Not since the crash of Columbus on the shores of the Bahama Islands, has anything happened on its sandy beaches by mere coincidence or happenstance. The bigger the event, the bigger the person,  the more intricate the reason, and the more intrigue it eventually brings.  The Bahamas’ emergence as an offshore financial centre was a deliberate and calculated strategy, long in the making. The strategy began way back at the beginning of the 20th century with massive foreign land, island and private cay sales, which created millions in profits for the handful of exclusive real estate agents and lawyers in Nassau. This strategy was adopted as a wealth making device, by one generation after the other, who handed the keys of political power, influence and connections to the next generation – the heirs and successors with the right last names.   By the 1960s, multimillionaires across the world, had all but pegged the tiny island chain as nothing more than a giant safety deposit box, which  just happened to pay the best interest rates going.

In 1960, David Rockefeller and his bank, Chase Manhattan rolled into the Bahamas with great fanfare and pageantry.  A red carpet was rolled out and they were feted like kings in the land.   Rockefeller and his bank were chasing money, untold billions, around the globe which was pouring into the Bahamas, like torrential rains in a profit hurricane.  If they didn’t get into Nassau quickly, some other bank would.

The strategy of letting the lower ranking staff, the branch managers to be seen first in the newspapers was simply brilliant. Rockefeller appearing last in the photos achieved what was essential. The name Rockefeller was all that was really required to give their foreign banking clients the assurance needed that the bank was solid and ready for heavy business.



Tuesday, May 31, 1960, Nassau Guardian

” Mr. Rockefeller has said, We are coming to Nassau because we have great confidence in the growth potential of the Bahamas and the whole Caribbean area. I mean not growth in tourist business but also expansion in commerce and industry.

Another reason is that more and more of our customers have become acquainted with the advantages of the Bahamas for their offshore bases, and we must be where our customers are if we are to be most helpful to them.”

In charge of the new branch in Nassau located in heart of the main shopping area Bay Street, were Donald Ballantyne and Eugene J. Gailbraith, both at the rank of manager and Lionel Tildesley, assistant manager, David Rockefeller, vice chairman of the bank. 


On 20th March 2017, the oldest living member of the Rockefeller dynasty, David Rockefeller (June 12, 1915 – March 20, 2017), American banker, who was chairman and chief executive of Chase Manhattan Corporation, died. He was 101 years old.  His fortune was estimated at $3.3 billion at the time of his death in March 2017.



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