Nationalise GB Port? Not for now

Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest in the House of Assembly. File Photo: Terrel W. Carey/Tribune Staff

Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest in the House of Assembly. File Photo: Terrel W. Carey/Tribune Staff

DEPUTY Prime Minister K Peter Turnquest yesterday said the nationalisation of assets was not currently on the agenda as he responded to a recommendation by former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham for the government to purchase the Grand Bahama Port Authority instead of the Grand Lucayan hotel.

Mr Turnquest, Minister of Finance and East Grand Bahama MP, said while the option was not new and had been long considered, any shift on nationalisation would require full agreement by all stakeholders.

“One of the things we share with the former prime minister is that we do need to focus on the economy of Grand Bahama and cause economic activity to happen,” said Mr Turnquest.

“With respect to the Port Authority itself, obviously that is a complex issue as it involves a number of entities. But we recognise status quo is unacceptable so we continue to focus on Grand Bahama and the revitalisation of the economy. It’s why we continue to solicit investment in both tourism and industrial sectors.”

Mr Ingraham - in an interview with The Nassau Guardian - suggested the government should purchase the GBPA instead of the shuttered Grand Lucayan hotel in a bid to “reset” the island.

He wrote: “I am of the view that the government should not purchase the Grand Lucayan hotel; instead it should purchase the port from the Hayward and St George families and also acquire their families’ 50 percent ownership interest in the DevCo, the Harbour Company, the Airport Company and other related entities.

“Grand Bahama needs a reset, and the ownership of the port by the government with some other financially capable strategic partner(s), including Bahamian investors, could be that reset.”

It continued: “The ownership of the port and 50 percent of the Port Group of Companies by the government (and its private sector partners) should establish a new entity heavily managed and directed by private experts.

“I suggest that the international airport and port in Freeport and the DevCo must be components of the new entity so that sensible costs can be structured to improve the attractiveness of travel to Grand Bahama given its proximity to the USA.

“The licensing and regulatory responsibilities of the port might then be transferred to local government authorities in Grand Bahama. The new entity, with government and private ownership, would focus on the business of developing the whole Grand Bahama district.

“Such a permanent solution to the vagaries of the Freeport economy will obviate the ‘boom’ and ‘bust’ experiences associated with this area of the Bahamas for years that I choose not to recall.”

In response Mr Turnquest said: “It is not a current issue for us however we continue to look at innovative ways to reimagine what Grand Bahama can be, and to look for partners who can help us to realise the full potential of Grand Bahama, and Freeport in particular.

“It is possible,” he said to The Tribune when asked about the viability of Mr Ingraham’s proposition.

“However, we don’t have to acquire it and we will continue to evaluate all options in the public interest. These are thoughts that have been considered for many years, and as we evaluate all options to spur development, it’s on the table.

 “But we are not in the business of nationalising assets and any adjustments going forward would have to be agreed by all parties.”

There has been a national discussion on the government’s possible move to purchase the Grand Lucayan properties after Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis recently told Free National Movement supporters on Grand Bahama his administration will not allow the resort to permanently close its doors and would buy the resort if necessary.

The Grand Lucayan closed in 2016 for repairs following Hurricane Matthew; only one of its three properties has opened its doors since then – the 196-room Lighthouse Pointe.

Last week, Canadian developer Paul Wynn confirmed he had pulled out of talks to buy the hotel, saying the potential purchase lacked “economic feasibility”.


proudloudandfnm 5 years, 11 months ago

I trust Ingraham way more than Turnquest. I just don't see Turnquest and his crew as competent or prepared to govern. They're still on a learning curve a year and half into their term. Ome has to ask if they can learn. By now they should have hit their stride. But they aren't even close. This FNM simply put is incapable of managing this country.

HonestTruth 5 years, 11 months ago

The above poster is a complete and certified moron who should be ignored at all cost

Instead of providing substance to the discussion, he simply just disagrees with Peter Turnquest and agrees with Ingram while once again providing no substance on his position.

Well_mudda_take_sic 5 years, 11 months ago

The 'honest truth' is you're a totally blind die-hard FNM support who has only ever sputtered nonsense towards anyone critical of the current struggling government that most readily acknowledge cannot see its way clear to competently deal with the more serious issues confronting our nation today.

ThisIsOurs 5 years, 11 months ago

Actually @proud is correct, this fumbling around on issues and back tracking has been Peter Turnquest M.O. since he came to office. It's a very disturbing trait in a Finance Minister. I had my doubts about him from before the election. It always duiturbed me that he was always calling in unannounced to talk shows. I remember asking a friend how does he have time to call every talk show? Both he and Minnis are into optics, how things look is more important than substance. Hence the 10 minute talks at the PM's office where he will see a max of 100 people. I don't know how that's representative f the people's time when you only see 100 hand selected people out of 200,000. It's a whole lot of effort for nothing. Could have just organized some effort at the constituency level, document concerns, consolidate them then give feedback. Instead we get Facebook style Drama as national policy.

