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D’Aguilar hopeful Cabinet will soon make decision on cruise port bidder

Cabinet continues to “mull” over the issue of choosing a firm to redevelop and operate Nassau’s cruise port, three weeks after it was revealed that the evaluation committee vetting the three bids chose one and submitted it to Cabinet.

Yesterday, Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio D’Aguilar said he is hopeful Cabinet is in a position to make a decision soon.

He said in December that when the committee had completed its evaluation of the bids, it would make a recommendation to Cabinet, which would then make a decision on whether or not to carry on with the committee’s suggestion. D’Aguilar said in late January that the committee had made a recommendation to Cabinet.

The government is also mulling over a proposal to develop a cruise port on Grand Bahama by port developer ITM. Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest confirmed last week that the government has received the ITM proposal and it is being considered.

The ITM Group is proposing a $130 million development in Grand Bahama that includes the redevelopment of the Grand Lucayan resort complex, and the transformation of Grand Bahama’s cruise port into an adventure park, a project that it said could produce 2,500 direct jobs and 18,000 indirect jobs.

The ITM proposal also outlines plans for Freeport Harbour to be turned into a lush lagoon park called Harbour Village, replete with a lagoon, food and beverage facilities and “immersive experience facilities”, estimated to cost $56 million.

ITM’s redevelopment of the Grand Lucayan resort complex into an area called Lucaya Islands, is estimated to cost $30 million, and includes a waterpark, convention facilities and resort accommodations.

Last year, the government agreed to purchase the Grand Lucayan from Hong Kong-based conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa for $65 million.

According to the ITM proposal, the company would upgrade the port’s docking facilities at a cost of $35 million and provide multi-modal transportation between the proposed Harbour Village and Lucaya Islands at a cost of $9.8 million.

The cost of the redevelopment of the port, introduction of transportation, and the development of Harbour Village and Lucaya Islands would total $130,800,000.

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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