recover and the Florida Keys became almost deserted.
Fortunes of War
War II brought with it the opportunity for Bahamian
legitimacy. Industry perked up, tourism began, and a small offshore banking and
insurance industry started to blossom. However these
legit enterprises seemed too much of a good thing and the end of the War also
brought with it a return to drug smuggling in exchange
for much needed hard currency. Drug running has
become a substantial part of the Bahamian economy; today, fully 11 per cent of
the cocaine entering the United States passes through the Bahamas.
Culture Bahamian Style
more then 300 years, the country had been ruled by whites; members of the United
Bahamian Party (UBP) who were known as the Bay Street Boys, taken from the name
of Nassau's main business thoroughfare. Their reign was particularly important
to the culture of the country from the end of World War II until the late 1960s.
The Boys took charge of just about everything on the Island and deals were struck
with just about anyone that had the price of admission. Concessions in gambling,
hotels and land were given out to the "Boys'" favorites at a price.
Boys Still Reign Supreme
era of shady politics did not cool off one bit when Sir Lynden Pindling, the leader
of the black majority party, (Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) came to power in
1967. His regime lasted twenty-five years and was punctuated with allegations
that he was getting a piece of everything that wasn't tacked down in the country.
He was also charged with involvement in the drug trade and doing away with political
opponents. Moreover, scandals abounded and ultimately
the government fell. In the meantime, the country was deep in another depression
sparked partly by distrust of the government.
did leave a legacy of sorts in spite
of his nasty side. He helped to create the Bahamian middle class and brought
education to many of the 270,000 people of the Islands. However, he also will
be immortalized as the man that allowed uninterrupted drug trafficking
and established the Bahamas as a haven for many of the world's most serious criminals.
In his farewell address, Pindling seemed to grasp the moment and told the Bahamian
House that. "I was less than perfect. When all I did for good is put in the
balance against all I did for ill or failed to do at all, I hope that future generations
will not find me sorely wanting," No other leader of a nation has ever put
his short comings so succinctly.
Good Time Was Had By All
died in August of 2000 and Kenneth Bain who both knew him and wrote for the Independent
did the obit. He couldn't have told it better: "A first meeting with Pindling
could be disconcerting. Mine was - at a meeting of Commonwealth Finance Ministers
in Nassau over which Pindling presided in 1981. He was unexpectedly short of stature,
and his eyes appeared to look in different directions, one straight
ahead, the other sideways. As a consequence, he seemed more than a little sly.
In a crowded room, it was never quite certain to whom he was speaking, and , when
he presided over the conference, it was never entirely clear which Commonwealth
finance minister he was inviting to speak. At the evening reception in his palatial
- nay, opulent - residence, not only drinks were on offer to his official guests.
Tucked discreetly at the edges of some of the circulating trays were shots of
The Sunday Times
in 1985 did a story on the drug traffic moving through the Bahamas and concluded
that politicians on the take had: "caused the world's first epidemic of cocaine
addiction, leaving virtually no Bahamian family unscathed." The article concluded
that approximately 40% of the cocaine entering the United States was entering
through the auspices of the Bahamian Government.
the elections held in 1992, the Free National Movement (FNM) won a landslide and
their leader, Hubert Ingraham became the Island's Prime
Minister with promises of a return to economic stability, an increase in tourism
and the creation of a health climate for offshore investment in the Bahamas.
While this was quite a mouthful, the new Prime Minister had historically been
quite and orator but sadly, he spoke better than he governed. While he was
at it he promised the people that no longer would
political hacks be rewarded for their loyalty with
the plush bureaucratic jobs in which those occupying them did little discernable
work in exchange for substantial salaries. Investigations would be made into the
corruption that had taken place in the proceeding years and the guilty would be
soundly punished .
