P.M Minnis Charts Plans for Family Islands at Local Government Workshop

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Prime Minister Minnis addressed the opening of the three-day Local Government Workshop at Melia Nassau Beach resort, March 25, 2019. (BIS Photos/Yontalay Bowe)

Family Island Administrators have gathered for a three-day workshop, March 25-27, under the theme, “Agents of Change, Productivity and Accountability” at Melia Nassau Beach resort.  Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert A. Minnis, delivering the opening ceremony keynote address today welcomed the Administrators and thanked them for their commitment and service to the country.  He said that the government plans to undertake several projects and initiatives to improve life on the Family Islands. Also in attendance was the Minister of Transport of Local Government, the Hon. Renward Wells, who delivered brief welcome remarks and introduced the Prime Minister.

Prime Minister Minnis said socio-economic development throughout The Bahamas is a priority requiring Family Island transformation for sustainable tourism, education, health care, agriculture and fisheries, and infrastructure. “Such general infrastructure includes new or upgrades to roads, potable water, docks, the expansion of solar energy and other vital infrastructure,” said the Prime Minister. “I am pleased that during this term in office we will build new airports in North Eleuthera, Exuma and Long Island.” With the current tourism industry boon, major islands must be developed.  And Offices of the Prime Minister will be created and expanded on more Family Islands, he said. Among the plans: New Disney Cruise Port in South Eleuthera, which is expected to result in long-term sustainable development including business opportunities and jobs. Plans are also underway for a transshipment port in Mayaguana. Additionally, the owners of the Bahamas Striping will develop poultry farms and processing plants on North Andros and Eleuthera, and a distribution center on New Providence.

Ragged Island would not be left behind, according to the Prime Minister. The government is moving to incorporate solar power generation into the Ragged Island electricity grid. This, he said, would make the island the country’s first green ‘smart island.’  Other projects include improving access to water on Crooked Island and Long Island, completion of a new primary school in San Salvador, and new and significant investments for Abaco and the Abaco Cays.   “These include: the proposed Tyrsoz Family $580 million investment in South Abaco for the development of a 5-star residential resort and marina, which will involve the upgrade and expansion of the Sandy Point airstrip; the development of Sandy Point ferry dock as a cargo transshipment port and construction area; and the extension of Queen’s Highway in South Abaco,” said Prime Minister Minnis. Furthermore, the government has approved a Bahamian joint venture partnership arrangement for the development of the Blue Hole Marina and Lodge in Fresh Creek (Andros) consisting of a 12-room lodge and an 80-slip marina including a bulk fuel facility.   The economy of Long Island would also be boosted with the development of the Pinder’s Bay $5 million 28-bungalow community development project at Lower Harbour.  Also in the works for Long Island is anew five-star eco facility by Star Resort with 515 luxury residences.

“The Berry Islands, Biminis and the Exumas experienced their share of investment with the expansion of existing properties and green field tourism projects,” he said. He pointed out that the Advisory Committee on the introduction of Local Government to New Providence has recently completed extensive consultation both locally and internationally.  A compilation of their findings will be presented to Cabinet in a few weeks for further discussion. “The decisions that follow may enhance the quality of life in New Providence, in the first instance, and the enhancement of Local Government in the Family Islands.

“I will have more to say on this in due course.” Prime Minister Minnis said that after being hit by category four and five hurricanes for three consecutive years, the country has to be in a ‘state of readiness.’ To this end, NEMA was given the mandate to provide training to all key stakeholders, well in advance of the hurricane season.  Consequently, NEMA has already conducted two, three-day training seminars in January and March with the assistance of USNORTHCOM.  Another three-day training session is planned for the first week of April, with the test run being done in June.  Family Island Administrators will be a part of this training. 

Prime Minister Dr. The Most Hon. Hubert A. Minnis

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