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A power for good, Mr Bond?

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#1 Qwerty


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Posted 20 June 2006 - 02:54 PM

From CBn James Bond QuickNews...


A power for good, Mr Bond?

The transformation of Ian Fleming's Jamaican home into a bolthole for the jet set promises jobs and relief to the long-suffering local population. Or does it? Tom Burgis reports

When the travel writer Patrick Leigh Fermor came to Jamaica in 1948, he was captivated by the home of a retired British spy who had just laid the last stone of a simple, spacious villa shielded by a coral reef on the island's north coast.

Fermor had visited a leper colony in Trinidad and watched voodoo rituals in Haiti to collect material for his portrait of the Caribbean, The Traveller's Tree. But it was in the lush forests beside the banana port at Oracabessa that he saw the future of the New World: "Here, on a headland, Commander Ian Fleming has built a house called Goldeneye that might serve as a model for new houses in the tropics," he wrote.

Today, a property company led by Chris Blackwell, the Jamaican music producer who made a fortune selling reggae to a Western audience, is taking up Fermor's idea. Blackwell bought Goldeneye and the 15 acres surrounding it in 1977 - 13 years after the death of Fleming, who wrote all 13 James Bond novels at a corner desk in the villa's master bedroom.

At one stage, it looked as if the house might pass into the hands of Bob Marley, Blackwell's most illustrious act, who contemplated blowing a chunk of his royalties on the estate. However, he decided it was "too posh" for his tastes. Instead, Blackwell, whose family knew the Flemings, pounced and his company, Island Outpost, has since expanded its holding to 100 acres and built four luxury villas in Goldeneye's grounds, which it lets to the famous and the rich, including Rachel Weisz and Naomi Campbell.

This summer it will embark on a