PM says competition between cruise port and straw market must be fair

Prime Minister Philip Davis yesterday told the developers of the Nassau Cruise Port that some of the customers at the Bahamian retail market planned for the port will have to be driven to the nearby Nassau Straw Market to ensure that competition is “fair”.

The new cruise port, which began construction in 2019, is expected to open in late May 2023.

Davis and other government officials were guided on a tour of the site yesterday by Nassau Cruise Port Limited Chief Executive Officer Mike Maura Jr.

During the tour, Maura said, “Tourism has been the one to identify who is going in here and then what you have is Pam Burnside chairs an authentic Bahamian committee that reviews to make sure that we’re not moving Chinese imports – no offense to China – but Chinese imports into an area that is supposed to be promoting our Bahamas, our Bahamian culture.”

Davis said, “The Nassau Straw Market is a historic site and competition with that has to be fair.”

Maura responded, “For sure.”

Davis continued, “We need to drive some of those people to the straw market. They wouldn’t be driven there if you’re selling straw here too.”

Maura said Minister of Works Alfred Sears has already started a conversation on that with the Ministry of Tourism.

He said they will select the occupants of the space.

“It’s coming from government,” Maura said.

“The only thing I would say is, in the interest of all of us, everybody that is proposed needs to go through the committee to make sure, in fact, what they’re selling is Bahamian.” 

Almost all of the structures germane to the operations of the cruise port are where they are supposed to be and are simply awaiting accoutrements.

The most dominant features of the port are the arrivals terminal, the Junkanoo museum, and the steel structure that towers over the port that is to be the velarium of the port’s amphitheater.

The many booths that will house the former tenants of Festival Place line the streets and waterside, outfitted with formidable doors that, according to Maura, will protect them from the likes of a Category 5 hurricane.

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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