GBPA Chairperson Sarah St. George Paints Bright Future, Inspires Hopes

By Fred Sturrup | GB News Editor | sturrup1504@gmail.com

It was a magical evening!

Sarah St. George, who sits in the chairman’s office at the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA), inspired hopes in a festive audience. 

In attendance were His Excellency Sir Cornelius Smith, the nation’s Governor General; Minister of Social Services and Urban Development and Leader of Government Business in the House of Assembly, Obediah Wilchcombe; and GBPA president Ian Rolle, among the many dignitaries.

Indeed, the Grand Bahama Port Authority’s recent (December 9) Christmas bash at the famed Stoned Crab on Taino Beach, was certainly one of the social highlights of the closing year 2022. 

With her remarks, St. George fostered a joyous mood, but more importantly, divulged some very encouraging comments related to island-wide economic restoration and recovery that could bring about a revitalized island in 2023.

She spoke about some $500 million worth of investment projects “taking shape” in Grand Bahama. Inclusive are the Six Senses Hotel project under the Weller Pegasus brand, the much-talked about Carnival Port Project at Sharp Rock Point in East Grand Bahama, the West Atlantic Medical School, other new investments such as the Xquisite Yachts at Running Mon Marina, Ernst & Young Wealth Management, the new Solomon’s downtown mega food store, and Bahamas Minerals & Manufacturing.  

“We know we are blessed here in our small, but great nation. Having survived the devastation of Hurricane Dorian (in Grand Bahama), closely followed by the Covid-19 global pandemic and lockdown; I’m not sure any of us imagined the scale of readjustment to life and the economy.

“Let’s face it, the whole world is having its troubles,” she said.  St. George referred to the price increases “across the spectrum” and “problems with manufacturing goods, filling orders, deliveries and transportation.” She further mentioned the War in Ukraine which brought about global fuel cost increases and the heightened costs of basic food items.

“We can’t control it, so we must do everything in our power to counter the impact, to create more economic activity, more revenue for Grand Bahama. Even as I say this, many experts are predicting a recession in America sometime soon. But I’m thinking, is Grand Bahama in fact going the opposite way and beginning to thrive?

“This year, we have seen some $500 million, half a billion dollars, of inward investment taking shape on Grand Bahama. We spearheaded the new Carnival Port ground breaking. Carnival is spending some $350 million on the Port. Work has already started. They are spending at a rate of $5 million a month. Work on the actual 1000-foot trestle and steel pier should begin next February. The maritime work alone will amount to $120 million,” said St. George.

Other than the Six Senses Hotel project being led by Rupert Hayward, there is the option for a further 2000 acres of land development that Hayward and Henry St. George along with associates, are working on.

For sure, the stage definitely seems set for a revitalized island, well beyond mere talking points. St. George expressed appreciation to all of the organizations and agencies that are partners in the revitalization process.

“Our pledge this Christmas is to continue to strive for the success promised, for every man, woman and child living here in Grand Bahama. Christmas remains a symbol of rebirth and hope,” said the matriarch of the governing body of the City of Freeport, the GBPA, which greatly helps with the subsistence of residents in the fully government-controlled areas of West and East Grand Bahama. 

The GBPA event, indeed, sounded a rather nice note as 2023 approaches.

GBPA Continues Efforts to Boost Downtown Business Community

By Fred Sturrup |GB News Editor | sturrup1504@gmail.com

The Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) is consistent with a strong focus on an organization it fostered years ago.  According to a recent release sent out from the GBPA, The Downtown Freeport Business Association, following recent elections, is headed by Antoine Brooks.

With the GBPA as the ongoing catalyst entity linked to the group of business owners, it is expected that as the Ministry of Grand Bahama, through the Government of The Bahamas, zeroes in major investments and capital projects in Grand Bahama, the GBPA will drive the initiative to revitalize the business sector of Freeport.

The GBPA and other participants who are striving for an economic bounce for the business places in downtown Freeport, are surely cognizant of how important their efforts are toward reviving the entire island financially. Freeport anchors the economy of Grand Bahama. 

It is for this reason, the GBPA has made the business association such a high priority. This is a challenging time for business houses, and many of those in the downtown sector have been struggling to keep doors open.

Downtown business owners are to be saluted for their determination. A greater connection to the buying public is imperative. Somehow the GBPA must help the business association to become more relevant, by guiding owners to concentrate on attractive marketing programs, in general, prices that will lure the local buyers.

There should be full recognition that the long-time habit of many, to simply board a ship, and go to Florida for shopping, is entrenched.  Be minded, downtown business owners.  Coming together to devise a formula to compete against the Florida market, is a necessity.

