MINISTER for Grand Bahama, the Hon. J. Kwasi as he addressed members of the Diplomatic and Honorary Consular Corps Accredited to The Bahamas during a meeting at the Pelican Bay Resort on Grand Bahama Wednesday morning.
October 18, 2017
By SIMON LEWIS
Bahamas Information Services
G.B. has infrastructure and people willing to embrace industry
FREEPORT, Grand Bahama – The island of Grand Bahama has the infrastructure and the people ready to embrace industry says Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibilities for the island.
Senator the Honourable J. Kwasi Thompson was on Wednesday morning addressing diplomats representing The Bahamas and those accredited with relations to the country during an official one day visit to Grand Bahama Island.
Diplomats have been meeting in New Providence since October 15th for the 4th Annual Bahamas Diplomatic Week Conclave.
The annual event is hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and it provides a means for The Bahamas to strengthen ties and pursue social, cultural and economic exchanges and ideas with others.
Meetings got underway at Melia Nassau Beach on Monday and the diplomats were afforded the opportunity to experience Grand Bahama on Wednesday.
Addressing the gathering during a breakfast reception at Pelican Bay Resort Minister Thompson said that “the message we wish to send with you is that Grand Bahama is open for business.
“We want the world to know that this is a place to invest not just a place to vacation,” he told the gathering.
Further the Minister said he recognize that they have work to do, but they must begin to attract new industries to Grand Bahama.
“We are creating the one stop shop for Freeport and clarifying incentives under the Hawksbill Creek Agreement and legislation will be tabled today (in the House of Assembly).
“We believe that Grand Bahama should evolve from the industrial centre to a centre for industry and innovation. The technology industry is the natural evolution from industry.
“Grand Bahama has the infrastructure. We have the proximity as we are closer to the US than Nassau. We have two world leading facilities in the Grand Bahama Shipyard and the Freeport Container Port that lend themselves to the tech industry,” the Minister said.
Continuing he said there is cheap land available and “we have people who are hungry for improvement and willing to embrace this industry. We have built in duty free exemptions in the Hawksbill Creek Agreement and we have a government with the will to make Grand Bahama a tech hub.”
An example of the island’s potential according to the Minister is Carnival Cruise Line’s Ocean Medallion Project.
“This is a one of a kind electronic concierge wearable device which will be configured and installed here in Grand Bahama. Carnival decided of all places in the world to do this Grand Bahama was the place for them,” he said.
Mr. Thompson also believes that if Carnival came, then other will. This he said is why on the 9th and 10th of November they will host the Grand Bahama Tech Summit.
“It is designed not just to put us on the market but to shape our policy to attract the Googles and Microsofts to come to Freeport. It is also designed to prepare our people for what can happen,” he stated.
The group also heard from the Chairman of the Grand Bahama Port Authority and was to meet with other industry partners, inclusive of a tour of the Grand Bahama Shipyard, a world leader in dry docking afloats repairs, refits, refurbishment and revitalization for vessals from the cruise, commercial and off shore segments of the Maritime Industry.
DIPLOMATS – Members of the Diplomatic and Honorary Consular Corps Accredited to the The Bahamas was on a one day official visit to Grand Bahama on Wednesday. Minister for Grand Bahama the Hon. J. Kwasi Thompson made them aware of opportunities for investment in Grand Bahama, as did officials from the Grand Bahama Port Authority. Minister Thompson is pictured centre with the group following a breakfast meeting at the Pelican Bay Resort.