In Doubt Create A Commission and Investigate
commission was formed and it was that corruption and substantial mismanagement
had taken place and it was also brought out that Pindling
had squired away a tidy fortune from his under-the-table dealings. Furthermore,
it was proved that a number of Pindling's associates had been in league with him
as well. However, this was nothing new as everyone in the known
universe had been well aware that Pindling had been on the take for decades. Moreover,
it was deemed unnecessary to punish the guilty because Pindling was dying
of cancer and the resignations of several of his key political associates from
their offices seems to quell the publics desire for additional blood to flow.
In spite of the lack of blood letting, everyone felt better
and once again went about their business of complaining about politicians.
Spirit Of The Old Boy Network Still Lives
Pindling gone, voting regions were more fairly re-districted, the number of seats
in the House of Assembly was reduced with the government
promising to set sail on a new and legitimate course.
Since that time there have been new laws passed, friendly to global business in
banking and insurance and tourism is finally being to hit its stride. The new
government has failed to make any inroad into the problems of drug transshipments
and it just may be that although the faces have changed, the penchant to the old
"fast dollar" has not yet been eliminated from the system.
the Bahamas have become a great place to live
if you have the bucks and the political connections.
Bahamians do not pay income or sales taxes with revenue to run the government
derived from high tariffs and import duties. On the other hand, the Bahamas,
which has a great historical proclivity for snatching
defeat out of the hands of victory has determined to join the Free Trade Area
of the Americas (FTAA) for some more than obscure reason. This would put an end
to the money the government receives as their share of incoming goods. Why on
earth the Bahamas would want to get involved in this kind of foolishness when
they export nothing is beyond the scope of reason but then again, things are going
well and it may be time for the silly season.
Home Away From Home
of the economic measures recently passed by Bahamian legislature have born fruit
and almost five-hundred banks and trust companies call the Bahamas home. In 1990,
the International Business Companies Act became law which simplified and reduced
the cost of incorporating off-shore companies in The Bahamas, resulting in the
establishment of over 50,000 IBC-type companies.
Bahamian dollar is kept at parity with its U.S. cousin by the Government and although
the United States is more than unhappy with the Bahamian drug dealing, the country
is a card carrying member of the U.S. -Caribbean Basin
Initiative whose largesse has proved to be quite beneficial for the Island-chain's
residents. The Hawksbill Creek Agreement established a duty-free zone in Freeport
and the Hong Kong-based, Hutchison Whampoa has responded by opening a container
port there. Moreover, The Commonwealth of The Bahamas
became a member of the United Nations in 1973 and the Organization of American
States in 1982. Almost 3 million American's visited The Bahamas in the latest
year in which statistics are available
in spite of the continued shady dealings of the incumbent government.
The Bahamas has had its fair
share of characters who took its reputation as a home away
from home for pirates, drug dealers and other misanthropes seriously. Sir
Harry Oakes who was born in Sangerville, Maine in 1874, found that the islands
suited him to a tee. Oakes got as far as Syracuse University Medical School when
he began to believe that things were getting a tad dull.
He headed for Klondike when he heard
that gold had been discovered there with a couple of bucks in his pocket
in an attempt to make his fortune. He used his amateur medical background to get
enough money for a grub-stake and prospecting in and around Dawson Alaska for
the next seven years. He then combined his search for gold with surveying in New
Zealand, prospecting in Coolgardie and Kalgoolie Australia and ultimately in Death
Valley California. From there he headed back to Alaska, and from
thence on to the Belgian Congo. He was a gold camp follower
and couldn't break the habit.
You Believe the Tough Bros, From Swastika?
Oakes pushing middle age, eventually landed in the town of "Swastika",
Ontario, where he teamed up with the "Tough Brothers", George, Tom Bob
and Jack. Can you really dig this one, the Tough Brothers from
Swastika? In any event they struck it rich in a mine that for some strange
reason was named the Tough-Oakes mine. Finally, now with
some bucks in his pocket Oakes staked claims in Canada on the southern shore of
Kirkland Lake, and once again used initiative, naming the digs the Lake Shore
Mine. Nevertheless, this time Oakes really hit the heretofore highly elusive jackpot
and no sooner had the assays come back, he renounced his citizenship in the U.
