There is more pessimism than optimism surrounding the proposed investments on Grand Bahama for many residents, according to former West End and Bimini Member of Parliament Obie Wilchcombe.
Wilchombe, who admitted to canvassing the concerns of residents as he prepares to campaign again, said the economy is in “bad shape in Grand Bahama and there is no direction”.
“The promises have not come to fruition and they keep getting pushed back further and further. There’s no plan on the table and no one seems to have full control or understanding of what should be happening. The main issue is certainly the economy, which means the poverty levels are going up,” he told Guardian Business yesterday at the Melia Nassau Beach resort during the Progressive Liberal Party’s convention.
In March, the government signed a letter of intent with Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL) and the ITM Group for the purchase of the Grand Lucayan resort and the redevelopment of the Freeport Harbour at a price of $65 million.
That, along with other promised projects for the island, including the Oban Energies project and plans to make the island a technology hub, were touted by the Minnis administration to bring a much-needed economic boost to Grand Bahama and provide jobs.
Wilchombe said he and Grand Bahama residents have little faith that the plans will reach fruition.
“I think they are pessimistic because they haven’t seen anything. Talking is one thing but you have to deliver. What has happened unfortunately is that they have been told so much that so many things are going to happen and nothing has happened,” he said.
“They have been promised the hotel was going to be sold, that has not happened. There’s been a delay in some of the other announcements that were made, so they are pessimistic right now.”