By Andrew Coakley/BIS: Freeport
Prime Minister of the Bahamas and Minister of Finance, the Hon. Philip Davis says all of the talk about what Grand Bahama can become and where it can go are over for him. It’s time now, he said for action.
“I know Grand Bahama, having lived here myself in the early seventies, so the time has come for Grand Bahama to really live up to its true potential,” said Prime Minister Davis. “It’s not going to happen with people just talking about it. It has to happen with someone who really wants to do something about it.”
The Prime Minister’s remarks came during a visit to Grand Bahama on Monday, January 31, 2022, at a press conference in the Office of the Prime Minister (GB). Prime Minister Davis was frank in his answers about Grand Bahama and about what it needs in order to be restored. As far as investor confidence is concerned, Prime Minister Davis says that investor confidence in The Bahamas as a whole is on the rise, but he admitted that when it comes to Grand Bahama, it seems as if that confidence by investors in the island has waned over the years.
“We have been, in our movements, seeking to restore that confidence,” said Mr. Davis. “For Grand Bahama, when it comes to investors, there has always been a question mark. Why is that? Investors are willing to invest in The Bahamas, but when it comes to Grand Bahama, there is always some reluctance on their part.
“For example, I had a conversation in Dubai with someone who had come to Grand Bahama and looked at projects, but their desire to invest just withered because there was no connection. I’ve been talking with them and hopefully we may find that something that will cause them to reconnect and revisit their vision and desire to invest here.
“But we are working on how we can fully restore the confidence for people to invest in Grand Bahama.”
Asked about any updates on the sale of the Grand Lucayan Resort, Prime Minister Davis pointed out that there have been a number of expressions of interests, nwhich are under consideration by the Minister of Tourism and Investments. However, he said for him personally, the real issue isn’t just trying to sell the Grand Lucayan Resort. “There’s no sense in us putting it in the hands of someone and then the other components for a successful community are not there,” said the Prime Minister.
“For example, for us to have a successful project at the Grand Lucayan, airlift is important, So, we have to look at the airport to see how we can get that back on stream in a way to complement and to ensure that it feeds into the Grand Lucayan Hotel. In addition to the airlift, we have to ensure that there are other attractions available for persons coming into Grand Bahama. There has to be a complete visionary plan, if we’re going to continue to promote Grand Bahama as a tourist destination, which will include us having not just the hotel, but any other
projects on that level.
“We also have to decide what kind of tourists we want to attract to Grand Bahama; whether it’s a golf destination, casino driven or technology driven. There are a number of factors we’re looking at now to determine the direction in which we would like to see Grand Bahama go. We want to have partners in Grand Bahama who have a vision; a vision where they’re prepared to put their money where their mouth is to ensure it becomes a reality.”
Prime Minister Davis assured Grand Bahamians that his government’s plans for a new hospital to be constructed in Grand Bahama is still on the drawing board. He said that he, along with the Minister for Health, have been in deep discussions and negotiations with any number of entities to ensure that the government is to at least be able to break ground for the new hospital before the end of the year.
“For my part, I indicated to the Minister that I want us to start by June,” said the Prime Minister.
During his visit to Grand Bahama, the prime Minister got an opportunity to view one of the new initiatives launched by the Ministry of Grand Bahama that would help to clean up certain properties in preparation for the construction of some half-way homes.