I lived in North Eleuthera for almost 10 years. I went there to raise fish using a floating-cage fish farming technique. It was to be a first for the Bahamas, and I had the government’s full support and the financial backing of several prominent Bahamian business men who saw the profit potential of the venture. I chose a deep water trench close to the shore of Russell Island as the best location for the farm, and the predominately white populated settlement of Spanish Wells as the ideal logistical center of operations. I was received with mixed feelings by the community, just as I had expected, but slowly over time the majority of the residents came to accept me, and welcomed me as a friend.
The economy of the 1800 inhabitants of this well-heeled, crime-free town is directly proportional to their success as lobster fishermen, and it was during my third year on this island that I came to realize how much money passed through the Royal Bank of Canada branch on the island. It was the stuff novels are made of, and it was here that I wrote ‘Malice in Pinderland’. Included in the storyline was the robbery of the Royal Bank by the book’s main character.
The book was a success, and has continued to sell to become the third largest selling book in the Bahamas behind ‘Winds from the Carolinas’ and ‘The Out-Island Doctor’.
This minor success and my newly elevated stature were compromised when a group of thugs from Nassau arrived with masks and guns to rob the bank. A hostage was taken at gun point and the robbers fled by boat. Fortunately the hostage was released unharmed and the thugs were quickly caught and brought to justice. But I was in the ‘hot’ seat. It was suggested that the robbery had occurred because of my expose of the bank’s business, and a group of residents signed a petition to have me deported. Even though calmer minds eventually prevailed, I felt that my days were numbered as a welcomed visitor. In my defense I pointed out that none of the thugs had read my book, or any book for that matter, but it was to no avail. I finally said goodbye to Spanish Wells, and returned home. The robbery did push my book sales up, but I swear it was not a publicity stunt!