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GBPA, govt join forces to promote GB as foreign investment hub

Grand Bahama Port Authority, Limited (GBPA) and the government have joined forces to market Grand Bahama as a competitive jurisdiction for industry, commercial shipping and technology.

A press release from the GBPA outlined remarks made by Minister of Financial Services, Trade, Industry and Immigration Brent Symonette at the Opportunities in the Caribbean Region Trade Conference (OCRTC) in Miami earlier this week and GBPA Senior Manager of Business Development and Investment Derek Newbold at a recent trade mission

to Washington, DC, where they both extolled Freeport as a “major shipping hub and international business center, just 68 miles from Florida”.

Government has been on several missions between this year and last year to pitch Grand Bahama as a place for businesses. New legislation was passed last year to make it easier for local and foreign businesses to establish themselves in The Bahamas.

“More than 60 years ago, the city of Freeport was created by the charter of the 1955 Hawksbill Creek Agreement, when the Grand Bahama Port Authority, Limited (GBPA) established the infrastructure for world-class services and facilities in a 230-square-mile economic zone, offering both an exceptional climate for business, private investment and unsurpassed quality of life,” Symonette said in the release.

“Today, Freeport offers the discerning investor guaranteed long-term tax concessions and benefits for financial, commercial and industrial enterprises within this unique economic trade zone, that are superior to anywhere else in the region.”

Newbold explained that Grand Bahama has significant competitive advantages as a major regional competitor for investment.

“Its value proposition supports a wide range of economic sectors, including ICT and tech-related industries, manufacturing and value addition, alternative healthcare services and shipping and logistics, etc. Grand Bahama’s infrastructure (both hard and soft), proximity and cultural affinity to the U.S. market are complemented by a tax-friendly environment and excellent quality of life,” he said.

“When you combine these features with a skilled workforce, efficient processes and ease of doing business, one begins to see what key investors in Freeport have understood for decades.

“Joining forces with the Ministry of Financial Services, Trade, Industry and Immigration and the Bahamas Consulate in Miami to represent Grand Bahama at this event was a welcomed opportunity for GBPA.

“We believe that cooperative initiatives such as this help to position Freeport and Grand Bahama as relevant contenders across the competitive landscape regionally.”

GBPA President Ian Rolle pressed for more public-private partnerships, saying such melding of private business and government will “create a new narrative for Grand Bahama”.

“Freeport’s success will have a positive impact on the entire country, and we are beginning to see positive traction in terms of investment interest in Freeport once again,” he said.

“The recent branding of Grand Bahama as the tech hub of The Bahamas will serve to strengthen our position as regional leaders within the digital space.”

Chester Robards

Senior Business Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian.
Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism
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