PM on $400 million drawdown for GB airport: I misspoke

Initial drawdown for Grand Bahama International Airport will be $200 million

Prime Minister Philip Davis said he misspoke when he announced at a Bahamas promotional event in London on Thursday that the government would be drawing down $400 million from a British financial institution to go toward the redevelopment of the Grand Bahama International Airport (GBIA).

During a question-and-answer period at the Caribbean Council’s Bahamas Investment promotional event in England, Davis revealed that the agency had made $1 billion available to the government of The Bahamas, of which he said $400 million would initially be drawn down to go toward the development of a new green airport in Freeport.

In a video shared by the Office of the Prime Minister’s (OPM) media team, the prime minister clarified that the $400 million will be used toward a 

development package for multiple airports throughout the Family Islands. He also insisted the arrangement is being made in a way that would not add significantly to the country’s debt profile.

“The partnership is for the redevelopment of the airport and we’re trying to do it in a way that will not immediately increase our debt, so we are entering this partnership with the UK development bank. Now for all intents and purposes, the bank has indicated to us that they will have a billion dollars available to us for infrastructure developments. We have to identify those projects to be able to decide what we will draw down or not draw down. If that is available (it doesn’t mean) we’ll use it all. It has to be a project that they can embrace and that they feel has an internal rate of return that will benefit the country and its people,” the prime minister said.

“In so far as the airport is concerned, I did indicate a number of $400 million. I misspoke because it was really $200 million. But we have been talking about a $400 million package so as to include other airports. That has not yet been completed. So the initial drawdown will be about $200 million. We are looking at another $200 million from that one billion for the purpose of developing airports like North Eleuthera, completing Exuma airport and other airport infrastructure.”

After slow action by previous owners Hutchison Port Holdings and Port Group Ltd. to rebuild the facility, the Minnis administration purchased the airport for $1.

The government has since been seeking a company to enter into a public-private partnership with it to redesign, redevelop and manage the facility.

It was revealed in March that the new Grand Bahama International Airport would be developed by a joint venture consortium including Bahamian company Aerodrome Limited, UK-based airport management company Manchester Airport Group, and London-based BHM Construction International.

During the Grand Bahama Business Outlook, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation Chester Cooper said the new airport, inclusive of a US pre-clearance facility, would cost $200 million, with the first phase scheduled for completion in 2025.

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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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