Deputy Prime Minister and Member of Parliament for East Grand Bahama, the Hon. K. Peter Turnquest and Minister of State for Grand Bahama, Senator Kwasi Thompson traded in their suits and ties and bore the heat in order to get a closer view of the progress of works being carried out in East Grand Bahama. On Friday, February 23, 2018, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of State, along with the Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, Harcourt Brown led a team of contractors and executives from the High Rock Township into High Rock and McLean’s Town to get updates on a series of government projects being carried out in those respective communities.
In spite of the long drive from Freeport to East End, Deputy Prime Minister Turnquest and Minister Thompson were excited to see the progress that is being made at the various project sites, including phase three of the potable water project; the McLean’s Town Housing Subdivision; and works being carried out at the new High Rock Memorial Park. “From what we’ve seen, I think that tremendous progress has been made on these projects,” said Senator Thompson. The Potable Water Project is in its third phase, and more residents in East Grand Bahama now have access to clean, running water. The team made a stop at one of the major well fields and got an update on how much work remains to be done to ensure that all of the residents of East End are able to take advantage of the new water system. Minister Turnquest noted that most of the infrastructure is already in place with respect to the un-serviced areas, and there are some extensions that the water company talked about in order to put in a fire hydrant. “As it stands now, we do not have fire hydrants in High Rock, which is one of the more populated areas in the east,” said Minister Turnquest. “So if there is an event, the trucks would have to go all the way back to the missile base in order to get water. That’s time and money wasted. So with the fire hydrants, it would be an opportunity for us to provide this vital service to the High Rock community.”
The Minister said that there have been talks of acquiring mobile fire equipment to assist the community until bigger machines can come up. He noted that the installation of the fire hydrants would be a very necessary piece of infrastructure for the East End communities. One of the major developments in East Grand Bahama is the new housing project in McLean’s Town. At present, contractors are at the stage of trying to complete the infrastructural work – like the installation of water mains and the building of roads that will lead to the proposed subdivision. The new subdivision is expected to have some 40 lots available along with a recreational park facility. There will also be space for commercial lots as well. “We think that this area is ideal for the housing program which the Prime Minister announced recently,” said Minister Thompson, while looking at the architectural plans for the new housing subdivision. “This program will ensure that residents get government lots for a very reasonable price. We also want to incentivize Bahamians.
“One of the beautiful things about the new housing subdivision in McLean’s Town is that it will attract persons from the Freeport area to build second homes, or people from Abaco or even Nassau to come here to build second homes. “This is a step in the direction of the Government’s plan of helping Bahamians find affordable housing. We believe that this is going to be of tremendous benefit for residents in the area.” Deputy Prime Minister Turnquest pointed out that the new housing subdivision in McLean’s Town would require new infrastructure in order to be supported. “So, these projects taking place here in East Grand Bahama are very timely in order to meet the needs of this new subdivision,” said the Deputy Prime Minister. “This new housing subdivision will give residents – particularly young people – an opportunity to own their home. Many young people have complained that they do not have the opportunity for land, because a lot of the land is generation property and there is not a lot of vacant, developed lots for them to access. This will assist in that regard. And hopefully, also it will assist in developing a community as a second home destination for visitors.
“We have some tremendous bone fishing flats right outside here, as well as some beautiful harbors for snorkeling and experiencing nature. We have a lot of untouched islands,” he said “and lots of areas for exploration. Now that there is developed infrastructure coming in, hopefully, we will see some developments in those aspects.” Asked how he feels the construction of the Oban Oil Refinery will play into all of the new projects taking place in East End, Deputy Prime Minister Turnquest said that major developments in communities attract more residents and necessitates other infrastructure developments. This, he said, creates more opportunities for small business developments around such a huge project like the oil refinery. “That can benefit our entrepreneurs,” added Minister Turnquest. “We look forward to that kind of expansion. “You need population density in order to support any new business like food stores and gas stations that will be expanded in this area and all the other necessary services which a well-run community would need. “As more people begin to work in this area, it will demand that these services be put in place. So, I’m encouraging our residents to start thinking now about the areas of interest they may have. Start identifying sites and making plans to start a business, so when the time comes to execute those plans they would be ready.”