During a one-day visit to Grand Bahama to tour the capital works projects currently underway, P.M the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis on Thursday declared, Grand Bahama will be prepared for post- COVID. While speaking with the media following a tour of West Grand Bahama and Central Grand Bahama, Prime Minister Minnis also said the curfew in Grand Bahama will be extended to 11pm shortly.
The Prime Minister arrived on Thursday morning accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Works, the Hon. Desmond Bannister and Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Frankie Campbell.
He was greeted by Senator the Hon. J. Kwasi Thompson, Minister of State for Finance and for G.B; the Hon. Michael Pintard, Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources; the Hon. Iram Lewis, Minister of State for Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction; Parliamentary Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, Pakesia Parker-Edgecombe; Senator the Hon. Jasmine Darius; Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, Harcourt Brown; and other senior government officials.
The purpose of his visit, he said, was to see the progress made following the “catastrophic events” of Hurricane Dorian in September 2019, and the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said, “It is essential that Grand Bahama and the rest of The Bahamas be prepared for the post-COVID era.” The tour began in West End where the Prime Minister and delegation viewed the dock and saw plans for the boat ramps and fishing station; the convoy then went to Holmes Rock Junior High School, the Administrative/Government Complex in Eight Mile Rock, with a stop at the Eight Mile Rock High School where the Prime Minister greeted some members of staff and a few students.
Hugh Campbell Primary School was the first stop when the group came back to Freeport; and then it was on to the Garnet Levarity Justice Centre, the Post Office, the Department of Agriculture and to Pelican Bay. Describing the Administrative Complex as “high end” the Prime Minister noted it is of the standard design that should be replicated in the other islands. He expressed pleasure in the number of people involved in backyard farming and the program’s growth. The Prime Minister added that the hospital should be ready for official opening next month.
The same company that designed the Critical Care Block of the Princess Margaret Hospital when the Prime Minister was the Min. of Health is currently designing the new hospital for Grand Bahama. Cabinet is expected to deliberate on the airport, as the paperwork has been completed, said Dr. Minnis, and they are prepared to take over and put a management team in place.
As for Our Lucayan, he said it is “somewhat disappointing” that the property has not been reopened yet “unfortunately, we were affected by COVID just like the rest of the world; hotels around the world have been closed down and we were caught with that also.”
He further stated that professionals have come in and reviewed the agreements that were negotiated to make sure that they were compliant with international standards — “we’re getting the best price we possibly can at this point in time.” “I can’t give you a date at this particular time, but what I can say is that as we come out of this COVID era, the hotels will be ready, the airlines will return and the airport will be ready so Grand Bahama will be ready for this rebound in terms of COVID.”
Following lunch at Pelican Bay, the delegation travelled to East Grand Bahama to view the road repairs, Freetown Primary School repairs, McLean’s Town Clinic and the McLean’s Town Dock. The Prime Minister departed Grand Bahama for New Providence on Thursday afternoon.