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Unveiled: Minnis’ Beachfront Vision

Plans for the 'Nassau Entertainment District'.

Plans for the 'Nassau Entertainment District'.

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Deputy Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

ARAWAK Cay and Junkanoo Beach are set to receive an extensive overhaul, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said yesterday, revealing the plan is to feature a sky bridge and tax-free zoning as an incentive for Bahamian businesses.

While outlining the ambitious plans to convert the strip into what will be known as the Nassau Entertainment District, Dr Minnis gave no timelines for completion or how much taxpayer dollars would be needed for the undertaking. These details were not yet available as this plan is still in the infancy stage of development, The Tribune was told. 

The Killarney MP also suggested only Bahamian businesses would be allowed to operate in this zone.

He further announced that beginning in the new budget cycle, household furniture, stoves and refrigerators will now be duty-free in Economic Empowerment Zones and new government subdivisions.

Dr Minnis said for all other Bahamians, household furniture will be reduced from 45 percent to 25 percent and home refrigerators and stoves will now be duty-free. Also, there will be no duty on these items in the Economic Empowerment Zones and new government subdivisions.

Soon to be newly designated as Economic Empowerment Zone areas are Fox Hill, Kemp Road, Saint Barnabas, Englerston and Gambier.

“We are proposing the redevelopment of the area from Fish Fry to Junkanoo Beach, Long Wharf,” Dr Minnis said as he wrapped up the 2019/2020 budget debate. “This new entertainment area for Nassau will result in scores of Bahamians going to the waterfront for entertainment and relaxation on a weekly basis.

“We will enhance and beautify the area for Junkanoo practises so the Saxons will still have their place, cookouts - so grandma and aunt can still have their cookouts, festivals and other events.

“Like Saunders Beach and Montagu Beach, we will enhance the beaches and swimming areas for Bahamians and visitors alike. The House will recall that it was the FNM that first developed Fish Fry, which has been extremely successful.

“I have listened to the minister of tourism very attentively and the minister pointed out that soon there will be approximately 20,000 visitors to our shores daily and therefore we must find ways to attract our cruise visitors to Junkanoo Beach, Fish Fry, the forts, Clifford Park and adjoining areas.

“So they must be able to visit those areas, meaning they must cross Bay Street, but we must find a way for them to do that in a very safe manner. We must find a way for at least a minimum of 2,000 visitors to visit these areas daily.

‘We must plan for a better future and move away from poor planning and irregular poorly erected shacks that we see popping up here, there and everywhere. We must plan.

“We now propose to expand the development of these areas into a major retail and entertainment centre.”

He said the new area will be zoned for major tax concessions for Bahamians and will be declared a tax-free zone like the inner city.

“We are still in planning stages and will hold stakeholder meetings with various groups including taxi drivers,” Dr Minnis said.

“What we are proposing will mean many millions more dollars for Bahamian business people.

“I note that there are plans in the works to transform Clifford Park into a Central Park New Providence so I am concerned about our guests moving along Bay Street and crossing Clifford Park and therefore to connect Clifford Park to the redeveloped water area we are proposing a sky bridge.”

Other elements of this plan include armed security and free Wi-Fi. Dr Minnis further stressed the need to establish a body to ensure the continued maintenance of the area.

He said the proposal is also part of an effort to get cruise ship staff into the city to boost revenue in the downtown area.

He said there will be consultations with taxi cab drivers and owners with a view to allowing them to own water taxis as a means of transportation to a water pier.

Dr Minnis told Parliament the government is planning to fund trips for taxi owners to parts of the Caribbean where water taxis are established and lucrative.

Comments

K4C 3 weeks, 4 days ago

WOW at this rate there will be not one inch of original Bahamas coastline or beach

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BMW 3 weeks, 4 days ago

We gotmiles and miles of undeveloped coastline on Grand Bahama, can't figure out why it's not being developed. Have a hunch though.