S. to become a British Citizen. Financial problems now a thing of the past he
began accumulating a substantial family. Oakes then moved to the Bahamas
and became a Bahamian citizen to avoid Her Majesty's Government's onerous taxes.
Man of Charity and Vision
quickly became known by giving gobs money away, and primarily for this reason
was elected to the Assembly in the Bahamas in 1938. King George VI granted him
a Baronecy. His playmates were people like the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. With
these credentials, he soon became the man with whom to deal in the Bahamas, and
was the founding member of the notorious Bay Street Boys. During the 1940s
he built the Bahamas Country Club, the Cable Beach golf course, and Nassaus
first commercial airport. Pan Am had been making a daily flights to Nassau since
1929, and Sir Harry had created the infrastructure to make tourism, the
island's most profitable industry. (Today the Bahamas is the leading tourist destination
in the region and tourism contributes between 60 - 70 per cent of the workforce,
accounting for around 80 percent of foreign exchange earnings. In the pre-Castro
days, Cuba had the honor of being numero uno)
had vision, and his escapades in the Bahamas became legion. Until his bizarre
death, possibly at the hands of the Count Alfred de Marigney, his son-in-law,
Harry represented both the best and the worst of the Bahamas. His influence had
much to do with solidifying the free wheeling atmosphere that pervaded the economic
thinking of the island chain, and set the stage for its manifest destiny in the
later half of the 20th century.
With The USA
War II began, the United States desperately needed an Air Force base in the Bahamas
and made a deal with that Government for its construction
The need arose for construction people to begin work on the base and when the
basic construction work was finished, providing it with goods and services.
This put a lot of unemployed Bahamians to work and temporarily
took the edge off of the Island's chronic unemployment problem. The airport
facility was invaluable to the American war effort and ultimately it became Nassau
International Airport and was critical in the rebirth of the country. .
Bahamas were the home to a succession of artful dodgers and another colorful
character, Sir Stafford Sands, took charge of shaping the next decade. Sands established
a Development Board to market the islands as a holiday destination following where
Oakes had left off. With jet air services arriving at Nassau International Airport
and a newly dredged Nassau harbor accommodating the world's
largest ships, tourism began to flourish. Moreover, not wanting to put
all of their eggs in tourism basket, a tax haven was established,
which today embraces the country's huge offshore financial industry. Finally,
on July 10, 1973, after nearly 250 years as a colony, The Bahamas became an independent
nation and forever left the British womb.
of the Friendless
meantime, the resourceful Bahamians uncovered another way to make a living. They
created a home away from home for those rejected by their native lands because
of minor legal problems like those of theft and murder.
Robert Vesco was overqualified for the Bahamas. He was
an American expatriate was able to live the good life in the Bahamas for many
years after he stole millions of dollars from American citizens in a massive securities
fraud. The American Government did everything possible to have Vesco brought back
but all of their efforts were to no avail. The fact that such a desperate criminal
as Vesco could literally taunt the United States from as close as 60-miles away
did not go unnoticed.
Vesco captured the world's attention when he took over and then looted the Canadian
based mutual fund giant, Investors Overseas Services Ltd. The mere theft of this
very substantial amount of money might not have caused international opprobrium,
but Vesco to was determined to rub salt in an already open
wound and to make matters worse he also got himself involved with ex-American
President Richard Nixon, drug dealing, an occasional disappearance, and all sorts
of other unworldly occurrences.
Spreads the Wealth Around
having looted IOS, Vesco deposited his money in a Panamanian bank account, made
a hasty retreat to the Bahamas, transferred his money from Panama, and spread
it around like butter to those of importance in the Pindling Administration. He
was always accompanied by his yacht, which appeared to take up most of Nassau
Harbor, and his 707 plane, which was equipped with a mini-gym, sauna, executive
dining room, and a discotheque with a hardwood dance floor and strobe lights.
