When officially opening the ElNet Maritime Centre on Thursday, Prime Minister the Hon. Philip Davis said he hoped the government could partner with the entity in future initiatives related to the Blue Economy. Also in attendance were Minister of Transport and Housing the Hon. Jobeth Coleby-Davis, Minister for Grand Bahama the Hon. Ginger Moxey, Leader of the Official Opposition the Hon. Michael Pintard, senior government officials, family and friends.
Mr. Hepburn, flanked by his wife Regina, explained the history of the company. Minister Coleby-Davis said she remembered that Mr. Hepburn spoke of challenges faced in obtaining funding and so she knew how special the occasion was in fulfilling his dream.
After 14 years of hard work, she said, Mr. Hepburn’s story is an inspiration to young Bahamians. During construction, she said, over 125 jobs were created and now that the facility is in operation, there is an opportunity for 50 to 100 new jobs. “It is no secret that Grand Bahama has endured many challenges over the last few years. However, the opening of this Center is a step in the right direction for the island.”
Praising Chief Operating Officer of ElNet, Elbert “Ellie” Hepburn, the Prime Minister said, “Apart from the more usual financial challenges and obstacles that ambitious projects encounter, not many ventures have had to overcome the challenges presented by a Category 5 hurricane, a global pandemic, and a general surge of inflation. “In this context, your success is all-the-more remarkable, and I congratulate you on this exceptional achievement. In fact, your vision, ambition and progress-to- date, have already singled you out as among the best of us.”
The Prime Minister commended the growth the business over the past 14 years and said he can see that Mr. Hepburn is on his way to achieve his global ambitions.
“When my administration came into office just under six months ago, a significant section of our campaign promises related to the Blue Economy.” He said, “Weplaced a strong focus on how we would manage, promote, and develop resources on the sea (in which we include shipping), resources in the sea itself (such as fisheries), and resources on the seabed itself (such as our coral reefs, mangroves
and sea grasses).”
In diversifying the economy and spurring economic growth, this will increase employment, generate wealth and expand opportunities. Mr. Hepburn, he said, provides opportunities for Bahamians to work around the world in the maritime sector.
“I am especially happy that you are so keen to be the rising tide that lifts others with you. I encourage you to keep telling your story, to keep spreading the message,” said the Prime Minister.
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