Transport Minister Renward Wells.
By RICARDO WELLS
Tribune Staff Reporter
ONE day after clarifying his ministry’s involvement in an ongoing dispute between watercraft operators and Baha Mar, Transport Minister Renward Wells was again challenged on that position in the House of Assembly by members of the opposition yesterday.
Progressive Liberal Party leader Philip Davis questioned if there was a lifting of the moratorium on jet ski licences, to which Mr Wells again insisted that no licences have been issued to the resort property by the Minnis administration.
Mr Wells shot down the claims during debate in the House of Assembly, as he noted that his ministry has moved forward with an audit of previously issued licences to operators in the area to ensure that they are in possession of all of their requisite licences.
“Mr Speaker, no licences has been issued to Baha Mar or any foreign direct investor that is outside of the heads of agreement that they may have with the government of the Bahamas. That is the first point,” he said. “Baha Mar has no jet ski licence, let’s put that on the floor of this House.”
Mr Wells continued: “There is, let me say it again, Baha Mar has no jet ski licence or any licence to engage in the watersport business in this country, period.”
“There are a number of Bahamian companies who are involved in the watersports business on Cable Beach. One of those companies happens to be a Bahamian company called Jet Surf. You can go online and see the products that are offered by this international brand, Jet Surf, of which a local Bahamian has engaged with that business abroad and has offered those pieces of equipment for watersports to our touristic visitors.
“This ministry has issued licences for Jet Surf, to this franchise, which is a piece of equipment that is used. There is another piece of equipment that is a seaboard, there is another piece of equipment that is an aqua cart and those are the watersports apparatus that has been licenced.
“There has been no lifting of no moratorium for no jet ski licence,” he asserted.
Mr Davis had called on Mr Wells to clarify the circumstances surrounding the allowance of a company, based at Baha Mar, to operate within the industry.
Mr Davis asked Mr Wells to state clearly if the moratorium had been lifted, and if not, what was the company at Baha Mar licenced to do.
He also raised issue with the reported appointment of Baha Mar’s security chief to the board of the Port Department.
Mr Davis said these facts, when looked at as a collective, gave great cause for concern.
In response, Mr Wells insisted his ministry was well aware of the issues being raised, and was doing all necessary to address the matter.
To that end, he assured operators that their livelihoods would be safeguarded by the Minnis administration.
However, he never addressed Mr Davis’ concern with regard to a board member of the Port Department serving as a security chief at Baha Mar.