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$200m Gb Cruise Port Beneficial If ‘Balanced’

By NATARIO McKENZIE

Tribune Business Reporter

nmckenzie@tribunemedia.net

East Grand Bahama’s MP said yesterday that the $200 million Carnival cruise port for his constituency will boost the economy, provided the deal is balanced and Bahamians are the net beneficiaries.

K P Turnquest, who is also the Free National Movement’s (FNM) deputy leader and Finance spokesman, said: “The idea of a cruise port is a good idea if the deal is balanced and Bahamians are net beneficiaries.  

“By that I mean that Bahamians, east GB residents in particular, are provided tangible and profitable entrepreneurial and employment opportunities from on shore activities and in construction.”

Mr Turnquest was commenting after Prime Minister Perry Christie said his administration had approved the agreement with Carnival Cruise Lines for east Grand Bahama’s $200 million cruise port.

While speaking in the House of Assembly on Monday, Mr Christie said: “The Government took particular pains to lift the policy of the Bahamas and institutionalise it in the agreement. That will enable Grand Bahamians to access the privileges that that development will give them; that is, water sports.

“Those that are reserved privileges for Bahamians have been lifted up, identified, and Bahamians who live in Grand Bahama will be incentivised to take advantage of the firm policy decisions that we have made to protect the best interests of Bahamians and promote the best interests of the Bahamas.”

Mr Turnquest told Tribune Business: “The construction activity and opportunities from eco tours, bone and deep sea fishing, water sports, and adventure activities would create economic expansion and spur residential and commercial development  that would create and  sustain the east end communities, and could offset any losses at the Harbour and Port Lucaya Marketplace.”

He continued:  “The key to this proposal being a net benefit to the island of GB is in the details of the on-shore structure.

“A port like the one in Grand Turk would be of limited value to the overall sustained economic development of the island, as it would be self-contained and activities controlled by the cruise line, with only limited empowerment opportunities and benefits to the nearby communities.”

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