Best wishes.

“Round The Corner” Lounge presents Freeport’s Latest Social Environment

By Fred Sturrup |GB News Editor |sturrup1504@gmail.com

Leave it to Janet Russell !

The veteran hospitality host/personality has embarked upon a venture, which, judging from the response on opening day, Sunday, October 30, will certainly bring a touch of magic back to Freeport.  Her lounge, located on Yellow Pine Road at the exact location where Radio Station Cool 96 FM once operated, is called “Round The Corner.” On Sunday past, a quality mixture of patrons turned up for the grand opening and there was host/manager/owner Janet beaming with joy, welcoming the first gathering from what is expected to be a long clientele list.

The venue focuses on rhythmic/pulsating music and sporting events.  Accordingly, some patrons were able to interact, and enjoy the music, while sipping their brand of beverage and savoring souse and finger food. Others watched their favorite NFL teams play. Later, NBA games were optional.

If the culture experienced at the opening remains, the Round The Corner lounge will become the new popular spot in Freeport, and be a superb attraction for a long time. 

Janet and her two assistants/bartenders Sandra Remy and Sherice McPhee are prime hosts, all with an exquisite hospitable touch and persona.

Well done, Janet and staff!

GB Christian Council, GBPA, and Government in joint Hurricane Dorian Memorial

By Fred Sturrup |GB News Editor | sturrup1504@gmail.com

The theme at the well-attended Hurricane Dorian Memorial Service on Sunday, September 2, at St. John’s Jubilee Cathedral in Freeport, Grand Bahama was, “Prayer.” Indeed, the male and female ministers of the gospel were fully, and deservedly recognized for being prayer warriors while Grand Bahamians and those in the neighboring island of Abaco, were riding out the monster category 5 Hurricane Dorian during the very last days of August, and early September in 2019.

One podium visitor, understanding the value of prayer always, but especially in times of crisis, urged the audience to pray even more. Other than the ministers who head various congregations, present for the occasion were representatives of the Government of The Bahamas, headed by Deputy Prime Minister, Hon. Chester Cooper. In place also was the Official Opposition Leader Hon. Michael Pintard.

GB Christian Council President, Rev. Kenneth Lewis was most inspirational while giving remarks of comfort. He extolled the collective role of the praying ministers, and also made particular mention of the Grand Bahama Port Authority, that entity always on the leading edge of restoration after disasters in Grand Bahama. Although functioning a bit under the radar sometimes, as government officials grab the headlines, the GBPA has been valiant through the years in bringing some semblance of order to Grand Bahamian lives, following disastrous circumstances. On Sunday, GBPA President Ian Rolle represented Chairman Sarah St. George, and offered words of encouragement to the family members and friends who lost loved ones, 32 of them, to the horrific storm; and emphasized the continued commitment of the organization to Grand Bahama and its people.

Deputy PM Cooper who is also the Minister for Tourism and Aviation, expressed on behalf of Prime Minister Hon. Philip Davis, the government’s ongoing efforts at the full restoration of Grand Bahma and a meaningful economic recovery. He said information on future plans of the government for Grand Bahama will come later.

The second most influential person in the present Davis Administration, Cooper also paid a compliment to Opposition Leader Pintard, who, while at the podium, reached out a hand to the leading political party to join together in helping with the recovery process in Grand Bahama. 

It was Rev. Lewis who connected most profoundly with all within his hearing, however, his primary message being that “Jesus” watches over us at all times, as He continues to prepare a place for each of us (who do His bidding) in the house of His Father, God.

In all, a jolly good celebration time, prompted by moderator Minister Mary Russell was had by the congregation. 

Words of warmth, wisdom and encouragement came also from Bishop Godfrey Williams who extended the welcome to Jubilee Cathedral; and Minister for Grand Bahama, Hon. Ginger Moxey; among others. Terri Johnson, the music teacher at Sunland Baptist Academy; the singing pastor of Canaan Zion Baptist, Apostle Washington Williams; and Rev. Rudolph Roberts, pastor of the Wholeman Christian Center; were spiritually stunning as they sang.

Three years after Dorian, though, there is much, much, more to be done for the displaced citizens, and for sure, the healing continues.

City of Miami Commission Names Area ‘Little Bahamas’

BY FRED STURRUP | GB News Editor | sturrup1504@gmail.com

There is an area in Florida now entitled, officially, “Little Bahamas.”

Throughout the 1940s and 1950s, and portions of the 1930s and 1960s, The Bahamas and the United States engaged in a joint project which enabled Bahamian men (mostly) and women to travel to the latter country for the purpose of farm work.
Historically, the program has been referred to as the “Contract” or the “Project.”  Because most of the Bahamian farm workers were provided jobs by owners in Florida, there was a great blending of humanity and cultures in that state.

