Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis at the official opening of Barreterre Dock, Exuma. (BIS Photo/Yontalay Bowe)
By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Senior Reporter
ANNOUNCEMENTS about who will be the new minister of finance and deputy prime minister could come this week, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis suggested on Friday.
“I will announce very soon,” he told reporters in Exuma. “What I can say is that I most certainly won’t remain in the ministry of finance, I can say that with certainty. Tomorrow (Saturday) I’m travelling to Cat Island and I will meditate and discuss with some of my colleagues and by the time I come back sometime this week we will have to make announcements moving forward.”
East Grand Bahama MP Peter Turnquest resigned from Cabinet earlier last week after being referred to in a Supreme Court lawsuit relating to an alleged $27m fraud.
Dr Minnis, meanwhile, spoke after marking the opening of a new dock at Barraterre that replaced the government’s old docking facility.
Dr Minnis said the previous structure, which was constructed in 1990 using timber, was in poor condition and some of its sections had a high risk of collapse.
“The economic stability of the community of Barraterre is highly dependent on the construction of a new and improved docking facility,” he said.
SJK Engineering and Construction was awarded the contract for the dock.
“The project was completed in a timely manner,” Dr Minnis said. “Even though we had promised a grand celebration upon the opening of the dock, unfortunately the exigencies of the pandemic curtailed these plans.”
Dr Minnis also participated in a groundbreaking ceremony hosted by Caribbean Paving Solutions, a subsidiary of the Bahamas Striping Group, which launched its first ever mobile Asphalt Plant in George Town, Exuma.
In addition, Dr Minnis said a contract of $8 million was awarded to CPS for preparing and rehabilitating roads in mainland Exuma.
“The works include clearing of verges, scarification of existing road surface, placing of new limerick base material, raising of low lying flood prone areas, installation of drainage culverts and concrete headwalls, sealing of the roads with 1.5” thick hot mix asphalt wearing course and installation of signs and new striping and road pavement markers,” he said. “The length of the contract is 52 weeks.”
Dr Minnis said plans are also underway to design and construct a new terminal building and a new crash fire rescue building at the Exuma International Airport. He said tender documents have been issued for the project and three bids have been received.
“The bids have been evaluated and the evaluation report submitted to the Inter-American Development Bank for their no objection,” he said. “The Air Terminal Building at Exuma International Airport will be transformational and forms part of a comprehensive redevelopment programme. The architect for this project is Alexiou & Associates.
“The terminal building will accommodate multiple tenants including government regulatory agencies such as Customs and Immigration, the airlines (and) the Airport Authority. Approximately 12 retail outlets will provide ample opportunity for local Exumians to participate in a meaningful way in the economic output of the airport. The landscape design features will be tourism and marketing focused to promote the tropical environment of the beautiful island and cays of Exuma.”