GB International Airport cost $2m not one dollar, says DPM


Tribune Chief Reporter

DEPUTY Prime Minister Chester Cooper suggested yesterday that the Minnis administration misled the public when it said it bought the Grand Bahama International Airport for $1, saying the actual cost was about $2m.

“They said they bought this airport for $1,” he said.

“That’s what they told us, but I had the distinct privilege of looking at the records down at the ministry responsible for aviation, and the true cost was almost $2m, and they relieved the sellers of their obligation to repair it after they took the insurance money, much like the Grand Lucayan resort. They botched that, too. But what they botch, we fix.”

Former Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar said in March 2021 that the airport was bought from Port Holdings and Port Group Ltd for $1.

“Yes, Mr Speaker, one dollar, plus the assumption of a portion of staff-related costs which should not exceed $1m,” he said, adding: “So, the Airport Authority is purchasing about 2,500 acres of land, an 11,000-foot runway that was recently resurfaced, taxiways, ramps, etcetera, all for under $1m.”

Mr Cooper did not outline what the $2m price encompassed.

During his budget contribution in the House of Assembly, he also discussed the government’s Family Island Renaissance Programme, a $260m initiative to transform 14 Family Island airports. 

Exuma and North Eleuthera are expected to require the most money.

In Grand Bahama, Mr Cooper said demolition works have already started for the airport, while a contract for its design build has been executed.

“We are building two beautiful, elevated terminals in Phase I. This is a design build project and will be expedited,” he said.

He foreshadowed that his team would be in West Grand Bahama and Bimini by the end of 2025, ready to “cut the ribbon”.

He said the new terminal in Bimini will be “unlike anything The Bahamas has ever seen”.

He said: “In Bimini, we are making massive progress. Just over six months ago, we signed a management agreement for the $80m redevelopment of the airport at South Bimini with Bimini Airport Development Partners. Already, BAPD has assumed management control of the airport. A new fire truck has been purchased and is on the way.”

He said work is ongoing on Cat Island’s new airport, which officials hope to complete by the third quarter of 2025. 

He said despite delays, Exuma’s airport project is on track for completion by 2025.

“Long Island, you’ll be getting your airport too,” he added.

“The Black Point Airport project is another testament to our forward-thinking approach.”

“Utilising the Great Harbour Cay template, the design includes a seating capacity for 70-80 passengers, a 6,000-foot runway, and a 6,000 square foot air terminal building, with port of entry and a $7m price tag, we’re looking at a 12 to 18 months completion.”

“In September 2021, the design contract for North Eleuthera Airport Landside works was awarded to Alexiou & Associates for $1.6m. The design, similar to Exuma Airport with some modifications, includes an expansion of the departures area to accommodate 400 passengers, was approved in April 2024.”

“The ongoing design of the Air Terminal Building and Crash Fire Rescue facilities highlights our commitment to enhancing passenger experience and safety.”


TalRussell says...

**Make Airport Beautiful Again.(MABA).** -- Yes, Mr. Speaker, **just one sand dollar** on the assumption of two **really beautiful elevated terminals.** --- Yes?

Posted 13 June 2024, 6:44 p.m. Suggest removal

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