P.M Minnis appoints Committee for the Development of Communities for Young Professionals

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Prime Minister the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis has appointed the Committee for the Development of Communities for Young Professionals. The Committee was formed in March 2021 to advise the Prime Minister, as Minister responsible for Lands, on the use of Government-owned lands for the social and economic empowerment of young people through land ownership. The Committee will guide the administrative and technical development of communities for young professionals.

Committee members include professionals with multi-disciplinary experience, including property development, real estate, engineering, financial, legal, project management and public policy.

Members of the Committee include:
• Viana Gardiner, Chief Operating Officer, Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit (Chair)
• Nathaniel Beneby, Retired Commercial Banking Executive
• Christine Wallace-Whitfield, President, Bahamas Real Estate Association
• Michele Thompson, Country Managing Partner, Ernst & Young
• Sonia Brown, Principal, Graphite Engineering Ltd.
• Carlyle Bethel, Investment Advisor Associate, CIBC First Caribbean International
• Charles Sealy, Business Administrator

The Committee will work closely with Government agencies responsible for subdivision developments in The Bahamas. Specific subcommittees made up of members of the public and private sectors will also be formed to provide for wider consultation and support where needed to the Committee and to successful applicants.

The first community to be undertaken is the Prospect Ridge Community for Young Professionals, with both residential and commercial offerings. Last week, Parliament has passed the Resolution for the development of the 83 acres of land in Prospect Ridge as an upscale community for young professionals and the granting of concessions which would allow them the opportunity to access affordable land for the building of their homes within the Western area of New Providence. Parliament also approved the conveyance of 83 acres by the Treasurer to the Crown.

This first step of securing the land will now enable the Government to proceed with the proposed development. In preparation to advance the development, members of the Committee have already had meaningful dialogue with commercial financial institutions on funding mechanisms for young professionals. Architects and civil designers have already started work on designing an eco-friendly, upscale, sustainable and resilient community.

In the coming week, members of the Committee will engage with representatives of various Government agencies on the technical requirements for the development of the Community. These agencies include: Department of Environmental Planning and Protection; Department of Forestry; Department of Works; Department of Physical Planning; Buildings Control; and the Water and Sewerage Corporation. The Committee will liaise with other relevant agencies in due course. The Committee has completed the application form necessary for the Prospect Ridge Community. It has been submitted to the Department of Transformation and Digitization to digitize the application process.

A digital application form will allow young professionals to submit all supporting documents digitally and to track their applications.
Details on the application process will be announced in the coming weeks.