During his monthly visit to Grand Bahama on Friday, May 18, Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon. Hubert Minnis toured the family-owned ‘Goombay Land’ facility. Twenty-one years following the closing of the property, which originally opened in 1989 by Reginald, also known as “Mr. Reg,” and Denyse Albury, the family-oriented business has scheduled a re-dedication and grand opening for June 2018. Following the tour of the facility, Prime Minister said: “The mere fact that it was initially owned by a parent, and the kids are now are taking up the mantle, that in itself shows that the kids have confidence in Grand Bahama, just like we do.” The Prime Minister added that when second generations are investing in the economy, “it sends a message. It’s a small business and small businesses make up the bulk of the employment.” He added that the government will do all it can to ensure the survival of small businesses.
Owner and Director of Marketing and Events, Janet Butler, said the property was popular for roller-skating and go-cart racing and had been open for seven years but closed following the death of her father in 1997. “My brother and I are excited to complete and move into the legacy that our father has passed on to us. We are excited to give an outlet for children to play. With us having children of our own, we know the need for getting them off of those devices and in a safe environment where they can play with their friends and not [have] all that tech talk.” To date, some $250,000 has been invested, but it is expected that this number will increase to $500,000 after the laser tag arena has been added in the fall.
Initially, it is expected that between 20 to 25 people will be employed. To get the summer going, the first phase of the business is scheduled to include roller-skating, and go-cart racing, a teen dance for ages 13 to 17. “In the fall, we are going to have STEM field trips to all of the schools here on Grand Bahama. We’re also going to be having other vendors, other Bahamian entrepreneurs, rent booths at our facility to encourage other businesses to revitalize the economy.” The STEM curriculum being offered will focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.
Goombay Land is a registered association rink with Roller Skating Association (RSA) in the United States. Through United Skates of America, they have purchased the curriculum for students — through Grade 12. “All of the curricula is in place and we will be working with students from the University of The Bahamas who are looking to begin their teaching practice, so third-year students.” There are plans, said Ms. Butler, to have a lot of security to ensure the safety of the patrons. Also present for the tour were: Minister of State for Grand Bahama in the Office of the Prime Minister, Senator the Hon. Kwasi Thompson; Parliamentary Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, Pakesia Parker-Edgecombe; Senator the Hon. Jasmine Dareus; and Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, Harcourt Brown.