By Fred Sturrup | GB News Editor | [email protected]
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.