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bogart 3 weeks, 4 days ago

Looks like the Bahamian decades old Bahamian traditional area remains..parking for erryone ???. where PORE PEOPLE MEDICAL COOK OUTS ...help operation sis..nana...oncle...big medical signs on tent to help medical expenses families...friends...come an meet families....mingle....updates on MEDICAL COOK IN AID OF SICK ONE.....find one or many such tents big sign whose medical cookout in aid is...volunteers cooking seasoned donated foods cooler wid drinks..to get life sustaining money...hundreds of Bahamians who been buying tickets to help pore families who dont have medical funds....meeting those collecting hundreds of cook out foods......

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TalRussell 3 weeks, 4 days ago

You has know Colony's prime minister's no concrete plans is grasping dose reality when he pretends that the project is all about boosting spirits Grandma and Auntie who the Undertakers done have paid Imperialists red shirts cabinet's PMH Morgue's $700 'per body release fees' Comrades Grandma and Auntie - who be's long dead and still no entertainment acts be's featured at at yet another one Minnis's wee hours morning visions, yes, no........Populaces has have noticed how the prime minister has forbidden any member his cabinet from uttering the OBAN word, and that the sale Grand Lucayan Hotel is now supposedly delayed October 2019.... Soon, Bay street merchants be enclosed from the west, east,,north and south,- secluded hidden away from tourists by the high walls Island-wide tax-free zones' , yes, no............

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Clamshell 3 weeks, 4 days ago

“You has know Colony's prime minister's no concrete plans is grasping dose reality ...”

Any translators on duty?

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Millennial242 3 weeks, 4 days ago

This makes sense. Tons of tourist from the cruise ships flock to this area DAILY because it is the closest beach within walking distance. Tiki Bar has done some great upgrades, finally. I hope these plans are followed through on. This past year I have had numerous friends visit Nassau via a cruise, and they all seemed to end up at Junkanoo Beach (because all they wanted to do was enjoy the water and not feel bombarded by vendors).

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geostorm 3 weeks, 4 days ago

@Millennial242 I also agree!

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paul_vincent_zecchino 3 weeks, 4 days ago

Agree, when our family cruises over to Nassau from Miami we either rent a car, tour around, and hit the beach out by East Point now that the Wynton Hiway Beach is long fenced, or we do as do you friends: take a quick walk over to Junkanoo Beach. The water's warm and beautiful, this is a great proposal from Dr. Minnis.

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Clamshell 3 weeks, 4 days ago

Tax free zone?!? Is that plot of land big enough for 250,000 Bahamians who will want to move there, immediately?

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birdiestrachan 3 weeks, 4 days ago

What doc does is tell lies. Then he forgets the lies he has told and he lies some more.

But it is all good. It is : The: peoples time." let them take it to the bank and to the food store.

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TalRussell 3 weeks, 4 days ago

The Colony's comrade prime minister has this misconception of building a Billion dollar entertainment project to attract cruise ships workers.earning mere basic $1,200 month wages. Guess what PM, it's not some big cruise the oceans vacation.that the crews ships workers are on, yes, no............. if the cruise ship passengers themselves only spend but $47.66 each whilst in port, what hell is amount he's expecting cruise ship workers spend - $8.33................ Some Sandilands Billion dollar vision PM awokes to................let's man's sleep on, sleep on, please!

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paul_vincent_zecchino 3 weeks, 4 days ago

Oh, c'mon, is it really that bad? Why throw a wet blanket over this proposal?

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TalRussell 3 weeks, 4 days ago

Comrade Paul-Vincent, I just don't see economic opportunity for the PM's hair-brain vision by involving minimum wage cruise ships workers, but perhaps you do.........plus, pretty damn sure the cruise ships workers conduct manual discourages them from patronizing same spots as cruise passengers, yes, no................ Is he really that dumb.............

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John 3 weeks, 4 days ago

It is a great wonderful idea. But do you think it will get the approval of the US State Department? Seeing that it involves Black Bahamians...

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