BahamasForBahamians 5 years, 11 months ago

Peter Turnquest is in over his head..The first poster is spot on.. I don't think any right thinking Bahamians does trust this guy.

Especially after bowing and licking Lyford's boots.

Well_mudda_take_sic 5 years, 11 months ago

Hubert Ingraham bears great responsibility for the mess our country is in today. He still revels in being called 'Papa' by the many illegal Haitian immigrants who he has always been inclined to treat more kindly and favourably than most Bahamians. Think about it for a moment. He knows our current government cannot even run the General Post Office and yet bulgy-eyed Hubiggity is encouraging them to buy the Grand Bahama Port Authority. Hubigitty must be back to binge drinking again for him to have come up with such a daft proposal. He needs to get back to quietly fishing, ideally a long ways out to sea!

bogart 5 years, 11 months ago

Stagnation of Freeport goes back to Papas time when there were issues to do wid Mr. Hans Baback...? Partner of the Robinhood Store Schaffner.....Baback...? being removed from the Port leaving it rudderless ...... During all dose 10 years in Freeport last year of 10 years it was discovered dat the last remaining hotel da Princess needed major renovations despite the fact that the govt was populated by so many govt ministers from Freeport .....

BahamaLlama 5 years, 11 months ago

Amazing. GB is collapsing, and all the crabs in the bucket can do is rip at each other. You missed the fact we're in a bucket.

ThisIsOurs 5 years, 11 months ago

You missed the fact that many of us suggested getting a ladder in here, ever so cognizant of optics, the government put in the ladder then raised the walls so it couldn't reach the top.

TalRussell 5 years, 11 months ago

Ma Comrade BahamaLlama, everything Grand Bahamalanders does need steer economy on road towards propensity over next 10 years is done within their sight and reach - just have get off their foreigner-owned brainwashing dependency been under since 1950's. You've thoughts by now that of all citizens that Freeporters would all have after all these years earned two Harvard degrees on - don't stay dependent on foreigners - neither on whomever just happiness holds colony of islands governing powers to show ups rescue you. Shouldn't how quickly "small dick" KP bowed to foreigner land owners just writing letter Lyford Cay's letterhead- not be a teachable moment.

bogart 5 years, 11 months ago

Cannot blame da people fer lack a trying..?frustration.... Freepoer,GB.....has for the last few decades had so many of the elected MPs made MINISTERS OF THE GOVERNMENT....SENATORS...Minister dis...Mister dat....mussey even more Cabinet Ministers than there are residents of Holmes Rock...why GB even had MINISTER OF THE MINISTRY OF GB....?.....so many Ministers of Govt from the Govt Cabinet of all da Bahamas...even now a Deputy PM...all from GB........so what do you suggest BahamaLlama...?????

AlextheCon 5 years, 11 months ago

@BahamaLlama - it seems that you have a personal gripe with the management of the GBPA, especially its president. What did he or GBPA do to you to cause such hatred?

sheeprunner12 5 years, 11 months ago

What has the GB Port Authority invested in since Ingraham was PM???????

The Hayward & St.George inheritors have milked the cow and now it is starving to death.

bogart 5 years, 11 months ago

@BahamaLlama......looking at da dire situation ....tings gettin worser an worser.....pore people sufferin more......values of peoples jomes dey saved an struggled for reducing in value....gut wrenchin.....YOU HAVEa product GRAND BAHAMA....the most modern laid out city in da Caribbean......despite it being run down......TIME TO PUT YOUR BENEFITS....WHAT YOU GON OFFERS.....HOW YOU IS BETTER FAN DA REST.....LOOK AT MANY NEW COMPANIES........HOW IT IS YOU CAN TAKE ADVANTAGE FROM THE WORLD..IMPOSING TARRIFFS...TAXES...ON EACH ODDER....AN STARTS MARKETING.....TO DA WORLD....,!!!....SELL YER PRODUCT....!!!!!.....You have a prodict better than most islands in thd Caribbean.....you should be looking at your marketing team and if there is one ....dey needs to change if uou gettong no ....suggest you give your marketing team to manage a strawvender stall in Nassau Strawmarket for one week....!!!

BahamaLlama 5 years, 11 months ago

Isn't it curious how every time someone gets specific on here about the problem at GBPA, those comments go missing from the site? Also curious how GB licensees never seem to get their voices heard in the letters section when they write to the newspaper. It's almost like someone over there is trying very hard to make sure nobody gets to hear what they're up to.

