According to Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis, all of the major islands of The Bahamas have to be developed in order to take advantage of the many opportunities in the tourism sector. Minnis, who was speaking at the Ministry of Transport and Local Government’s local government workshop on Monday, said the Family Islands must “see and feel that they are being given equitable attention”.
The prime minister said in order to enhance the quality of governance, the Office of the Prime Minister is being expanded to more islands.
“We are not Nassau-centric,” said Minnis. “Family islanders will be the first to hear of any major infrastructure signing on their island.”
Minnis went island by island and listed projects currently under development or underway.
He began with the South Eleuthera cruise facility that will be developed by Disney Cruise Line.
He said the project will create business opportunities and jobs for the people of Eleuthera, and assured that government will not allow the development to move forward if Disney’s environment impact assessment does not meet the government’s requirements, though he assured that “Disney has an outstanding environmental record.”
Minnis said the government continues to actively explore the development of a transshipment port on Mayaguana, which could provide services equivalent to those offered at the Panama Canal.
He mentioned Bahamas Striping Group of Companies’ move to develop poultry farms on Andros and Eleuthera, with a distribution center planned for New Providence.
The prime minister also mentioned the government’s project to turn Ragged Island into the country’s first green ‘smart island’, with the introduction of a solar array to produce power.
He said Abaco and its cays have significant new development projects in the pipeline, including a $580 million residential, resort and marina development in South Abaco, which will involve the upgrade and expansion of the Sandy Point airstrip; the redevelopment of Sandy Point’s port ferry dock as a cargo transshipment port; and the extension of Queens Highway in South Abaco.
In regards to Andros, Minnis said a Bahamian joint venture for the development of the Blue Hole Marina and Lodge in Fresh Creek is underway. The lodge will include 12 rooms and an 18-slip marina with a bulk fuel facility.
For Long Island, a five-star eco-resort by Star Resort Group with 515 luxury residences is being planned, according to Minnis. He also noted the extensive project by the Water and Sewerage Corporation to bring piped, potable water to settlements of Long Island that have never had it.
He added that the Berry Islands, Bimini and the Exumas are all “experiencing their share of investment with the expansion of existing properties”.
JUMPLINE: Minnis: We are not Nassau-centric