Members of the media were given a tour of the new US Embassy facility located on Shirley and East Streets.
US Charge D’Affaires, Usha Pitts spoke to reporters saying, “you might not realize it because we have been working out of this 1960s era building downtown that is literally crumbling but there are over two hundred American and Bahamian staff that work under the US mission. Everybody from those CPP clearance officers at the airport to the DEA, to the FBI, to the Consular Officers that issue Bahamians visas and Americans passports. So you see there’s a really big staff and the staff has grown and grown over the years as the partnership grows and we really need space. We need space to spread out, to do our work and also to collaborate so when we have visitors we can host them properly, we can have major events, big meetings, we’re finally going to have the space to do that.”
Pitts also highlighted the location of the new building. She said, “right here in over the hill we’re in a neighbourhood that frankly could use a little lift and I’m glad that they Embassy is going to be here. And then the other thing is it gives us access to, for example, the RBPF is just a few streets over, Parliament is just right down the hill. So it gives a chance to be among our contacts, among the Bahamian people.”
There are one hundred Bahamian construction workers among the three hundred and fifty persons working on the project. The estimated cost of the new embassy is $310 million. The project is expected to be complete in 2024.