PM: Business closures bad for GB economy

Impasse is a setback to revitalization efforts on Grand Bahama, stresses Davis

Calling the closure of Gold Rock, Home Design Center and Do It Center in Freeport, Grand Bahama, a setback in the government’s efforts to revitalize the struggling economy on that island, Prime Minister Philip Davis yesterday said the government is hoping to be able to find another initiative to fill the gap left by those closures.

Approximately 100 people are unemployed after the Del Zotto family, following a long and drawn out feud with the Grand Bahama Development Company (DEVCO) over limited access to the Devonshire Subdivision excavation site, announced it would close its three businesses on the island.

Speaking to the subject yesterday, the prime minister said, “I’m always concerned when investors in the country find it impossible to continue with their investment, not because there is no prospect of success at business, but rather because they feel they are being hindered in their process.

Davis revealed on Tuesday in a statement that he intervened in the ordeal, which also involves the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA), in an effort to save jobs.

“Any closure of business will have a deleterious effect on the economy, and yes we are assiduously moving to revive Grand Bahama’s economy,” he said following the swearing-in ceremony of Chief Justice Ian Winder yesterday.

“We think we are well on the way. This will be a setback to that revitalization effort, but we are hoping to be able to move to find another initiative to fill that gap until this matter is resolved, and/or resolve this matter so that gap may not have to be filled. It’s just the family rethinking their position and coming back to the table to see how they can preserve their investment and continue to grow in Grand Bahama.”

The issue stems from the renegotiation of Gold Rock’s expired contract with DEVCO, in which the latter sought new terms regarding the sale of aggregate, site scope and quantity of material to be excavated, and the potential for a new excavation site.

Gold Rock has claimed DEVCO and the GBPA blocked it from utilizing that excavation site so that an international company may use it. In response last month it closed its manufacturing arm, which produces concrete and blocks.

The GBPA has said it never entered into any contract with Gold Rock and all matters are answerable by DEVCO.

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Paige McCartney

Paige joined The Nassau Guardian in 2010 as a television news reporter and anchor. She has covered countless political and social events that have impacted the lives of Bahamians and changed the trajectory of The Bahamas. Paige started working as a business reporter in August 2016. Education: Palm Beach Atlantic University in 2006 with a BA in Radio and Television News

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