Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. Philip Davis said that what his Government is building in New Bight, Cat Island, is “truly exciting,” and an important part of a “broader push to support the vitality of all our Family Islands.”
“At the opening of the new passport office in January, I made a promise: I said construction on the new airport would start by May of this year,” he said at the Groundbreaking Ceremony, on March 23, 2023. “Here we are in March, with shovels in the ground.”
Among those present included Minister of Education and Technical & Vocational Training the Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin and other Cabinet Ministers; Permanent Secretaries; senior Government officials; representative of the Office of the Spouse of the Prime Minister Mrs. Ann Marie Davis; US Embassy Charge d’Affaires a.i., Mrs. Usha E. Pitts; stakeholders and residents.
Prime Minister Davis added that there were many people who made the project possible; and he took the opportunity to particularly thank the Ministry of Works; the Ministry of Tourism, Investments and Aviation; Permanent Secretaries; the head of his Delivery Unit, Allison Collie; the Airport Authority; BIA; Local Administration; the architects, Michael Moss and his team; Kino and Willie Simmons and their team; and “the many others who are making our dreams, Cat Islanders, come true.”
He noted that the new airport was a “very big and very important” investment in the people and future of that special island.
“As a tier 2 airport, it will serve as a port of entry, with customs and immigration services, and will be equipped with a state-of-the-art fire station,” Prime Minister Davis said. “The design is modern and sustainable, featuring solar panels, smart lighting, and rainwater collection.
“Our history and culture will be on full display as well, with regatta-inspired decorations and multiple opportunities for local entrepreneurs to exhibit their products.”
Prime Minister Davis stated that a new airport meant much more than increased travel capacity for Cat Island.
“This infrastructural upgrade promises to attract new investments, revitalise old industries, and inspire new ones,” he said. “I hope new opportunities here will mean more of our young people staying home and building their lives here, and I believe these same new opportunities will act as an incentive for native Cat Islanders to return home, because I always say “Once a Cat Islander, always a Cat Islander’.”
Prime Minister Davis noted that the airport was, of course, part of a larger plan for revitalization.
“Improvements to this island’s roadways are right around the corner,” he said. “The contract to pave 70 miles of the main road will go to Cabinet for signing next week, after which work will commence immediately.”
He added that at the peak of those roadworks, many Cat Islanders will be employed. Upgrades to the clinic were also on the way, as were new educators for the children, he noted.
“A resurgence is here, my friends, and it is not unique to Cat Island,” Prime Minister Davis said. “The Bahamas is not just New Providence, and I keep reminding my Ministers of that. We are working hard to revitalise our Family Islands.”
He noted that there were “promising” new investments islands such as the Exumas, Long Island, and the Abacos.
“And each of our islands ought to be treated as centres of culture, commerce, and opportunity in their own right,” Prime Minister Davis said.
“As Ephesians 4:16 reminds us, the sum of the parts is greater than the whole – every island that comprises our precious country is important, and together, we are one family,” he added.
By ERIC ROSE/Bahamas Information Services
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