Many of the men, and some of the women, were part of the farming project for decades, and ended up establishing families.Thus, South Florida, in particular, became heavily Bahamian-influenced.  The Coconut Grove area is one of the hotbeds of the Bahamian connection.  Recently, the City Commision of the City of Miami recognized the significant Bahamian contribution to the development of South Florida.

The City Commission proclaimed that: Whereas, the area in the South East portion of the City of Miami, is the cultural heart for the Bahamian Community; and Whereas the historically Bahamian Community has enriched Miami-Dade County’s multi-ethnic character as a whole; andWhereas Little Havana and Little Haiti have been recognized for their cultural heritage and importance to the community; andWhereas, other historic areas within the City of Miami have been identified for their importance to their respective communities; and Whereas, the Miami City Commission wishes to designate the area described in Exhibit “A,” and incorporated as “Little Bahamas of Coconut Grove”, in recognition of the historical and cultural importance of the area;Now, therefore, be it (so) resolved by the Commission of the City of Miami, Florida.

This development, a special honor bestowed on our country, comes on the heels of another major historical interaction between entities of the two countries, namely Grand Bahama and Florida.  Two weeks ago, the Hon. Chester Cooper, Minister of Tourism and Aviation in The Bahamas, announced the purchase of the Grand Lucayan Properties in Grand Bahama by the Electra America Hospitality Group for $100 million. Electra is a Florida-based company. The Bahamas-Florida connection is indeed ongoing and vibrant.  Accordingly, this is yet another plank from which Minister Cooper can advance aspects of our tourism industry.

Wilson providing quality service at Salty Crab on Junkanoo Beach

SALTY CRAB  PROPRIETOR WARREN WILSON, LEFT, AND GB NEWS EDITOR FRED STURRUP

By Fred Sturrup | GB News Editor | sturrup1504@gmail.com 

Situated among a number of similar hospitality facilities on the famed Junkanoo Beach (formerly Long Wharf area) of West Bay Street in New Providence, is the Salty Crab establishment. Proprietor Warren Wilson has carved out quite a special niche which provides delectable cuisine, and extremely friendly treatment, enhanced by a spectacular view of Nassau Harbour.
Others might try to emulate, but the Salty Crab is indeed one of a kind.Wilson’s hands-on approach, connects him very positively to patrons, local and foreign, on a daily basis. It’s an aspect that endears him to repeat customers and cements Salty Crab  as a prime tourism product.
“It’s about pleasing my customers, always. My presence is important, not particularly to watch over my staffers, but more importantly to ensure that the attachment to all who come for service is solidified.
“I take very seriously the role I play with my staffers, for tourism,” said Wilson recently.
For sure he wants to maintain a profit, but he is passionate as well, about interacting with guests to make their stay in his country rewarding in all the ways that Salty Crab can deliver. The menu lists the local favorites, such as conch fritters, cracked conch, cracked shrimp,  cracked lobster, fish steak to chicken quesadilla.
The Ministry of Tourism would do well to embrace places such as Salty Crab, for them to be included in the national marketing/advertising programs.
Salty Crab certainly continues to make a difference!

SEVENTH ANNUAL JONATHAN GOUTHRO MEMORIAL GOLF TOURNAMENT

The seventh annual Jonathan Gouthro memorial golf tournament was held on Saturday march 5th, 2022 at the Lucayan reef golf course. The event was conducted by the Rotary Club of Grand Bahama Sunrise with assistance from the Gouthro family. All proceeds from the tournament are placed in a scholarship fund under the same name, to be used for the education of Bahamians interested in an accountancy or business career.
Forty-six golfers teed it up for a shotgun start and the weather cooperated to provide excellent conditions for the event.
Brian O’Connell was the winner of the putting and closest to the pin contest (hole #17), Kirk Bowe had the most accurate drive on hole #12. However, there was no hole-in-one on #4 and no winner of the floating target contest, so garmin (obs marine) kept the prizes for next year. Matt Hynes rounded out the pin prizes taking the longest drive on hole #13.
The tournament was conducted under the “pinehurst format’, a combination of best ball and alternate shots in teams of two. The winners were the top three placing two person teams based on net (handicaps) and gross (true) scores.