Vesco completed the image of the swinging jet-setter by traveling in velour loungewear.
There was always a pilot near the plane in case Vesco needed a fast exit. In 1983
he pulled up stakes and headed for Cuba. The judgments against him had cascaded
over the billion-dollar mark, and Justice Department Officials in the United States
were making noises about bringing him to trial at any cost. Cuba seemed to be
the only place in the hemisphere that could offer him refuge. For
a time, he and Fidel were inseparable but eventually the romance cooled.
Rear Their Ugly Head
was not having a good time, though. He had to make sure that his payments to his
keepers in the Bahamas and Costa Rica were kept current. New governments always
created situations where Vesco who was required to
bribe a different set of officials and whenever the
United States or Canada turned up the heat, even more
money was extorted from him. He was always surrounded by guards and was in constant
fear for his life. In 1991, this fear caused the suicide of his former partner
LeBlanc, a Montreal-born accountant. As a McGill University student, LeBlanc won
the Governor General's Award for the highest accounting grades in Canada. He had
single-handedly funded the IOS takeover. In the meantime, whether Vesco's money
was running out or whether he was just getting bored, he started smuggling cocaine
with the Medellin Drug Cartel for which he was indicted in Jacksonville, Florida
Although Vesco is the
first person ever offered haven in the Bahamas to find the climate getting to
hot, it was probably his high-profile drug dealing that caused the Bahamian Government
to eventually hand him his walking papers. The Bahamas
had a good thing going in the drug market, and they just weren't being paid enough
by Vesco to continue to get a rash of bad publicity
that could really screw things
up. We have taken the liberty of including testimony taken from the United States
Drug Enforcement Administration on the subject before a Senate Caucus on International
Narcotics Control on June 22, 1998 entitled "The Lure of the Bahamas",
"The Bahamas Islands Chain, which lies
northwest of the island of Hispaniola and just northeast of Cuba, has been a center
for smuggling contraband for centuries. During the heyday of the Medellin Cartel,
Carlos Lehder bought an entire island, Normans Cay, where he flew planes
laden with hundreds of kilograms of cocaine to stage for entry into the United
Bre-X, Need We Say More?
A Canadian Company by the name of Bre-X was the next big-time
criminal operation to take advantage of this haven. The company and its
history began in Indonesia where they supposedly were operating
a small mining company.
Indonesia is a country that has been blessed with natural resources,
and its minerals and oil industry had by this time become the
envy of its neighbors. The local mining industry is world class, boasting large
deposits of aluminia and copper. Not too many days go by here
without what is called an "elephant find"
in one of the many thousands of islands that comprise the archipelago country.
Indonesia is the world's largest producer of the robusta coffee beans that are
used to make instant coffee. It is also the second leading producer of cocoa and
palm oil and one of the worlds largest producers of rubber. Then President
Suharto was at the peak of his power in that country, and it was not a major surprise
when a small Canadian mining company announced that they had discovered gold in
Borneo, one of the islands that make up the island chain.
Gold In Borneo Yet
As the weeks went on reports coming out of Indonesia indicated
that the find was increasing
in size regularly until it eventually seemingly had become
by far the richest find since creation of the universe. Bre-X, of Calgary Alberta,
which was known as a junior company which may have been a tip-off
of things to come, had a secondary listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
It announced that the find exceeded 200 million ounces of gold ($120 billion),
and the stock soared from pennies to stratospheric heights on the Canadian Stock
Markets. Widows and orphans were taking their welfare checks
and going to Canadian brokerage firms to buy the stock before it went even higher.
Before too long Bre-X's price had
risen to amazingly to over $281. Fidelity Investments,
one of the largest financial money managers in the world, sank substantial money
into the stock, as did a number of Canadas largest pension funds. Its geologist,
John Felderhoff, won the Prospector of the Year award almost unanimously. Moreover,
he and an associate shared the distinction of becoming Mining Men of the Year
as well. The stock market capitalization of Bre-X soared into the billions
of dollars, and many thought that this was indeed the second coming
which it turned out to be for a chosen few.
