An In-Depth look at China's Footprint in the Bahamas. Edited April 30th, 2021
An In-depth look at China’s Footprint in the Bahamas.
Edited April 30, 2021
Edited to correct the founder of Grand Bahama and update China’s control in Freeport Harbor.
By Joy Votrobek, Sr. Research Analyst,
American Security Council Foundation
This paper will look at the timeline of Chinese infrastructure projects in comparison with Bahamian political parties and their policies. The article will explore China’s economic and political coercion through a “gifted” sports stadium followed by loans for questionable infrastructure programs. It will question the need for the North Abaco port as well as the Nassau Gateway Airport project. The paper will conclude with a short analysis of China’s three-fold agenda for the Bahamas
Timeline of Chinese infrastructure projects and Political Parties:
1953 – The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) was formed in opposition to British rule. It was the first political party for Bahamian’s of African descent.
1955 – The Hawksbill Creek Agreement (HCA) between the Bahamian government and Wallace Groves, founder of Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA).
1958 – The United Bahamian Party (UBP), politicians of British descent, was formed to counter the PLP.
1972 – The Freedom National Movement (FNM) party was formed to oppose the PLP. Some FNM members were those from the UBP and anti-PLP members.
1973 – The Commonwealth of the Bahamas won its independence from Great Britain.
1992 – In August 1992, the FNM party came into power.
1997 – The FMN party won significant majority control of the government under Ingraham.
NOTE: The Bahamas had diplomatic relations with Taiwan before switching to Beijing in 1997.
1997 – Hong Kong-based Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH) opened the Freeport Container Port after pouring in $2.6 billion.
2002 – PM Perry Christie, a member of the PLP, took office.
2007 – The FMN regained control of the government under Ingraham.
2009 – China’s Shandong Hi Company started construction of the Thomas Robinson Stadium.
2010 – China Construction America (CCA) began to develop the Nassau Airport Gateway, costing $67 million, funded by China’s Export-Import Bank (EXIM).
2011 – The $30 million Thomas Robinson Stadium was completed and given as a “gift” to the Bahamas.
2011 – China’s EXIM bank provided a $2.45 billion loan for Baha Mar resort.
June 2011 – The Democratic National Alliance Party (DNA) requested the FNM to produce public records of communist China’s contributions to the party.
November 2011 – The Bahamas Press reports that Chinese commercial fishers were fishing off Andros Island.
2012 – The PLP gained the power of the Bahamian government.
2014 – The China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) began construction on a port in North Abaco, costing $39 million. The project was completed in January 2017