Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis.
BY DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
PRIME Minister Dr Hubert Minnis plans to open temporary offices in other Family Islands, including Exuma, Eleuthera, and Central Andros to begin monthly visits there.
Dr Minnis, who was in Grand Bahama on Friday for his monthly visit, pledged to become “intimately involved” in those island communities as well.
In addition to meeting with a number of businesses and potential investment partners in Freeport, the Prime Minister also went to Port Lucaya Marketplace to show his support for Grand Bahama.
“I hope that others will show just as much interest as I do in GB because GB cannot grow only through the confines of Grand Bahamians; its all one Bahamas,” he said.
During a media briefing at the OPM in Freeport, The Prime Minister said he held a “productive meeting” with the Grand Bahama Port Authority and met with the principals of the Bahamas Paradise Cruise, the operators of Grand Celebration Cruise ship.
He noted that they are in discussions with Bahamas Celebration on the possibility of a second ship which is expected to begin service on April 1, in addition to the resumption of cruise ferry service in December by the Grand Celebration, which has ceased cruises to the island.
“We understand the circumstances of the Bahamas Celebration assisting the US government in hurricane relief efforts. It was a priority under the circumstances,” explained Dr Minnis.
He also announced that a honey production business is set to come on stream on October 26, as part of the launch of the first in a series of the government’s Entrepreneurship Programme. The Apiary he said guarantees 30 young people the opportunity to start their own business.
Dr Minnis indicated that his government is committed to working with the GBPA to eliminate all roadblocks to investment.
“We are dedicated to streamlining our investment process with the first step being the creation of an Investment Unit in Grand Bahama,” he said.
He noted that the government expects to review its Immigration, Customs, and Exchange Control policies with a view to…making it easier to invest and do business in Grand Bahama.
On the matter of Grand Lucayan Resort, the prime minister did not provide anything new concerning the sale of the property.
However, he assured Grand Bahamians that his government is focused on the redevelopment of the “Our Strip”.
“We recognize the urgency of this matter and my colleagues, and I are working diligently to complete the best deal. Grand Bahama requires more than just the reopening of the hotel strip. We must revive our entire tourism product,” he said.
Dr Minnis further said: “Our discussion with the owner and potential partners are with a view to transforming the property into the first step of an innovative and unique destination for Grand Bahama.”
He added that government is committed to ensuring that the existing jobs on the strip remain.
“We will continue our aggressive discussions until we can unveil our plan for a new Tourism product and a new destination.
“We remain committed and on track to conclude discussions with potential partners, and we are working towards this end,” he stated.
The prime minister also indicated that plans are also moving forward for the creation of a Grand Bahama Investment Promotion Board, which will be responsible for marketing Grand Bahama as a destination ready to do business.
“This Board will send the message to the world,” he said.