An Unhappy Ending
The next event in this ongoing soap opera was when a
team of highly trained and respected geologists evaluated the gold samples and
announced that they were legitimate. Naturally this report caused the stock
to rise even further. The frenzy assumed unstoppable proportions when Freeport
McMoran, a company that had highly regarded expertise
in the field, announced a joint venture with Bre-X that included substantial funding.
At this point the strangest of events occurred.
The world-renowned chief geologist for Bre-X, Mike De Guzman, apparently became
disoriented aboard his helicopter while it was flying near the gold property,
and stepped off the plane into the ocean thousands of feet below. Although this
caused some consternation, pundits disregarded the aerial circus by remarking
that "Mike was always tripping over himself". While this satisfied many,
an investigation was begun and Forensic Investigative Associates was hired to
look into the claims that had been made.
To the consternation of many
they found that the gold had been salted (A mining term which effectively
means that the gold is carefully placed in strategic spots to make it appear that
the mine is richer than it really is. More on this below.) and that De Guzman
had committed suicide because he believe that he was about
to be caught. They named one Cesar Pupos as De Guzmanâ€™s accomplice.
Another Party Heard From
Others have far more esoteric theories on Guzmanâ€™s demise and
a have placed a broader conspiracy spin on the overall Bre-X hoax. Some are convinced
that sometime before Guzmanâ€™s wild stories of gold first emerged, he was kidnapped
by an Indonesian group and informed that he had to find lots of gold on the property
or they would dismember his torso. This would have represented a strong incentive
however if he had only just left town we would wonder whether they would have
been able to find him.
In the early West, when someone wanted to sell his mining claim
and move along, he would often fill his shells with traces
of gold and then put the shells into his shotgun.
From there it was a simple task to take aim at his mine site and pull the trigger.
Gold particles imbedded themselves deeply into the rock, and when a sample was
taken it appeared that the claim was awash with the precious metal. Mr. Guzman
used modern technology to salt his claim. In the saga that became known as the
"bungle in the jungle" a global record six billion dollars was stolen
from investors. On November 5, 1997, the Court of Queens Bench, Alberta
put Bre-X Minerals Ltd. into bankruptcy and an investigation
was begun that will continue for the next century.
A Sophisticated Investor Indeed
David Walsh was the head man at Bre-X Minerals and had been
a major seller of the stock as it spiraled upward. Walsh knew that ultimately
the scheme would come unraveled and
he squirreled the money away in the Ansbacher Bahamas Bank. Walsh determined
to withdraw his money from the bank after the scandal was discovered. The Bahamas
which had become known as the Government which was always
friends of the friendless, took the matter to the Country's Supreme Court, which
made the startling although fully expected determination
that Walsh, as a legitimate business man, could do as he wished with the funds.
As far as we know, Walsh remains happily holed up in the Bahamas
as lawsuits totaling billions of dollars are filled against him. Bank records
have shown that both Walsh and his wife were allowed to set up nominee accounts
in the Bahamian Bank under names such as Balogh and Hearn Ltd. The bank rightly
stated at the time, "Ansbacher does not wish to prejudice the interest of
its valued customers, but at this time it considers that it would be irresponsible
to ignore the published information and possibility that the monies in the Bank
are the proceeds of a fraud". As we indicated, the Bahamian Supreme Court
did not agree, although one of the Justices, Emmanuel Osadeby, stated, "There
are now grounds for believing that the funds and securities or much of them may
have been obtained through fraudulent activities on investors who invested in
the shares of Bre-X Minerals Ltd."
Justice is Served
The money was returned to Walsh after Justice Anita Allen determined
that "On the state of the evidence before me, I can find nothing which indicates
that Walsh was personally involved in the salting of samples, or that he knew
or had any information of such a scheme," "In my view, if he were involved
in the fraud, or knew of its existence, I would expect him to sell, not all of
his shares, as that would be too obvious, but a greater proportion than he sold."
