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Long Island is ‘like nation’s step child’

Long Island feels “like the step child of the Bahamas”, its Chamber of Commerce president yesterday warning an absence of growth and infrastructure is forcing businesses to close down.

Cheryl de Goicoechea told Tribune Business that the island’s economic woes were being compounded by a lack of industry, in addition to the absence of direct international flights to aid the island’s tourism product.

“We have huge challenges in Long Island,” she said. “I think we’re like the step child of the Bahamas. We really don’t seem to get any assistance from any government. I think we are just left out there, struggling on our own.

“Right now there is a huge drought. We still don’t have running water throughout the island. That has a huge impact. I operate a small vacation rental business and within the past month I have probably had four different loads of water delivered to my place, which is about 2,000 gallons of water.

“The residents have to go to a laundromat in the south of the island because they can’t use the water they have in their  tanks for laundry. So they have to go in the south where there is city water.”

Mrs de Goicoechea said the absence of direct international flights to the island was hurting tourism sector growth.

“We don’t have the right airlift into Long Island. We have no international getaway here. People have to stop to Nassau to get here,” she added. “The airport in Deadman’s Cay needs to be extended and improved on.

“I had recently inquired with the Ministry of Tourism on visitor arrivals statistics for Long Island, and I was made to understand that  stopovers in Nassau are not counted as Long Island visitors, but 90 per cent of the visitors to Long Island have to go to Nassau first, meaning they are counted as Nassau visitors.

“If the Government looks at the statistics that way they are surely not going to see a need to improve the infrastructure or put anything here because they will be under the impression that no one is coming here; that we’re getting 500 visitors when i’ts probably more like 5,000.”

Mrs de Goicoechea said the lack of employment opportunities on Long Island has forced most of the younger residents to leave.

“There’s a lack of employment and any type of industry here on the island to keep our young people here,” she said. “We have one of the best schools producing high quality students in the Bahamas, and these students have to leave and none of them can come back home because nothing is here.

“The age ranges of the people on the island are from infant to 17, and then it goes from 45 and older. We have none of that good, young blood that you need on the island because there is nothing here to bring people back to the island. We are definitely struggling all around.”

Mrs de Goicoechea said the struggle of Long Island businesses was recently highlighted with the closure of a long-standing grocery and supply store in Salt Pond.

“That’s been there since the late 1960s, I believe, and that closed down in December,” she said. “Recently there was a small little boutique resort which closed its doors in January.

“Because of the lack of growth, the lack of infrastructure and everything else, people just aren’t able to do business here any more and they have to shut down.”

Comments

Regardless 7 years, 10 months ago

Interesting. All you ever hear during elections is how Long Island does not need government assistance as its people are hard working and industrious. The difficulty with elections is you never know who will emerge victorious. Perhaps its time for Long Islanders to be a little less long in the mouth and demonstrate more humility. Just because someone supports a different political party does not make them less intelligent or important. Unfortunately many in Long Island emulate the brashness of their former representation. What they fail to understand is how many of their favored political leaders are in business with those they feel socially compelled to ridicule. It is true that Long Island has been left on the back burners through the years however it would worthwhile for the people who do not support the government to at least respect it. Publicly demonizing people in power is not the best way to get things done. Let elected representation do the criticizing in public. After all, the tradition of the representation of Long Island after the UBP is " I can't do anything for you unless I am in government". That is the true paradox. The "industriousness" of Long Island is held hostage to when their elected representation serves as a cabinet minister. In other democracies, economic growth is determined by the private sector. Long Island has roads, power, telecommunications, potable water and two airports. Tourism is driven by demand and the internet is the gateway to millions of potential visitors. If Long Island's representation is not able to contribute unless in a cabinet position, then the private sector better get motivated and creative. Five years is a long time to wait for representation to be hired in cabinet. Ten years can feel like a lifetime.

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duppyVAT 7 years, 10 months ago

Long Island probably has more millionnaires per capita than any other Bahamian island ............ not living in Long Island, but descendants with businesses in Nassau and other islands. True at one time under the FNM there were TEN Long Island Cabinet Ministers ............ so between the private sector and political influence, Long Island probably missed its best window in the 1990s to really take off

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ohdrap4 7 years, 10 months ago

Only long island? These days all the whole nation ever gets is gru-ELL

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duppyVAT 7 years, 10 months ago

The problem is perception and myth............... the view on the outside is that Long Islanders are rich conchy joes who are businessmen and fishermen who are self-employed, independent rednecks................................. that is Spanish Wells they are describing

The truth is that MOST Long Islanders are black and struggling to survive just like all other Family Islanders ...................... they are just different shades of hue.

The island has suffered under the PLP both politically, economically and socially. But despite the challenges and clannishness, Long Islanders are still progressive, free spirited and ambitious ............... and far better off than many of the islands who feed at the PLP trough

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duppyVAT 7 years, 10 months ago

What is the present MP doing to stimulate domestic investment in Long Island ........... besides bragging about her main bagman ..................Ellis Major??????????*Strong

We need ten or twenty Long Island millionnaires to come back and invest like Mr. Major ............ not like big mouth but tight-fisted ............ Raffie Cartwright .............................. BOL

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