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Darville: GBPA, Hutchison dropped the ball on airport

Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Senator Michael Darville yesterday slammed CK Hutchison Holdings and the Grand Bahama Port Authority over the amount of time it is taking to repair the Grand Bahama International Airport.

The airport suffered extensive damage during Hurricane Dorian. The airport was expected to be inspected and cleared by the U.S. Transportation Security Authority yesterday.

Darville commended the government for its swift efforts in bringing the Leonard M. Thompson International Airport in Marsh Harbour up to international standards, but expressed disappointment over the state of Grand Bahama’s airport.

“What is disturbing about this is that the bulk of the population outside of New Providence reside on the island of Grand Bahama, yet the government was able to get Abaco up and running before Grand Bahama, which is indicating that the privately owned partnership has actually dropped the ball and not really been aggressive enough to work hard to get our airport in Grand Bahama up and functioning,” Darville said in the Senate, during his contribution to the debate of the Aircraft Accident Investigation Authority Bill, 2019.

He added, “After three-plus months post-Hurricane Dorian, it’s very depressing to land at the Grand Bahama International Airport.

“It hurts my heart to be honest with you, because looking at the international arrival terminal and the domestic terminal, nothing is happening. It’s just sitting there. At this stage of the game, after the insurance adjusters have come and gone, there is no reason for the Grand Bahama Port Authority and Hutchison, there is no reason why they cannot move faster to get that airport in a better state than it’s presently in.

“The sad thing is the government remains tight-lipped about the discussions. After more than three months post-Hurricane Dorian, the frustration level, believe you me, the inconveniences and the cost that is passed onto the local residents becomes outrageous. And it is very painful and we need to move with a degree of urgency to get these things sorted out.”

Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio D’Aguilar indicated last month that the government is considering the purchase of the Grand Bahama International Airport.

While D’Aguilar indicated that the current owners may be inclined to sell due to its years of “bad luck” with the facility, it is still unclear what will happen with the airport’s ownership.

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Rachel Knowles

Rachel joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2019. Rachel covers national issues. Education: University of Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish

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