Anita Allen did not win a kudos from investors that had their life savings wiped
out by Walsh and it certainly is a stretch for us to believe that there wasn't
a whole bunch of green spread around the Island before that decision. Anita indicated
that her decision was directly from the heart and if you believe that, I have
a large bridge for sale that connects Manhattan Island to Brooklyn.
We have heard from our confidential sources that Anita is now living in a much
improved manner in a large mansion on the Island, earned with the fruits of her
labors, whatever they may have been.
Another Cagey Investor
Having seen that the Bahamas knew how to treat people, Bre-X
Chairman, John Felderhof, also found the Bahamian climate to his liking and moved
to the Island Paradise just before the fraud was exposed. Felderhof is believed
to be enjoying the balmy Bahamian breezes with about $70 million tucked neatly
into his trousers that was indirectly stolen from Bre-X share holders.
Both men indicated that they did not choose the Bahamas for
their non-extradition treaties, nor did they choose the country for its bank secrecy
laws. Bahamian judges can be made to understand that large sums of money can show
up unexpectedly in accounts in their banks. Further, Bahamian law and tradition
provide that when this occurs, the owner's rights must be protected even at the
cost of sever financial hardship to others. The Bahamas had indeed found
a successful industry that would also provide big bucks to their treasury and
pensions for their bureaucrats. The Bahamas was well on
its way to becoming known as a world class refuge for thieves and villains.
to the Basics
Bahamas remains a central conduit for air and maritime shipments of drugs moving
through the Western and Central Caribbean to the Southeastern United States. Two
recent maritime operations, resulting in the seizure of 4.3 metric tons of cocaine
are indicative of the Colombian drug lords trafficking efforts in the Caribbean.
On February 20, 1998, the Honduran vessel Nicole departed Barranquilla, Colombia
en route to Turks and Caicos Islands. The DEA confirmed that this vessel was originally
named the Lucent Star and had been involved with the off-loading of multi-thousand
kilograms of cocaine off the coast of Haiti in 1997. The subsequent search of
the vessel uncovered approximately 3,700 kilograms of cocaine. DEA also developed
intelligence that the Panamanian vessel Sea Star II was suspected of smuggling
multi-thousand kilograms of cocaine. On February 28, 1998, this vessel docked
in Freeport, Bahamas. The search of the vessel uncovered approximately 2,000 kilograms
seizures in the Bahamas for the first three months of 1998 surpass the total number
of drug seizures in the Bahamas for the last three years combined. It
would appear that the Bay Street Boys have turned over the running of the Island
to the Columbian drug czars.
groups located in the Bahamas utilize a variety of methods to move cocaine from
the islands to the United States. Colombian traffickers air- drop shipments of
cocaine off the coast of Jamaica, or utilize boat to boat transfers on open seas.
Jamaican and Bahamian transportation groups then use Jamaican canoes to smuggle
their payloads into the Bahamas, frequently using the territorial waters of Cuba
to shield their movements. The cocaine is then transferred to pleasure craft which
disappear into the inter-island boat traffic. Traffickers also use twin-engine
turbo-prop aircraft, with long range capability and Global Positioning Systems,
which pinpoint drop zones in the middle of the ocean. Cellular telephones are
used to minimize their exposure to interdiction assets and ensure the smooth transfer
of their cargo of cocaine for shipment into the United States.
