By DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
FREEPORT – Prime Minister Perry Christie revealed that his government has been meeting with investors who are interested in making investments in the tourism and industrial sectors on Grand Bahama.
He said they are working closely with the Grand Bahama Port Authority to bring about positive economic results for the island.
“With respect to the economy, I am hoping in the not too distance future, sooner rather than later, to be back here as the bearer of good news,” Mr Christie said on Wednesday.
He said Grand Bahama is confronted with crippling economic conditions that have resulted in high unemployment.
“We are now faced with handicapping economic circumstances where the economy of Grand Bahama is (at a standstill) and jobs have been lost.
“What we are trying to do is make certain interventions in the economy to bring about better results in tourism and industry,” said Mr Christie.
He disclosed that a team of government officials is in Canada considering an investment for Grand Bahama’s industrial sector.
Mr Christie stated said has also met with former FNM Cabinet minister Kenneth Russell – a staunch supporter of the proposed Sharp Rock investment, who was asked to resign by former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham for breach of Cabinet protocol – regarding an investment for East Grand Bahama.
Prime Minister Christie expressed his strong optimism and commitment to the recovery of Grand Bahama’s economy.
In its Charter of Governance, the PLP promised that it will rescue the island’s economy and create jobs.
In addition to establishing a Ministry for Grand Bahama within 100 days of taking office, Mr Christie also promised to cut departure taxes at the air and sea ports and provide incentives and subsidies for airlift to stimulate the tourism industry.
On Wednesday, he said: “I am very optimistic as to some of the things I am doing . . . and I want you to be encouraged in the knowledge that we are not just focusing on the social but we have an equally strong commitment to making things happen in the economy.
“From where we sit we are beginning to have a sense that we can make things happen down here much more quickly than people would have anticipated.
When asked to address the issue of high electricity costs, Prime Minister Christie said he was encouraged by discussions with Grand Bahama Power Company executives.
“Representatives of the Power Company met with me on Monday, along with another group, with a proposal that envisages lowering the cost of electricity,” he said.
“I am able to say we had wonderful discussions, and we are encouraged by those discussions. We are satisfied based on what was told to us that the Power Company is in fact working really hard to bring a positive result in terms of reduced cost of energy in Grand Bahama, and we are looking forward to that taking place.”