PLP Leader Philip “Brave” Davis.
By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Deputy Chief Reporter
PROGRESSIVE Liberal Party Leader Philip “Brave” Davis has said Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis’ plan to redevelop Junkanoo Beach and Arawak Cay was a “knee jerk” response because his administration realised its 2019/2020 Budget fell flat.
Mr Davis said this was evident as there is no allocation anywhere in the budget to facilitate the plan.
Dr Minnis’ announcement of an overhaul for the strip was the highlight of his budget contribution, despite failing to provide a cost to taxpayers or a timeline of completion.
“I think that was a knee jerk response to the fact that there were no plans that were quite visible coming from the budget,” Mr Davis told reporters on Friday following the swearing-in of Governor General C A Smith. “You recall that despite his announcements of those plans there was no allocation made for it.
“You would have heard before the Minister of Tourism speaking to the redevelopment of Junkanoo Beach. So what has happened to the minister of tourism's plans with that?
“But overall what I can say to you is that from the approval of the acquisition of The Pointe, part of the development plan of The Pointe was to include a redevelopment of Junkanoo Beach right to the Fish Fry to make it more cultural and more authentic and to ensure that we could have a place that people could truly enjoy. So there were plans in place with The Pointe for the redevelopment.
“So now it seems we have three plans – one by (Tourism Minister Dionisio) D’Aguilar, one by the prime minister and one that was left in place by us.
“Now which one they’re going to go with, I don’t know, but what I can say is that it is nothing but promises that finds itself nowhere in this budget and for him to announce at this time you would expect it to be reflected in the budget and it’s not.”
Earlier this month, Dr Minnis said Arawak Cay and Junkanoo Beach are set to receive an extensive overhaul while revealing the plan is to feature a sky bridge and tax-free zoning as an incentive for Bahamian businesses.
Following the redevelopment, the strip will be known as the Nassau Entertainment District.
Pertinent details of time and cost were not available as the plans were in the infancy stage, The Tribune was told.
The Killarney MP also suggested only Bahamian businesses would be allowed to operate in this zone.