American Government is Not Happy
is very concerned about the new containerized shipping port facility in Freeport,
Bahamas, which will function as a freight-forwarding point for commercial cargo
being sent to various ports in the United States and Europe. The containers are
not to be opened while in Freeport, however, this creates a situation ripe for
opportunistic smuggling organizations to exploit. Even more disturbing are current
plans to make Freeport a free zone, which will allow cargo legitimately shipped
through the port to be opened and merchandise to be removed or added while in
port. Moreover, Miamiâ€™s port of entry, which handles
hundreds of thousands of tons of commercial cargo, both through Miami International
Airport and the seaport, is ideal for smuggling large shipments of cocaine into
the United States.
freighters, by the hundreds, tour the Caribbean, going
island to island, picking up and dropping off cargo. It is relatively simple for
captains, with the inclination, to stop mid-ocean and take on hundreds of kilograms
of cocaine and conceal them in false compartments or take on commercial cargo
at ports of call with cocaine already concealed inside.
Easy As Pie
the cocaine arrives in Miami, the Colombian traffickers have a two-decade
old transportation infrastructure of people who
work at the air and seaports, to facilitate the off-loading and warehousing of
cocaine shipments. These traffickers frequently provide transportation via tractor
trailer or private vehicle to Colombian cell heads on the East Coast and in the
can see, new laws and new government have little to do with the overall problem
in the Bahamas. With no particular agriculture, mining or manufacturing, life
is easier if a few international rules can be broken,
off-shore banking and insurance setup and a tad of tourism to take it all down.
These folks really know how to live but having dealt under
the table for centuries they are not particularly amateurs at this game.
The Timeth Had Cometh
time progressed, there was no message that came down from on high to lead the
Bahamian Government unto the path of righteousness, but they seemed to flourish,
in their own way, nonetheless. It would have seemed
to an outside observer that the authorities were trying to recreate the Barbary
Coast all over again, but with a modern twinge. Instead of pirates, the Bahamas
would be a home away from home to an odd assortment of shady characters engaged
in nefarious pursuits from all over the world. Bay Street,
conveniently located in downtown Nassau would start to look a little like
Rick's Club right out of the movie, Casablanca. While
in the movie, everyone was dealing in wartime intrigue;
passports, military secrets and the sort, on Bay Street they are awash in drugs
and exotic financial scams. Drugs have replaced the Spanish Gold as the medium
of exchange and money is flowing rather freely once again in the very center of
town. The unemployment rate has dropped to a tad under 10% per cent; a very
acceptable rate for a country where many don't even care if they work or not.
the meantime, while Nassau had been intentionally rather regulatorily passive
to financial fraud as elected officials have recently
seen to it that they have become the "hot money" capital of the America's.
While officials have attempted to play down the massive quantity of funds that
are being laundered within the country, the amount has become so prodigious that
they were forced to undertake palliative action. The institutions that have brought
a breath of life back to Bay Street are banks that often have no physical presence
on the Islands at all and the Bahamas are only an instantaneous stopping point
for the electronic transfer of massive amounts of transmitted
contraband funds on the way to somewhere else. Senator Carl Levin of Michigan
in a report issued to the entire U.S. Senate said it best:
"The suspect banks often have no buildings or staff in the
islands where they are licensed and do not offer local checking and savings
accounts. Their clients are foreign banks. While some are legitimate operations,
others are merely conduits to move money quickly from one bank and one country
to another; often to conceal the source of the money,." Reuters carried an
interesting quote from Charles Intrigue, the published of "Money Laundering
Alert": "These banks that often have imposing names are nothing more
than a brass plate tacked onto some lawyer's office. Everybody dealing with this
has been focusing primarily on customers, the bad dudes walking in with drug money.
Now it turns out that ingrained in the banking system are relationships bank-to-bank
that have been exposed as being the equivalent of an intersection at a high-speed
freeway without traffic lights."
A Different Kind of Folk
country has gone back from whence it came but this time with at least a dash of
color to illuminate the drab. If anything, Nassau always was colorful in the old
days. Its people were rapscallions of the Caribbean and
the Bahamas were always a place that attracted the slightly twisted. One of the
early entrees in that crowd
was the ever popular Huntington Hartford the Second. Hartford, a wastrel of sorts
that owned a small chain of grocery stores named A&P. The largest chain of
any kind in the United States at the time. He
was attracted to what he thought was a choice piece of property across the river
from Bay Street. Nobody lived on the other side of the river and the property
was aptly called Hog Island because of the fact that local pig farmers would bring
their stock over to the island to graze. Over time, the island had literally become
"hog heaven". Hartford, who had more money than any normal person ought
to have, purchased the island in its entirety and promptly got rid of the hogs
and cleaned up after them which a substantial period of time.
