A new Central Bank will add to redevelopment of Nassau, says PM

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Prime Minister Hubert Minnis (centre) shows rendering of refurbished Southern Recreation Grounds in the House of Assembly, February 13, 2019. (BIS Photo/Yontalay Bowe)

A new Central Bank of the Bahamas building is part of the revitalization of downtown Nassau, Prime Minister the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis told the House of Assembly.  He was contributing to the debate on the Resolution to Convey Property and Land from the Government of The Bahamas to the Central Bank of The Bahamas for the building of a new bank.

“The redeveloped Prince George Wharf, the new Supreme Court Complex, and supporting offices, and the beautiful new Central Bank will boost the revitalization, renewal and restoration of downtown,” the Prime Minister said during the morning House session on February 13, 2019.

The land in question is the site which the historic Royal Victoria Hotel and Gardens once occupied. “We are conveying the land and the property for the purpose of constructing a new complex for the Central Bank of The Bahamas, which long ago outgrew its premises.  For many years the Central Bank pressed for the development of a new site, as the bank grew to meet the challenges and the responsibilities of a new era and a new century,” the Prime Minister said.He added, “The new Central Bank will help in the development and the beautification of an area long in need of revitalization.”

The Central Bank’s Administration Department Manager Ian Fernander described the proposed facility as an “iconic structure” and a “one-of-a-kind building,” the Prime Minister told Parliament.“Mr. Fernander also noted that the new building may serve as a catalyst for the development of the surrounding area. The new Central Bank will help to beautify downtown Nassau,” the Prime Minister said. The new facility will also include: a museum, an art gallery and a movie theatre.

In recent years, the Government of The Bahamas developed office sites for the Ministry of Education, the Public Treasury,  the National Emergency Management Agency, the Office of the Prime Minister, the Office of the Attorney General and other agencies.“To house other government agencies and to reduce the costs of rentals and leases, the Government will need to invest over many years in new buildings and purchases,” the Prime Minister said.

He noted that the Ministry of Finance set up a Special Purpose Vehicle to purchase the former UBS Corporate Centre on East Bay Street, which is now known as Poinciana House. The complex houses the Securities Commission, the Insurance and the Compliance Commission. To house other agencies, he said that the government will construct a major new office complex on the site of the old City Market on Market Street. “This new complex is part of our ambitious and long-term urban revitalization program.  It will complement the refurbished Southern Recreation Grounds.  I am pleased that the refurbishment of this historic site has begun,” the Prime Minister said.

He also reported that his government is on track to redevelop the New Providence Landfill, “a longstanding and vexing problem which we are addressing.” And, as a matter of “utmost urgency” he said his administration took the decision to relocate the Main Post Office to Town Centre Mall in order to provide the residents of New Providence with a central and secure site to collect mail and parcels. “We were also determined to ensure the health, safety and security of the employees of the Main Post Office,” the Prime Minister said.  “Our decision was more cost-effective and made eminently more practical sense than the proposals of the former administration, which would have taken a long time to complete, and which were bogged down in all manner of problems,” he said.

According to the Prime Minister, the old post office site will be imploded and a new Supreme Court complex with green technology, with the facilities necessary for a modern criminal justice system will be built on there. “In time, we must consider a new parliamentary complex,” the Prime Minister said, further explaining that the current Senate and House of Assembly buildings should become museums chronicling the country’s development as a parliamentary democracy. 

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