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Pm Unveils Agenda For Grand Bahama

BY DENISE MAYCOCK

Tribune Freeport Reporter

dmaycock@tribunemedia.net

FREEPORT - Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham unveiled the FNM's "Recovery and Growth Agenda for Grand Bahama", which he said will restore and strengthen the island's economy.

He said a Grand Bahama Development Board will be created to promote the further development of business on the island.

"We intend to utilise Grand Bahama as a major hub for promoting and incentivising the establishment of both an aircraft registry and a yacht registry," Mr Ingraham told supporters in Grand Bahama on Saturday.

He stressed that the FNM has big plans for the island.

Mr Ingraham said his government will use the island's unique location and the Grand Bahama Transshipment Centre and adjacent land to facilitate the development of a "logistic distribution hub" for international cargo in an "effective" free trade zone.

He believes this will provide a significant boost to Grand Bahama's economy in many areas.

The prime minister revealed that the FNM will also implement the "Back to the Island Initiative" to attract investment from Bahamians overseas.

To achieve this, he said, the Bahamas Investment Authority will set up an Economic and Development Council of Bahamians Overseas.

"The council will advise the government in locating and promoting investment in the Bahamas by the Bahamian diaspora throughout the world.

"Just like we want Bahamians to go back to the islands, we want people of Bahamian birth or ancestry overseas to invest in the Bahamas.

"We hope that such a council may also encourage Bahamians overseas to give back in terms of scholarships and other assistance to help develop the talent of young Bahamians," he said.

Mr Ingraham said the Recovery and Growth Agenda would focus on conducting strategic overseas investment promotions in Latin America and Asia.

The prime minister said that in the first year of their next term, he will lead an economic and trade mission to Brazil.

"We also need to be bolder in going after markets in Brazil and Latin America in terms of foreign direct investment, tourism, financial services, maritime services, general trade and cultural exchanges," he said.

"Just as I have led other such missions before, including previously to Latin America, I will do so again next term.

"The new Brand Bahamas, similar to the Incredible India campaign, will feature the islands of the Bahamas as a stunningly beautiful, opportunity-rich environment that is stable and strategically located," he said.

Mr Ingraham also revealed that the government intends to expand the scope of the public sector in Grand Bahama by relocating two government departments here.

"This will help to stimulate your economy in significant and far-reaching ways," he said.

"By boosting Grand Bahama's critical infrastructure and the capacity of the public sector here, we are improving the conditions for growth."

Mr Ingraham said the FNM plans to work with the Grand Bahama Port Authority to improve the prospects for the island.

"They have ambitious plans, a number of which we will collaborate on in our next term.

"The Port Authority is moving in a new direction. It is a direction we find quite promising and encouraging," he said.

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