With years’ worth of a weakened economy, the Minister of Grand Bahama Dr. Michael Darville said his new ministry has taken a three-pronged approach to reviving the nation’s second city.
Dr. Darville told the Bahama Journal on Tuesday that more focus on agriculture, alternative energy and training is exactly what Grand Bahama needs to bounce back.
“The first thing is to put the infrastructure in place,” he said. “Once we have the infrastructure in place what we begin to do is to look at potential job creation.”
“The agricultural sector has been a major sector in Grand Bahama, we know that thousands of jobs are actually there. What we intend to do is work with the Ministry of Agriculture to begin a program to train agricultural specialists and to work with the ministry to look and to find agricultural land in Grand Bahama which we believe we have some 30,000 acres.”
Dr. Darville said he expects that this plan will be a model that other Family Islands can use to promote agriculture.
“The second thing we want to do is focus on electricity,” he added. “The cost of electricity has been a major factor throughout The Bahamas and Grand Bahama is no different. In order for our industrial sector to move forward, what we have to do is look at the cost of energy and by looking at alternative energy we can reduce the surcharge.”
“We believe once we accomplish that mission, we can introduce a very lucrative light manufacturing industry in Grand Bahama.”
Dr. Darville said for too long foreigners have been hired to take jobs Bahamians could very well have, but said due to a lack of training they forfeit careers.
He said this is why his ministry will focus heavily on training.
“It is time to hire and train our own,” he said. “We need to train and hire Bahamians in order to turn this industrial sector around. We need to attract some of our bright minds and then some of our individuals can turn this around.”
“We also have a lot of social services issues in Grand Bahama and the only way we will move it forward is sustainable jobs.”
While on the campaign trail the Christie administration promised that this new ministry would be created to help pull Grand Bahama out of its slump and grow the island’s economy.
Dr. Darville said his ministry is almost done with the preliminary stages of the new ministr