Seize ‘new optimism’ for Bahamian empowerment

Tourism and Aviation Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar.

Tourism and Aviation Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar.


Tribune Business Editor


A Cabinet minister yesterday urged The Bahamas to seize the “new optimism” and empower more local ownership of an economy that “is beginning to tick”.

Dionisio D’Aguilar, minister of tourism and aviation, told Tribune Business that investors were “very bullish on The Bahamas right now” as the government seeks to pull “more irons out of the fire” to join investment projects already in motion.

Reiterating previous calls that “now is the time for Bahamians to invest”, Mr D’Aguilar urged existing and budding entrepreneurs to determine how they can exploit the “multiplier effect” created by major foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows.

“We’ve got a lot of irons in the fire and are waiting for all of them to be finalised,” he said. “The Disney deal is now done. We have the Carnival iron in the fire in Freeport, the Grand Lucayan iron in the fire, and the cruise port iron in the fire in Nassau.

“We’re kind of in the negotiating phase where not much will be said until we have a deal. We’re in that period now where we’re fully in the process of negotiations, and just have to wait for it to be done. I’m optimistic about what will imminently be forthcoming in all these transactions, but the devil’s in the details and we continue to thrash everything out with all the parties.”

The Government earlier this month signed the Heads of Agreement for Disney’s $250m to $400m investment in developing a new passenger destination at Eleuthera’s Lighthouse Point, while the $100m Carnival cruise port in Freeport was unveiled in February.

Meanwhile, Global Ports Holding has been selected as the preferred bidder to invest $250m in upgrading Nassau’s cruise port and taking over its management, while the preferred bidder to acquire Freeport’s Grand Lucayan resort - thought to be the Mexican port developer, ITM, in combination with Royal Caribbean - could be announced as early as this week.

Mr D’Aguilar said bringing all three projects - Carnival, the Grand Lucayan and Nassau’s cruise port - to fruition and out of the investment pipeline would add to multiple projects already underway or planned.

With Albany continuing its expansion, and The Pointe project progressing adjacent to the British Colonial Hilton in downtown Nassau, Mr D’Aguilar said the $120m GoldWynn project at Goodman’s Bay; Sterling Global Financial’s $250m Hurricane Hole redevelopment; and Baha Mar’s proposed water park would further fuel job creation, income growth and consumer/business confidence.

“There’s a new optimism that things are happening, things are getting done, projects are getting off the ground,” he told Tribune Business, “and you couple that with the incredible performance of tourism, and our economy is beginning to tick.

“If you’re a Bahamian thinking about whether to invest, this is the right time. There’s a certain optimism, a feel good factor about the economy. If you have a couple of dollars in the bank and you are thinking about investing, the time is now because as more of these projects come on line, more people are employed and there is more money in the pocket, it starts to get the wheels of the economy moving.

“All of that is in play now. It hasn’t kicked off yet, but you want to prepare to tap into the multiplier effect of what results from these projects coming on stream. I’m feeling optimistic, and when we feel optimistic people start to invest. People are very bullish on The Bahamas right now.”

Mr D’Aguilar, though, conceded that it is “so important” that Bahamian-owned companies and entrepreneurs in the domestic economies benefit from the growth sparked by FDI projects.

“It’s not all about creating employment. It’s about empowering; empowering our people to become owners of the economy and not just employees of the economy,” he told Tribune Business.

“I always say that these projects are creating a lot of entrepreneurial opportunities for Bahamians. If you are a Bahamian and overseas, and thinking of coming home and starting a business, this is the time to contemplate that. People are bullish on The Bahamas and we want Bahamians.

“If you think about Grand Bahama and all those 2m-3m cruise passengers coming there wanting things to do, there’s business opportunities in ground transportation. You may want to come up with ideas to do excursions. There are continued opportunities.”


birdiestrachan 4 years, 2 months ago

The PLP left the Point and BAH MAR in place. The Eleuthera Disney port is a give way in exemptions.. Some how it seems that the Cruise port has been given to the Families who own 40% of the Arawak Port.

The Our Lucayan deal I trust is not like the OBAN deal that you never mention.


MaryMack53 4 years, 2 months ago

Another Nincompoop! Listen to trash you coming up with. How can it seem that the cruise port has been given to 40% to the families that own APD? Is this the best you could come up with since last year. People act as though this deal just magically appeared. If your antennas were working then you would've kept up with this deal and not mention anything about APD and the families that have shares in that company. The Port is being managed not given away to anyone. People like me and you have the opportunity to acquire shares in this company, also APD has nothing to do with the deal. Not to mention if you have hefty savings or loose cash wouldn't you try to invest as many shares as possible? Or just allow others to get ahead of you. Stop making excuses and watching other's investments. We will all be given the same opportunity very soon. Better yet head over to the website get some more education on the company managing the port before you go making silly assumptions.


banker 4 years, 2 months ago

More crumb-catching from the tourism table. No thanks.

