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The Bahamas In Transition # 9
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The Bahamas In Transition # 9

Wallace Grove

Grand Bahama is now regarded our second city, but during the fifties and before, this was nothing more than a beautiful island full of pine trees. For the regular Tom, Dick or Harry that is all you saw. But in the fifties an American Investor, Wallace Grove visited this Island and saw something that only a man with a vision could conceptualize.

He felt that he could turn an area in Grand Bahama, which is now Freeport, into a city, and the United Bahamian Party was happy to find an investor to improve the economy on the island. Also participating in this business venture was British financer Sir Charles Hayward, who assisted the pioneer in developing this majestic Island.

But there is another man who would later join this group Edward St. George, who came to Nassau Bahamas around the same time as a Chief Magistrate and later acting Solicitor General. In 1979 he joined the Port Authority and shortly afterward became part owner after he and Sir Charles Hayward bought out Wallace Grove.

Hawksbill Creek Agreement

The Bahamas Government granted the Port Authority, 50,000 acres of Crown land in Grand Bahama in order for Wallace Grove too accomplished his goal. The Port was responsible for dredging a deep water harbour.

Constructing an Airport, building hospitals, schools and other service and amenities. The Port acquired an extra 150,000 acres from government.

The Government of the Bahamas, granted the Port a licence for a Casino and later the permission to licence casino and develop Tourism within Freeport.

This agreement gave the authority Port Authority, the power to run Freeport like a Government. The exemptions were as followers:

Free from Excise Taxes

Stamp Duty, and most Custom Duties until 2054.

There are exemption on building material, machinery, equipment and business licence by the Port Authority.However this exemption from business fees expires in August 2054.

The agreement amended in 1960 and 1966 and became known as the Hawksbill Creek Agreement.

Foundation

Residence or licensees in Freeport are free from income taxes, Corporate profit tax, Capital gain tax, Death tax or Property taxes until 2015. However these are American tax system and Bahamian in the Bahamas do not pay any of these taxes. But the agreement guarantees that Freeport will be safe until 2015 when this exemption expires.

(FTAA) Free Trade Area Of The Americas

There have been concerns by some about what would happen to Freeport with regards to the Free Trade Agreement. The Hawksbill Creek Agreement would give a special exemption clause to continue the licensees and tax exemption offer, after all these exemption and taxes will only expire in 2054.


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