THE Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute will be established in Grand Bahama, said Agriculture Minister V Alfred Gray during a press conference at the Ministry for Grand Bahama on Thursday.
Started in Andros as the brainchild of Prime Minister Perry Christie, Mr Gray said The Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science InstituteBAMSI is not Andros-centric and will be a school for the country.
“We want to go into all the places in The Bahamas where we find agriculture and marine science in any form,” he said.
“Grand Bahama is an important island in The Bahamas chain. Quite frankly, it’s the second city and we will do well to ensure that BAMSI’s reach is in Grand Bahama. So we’ve come today to begin the official discussion with the Ministry for Grand Bahama.”
Also present during the press conference were Minister for Grand Bahama Dr Michael Darville; Godfrey Eneas, president of BAMSI; and Zakita Bethel, agriculture development officer at BAMSI.
“We have simply come to let Grand Bahama know that we expect its full participation with respect to student enrolment and parental guidance of students to consider BAMSI as a place to go after school closes.
“They graduate in June, and expect Grand Bahama to have a full complement – there are one or two students in BAMSI now from Grand Bahama. But we expect at least 10, at least 15, at least 20 when September comes around.”
Dr Darville will have the responsibility, as minister for Grand Bahama, to represent BAMSI in the absence of Minister Gray, and to also ensure that the policies and direction of the institution are always in the forefront of what is agriculture and marine science-based.
Dr Darville added that over the past few weeks, the Ministry for Grand Bahama has been in discussions with representatives from BAMSI, mainly the technical staff, on how to proceed with the introduction of the school in Grand Bahama.
“I must say that all of us are excited to finally have the presence of BAMSI here in Grand Bahama, particularly those who are in the agriculture industry,” Dr Darville said.
Having spoken with those involved in agriculture, as well as some students on the island, the minister added that he was pleased to announce that “we are now in the process of acquiring a substantial plot of land in Freeport where BAMSI will be located.”
“So as we develop the structure and the plans associated with BAMSI’s presence on the island, I want to assure the minister that with the support from the Ministry for Grand Bahama, and our synergistic efforts, we are certain that very swiftly we will be able to have a solid presence of BAMSI here in Grand Bahama,” Dr Darville added.
With Grand Bahama having 30,000 acres of arable land, commercial agriculture will expand through the academic institution of BAMSI, officials said.
Mr Eneas said it was their second trip to Grand Bahama to meet with the Ministry for Grand Bahama and set in motion BAMSI’s presence on the island.
“Grand Bahama is a very important island with unique potential,” Mr Eneas said. “The minister indicated that there is some 30,000 acres of high quality arable land in Grand Bahama and it is our task to bring that land into production because we feel that we will be able to generate new industries in agriculture and be able to supply this almost 50,000 people market that exists in Grand Bahama.”