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‘High interest’ in Grand Bahama airport partnership

Minister of State for Grand Bahama Senator Kwasi Thompson.

Minister of State for Grand Bahama Senator Kwasi Thompson.

By DENISE MAYCOCK

Tribune Freeport Reporter

dmaycock@tribunemedia.net

AS negotiations on the Grand Bahama International Airport near the final stages, State Minister for Grand Bahama Senator Kwasi Thompson has revealed that there is high interest from investors to enter a public-private partnership with the government in the redevelopment of the facility.

The government is in negotiations with the Hutchison Group and the Grand Bahama Port Authority to acquire ownership of the airport, which sustained severe damage during Hurricane Dorian.

“We believe we are in the final stages, and we hope for a turnover and resolution very shortly,” Mr Thompson said recently.

The government continues to meet with the two major stakeholders regularly, he added.

“We believe the big issues have been resolved, and we are attempting now to finalise, but we are still in negotiations with (them). We expect that once that is completed, a complete assessment has to be done as to how we will rebuild.”

Mr Thompson said there will be a complete redevelopment of the airport.

“We are pleased the government has received a high interest from companies who want to have a PPP with the government in the redevelopment of the airport. Once the process is completed, and we go through and assess the proposals, a decision will be made as to how we move forward to the PPP arrangement.”

Despite the challenges facing Grand Bahama, Mr Thompson reported that the island is ranked 21 among the best destinations in the Caribbean to visit.

He noted that attracting sufficient airlift and proper marketing of the island is very critical to the island’s success.

Mr Thompson believes that 2021 is going to be better than 2020 in terms of the island’s economy.

He noted that various foreign direct investments are shaping up, such as the new medical school for Grand Bahama.

“We are very pleased to see significant progress on the West Atlantic Medical School, which is a project the government signed an HoA with the former principals of Ross University. We are just about completed (with) the agreements with the Public Hospital Authority who is providing the land, and we have completed other paperwork required to get started.”

Minister Thompson said the government expects to see WAMS break ground in the coming weeks.

In the maritime sector, he said the government has approved Clean Marine, which is an existing company in the Shipyard to transform used oil products into clean oil to expand its facility.

“It is an environmentally friendly business and they are going to be expanding and building a brand-new facility in GB,” he added.

When asked about Carnival’s mega cruise-port project in East Grand Bahama, Mr Thompson said Carnival has indicated its desire to continue with the project.

“The project at the moment is still in the regulatory stage where all permitting stages are with the Ministry of the Environment and they are continuing the work they need to do,” he said.

Mr Thompson said Carnival has not as yet indicated to the government its new timeframe in terms of the project.

Asked about investor interest in the Freeport area, particularly the former Royal Oasis Resort and International Bazaar, he said interest “is promising and hopeful.”

“I will say we continue to have an interest by investors, which again is promising and hopeful. As the PM has announced those investments on the drawing board, we want to move them through the system as quickly as we can to remove the stumbling blocks…but there is interest with respect to the PPPs for the airport, and we continue to see some development interests that we are unable to talk about yet.

“We are extremely pleased that post-Dorian and post-COVID we will have investors who are willing and able to come and invest in GB. We’re focused on digitisation and tech companies that want to come, and we have also seen interests with respect to that. We are hopeful that this year is going to be better than last year,” he said.

Comments

proudloudandfnm 3 years, 4 months ago

Interest in Oasis and the Bazaar? I seriously doubt that. Like seriously doubt that. Carnival may not have said their timeline has shifted but get real, of course that project is delayed. Probably for years, don't need ESP to make that call...

These statements get more and more unbelievable...

The_Oracle 3 years, 4 months ago

And still the question, why is the Government doing the G.B. Port Authorities job? And I will believe any of it once I see it actually happen. We are heading for silly season (Elections) and we know that means stop Review, Cancel! Perhaps if PLP and FNM politicians would agree to sharing their Shingles, we could see something transpire beyond the 5 year cycle of endlessly switching negotiations.

TalRussell 3 years, 4 months ago

Just minutes ago, I despatched an overnight telegram to Amazon's Acquisitions headquarters in Seattle, Washington, suggesting their Comrade Jeff Bezos, takes a high-interest peak at acquiring the Port Authority's shares in FREEport.
Due to the low-interest in the Port, Jeff could buy on the cheap for a song and a dance price that equals less than 39 minutes his personal daily earnings.
I will be expecting payment of the normal brokerage fee. Shakehead a quick once for Upyeahvote cannot just be making such nonsense up. twice for Not?

moncurcool 3 years, 4 months ago

The government is in negotiations with the Hutchison Group and the Grand Bahama Port Authority to acquire ownership of the airport, which sustained severe damage during Hurricane Dorian.

“We believe we are in the final stages, and we hope for a turnover and resolution very shortly,” Mr Thompson said recently.

Does Hutchinson however believe the negotiations are in the final stages?

. .

Despite the challenges facing Grand Bahama, Mr Thompson reported that the island is ranked 21 among the best destinations in the Caribbean to visit.

Would really like to know the source of this information. But then again if you count the number of islands actually in the Caribbean, it does not take a genius to see where that 21 falls.

