Deputy PM: Strong investor interest in Grand Bahama, big announcements coming


Tribune Freeport Reporter

 DEPUTY Prime Minister Chester Cooper, Minister for Tourism, Investments, and Aviation, said there is strong investor interest in Grand Bahama and that there are some big announcements coming soon for the island. 

 "I met investors a few days ago in Nassau, there are some big announcements coming for Grand Bahama," he revealed on Friday while in Grand Bahama.

 Mr Cooper said that Grand Bahama Minister Ginger Moxey is expected to speak to them during the Budget Debate.

He said the government is seeing consistent levels of investment in both private-sector projects and government investments in Grand Bahama.

 "We expect this is going to continue over the course of time,” he stated. “I indicated before that we are pressing forward with the opening of the airport and the date is still the first quarter of 2025, and there are significant levels of work being done.

"The conceptual designs have already been reviewed by all local stakeholders, and once we finalise those designs there will be even more consultation overall, but I am satisfied we are moving in the right direction," Mr Cooper stated.

 He mentioned the announcement of the $300m hotel in the West, and the Six Senses resort project in the East. In Freeport, he said there have been many ribbon cuttings that have indicated a renaissance in downtown.

 "We are still working on Grand Lucayan and there are many other projects in the pipeline. Statoil has been approved and we expect that is going to open," he said.

 Asked whether the current relationship that exists between the government and the Grand Bahama Port Authority will hamper further investments, Mr Cooper said he was not concerned because, in business, people sometimes disagree.

 "The Prime Minister has made clear what his position is in relation to the GBPA,” he said. “I believe the conversation that the Prime Minister is having is at the shareholder level.

 "Operations continue and licensees ought to feel confident that it is business as usual, and certainly over the course of time, there will be clarity as to the ongoing discussions. It is important that the government continues to have discussions with stakeholders like the GBPA for the betterment of Grand Bahama, and I think that is what is happening."

 Prime Minister Philip 'Brave' Davis, during his contribution to the Budget Debate, reported that the Grand Bahama economy declined by nine percent the previous year. He further noted that the statistics show a prolonged decline in the Grand Bahama economy.

 Mr Davis said the government would take "decisive action" on the Grand Bahama Port Authority, saying the Hawksbill Creek Agreement model is not working and that the GBPA's governance model needs to change.

 The Grand Bahama Port Authority said Freeport’s economy is showing signs of recovery, and that “decisive action” by the government is needed to further facilitate the continued "promise" of the Hawksbill Creek Agreement.

 Business licensees in Freeport have called for the government and the Grand Bahama Port Authority to work collectively to stimulate the Grand Bahama economy and attract more investments to the island.

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