Thursday, May 18, 2017
By DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
GRAND Bahama is a top priority for the Minnis administration and “will be well represented at the highest level,” according to Minister of State for Grand Bahama Kwasi Thompson, who revealed that a budget for the island is now being prepared.
“The public should be aware that the budget for Grand Bahama is being prepared and must be submitted for approval in about two weeks. We will seek to begin implementation of some aspects of our manifesto in this budget period,” he told reporters on Wednesday.
Grand Bahama has been challenged over the past five years with high unemployment, as well as the closure of hotels and businesses.
Wasting no time, Mr Thompson has started meeting with investors and stakeholders on the island whom he says are vital in the economic recovery of Grand Bahama.
“I have made the creation of private sector long-term employment top priority for the office here in Grand Bahama. I will also follow the lead of the prime minister to be open and transparent on how the people’s money was spent and how the money is going to be spent in the future,” he said.
“The public can be assured that we will reveal the good, bad, and ugly on how their tax dollars were spent in Grand Bahama. This is part of what the people voted for.”
Mr Thompson said Grand Bahamians can be confident that they will be well represented at the highest level, having him a state minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest, who is also MP-elect for East Grand Bahama and the Ministry of Grand Bahama in the portfolio of Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis.
“That speaks volumes about the priority in which Grand Bahama should have with this government,” he stressed.
Mr Thompson assured Grand Bahamians that as a sitting Cabinet member he will be advocating very aggressively for Grand Bahama.
He also stated that the MPs-elect for Grand Bahama: Michael Pintard, minister of youth, sports and culture; Fredrick McAlpine, Iram Lewis and Pakesia Parker Edgecombe are all part of a collective effort to fulfil the Free National Movement’s commitment to the people of Grand Bahama.
“We have a lot of work to do,” said Mr Thompson.
When asked about the possible sale of the Grand Lucayan Resort to a prospective buyer, Mr Thompson said they are still in the process of reviewing the matter.
About 800 Bahamians were laid off when the hotel property and casino closed last October following Hurricane Matthew.
“As soon as we have some further information to provide, we will provide it. We are, however, committed to ensuring that whatever investment that would bring more employment for Grand Bahama and that whatever investment is in the best interest of Grand Bahamians we are committed to ensuring to do all that is possible to seeing it is done with a success, and seeing that it moves swiftly. But, I know that it is being presently reviewed and we have something to say on that shortly,” he said.
He said that all existing projects on Grand Bahama are in the process of being reviewed.