By NATARIO McKENZIE Tribune Business Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org THE Government "will move expeditiously" to restore the part of downtown that was ravaged by fire last Friday, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham confirmed, saying the fire which destroyed the historic Pompey Museum presented an opportunity for the redevelopment of the block as a "showpiece" in downtown Nassau. "The Government will move expeditiously to restore the museum and to restore that part of town," the Prime Minister said at the 59th annual general meeting of the Bahamas Hotel Association (BHA). "The Government will not permit the burnt out shell of the museum to stand and mar the city landscape for any length of time. We propose to move expeditiously to facilitate the Bahamas public/private sector partnership beautification program, which will have as its centrepiece the Pompey Gardens and now a restored Pompey Museum. The fire may have actually presented an opportunity for the Government to purchase or acquire the site and destroyed building on the corner of Bay Street and Navy Lion Road. "It presents us with an opportunity to take that entire block from Market Street north down to Navy Lion Road, back up to market Street, to redevelop it as a show piece in the centre of Nassau," the Prime Minister said. Dr Gail Saunders, deputy chairman of the Antiquitie,s Monuments and Museums Corporation, told Tribune Business: "Many of the artifacts have gone but some have survived. It's difficult to put a monetary value on them; they're really priceless. "It's a very sad day.In 2001, the museum was damaged by a fire which destroyed the Straw Market. We had a fire in 2001 when the museum wasn't very badly damaged. It's amazing that some of the books and slave artifacts were saved. We are preserving them and, when the building is restored, we will set up a new exhibit and redo the whole thing. It's a set ack but I am confident the Pompey Museum will be restored and recreated." A huge fire on Bay Street last Friday caused major damage on Bay Street, with the Pompey Museum, the temporary Straw Market site, the Balcony nightclub and the SunTime Shop faring the worst. The blaze is believed to have started around 3am. Investigations have been launched to determine the cause of the blaze.