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D’Aguilar: Cruise port redevelopment model better than LPIA model

The model chosen to redevelop Nassau’s cruise port is a “better” model than the one used to redevelop the Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA), Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio D’Aguilar said yesterday, adding that the Nassau Airport Development Company’s (NAD) debt is 76 percent owned by foreigners.

D’Aguilar said the debt/equity structure being laid out for the redevelopment of the cruise port will mean that Bahamians will own the majority of the shares in the project.

D’Aguilar said the NAD model still has $530 million in debt being serviced, and 76 percent of the money that is paid to service that debt goes to foreign entities.

However, D’Aguilar restated that Bahamians will hold shares in the newly developed port and will be able to benefit from its success in the long-term.

“We all agree that the port needs to be redeveloped,” he said.

“We all agree that it needs an investment. It could come from taxes; it could come from borrowing, or it could come from private sector money. So, we have adopted a private sector money approach.

“We have put together a structure that will be predominantly Bahamian-owned. It’s a win-win for everybody.”

D’Aguilar said the model means no additional taxes for the Bahamian public, no additional debt for the government, and is a rare opportunity for Bahamians looking to invest.

“There is a lot of money sloshing around in The Bahamas that cannot find viable investment projects,” said D’Aguilar. “This provides Bahamians with a mechanism to invest.”

Bahamians’ investment in the redevelopment of Nassau’s cruise port will be the biggest investment opportunity for Bahamians to date, President of CFAL Anthony Ferguson said Sunday at the press conference to announce the winner of the cruise port bid.

Global Ports Holding (GPH), which won the bid to redevelop the port, will hold 49 percent of the shares. The investment portfolio, which will hold 49 percent of the shares in the port, will be called the Bahamas Investment Fund, and will be for Bahamians. The other two percent will be held by the YES Foundation for development in Bahamian youth, education and sports.

CFAL is a collaborator in the port development project and is the lead investment management firm that will develop and create the Bahamas Investment Fund.

It is hoped that 20,000 to 30,000 Bahamians will participate in the public offering for the cruise port. And in order to get the largest share of Bahamians invested in the port, GPH is providing a $10 million loan for Bahamians to borrow up to $1,000 so that they can invest in the project.

Those investment opportunities are expected to begin by the end of the year.

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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