Bridge Over Smelly Waters
next move was to erect a bridge making direct egress a simpler matter. However,
the cleaver little rascal also installed the first toll collection system in the
history of the Bahamas. This was a particularly bad financial move
of which young Hartford had made more than his share. It seems that there
was nothing on Hog Island but stench and why would anyone want to ruin their day
and pay a toll besides just to get sick to their stomachs. The young Hartford
was undaunted and had an inspiration, he would change the name from
Hog Island to Paradise Island. He thought that this
would take away the taint of the pig's smell ate least mentally. This wasn't
much help because everyone was still concerned about the odor the emanated from
the place and wasn't until years later that the pig smell finally abated. While
the island finally did became a success scores or years
later, Hartford was not at the event and never saw his adored toll collection
booth make a penny.
that period of time Hartford erected several buildings
and a small hotel on the island. For the most part, Paradise Island was not an
overwhelming success until gambling came to the Islands and even then no one really
wanted to pay the toll. Eventually, strong rumors began to circulate that the
American CIA had became involved in the gambling on Paradise Islands through a
little known company called Mary Carter Paint. The paint company
was later renamed Resorts International and ownership was legitimatized
by an investment by the prominent show business star, Merv Griffin. Griffin was
not a particularly gifted hotelier and did not bring any particular fame to Paradise
Island although he did have several syndicated television shows
that allowed him to waste his money however he pleased.
Good Old Fashioned Bund Meetings
Nassau historically had always been a home to those elite people from overseas
that considered the commoners, riff raff. Among those were the beloved Duke and
Duchess of Windsor who when not attending German Bund meetings were often to be
seen at Nassau's Grayscliff estate. Also in attendance at that location were such
other stalwarts as Al Capone, Chicago's gift to the Bahamas and the dynamic duo
of the Third Earl of Staffordshire and the lovely Duchess of Staffordshire. The
so-called pretty people got out fast when England gave the islands their independence
and soon nothing was left but commoners from the United States to people the molding
tourist traps. The rest of the world caught up to the Bahamas as gambling spread
across the Caribbean and most of the United States.
A Small Addition
The Bahamas were in close proximity
to the States and business was good there. The American people wanted to
travel and they were looking for an excuse to go to the Bahamas. Sun International
gave them an excuse in spades. They bought up over 70 per cent of Paradise Island
and started a massive improvement program. Then they constructed
a little place called the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort and Casino. They
weren't into excesses and therefore only put in the following: 40 waterfalls and
fountains, 11 swimming areas, 980 slot machines, and someone once said 8 billion
fake seashells. along with this they installed an 11-million-gallon aquarium containing
50,000 sea creatures. It is something to behold.
the other resort owners saw the massive investment made by Sun, they all joined
in. Grayscliff got an expansion and makeover, Cable Beach and its magnificent
golf courses came alive and the Ocean Club upped their already excessive rates
and dramatically expanded. The ancient but ever popular British Colonial was acquired
by the Hilton and started beckoning everyone within shouting distance. The Bahamas
were on a roll. Rates on Bay Street skyrocketed and drug sales soared. Exotic
women from all over the world were imported to work the casinos and the hotel
beds. And mugging, a business that had risen and fallen with Bahamas' economic
status took a sharp spiral into the stratosphere as hapless tourists somehow were
led to believe that the side streets in Nassau were safe after dark. The Bahamas
after many fits and starts had finally severed its ties with the past and it historic
mediocrity. It has finally joined the global elite and is spreading it wings.