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Audio - Mitchell: Middle East Trip Will Aid Business

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FRED MITCHELL ON MIDDLE EAST TRIP

By KHRISNA VIRGIL

Tribune Staff Reporter

kvirgil@tribunemedia.net

FOREIGN Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell says a recent trip to the Middle East has sparked new relationships which will assist in developing business and investments throughout the Bahamas.

Mr Mitchell travelled over the last two weeks to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar in an attempt to forge ties and find money for the country.

As a result, the Bahamas offered to officials at the UAE and Qatar sound investments for their sovereign wealth funds, cooperation in tourism and investments in private sector projects, including attracting high net worth individuals to bank in the Bahamas.

Mr Mitchell said: “We settled diplomatic relations with Qatar. An Ambassador from that country came to the Bahamas and did extensive tours in economic areas of interest in Grand Bahama. There is a similar story with the United Arab Emirates whose Minister of Foreign Affairs chose the Bahamas as the only Caricom country which he visited on a hemispheric-wide tour over the past month.

“This is likely to mean the settling of the following agreements with these two countries:  an investment protection act, an air services agreement, a visa waiver agreement, a general cooperation agreement and double taxation agreement. There is a lot of work to be done if this is to be settled before the General Assembly at the United Nations in September. Our presence in consular or diplomatic form may be necessary to support what we plan to do.”

Mr Mitchell pinpointed that countries in the Middle East are surplus capital countries as is China.

“The Bahamas and the Caricom region have a capital deficit. We can make this deficit up to aid our development either by soliciting donations or by seeking to attract investment. The Bahamas has chosen the latter.”

The Minister announced last year that he would spend a full year abroad. That announcement was met with criticism from political pundits who suggested that during a time when the country experiences financial difficulties, Mr Mitchell should cut back on foreign expeditions.

Travelling with Mr Mitchell to Qatar was the Minister for Grand Bahama, Dr Michael Darville, and the President of the Grand Bahama Port Authority, Ian Rolle. They made presentations to the Qatar Investment Authority.

“I believe that with that presentation and those made in the United Arab Emirates, and with careful nurturing of the relationship, there will be tangible benefits for the Bahamas. We are dealing with two countries with impeccable reputations as friends of the West. We are doing this in concert with our traditional trading partners who have indicated no opposition to what we are doing and plan to do. Our Caricom neighbours are also involved in similar outreaches,” he said.

Comments

PastorTroy 3 years, 6 months ago

Data Pirates of the Caribbean: The NSA Is Recording Every Cell Phone Call in the Bahamas.

READ ABOUT IT HERE!

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/article/2014/05/19/data-pirates-caribbean-nsa-recording-every-cell-phone-call-bahamas/

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242orgetslu 3 years, 6 months ago

                 PLEASE READ AND PASS ON!

This is the link where the full story is: http://si.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1083812/1/index.htm

Across the inky-blue Gulf Stream from Florida, near the sheer edge of the Great Bahama Bank, a new island is emerging from the sea. Although it bears the appealing name Ocean Cay, this new island is not, and never will be, a palm-fringed paradise of the sort the Bahamian government promotes in travel ads. No brace of love doves would ever choose Ocean Cay for a honeymoon; no beauty in a brief bikini would waste her sweetness on such desert air. Of all the 3,000 islands and islets and cays in the Bahamas, Ocean Cay is the least lovely. It is a flat, roughly rectangular island which, when completed, will be 200 acres and will resemble a barren swatch of the Sahara. Ocean Cay does not need allure. It is being dredged up from the seabed by the Dillingham Corporation of Hawaii for an explicit purpose that will surely repel more tourists than it will attract. In simplest terms, Ocean Cay is a big sandpile on which the Dillingham Corporation will pile more sand that it will subsequently sell on the U.S. mainland. The sand that Dillingham is dredging is a specific form of calcium carbonate called aragonite, which is used primarily in the manufacture of cement and as a soil neutralizer. For the past 5,000 years or so, with the flood of the tide, waters from the deep have moved over the Bahamian shallows, usually warming them in the process so that some of the calcium carbonate in solution precipitated out. As a consequence, today along edges of the Great Bahama Bank there are broad drifts, long bars and curving barchans of pure aragonite. Limestone, the prime source of calcium carbonate, must be quarried, crushed and recrushed, and in some instances refined before it can be utilized. By contrast, the aragonite of the Bahamian shallows is loose and shifty stuff, easily sucked up by a hydraulic dredge from a depth of one or two fathoms. The largest granules in the Bahamian drifts are little more than a millimeter in diameter. Because of its fineness and purity, the Bahamian aragonite can be used, agriculturally or industrially, without much fuss and bother. It is a unique endowment. There are similar aragonite drifts scattered here and there in the warm shallows of the world, but nowhere as abundantly as in the Bahamas. In exchange for royalties, the Dillingham Corporation has exclusive rights in four Bahamian areas totaling 8,235 square miles. In these areas there are about four billion cubic yards—roughly 7.5 billion long tons—of aragonite. At rock-bottom price the whole deposit is worth more than $15 billion. An experienced dredging company like Dillingham should be able to suck up 10 million tons a year, which will net the Bahamian government an annual royalty of about $600,000.

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