China built a port on a remote island of The Bahamas 180 miles off the U.S. coast, prompting suspicion from locals who are concerned about China’s potential military ambitions in the area. The port is currently empty, unused, and surrounded by barbed wire.
During the construction of the port, a top official with The Bahamas’ then-ruling progressive party vowed that “China will actively provide military assistance to the Bahamas and defense dialogue.”
Big League Politics has learned from Bahamian sources that residents are afraid to talk about the new Chinese installation in Coopers Town, which has a population of 676 on the island of Abaco. The 45-acre port was built by the China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) and is financed by the EXIM Bank of China and the Bahamian government. The port is closed and the road around it is too small for even construction trucks to drive on. Locals speculate that the port will be used for submarines.
“There is no reason at all for the port,” one local resident told Big League Politics. “The Chinese have been investing heavily, and nobody seems to know why.”
“I think so, in the future it looks like it’s going to end up being for military supplies,” the resident said. “Not many people are aware of it.”
“Some of the locals work there, but the port is closed so they laid them all off.”
“[The Chinese] just stay in the ports, they don’t walk around. They go exercising early in the morning on the road or late in the evening. They don’t socialize with anybody. Many of them don’t even speak English,” the resident said.
“People haven’t been asking about it because they know what happens,” the resident said. “Our government is filled with corruption…they come looking for you, they beat your ass, they torch you until they get what they want out of you. They have no proper interrogation methods.”
“Before they [the Chinese] leave, they leave like $800,000 for the community, they’ve been doing that all over the Carribean. They leave parks, and things like that…In Jamaica, they have invested in roads, water and sewer.”
The China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) began construction on the port in North Abaco, The Bahamas, in 2014. “The port will be used to store a variety of building materials including steel, limestone and cement and other items, up to 10,000 tons,” reported the Jamaica Observer.
“The project is valued at $US49M which will be funded by the EXIM Bank of China and the Government of the Bahamas,” the China Harbour Engineering Company said on its website.
Local fishermen are not happy. The port is sitting completely empty with barbed wire surrounding it.
“There is zero need for a shipping port in Cooperstown. Anything that actually lands there will have to be trucked to MHH over an already deteriorating road. Few jobs were left for Bahamians. Just another example of the big guys lining their pockets at the expense of the folks,” said one commenter on an Abaco Forum.
Another commenter posted a message from a Bahamian that reads, “I just can’t wait until the U.S. media and U.S. public wake up to the fact that their government (the Obama/Hillary/Kerry government) has permitted Red China to set up shop (including deep water stealth submarine operations) in the Bahamas only a few short miles away from Florida and the entire Eastern Seaboard. I imagine most Americans will want all senior officials of the U.S. embassy in the Bahamas, the Dept of State in the U.S. and the NSA over the past decade or so to be drawn and quartered for high treason because of their serious failure to gather and act on intelligence information in order to protect the national security interests of the U.S.”
“Our leaders have once again sold us and our futures down the drain in favour of “their new bestest friends” the Chinese. What a bunch of inept ninnies. At least some Europeans, some Canadians and some Americans have or had blood ties and family in the Bahamas, but the Chinese,” said another commenter.
“I was told by one of the major shipping companies that they would not stop there and would continue to off load in marsh. Most of the freight goes to marsh or the close cays. They said what little freight does go north would not justify a second stop for the boat as time is money,” said another commenter.
“So many reasons the new port is an albatross in the making. I’ve talked to Bahamians working there. They’re offered very low wages with a “take it or leave it ” attitude from the Chinese, who have 2/3 of the jobs. When it’s done, it will be little used. What freight comes in there will mostly be trucked over the already deteriorating road to MHH. All of this $ while the new hospital in MHH sits incomplete and nurses won’t go into the old clinic because the mold is so bad. As is typical, the pols take care of themselves and the folks get screwed,” said another commenter.
The Progressive Liberal Party in the Bahamas, which was in the majority until the 2017 elections when it became the second most-powerful party, oversaw construction of the port during its five years of governance.
Latrae Rahming, Progressive Liberal Party and Senior Chinese Caribbean Government Consultant, said in a speech in Nassau on April 9, 2016 that the Bahamas is committed to a pro-China policy (emphasis added):
“China will actively provide Military assistance to The Bahamas and defense dialogue,” Rahming said. “Recently through its agreed on obligations, China donated 1.2 million dollars to The Bahamas to purchase military equipment so as to improve jointly the capacity to respond to non-traditional security threats. Without a doubt, The Bahamas must prudently manage the complexities within the relationship. China’s growing presence in The Bahamas warrants active policy consideration. The Bahamas continues to be courteous to the advancement of China’s political, economic, social and cultural integration with the view of safeguarding it country’s long-term interest.”
“There’s a sustained perspective that China’s growing presence in the region seeks to undermine the United States strategic position and influence in its hemisphere. China’s incredibly ambitious foreign policy in The Bahamas and other Caribbean countries is Beijing continued efforts of improving its geostrategic significance unraveling its economic strength,” Rahming said in his speech, but denied that China’s influence on the islands is meant to curtail the influence of the United States.
Since the founding of the New China in 1949, The Bahamas and China have enjoyed sustained high-level exchanges; stronger political mutual trust relished with closer cooperation. The goals of China’s policy in The Bahamas: Is the promotion of mutual trust and respect built on shared ground. Deepen cooperation with the aim of achieving win-win results. Drawing on each other’s strengths to boost joint progress and intensify exchanges. And The One-China principle which is the political basis for the establishment and development of relations between China and The Bahamas.
“We always see the China through a prism of western media,” Latrae Rahming said on China Daily in June. “I think what I’ve learned is that the western media’s always been unfair to the Chinese people.”
In 2013, Bill Gertz reported that “China encircles U.S. by sailing warships in American waters, arming neighbors.”
“China has been quietly taking steps to encircle the United States by arming western hemisphere states, seeking closer military, economic, and diplomatic ties to U.S. neighbors, and sailing warships into U.S. maritime zones,” Gertz wrote. “The strategy is a Chinese version of what Beijing has charged is a U.S. strategy designed to encircle and ‘contain’ China. It is also directed at countering the Obama administration’s new strategy called the pivot to Asia. The pivot calls for closer economic, diplomatic, and military ties to Asian states that are increasingly concerned about Chinese encroachment throughout that region.”
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