Where is the tech hub on Grand Bahama??????????????????????????????????????


Dawes 4 years, 2 months ago

How? Bahamians can't compete with the foreign entities. They are able to borrow at substantially lower interest rates, they have our government bend over and give them every exemption they can think of. A Bahamian has to pay extortionate rates to local banks to borrow, and the government will expect them to pay duty, real property, VAT, and all the other taxes which his foreign owned competitor won't have to. The Bahamian doesn't have a chance.


bogart 4 years, 2 months ago

THE NASSAU GUARDIAN, 22 MARCH, 2019.......Chester Robards article..SEE ARTICLE on BAHAMAS HAS THE SECOND LARGEST INEQUALITY ECONOMIC AN SOCIAL....BETWEEN RICH....AN PORE....DIFFERENCE . ARTICLE CITING LATIN AMERICA ECONOMIC OUTLOOK 2019.....!!!!!!! RECENT DATA BAHAMAS GETS SOME 50 MILLION FROM VAT INCREASE 2018/2019 REVENUE .........DUH....DUH.....DUH........DUH !!!!!!! YEP......We da VAT ....taxes ....regressive taxes....must be thanked for having more money extracted from thrown into the social misery....poverty...hungry...chillren...unemployment higher.....biggest revnue ...extracted....... VAT..........AND MORE INCREASED PORE ...BE THANKFUL ...FOR OPPORTUNITIES TO EMPOWER WE PORENESS...TO GREATER OPPORTUNITIES.....!!!!!!!!!


bogart 4 years, 2 months ago

Nassay Guardian 26 March, 2019. VAT revenue up by 50.6 m, thanks to increase in VAT to 12%....article by Chester Robarts....Incease in second quarter fiscal 2018/2019.....


TalRussell 4 years, 2 months ago

Yes, yes and yes, now we know to checkoff hallucination is an exaggerated reality next name comrade red minister Dionisio James, yes, no?


TheMadHatter 4 years, 2 months ago

What a disgusting and insulting comment from a man who knows full well that his government is in the process of signing us on to the WTO to make us all slaves. What FOOL is going to invest money in any business here - simply to be run over like a bulldozer when the WTO let's the big boys in to take over?

Any Bahamian with money is hard at work on the Internet every single night looking a citizenship/residency requirements in places like Uruguay, Costa Rica, the Canary Islands, Fiji, Thailand, you name it. Looking for any fire escape they can run way on the moment that WTO is signed.

These politicians do not realize they are not ruling over the citizens of the 1950s who did not have access for information world-wide. Strange. Very strange.

What will be left here in 2 years are all the poor Bahamians (who couldn't afford plane tickets) to work as slaves for the foreigners who will be allowed to come in a rule over us way worse than the UBP.


TheMadHatter 4 years, 2 months ago

Sometimes, I even wonder do these politicians even hear themselves speak? Do they actually listen and consider the words they say? Or are these scripts given to them by someone else and they just read them off like zombies?


ThisIsOurs 4 years, 2 months ago

They don't understand because they're not living it. They have no fear of light, water, phone being disconnected. Just call up the chairman and say turn it back on. Their travel is paid for. They have security. They don't have to deal with traffic. They're simply too far removed to understand.


TheMadHatter 4 years, 2 months ago

ThisIsOurs - exactly correct. I wonder if any of them follow us commenters on here? We certainly don't know everything - and we most assuredly don't have all the facts (because they keep them hidden) - but even if only for obtaining other points of view, from people "in the field", they should have us as consultants on a Whatsapp group or something. Do they wonder how the PLP could have won the 2012 election and then get tossed out like dogs in 2017? What turned the people against them so vigorously? I mean we know the reasons why the people turned, but how could it be that the PLP would drift and drift in that direction without course correction over 5 years to finally end up crashing their ship upon the rocks? OR REALLY is it that they simply do not care, because as many have suggested that the PLP and the FNM are both one and the same with Perry and Hubert attending the death bed of Sir Lynden? It doesn't matter which one is in power because ALL of them on both sides benefit no matter what happens or what doesn't happen - in good times or in bad, it's always good times for them? Sometimes we must ponder that possibility.


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