GRAND BAHAMA, The Bahamas – Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. Philip Davis while on the island of Grand Bahama, recently, expressed optimism about its future economic growth.
Since coming to office in September 2021, the Davis Administration has made it clear that Grand Bahama Island as a whole is a top priority on its agenda.
Prime Minister Davis said that despite having a sluggish economy, Grand Bahama is seeing some incremental growth this year and is expected to see more with the uptick in construction of the Carnival Cruise Port in East Grand Bahama and the new Freeport Hospital.
“The construction of the Carnival Cruise Port and the hospital will add something to the economy. We see it growing and there are other proposals in the mix,” the Prime Minister said.
Ground was broken in May of 2022 for the cruise port that will be able to simultaneously accommodate two of the largest ships in the world and in May of this year, ground was broken on 50 acres of land for the $210 million Freeport Health Campus to provide primary, tertiary and acute care for residents of Grand Bahama and the northern Bahamas.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation, the Hon. Chester Cooper, while addressing the Grand Bahama Business Outlook conference in March, revealed at the government had entered into an agreement with Aerodrome Limited, a Bahamian company; Manchester Airport Group Limited, an airport management company based in Manchester in the United Kingdom; and London-based BHM Construction International to build, finance, operate, maintain and redevelop the Grand Bahama International Airport.
Phase one, which will consist of the domestic terminal, the US Pre-Clearance terminal, new initial taxiways and aprons, new initial roads and car parks, a flood mitigation system, a flood attenuation basin, renewable energy systems, a sea defense berm and support bridges, air freight cargo facilities, is expected to be completed no later than April 2025.
Further demonstrating the Davis Administration’s commitment to keeping the people of Grand Bahama top on its priority, Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Ginger Moxey pointed out during her presentation on the 2023-2024 Budget Debate that her ministry’s $17-plus million budget represents the highest ever proposed for that Ministry since its establishment in 2021.
Prime Minister Davis noted that what is more important is for the government to right the ship of the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) and decide how it will ensure that its full potential could be realized without hindrance.
He said that the potential and promise of Freeport has always been lagging and in order for that promise to be fulfilled, there has to be a paradigm shift in the ownership structure.
“It is clear to me that the interest of the owners do not truly align with the interest of the people of Grand Bahama, and the residents in Freeport in particular, and until those align we will have no growth,” he said.
“The growth that’s occurring in the Freeport area is at the instance of the government.”
Prime Minister Davis also pointed out that the government has taken over the role of the GBPA and it is not fair to the Bahamian people for the government to be subsidizing the GBPA for what they should be doing.
While providing an update on the sale of the Grand Lucayan Resort, the Prime Minister revealed that he was advised by his team that there were two potential buyers they are seriously looking at, however, their proposals have not yet reached his desk.