Categorized | Business, Featured, National News

Bowe: Overcoming Challenges to Family Island Development

Gowen Bowe, Chief Executive Officer of Fidelity Bank Bahamas Ltd.

By Gerrino J. Saunders

Journal Staff Writer

The 2023 Exuma Business Outlook took place on mainland Exuma on

Thursday at the Sandals Resort and Spa with a diversity of speakers,

including those from the telecommunications and airline sectors, foreign

investors and the keynote speaker Minister of Tourism Investments and

Aviation Chester Cooper who is also the member of Parliament for the

Exumas and Ragged Island.

Appearing via Zoom, Chief Executive Officer of Fidelity Bank Bahamas Ltd

Gowen Bowe spoke on the topic, ‘Family Island Development and its

Challenges – Housing and Commerce’.

He took a four-pillar approach to the topic, drawing reference to island

development with property development, from selecting a suitable site to

build all the way to establishing architectural plans, securing funding and


Mr. Bowe said, “When we think about Family Island development, we have

to be thinking about all elements that go into how do we plan, starting from

what is it that we have, what is it that we would like to be, and then how do

we cost it out and pay for it?”

He asked those in attendance how does all of this tie into the National

Development Plan? He explained, “Well in my humble view, the National

Development plan establishes the foundation for wide scale development; it

simply requires coordination.”

Continuing he said, “We need to have an understanding as to what are the

competitive advantages of each of the islands that comprise the

archipelago of The Bahamas, and we need to have a coordinated plan that

says what is the vision for The Bahamas, and how are we going to

incorporate each of the competitive advantages of the various islands to

have one formidable strategy and plan that we can take to the world.”

He says there must also be a land-use policy and a natural resource policy

to ensure sustainability and their benefits to the entire nation from those


The second pillar, according to Mr. Bowe, is developing the social aspects

of the Family Islands including education, training, health, national security

and immigration.

As there has been a slight increase in criminal activity on our Family

Islands, Mr. Bowe explained that this factor must also be taken into

consideration when developing the islands.

“Crime management, I wholly endorse with the prime minister and the

deputy prime minister that we need to ensure that we are keeping our

environments as safe and secure as possible, not only for those who are

visiting, but for ourselves. And so, these are key elements of the National

Development Plan,” said Mr. Bowe.

According to Mr. Bowe, the third pillar has to do with economics and what

each island should be focused on whether it be tourism, fisheries, farming

or other forms of industry like the Grand Bahamas’ ship repair industry.

He said as a nation we must know the value of our assets and natural

resources on the Family Islands before entering into any agreements.

In addition to better access to financing, Mr. Bowe believes there must also

be a “codified concessions regime” that is fair across the board for both

private investors and Bahamians.

He added that the fourth pillar to successful Family Island development is

good governance and execution.

“It starts with central government yes, but more importantly it’s local

government, because who knows better how to govern on the ground than

the persons who are living in the community,” he said.

“I conclude by saying the key is execution. When we look at Family Island

development, it is more important for us to have the selection of

appropriate skills in order to execute.”

Mr. Bowe maintains once each island is focused on its industrial strengths,

when combined the entire country will benefit and thrive.

Mr. Bowe was also happy to announce that Fidelity Bank is looking forward

to future investments into the growth and development of the Exuma


“At Fidelity, we are not coming into Exuma simply because of my roots, but

we see the growth potential that exists, and therefore we are not coming to

be service providers, but we are coming to be partners with the expansion

of an economy that we see as one of those key planks in our national

development,” he said.

Mr. Bowe also believes a “real estate investment trust” is part of the

solution in terms of reversing the housing shortages on the Family Islands.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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