A “truly magnificent initiative” was how Grand Bahama Port Authority Chairman Sarah St. George described the $50,000 housing ministry project highlighted during a ceremony Sunday, March 13 in Freetown, Grand Bahama. The venerable patriarch of Freetown, Rev. Rufus Cooper and his wife were presented with the new home. On the invitation of St. Cleveland Baptist Church’s Pastor Preston Cooper, St. George was among the dignitaries and christian leaders in attendance. “This initiative will continue. I know Pastor Cooper will see to that. This is just wonderful, and may I call you Uncle, Rev. Rufus? I am very happy for you and your lovely wife, Uncle Rufus. I applaud this housing ministry established by St. Cleveland Church. These are the sorts of efforts that restore communities devastated by natural disasters” said St. George. She spoke passionately to the residents in Freetown, about the pleasure she felt, being among them. “There is the commitment that I adhere fully to, doing more of this, moving through the communities, interacting with really fine people like yourselves. Congratulations to the Coopers and best wishes to you all,” she concluded her remarks. Housing Ministry head, Pastor Preston Cooper said the residence handed over, was simply the “beginning”. “We are not going to wait for any government administration or any NGOs (non-governmental organizations). Our Housing Ministry will move forward, reaching out for assistance to relocate residents who lost their homes during Hurricane Dorian, to get back to Freetown,” said the St. Cleveland pastor. Also present were: East Grand Bahama Member of Parliament, Kwasi Thompson; Grand Bahama Christian Council President, Rev. Ken Lewis; Administrator, Gregory Knowles; Chief Councillor, Rev. Marcus Cooper; and Pastor Edwin Pinder. The event was moderated by Ms. Vivian McIntosh.
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.