When the true history books are finally written on the under the table land deals, government kickbacks, collusion, bribery and hand go-hand-come deals; then a legitimate political story of The Bahamas may finally emerge. Until such time, all we have are mud slinging partisan versions of history, because the real history of The Bahamas is its land history.
For posterity’s sake, there needs to be a truth and reconciliation report of how Bahamian crown land was given away and private land usurped by the powers that were.
Sir Stafford handprint on Bahamian land history yet again…
Sir Stafford Sands MHA, Minister of Finance, Head of the Bahamas Development Board, was the legal mind and grand puppet master, behind some of the biggest land deals in Bahamian history between 1945-1966.
Even by today’s standards, Sir Stafford’s reach, during his career as a politician, is mind boggling.
In 1950, Sir Stafford was the lawyer to Edward P. Taylor, the Canadian who bought and developed Lyford Cay.
Sir Stafford was also the lawyer to Billy Butlins, who’s Grand Bahama resort dream collapsed which then enabled Wallace Groves to buy into Grand Bahama, creating Freeport and the Grand Bahama Port Authority. Sir Stafford was Wallace Groves’s lawyer.
The list of Stafford Sands’s private clients list is endless, as was his wheeling and dealing, for them while sitting as a high level government official.
Lyford Cay would not have been possible without the finessing and bribery of government officials, in order to obtain the land rights needed for Lyford Cay’s expansion into luxury private homes.
Crown Land Registry and all major land deals was controlled by the British appointed Governor
Prior to 1964, crown land and all private large scale land deals came under the purview of whatever British appointed Governor sat in power in Nassau. To the white minority Bay Street controlled House of Assembly, ever since Woodes Rodgers, this was always a source of contention between the Bahamas Assembly and Governor.
It wasn’t until 1964, when the UBP government, led by Sir Roland Symonette, negotiated partial internal self-rule, which saw the prize of all prizes, the crown land register, moved from the Governor’s purview to that of the governing Party leader.
Prior to that, without question or hesitation of thought, it can be said that Governors’ palms were greased, one way or the other, to facilitate grinning photos like these.