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Agreement Signed For New $100m Cruise Port

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Former Prime Minister Perry Christie.

By DENISE MAYCOCK

Tribune Freeport Reporter

dmaycock@tribunemedia.net

THE government and Carnival Corporation signed heads of agreement yesterday for the construction of a new $100m cruise port destination in East End, Grand Bahama.

The port – described as “the largest ever cruise development project on Grand Bahama Island” – expects to create an exceptional destination experience to more than one million cruise guests annually.

The signing was held at the Grand Lucayan Resort Tuesday evening, where Prime Minister Perry Christie and Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald expressed optimism about the project and the potential impact it will have on Grand Bahama.

Also attending were Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe; Minister of Labour and National Insurance Shane Gibson; Minister of Transportation and Aviation Glenys Hanna-Martin and Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson.

According to Mr Christie, the project will consist of 226 acres of land in eastern Grand Bahama, and will take 24 months to build after all relevant government approvals.

The new cruise port will encompass multiple projects inclusive of construction of the channel, docks, water taxi and workboat piers, berthing platforms, seawalls, and a turning basin to accommodate two super post Panamex Ships.

The expansive Shore Project will include a 20-bed hotel, an 18-hole miniature golf course, restaurants, food and beverage pavilions, shops, nightclubs, amphitheatre, aquatic and other recreational and sporting facilities as well as pedestrian and cycling trails. There also will be interactive amenities, such as stingray and dolphin encounters, animal exhibitions and petting zoo.

Mr Christie indicated that central to the overall development will be the construction of a “harbour town” with retail shops, a Bahamian art plaza and such back of town facilities as storage and security houses, administrative complexes, utility services and a transportation hub offering more entrepreneurial opportunities for local taxi and tour operators.

“Ladies and gentlemen, the projected impact of Carnival’s cruise port on employment cannot be overstated. Bahamian entrepreneurs operating at the new port will need to draw on a wide range of local vendors such as sub-contractors, architects, landscapers, tradesmen, technicians, security, marine specialists, retail workers and other service specialists,” he said.

“As development of this new cruise port takes place, the government will work with cruise lines, owners of the harbour, other stakeholders, local entrepreneurs, taxi drivers and tour operators to make Freeport Harbour and the city itself more attractive to cruise visitors,” he said.

Prime Minister Christie stated that the HOA signed with Carnival was made possible following painstaking and lengthy negotiations between government and the principals of the Freeport Harbour Company to negotiate a waiver of exclusivity agreement of their exclusivity rights on all ports in Grand Bahamas, which had been granted by the previous FNM administration.

“My government welcomes this opportunity to set in motion events which will memorialize the longstanding and mutually beneficial relationship between Carnival Cruise Lines, the world’s largest and most successful cruise line, and the Bahamas,” he said.

Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald described the signing as “a historical day” for Carnival Corporation.

“I am very pleased that this port is now on track to become a reality,” he told the gathering.

“We have been committed for a long time to developing a new and authentic Bahamian experience port. In fact, we were working for the better part of 15 years, and renewed our momentum over the last three years.

“The port will create an exceptional experience for what over time will be more than one million guests annually visiting the Bahamas on a number of our world leading cruise lines,” he said.

He noted that Carnival already brings over three million guests throughout the Bahamas across its various lines – Carnival Cruise Lines, Princess Cruises, Holland America, and several others - including lines from Europe.

“It will, of course, be the largest cruise development project ever on (Grand Bahama) - it will be truly spectacular. It is the next generation of destination experiences, and it will bring more guests here,” Mr Donald said.

He indicated that there will be many opportunities for Bahamians during the development and construction of the new port, and continually through its day-to-day operation.

There will be entrepreneurial opportunities for Bahamians to be restaurant operators, retail owners, short excursion operators, and transport providers, he said.

Mr Donald also stated that Bahamians will supply a wide variety of goods and services to the new port.

He said Carnival Corporation continues to be the largest cruise line invested in the Bahamas, which includes significant investment in the Grand Bahama Shipyard, and two private islands - Half Moon Cay and Princess Cay, and a variety of other initiatives.

Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe said the signing represents the start of the rebuilding of the tourism plant in Grand Bahama.

“It is a major step that will cause Grand Bahama to take its rightful place in the growth and economic development of the Bahamas,” he said.

Mr Wilchcombe recalled that the new port was initially intended for Williams Town, but it did not happen due to challenges, and is now going to be built in East Grand Bahama.

Sarah St George, vice chairman of the Grand Bahama Port Authority Ltd, said the new port is “a major leap forward in Grand Bahama’s history.”

“This is a big deal, she said, and added that it is a “win, win” for the island.

“What is even better is this is not going to be a closed cruise port on a remote island, and the economic spinoff is that to be enjoyed by everyone,” she said.

Comments

MassExodus 1 year, 7 months ago

P-L-O-Y ... look it up for those that don't know the definition.

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sealice 1 year, 7 months ago

What the fluck does anyone do in east end besides fishing and sweating all summer long? There's no point to this which is probably why this is more PLP BS!!

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Gotoutintime 1 year, 7 months ago

In no way will this benefit the City of Freeport or its people!

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Economist 1 year, 7 months ago

I agree, that there is no way that this will benefit Freeport. Sarah St. George is pathetic. How useless can you be? Ms. St. George is supposed to be looking out for the residents and Licensees.

So who will own the site, Carnival? So Bahamians can get a few jobs. Will Bahamians be able to operate their own business in the 226 acre site?Or will Bahamians just be Tenants?

Who is going to do the dredging and .....oh yes.....where is the Environmental Impact Study?

Who will get the big construction contracts?

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birdiestrachan 1 year, 7 months ago

This is good for the people of East End. Grand Bahama is more than Freeport. GBPA is doing nothing for the advancement of Freeport. The outspoken QC said In a newspaper article that the people will bow to GBP. There will be no bowing if a port is put in East End. Remember you all papa was trying to put a port in Russell town

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Gotoutintime 1 year, 7 months ago

The only people who will benefit will be Christie's cronies to whom the Cruise Line will be forced to give jobs---Strictly an election ploy!

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BMW 1 year, 7 months ago

Birdie i can tell you have not ever set foot on, in , or around east end. No disrespect to the great people of east end but maybe one tenth of the population( just a wild guess, may be much less) live there. What are the taxi drivers in Freeport gonna do? I forgot christie and his plunder loot pillage really dont give a flying fuck as long as they get their share. As for the gbpa, i think all the lisencees should band together and take control of their own destiny. I know after paying them for over 40 years fees we deserve more than we are getting. Its time May 10th . I bet all the plunder loot pillage cronies will be flocking to G.B. for the work. Oh my!!!!

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realfreethinker 1 year, 7 months ago

I hope Minnis' government passes a law that all contract signing or heads of agreement must end once the HOA is dissolved.

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banker 1 year, 7 months ago

And a law that states that all heads of agreement are gazetted, and made public on the day that they are signed. And all government contracts and terms are made public on the day that they are signed. Transparency. That's what civilised governments do.

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DDK 1 year, 7 months ago

Does the Bahamas Constitution actually allow all these hotel and port and salary deals to be signed by "executive order" with a dissolved House?

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shonkai 1 year, 7 months ago

Wasn't it supposed to be $200 Million? Has half already disappeared?

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