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DPM: ‘Cracks’ showing in Briland’s tourism product

DEPUTY Prime Minister Chester Cooper.

DEPUTY Prime Minister Chester Cooper.

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

nhartnell@tribunemedia.net

The deputy prime minister has raised the alarm that “cracks” are appearing in Harbour Island’s tourism product, as he warned: “Unless we manage the paradise we have we stand the risk of losing it.”

Chester Cooper, addressing the Harbour Island Business Outlook conference, said he is “dismayed sometimes” by the debris and dilapidated buildings as he urged residents and tourism stakeholders to tap into “the incredible resource pool” of the island’s billionaire and millionaire homeowners to help address critical infrastructure and other challenges.

Asserting that the Government, with its Budget constraints, “cannot do it all on its own”, he added that visitor concerns about the indiscriminate dumping of garbage and litter; abandoned vehicles on the roadside; and derelict and decaying buildings were increasingly showing up in tourist exit surveys submitted to the Ministry of Tourism.

Mr Cooper, who is also minister of tourism, investments and aviation, signalled that the Government will rely increasingly on the public-private partnership (PPP) model - with private investors providing the capital and financing, and also the development and management expertise - to grow and develop all Family Islands. Hence his call for Harbour Island to seek greater help from its wealthy homeowners.

“Much of the work to develop to keep these islands pristine must come through local leadership and local ownership,” Mr Cooper said. “I told you of my vacations in Eleuthera, my vacations here in Harbour Island. Harbour Island is still paradise, but you can see the cracks in the product.

“I want to encourage you to continue to invest in the product, to continue to take ownership and leadership in keeping Harbour Island pristine. We must defend what we got. We have a beautiful country, we have a beautiful island, but unless we manage the paradise we have we stand the risk of losing it.

“Ladies and gentlemen, when I travel the length and breadth of Harbour Island, I am dismayed sometimes by the debris, the dilapidated buildings that we see, and you can tell this place needs some love. Eleuthera is your home. Briland is your home. Eleuthera is now our home.”

Mr Cooper then suggested that Briland needs to forge even stronger links with its multi-millionaire residents, many of whom have owned homes and been coming to the island for generations, so that they contribute further to the island’s development and upkeep.

“There are billionaires and millionaires who live here who love this island, and continue to come back for generations and generations,” he said. “So to build access to this incredible resource pool, it makes sense that this proposal with PPPs must be the model for that continued enhancement of Harbour Island, the model for continuing the charm and the paradise that we have come to know and love.”

Asserting that Eleuthera has “the pieces” for significant economic growth and development, Mr Cooper added that these must be properly managed for the island to reach “its truest potential”. He added that he was “delighted by the looks on your faces; that this doesn’t surprise you” when he reeled off the litany of tourist complaints about the island’s cleanliness and appearance.

Calling for all stakeholders, including the Government, local government, tourism industry and Briland’s wealthy residents to partner “to make some significant advances in the landscape of Briland”, the deputy prime minister said: “We must continue to keep Briland pristine, we must continue to keep Eleuthera one of the finest islands in The Bahamas, and we must continue to keep the islands of The Bahamas the most magnificent little country anywhere on planet Earth.”

Comments

ThisIsOurs 3 weeks, 6 days ago

Derelict vehicles and trash are "cracks"? But those have been an issue for 50 years, well known to every party in opposition promising "change". Someone should fill out an always here survey to let Mr Cooper know that much of the blight is being contributed to by the cannibalistic gaming industry

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Dawes 3 weeks, 6 days ago

Briland been getting nastier for 20 years, to the point most people i know don't go there anymore.

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