The winners were as follows:
NET
FIRST- (66) SUE URBAN / MIMI LODS
SECOND – (66) CRAIG O’BRIEN / RUPERT SEARLES
THIRD – (68) MARCUS GOUTHRO / SPENCER GRAHAM
GROSS
FIRST- (75) LYNFORD MILLER / KIRK BOWE
SECOND – (83) JOHN LANE / BRAD CULMER
THIRD – (84) VIC SKINNER / MARTIN BRENT

Wayne Russell of the Rotary Club of Grand Bahama Sunrise thanked the sponsors at the awards presentation at Oceans Blue restaurant in the Ocean Reef Yacht Club & Resort and along with Jamie Sarles thanked the golfers for their participation, especially, Lynford Miller, president of the Bahamas Golf Federation who travelled from Nassau to support the tournament and Allan Gardner who did all the scoring. The event was deemed a success and planning has already begun for next year’s tournament.

UB North Campus Set to Revitalize Freeport

By Fred Sturrup | GB News Editor | sturrup1504@gmail.com

One of the great decisions made by Prime Minister Hon. Philip “Brave” Davis and the rest of the hierarchy of the Progressive Liberal Party Government of The Bahamas, was the intense focus on concluding negotiations for buying the Kipling Building, downtown Freeport, Grand Bahama, to relocate the University of Bahamas North Campus.
By all indications, the UB North Campus, ideally situated between Kipling Lane and West Mall Drive in the very heart of downtown Freeport, will revitalize the economy of Freeport. In a short period of time, Freeport could be transformed into a vibrant college town, such as those found in the United States, Canada, and in many other countries throughout the world. The existing surrounding businesses, especially the eateries and other operations, are set to thrive because of the economic energy which figures to result from the campus.
The atmosphere created by the presence of UB North Campus, indeed, will no doubt encourage new ventures in the area. The campus will be a windfall for vendors of a variety of products.
In 2010 when the UB Campus was officially opened in East Grand Bahama, that was historic; but the destruction of the institution, inclusive of the dormitory building by Hurricane Dorian in 2019, gives merit to the notion that good things sometimes come from bad situations. The view here is that the transformation to Freeport, and in particular, downtown, will be magnificent.
The UB Board is headed by a proven deliverer of successes, Chairman Allyson Maynard-Gibson. She sits in the top chair of the board, well qualified, with a background of general excellence, comparable to any other, and on a higher level than most.  She has hit the ground running with a multitude of meetings and a hands-on approach to reshaping, for the better, the UB North Campus.
It’s a safe bet that the campus will now become synonymous with Freeport and the wider island of Grand Bahama like never before. It is anticipated that going forward, through a vigorous public relations program, the UB North Campus and all of its attributes, will become common knowledge in Grand Bahama, the rest of he country and, certainly the region.
It surely is a new day for the University of Bahamas Northern Campus.

GBUC Launches Smart Meter Upgrade Program

GRAND BAHAMA UTILITY COMPANY LIMITED- For Immediate Release –

February 21, 2022 – Freeport, GB, The Bahamas: – The Grand Bahama Utility Company (GBUC) Limited is excited to announce the launch of its smart meter upgrade program, which commenced Saturday, February 19, 2022, in West End and will work east to cover all customers across Grand Bahama.

Philcher Grant, Chief Operating Officer of GBUC & Public Affairs stated, “This is GBUC’s first step in the automation of our metering system.” She added that the completion of this project will improve the efficiency of operations and mitigate the need to estimate accounts, while providing a greater accuracy of metering. 

In addition to the smart meter upgrade program, GBUC has implemented an overall improvement strategy, which includes a leak detection program, preventative maintenance, and equipment modernization. Ms. Grant added, “As the company continues to progress and invest in building back stronger & better, all of these initiatives are a part of GBUC’s long-term asset management program to ensure we remain resilient against climate change and future storms.”

Anastasia Rahming, Utility Relations Supervisor noted that GBUC’s replacement of older meters with advanced technology smart metering, will enable the utility to address hard to access areas, as well as perform remote readings. “Our GBUC team encourages customers to assist us with the execution of this program by ensuring that crews can easily access the meters, by removing all debris from around the area of the meter and securing all dogs.”  She advised that there will be a brief interruption in service for 30-minute intervals while crews remove the current meter and replace it with the new smart meter. 

This past weekend the work in West End was completed and crews are scheduled to continue the program in the areas of Jones Town, Sea Grape, Pine Forest, and Holmes Rock on February 26 & 27, 2022.  Customers are encouraged to follow the Grand Bahama Utility Company Facebook page or visit www.grandbahamautility.com for the latest change-out area updates.

Presenting Covid-19 Packages

Rotary of Sunset President Fred Sturrup and Grand Bahama Port Authority Chair Person Sarah St. George led an initiative, on Thursday Nov. 18, presenting COVID-18 packages to residents of Pelican Point. Along with Sturrup from Rotary Sunset was Past President Tony Miller.