@ fake sock puppet GBPA poster - you are corrupt, you are incompetent, and you have wrecked Grand Bahama, 30,000+ people are living in a horror movie because of your vanity and selfishness. THAT's my problem with GBPA.

bogart 5 years, 11 months ago

The 50 acre ?? Port Harbour site in should be looked at again.....why not talk to Warren Buffet with his 111 billion cash invrstment stockpile...?? Did anyone approach companoes like Amazon...Google...these are companies wid far ahead ideas an plans.....Freeport has ship facilities...I would think these can be expanded vertically....Freeport has mass container handling facilities ...gateway to the world...any manufacturer can ship goods to....has excellent sites cannal lots cheap.....if you had to recreate again...these lots would be very expemsive.....GB needs investors.....people needs to be hustling out dere......better believe what impacts GB also impacts Nassau.an country....!!!!...fer starters fuel up da jet and invite Warren Buffet over....we odder inbestments here aint overpriced...

AlextheCon 5 years, 11 months ago

Interesting take @ sheeprunner12...

@ Fake Bahamian, you still haven’t told us why you loathe the GBPA Management so much, especially the President. It definitely comes across as a personal vendetta. I ask again, what did the GBPA do to you?

BahamaLlama 5 years, 11 months ago

BahamaLlama says... @ GBPA - how much easier it would be for you if you could spin it that way - you could avoid having to answer those difficult questions!

Questions like -

How many businesses do GBPA management have an illegal % of? E.g. telecoms top-up? And which lawyers do they use as trustees to hide it?

Why do investors report being extorted for a %, or having their ideas/partnerships stolen, when bringing their idea into GBPA?

Why are local activists claiming to international journalists they have documented audio and video proof of endemic corruption?

How many senior staff are employed because they are related to the "president"?

Why are the Chamber of Commerce opposed to GBPA management?

Why are the residents of Abaco opposed to GBPA management?

Why are US officials opposed to GBPA management?

Can you name a single achievement which has been made in 10 years?

If no achievements have been made, should they resign?

How many times have GBPA investigated corruption internally?

Why are GBPA management spending tens of thousands making "Wendy Williams" style TV programmes when children in GB can't eat and childrens' homes are closing down?

Why has Freeport descended into Haiti, yet management live in luxury houses?

Have the US denied visas to management personnel for suspicion of involvement in financial crime?

How did the current owner of Lucaya Marketplace end up with what he has?

Why do licensees and activists report a fear of retaliation if they speak up?

How is it pilots from South America carrying drugs into the US land so easily in GB?

How does the Director of the National Trust have such a nice house in East Grand Bahama?

If GBPA are public officials as the courts claim, why will they not disclose their business interests, party affiliations, or qualifications?

If GBPA are such amaaazing businesspeople, why is Freeport in a state of collapse?

Why do GBPA believe they have the right to suppress the rights Bahamians are guaranteed under their Constitution, such as freedom of speech, witnessing to the press, and not to be deprived of their property?

BahamaLlama 5 years, 11 months ago

If the HCA gives GBPA responsibility for Freeport, why aren't they responsible for the hotel and the horrendous state of the city?

If they are responsible for the hotel, why have they done absolutely nothing about it, while small businesspeople starve and the island has lost its tourism industry?

Can you explain why a GBPA telephone survey of GB included a question about whether management should be allowed to take over the Port?

Why have journalists been threatened with legal action if they report the claims?

Are the shareholders aware of management corruption? If so, why are they allowing it and why haven't they taken action?

Why do GBPA management think they can blame the shareholders for their own total failure and incompetence?

Most importantly, why are you on a newspaper's website trying to stop people speaking about your behaviour when you are accountable to the people of the Bahamas? Why do you think you get to retaliate against those you are duty-bound to serve?

bogart 5 years, 11 months ago

Extraording...truly extraordinary......BahamaLlama.

AND, what an amazing coincidence that in this same newspaper there is an article on the US government makjng a donation to the Bahamas government of ....$1,4 million dollars to fight corruption...amazing .... 1..money ....to investigate... 2...allegations to investigate.. 3...DEtermination ...by government to fight corruption...resolute

sheeprunner12 5 years, 11 months ago

BahamaLlama .......... You need to give that list of questions to the Speaker, DPM, GB MPs, Kwasi and the Senate President .......... For tabling in Parliament for a Select Committee, and please make sure that Fred Smith is also on board as your personal lawyer ......... WOW!!!!!

BahamaLlama 5 years, 11 months ago

There are a lot of people who are circulating material about GBPA - international journalists, etc. The bigger question is why they haven't asked already. And if they have, why they haven't done anything about it.

I love Fred. GBPA management are highly litigious and vindictive. Bring it on. I'd also LOVE a libel case: first order of something like that is the defendant has to prove it's true! I doubt they have enough seating area.

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