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Works Minister To Lead Long Island's Outlook

Desmond Bannister, pictured, minister of works, will be the main speaker at the fifth Long Island Business Outlook conference that is scheduled for November 14.

It will be held at the Ladies Friendship Centre in the settlement of Grays under the theme Connecting resources, maximising opportunities, transforming Long Island.

Completing the speaker line-up will be Adrian Gibson, executive chairman, Water & Sewerage Corporation; Dr Nicola Virgill-Rolle, director of The National Insurance Board; Ian Knowles, Long Island's chief councillor; Algernon Cargill, director of aviation, Ministry of Tourism and Aviation; Chloe Burke, Airbnb's public policy associate for the Caribbean and Central America; Dave Smith, executive director, Bahamas Development Bank; Winston Rolle, senior advisor, Small Business Development Centre; Alicia Tai, business development manager, business enterprise, BTC; Delmaro Duncombe, senior Aliv partner; and Ramona Richie-Taylor, vice-president of the Long Island Chamber of Commerce.

Joan Albury, developer and chief organiser of LBO of the seven-island Business Outlook Series, said: "Never has it been more important to grow the Business Outlooks in the major communities of the Family Islands, such as Long Island.

"A new and necessary phase of development seems to be getting into gear, so it's urgent to bring together the pertinent national and local leaders to share information, opportunities, challenges and harmonise goals and the steps towards achieving those goals. Facilitating such essential collaborations is the reason for the existence of the Business Outlook Series.

"Based on communications with chief councillor Ian Knowles, we are expecting that the current well-received infrastructural projects, especially the water and airport projects, [and] the need for more employment and more Bahamian business investment, will top Long Islanders' input to the discussions.

"It is for this reason that we are most grateful to have secured the participation of the minister of public works, the member of Parliament for Long Island and the director of aviation, along with several other strategic movers and shakers, including representatives of the Small Business Development Centre and Bahamas Development Bank."

Mrs Albury continued: "Locals are excited about the water project, and are of the opinion that these projects will put Long Island into the spotlight. The current construction bodes well to create new business opportunities such as pools, laundromats, car washes and other common amenities. Additionally, the year has brought an increase in real estate business as well and, apparently, the crawfish season got off to a good start.

"Undoubtedly, Long Island has the kind of social and environmental profile that appeals to today's tourists who are seeking greater authenticity. We have been told that many visitors are drawn by the simplicity and eco tours, such as birding and bonefishing.

"Long Island tourism is likely to become highly competitive with an international airport, more airlift and increased marketing. There is a great opportunity for investment in higher-end product, such as nice restaurants and good entertainment. Also, it is hoped that the cost of living can be mitigated; electricity costs are astronomical," she added.

"There is a message that is coming out of Long Island from which the entire country could benefit, especially in the light of the enormous changes Hurricane Dorian has forced. Long Islanders are demonstrating an attitude that is key to quality and sustainable development--the people taking ownership of challenges and opportunities.

"Evidently, they believe in putting their hands to the wheel to build and safeguard their island. Just consider how they reacted to the devastation of the Category four Hurricane Joaquin in 2015. Although they endured extreme flooding and the loss of over 400 residences, they didn't hesitate to mobilise to get going again."

For registration, contact any one of the following: Ramona Ritchie-Taylor, e-mail at ramona.ritchietaylor@gmail.com, Tel: 242 472 8100 or Long Island Chamber of Commerce, e-mail longislandcoc@gmail.com or Dawn Simmons, e-mail dsimmons@bahamas.com or Margaret Albury e-mail malbury@tclbahamas.com, Tel. 242 322 7505 or register at www.tclevents.com.

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