PLP leader Philip 'Brave' Davis.
By MORGAN ADDERLEY
Tribune Staff Reporter
PROGRESSIVE Liberal Party Leader Philip “Brave” Davis yesterday touted the proposed Carnival Cruise Line port in Grand Bahama as a “PLP project”, adding the Heads of Agreement was signed before the Christie administration left office in 2017.
Mr Davis also said if the current administration had acted on this development with “more speed”, the project could have been “well advanced” and the island could have already been experiencing its economic impact.
“Last Monday night the Bahamian people were treated to a proverbial ‘dog and pony’ show under the guise of a national address by the prime minister,” Mr Davis said at a press conference.
“Last night in Freeport, there was another dog and pony show,” he continued. “This time he announced a cruise port for Freeport. Some people do not even have the grace to acknowledge other people’s ideas.
“This is a PLP project. The Heads of Agreement was signed with Carnival before we left office. Now the prime minister took the whole Cabinet up to Freeport and as far as we can tell, this is still all conceptual in their minds. More promises, promises and no action.
“All they needed to do is act on what we left behind. And if they had acted with speed, or if… they had put on more speed, the project would have been well advanced and on its way. And the economic impact being felt today if they had acted when they ought to have acted.
“Meanwhile, as the ministers are grinning from ear to ear, Grand Bahama continues to suffer.”
On Monday, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis and members of his Cabinet attended a town meeting in Grand Bahama to unveil the development, which he said will be “a significant catalyst for economic growth” on the island.
Dr Minnis said the cruise port has the potential to create more than 1,000 jobs and will become the company’s largest port in the world.
However, Dr Minnis admitted this development has long been in the works.
“The development of the Carnival cruise port has been a long time in the making. It has been discussed by successive governments, and has gone through various changes to arrive at this impressive model,” Dr Minnis conceded.
This project has been on the drawing board for more than a decade, covering both Christie administrations and the last Ingraham administration. It was originally set to be located at Williams Town before the last Christie administration signed an agreement with the cruise line to move it to eastern Grand Bahama.
The latest version moves it into the port area at a site near the University of the Bahamas at Sharp Rock.
Mr Davis also hit out at Grand Bahama’s economic troubles, adding: “The prime minister in his address also showed how out of touch he is with reality by touting a drop in unemployment in Grand Bahama, without acknowledging that every week . . . families are leaving Grand Bahama with their possessions to come to Nassau.”
Mr Davis also criticised the fact the government has not yet sold the Grand Lucayan resort since purchasing the Grand Bahama hotel last year, calling it “one of the worst real estate deals ever witnessed in this country.”
“He failed to come up with a comprehensive and overarching strategy for the resuscitation of the Grand Bahama economy,” Mr Davis said.