Clamshell 3 years, 4 months ago

Did you ever notice how big economic advances are always just days away ... but never seem to get here?

thps 3 years, 4 months ago

You are making it seem as if it is so bad that they would have an acting Financial secretary for an entire administra...

TalRussell 3 years, 4 months ago

May I share with my comrades, how our to the more North Quasi Out Islanders feel whenever Kwasi takes to the pulpit to spin the latest about Mr. Minnis's latest economic revival of and for FREE""port, it leaves FREE**porters to feel it must've done be really deaded than dead.
Our to the more North Quasi Out Islands have never felt more neglected by their House-elected and politically appointed representatives. Shakehead a quick once for Upyeahvote cannot just be making such nonsense up. twice for Not?

tribanon 3 years, 4 months ago

Wow! Minnis has already handsomely rewarded his Communist Chinese friends by taking the worthless Lucayan Hotel property off of Hutchison Whampoa's hands for mega-millions of dollars of our taxpayers' money. And now we see him about to pay Hutchison Whampoa an outrageously high price for their interest in the Grand Bahama Airport. It's plain as day that Minnis is mainly concerned about his foreign puppeteers, especially the Communist Chinese ones. And we all know he has a few super wealthy local (Bahamian) puppeteers in LyfordCay that he is constantly favouring in the most obvious of ways.

ThisIsOurs 3 years, 4 months ago

"We are very pleased to see significant progress on the West Atlantic Medical School..."

you can probably assess what's happening by what they do announce. A medical school is a hard thing to push, unless you simultaneously announce some partnership with a big established gold standard name and the strategy that will ensure quality students.

recall that GIBC was the poster child of the CEB bill because there wasn't much else to talk about. The bill was just wrong on so many levels. If you're gonna create a small business encouragement act, make sure theyre locally owned. To be honest I'm not exactly sure what's going on. Are leaders not thinking because they're not feeling the pain yet, dont feel the need to act urgently or do anything? Because it feels like from March 2020 they haven't done anything. They're still waiting to "talk to teachers"" about "how to open schools"... we're still trying to hold on to tourism and financial services as the things that will save us. It is in the realm of possibilities that nothing will, but those two are definitely not likely candidates. every day the world shows more and more signs of that. So when do we start transforming ourselves by renewing our minds?

sheeprunner12 3 years, 4 months ago

When my Government gets the balls to get rid of the GBPA ......... I will take an interest in GB

tribanon 3 years, 4 months ago

Your FNM government is an abject failure, period!

The_Oracle 3 years, 4 months ago

long Past due. However the HCA still has more potential for the entire Bahamas than Wallace groves even foresaw. Now if we could just find a Government that could operate it properly....... Pindling, Ingraham, Christie and his minions of self preservation, and the Port Families have all buggered it up beyond recognition.

tribanon 3 years, 4 months ago

And of course Doofus Minnis comes along after Poodling, Hubiggity and Vomit to put the final nails in GB's coffin.

In May 2017 Grand Bahamians were hoping for the best but ended up getting the absolute worst. Any Grand Bahamian who is stupid enough to support the FNM party in the next general election fully deserves to attend their island's funeral.

Even the PLP can't possibly treat Grand Bahamians any worse than Doofbag Minnus has done. But don't support Yellow Belly Davis becoming PM. Better to vote for any new independent candidate who runs in your constituency; ideally one who is competent, articulate, honest and hardworking, with a genuine interest in the well-being of GB and its people.

TalRussell 3 years, 4 months ago

Proof in the certainty as to why my achievable prospect for an Amazon-type takeover of the shares Port Authority, has the potential to gather traction,
Offers the speedy creation of full-time, good-paying steady paycheques, health insurances, and benefits with priority afforded to all of the comrade ageable and willing bodied male, female, trans, and cross-gender sexes of FREEporters.
Out the likes, the Kwasi's and rush-in in with Comrade Bezos. Shakehead a quick once for Upyeahvote cannot just be making such nonsense up. twice for Not?

rodentos 3 years, 4 months ago

Who is going to pay for an airport periodically flooded by any hurricane passing by?

tribanon 3 years, 4 months ago

Why, Minnis of course. He will happily have our country borrow another small fortune at an extremely high rate of interest to pay the outrageously high asking price being demanded by the two salivating sellers of GB's Airport. Such an acquisition is after all very much in the interest of his Communist Chinese friends.

Hoda 3 years, 4 months ago

What’s the asking price?

This actually is confirmation that you just get up and say things.

proudloudandfnm 3 years, 4 months ago

GB airport has only been flooded once. Sorry but that's the fact jack. Frances sat on us for three days and our runway was opened the next day. Dorian was not a typical storm....

tribanon 3 years, 4 months ago

Rainfall and storm surge are two very different phenomena when it comes to hurricanes......Frances was plenty rainfall, Dorian was plenty storm surge.

ThisIsOurs 3 years, 4 months ago

they're dealing with risk. It doesnt matter if Dorian wasnt typical. It "happened", and a year(?) after another superstorm passed through the caribbean. added to that flooding causes damage even if it recedes the next day. think of all the furniture and drywall that would have to be replaced, all the electrical equipment and transport vehicles that would have been damaged...

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