Rupert Hayward of the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) announced that his family is seeking to sell a portion of their 50% stake in the entity. He also spoke about the importance of the Hawksbill Creek Agreement to the growth of Freeport.
Hayward said, “the idea was to create through the Hawksbill Creek Agreement, this foundational document, that created an economic model that was competitive around the world. When that document was signed between the government at the day and the Port Authority, the Port area free trade zone was one of two free trade zones on the world. Now seventy percent of all the countries have free trade zones. Now that document created a competitive advantage for the port area which allowed foreign direct investment to come in here without any investment from government, private dollars, and to create the second city over time in The Bahamas.”
The GBPA executive went further stating, “we need a strong institution in Grand Bahama to stand up for the rights and deliver for the people of Grand Bahama and the Port Authority was that, needs to grasp that nettle again and become that again for the people of Grand Bahama. But again, we talk about the role of the Port Authority and fulfilling its commitments. Well one of them is maintaining our city and its well documented that there are too many derelict buildings and the city doesn’t look as good as it should because of those. Well there is a document within the Hawksbill Creek Agreement called the by-laws, the city by-laws. And they determine how we at the GBPA can deal with derelict buildings and actually how we can recoup capital so we can reinvest that money back into the beatification of the city and those by-laws are antiquated, they really need to be updated.”
Hayward says the Hawksbills Creek Agreement and the partnership between GBPA and the government are the critical features for the success of Freeport.