Categorized | National News

Govt and Carnival Sign Agreement for GB Port

The Government of The Bahamas and Carnival Cruise Lines officially signed a heads of agreement for a $200 million development of a new cruise port in the East Grand Bahama Cruise Port Development project yesterday at the Grand Bahama Lucayan Hotel.

The multi-million dollar redevelopment of Grand Bahama comes in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, that did major damage to the island last October.

In his keynote address at the signing, Prime Minister Perry Christie said the signing of the agreement was a historic one after lengthy negotiations.

“It took painstaking and lengthy negotiations between my government and the principals of the Freeport Harbor Company to negotiate a Waiver of Exclusivity Agreement of their Exclusivity Rights on all ports in Grand Bahama which had been granted by the previous administration.

“This Carnival new cruise port initiative in East Grand Bahama will deliver a cruise port in the traditional sense, but more than that, its Shore Project will create a new ‘destination’ with a distinctive flavor and characteristics that offer the broadest Bahamian entrepreneurial and employment opportunities, representing another phase in the development of Grand Bahama, as a viable tourist centre,” Mr. Christie said.

The agreement, which Carnival has agreed to employ Bahamians with regards to construction and development, will also see Bahamian products, including arts and craft, entertainment, food production, as well as Bahamian participation in supply and sales of products, according to Mr. Christie.

“It is expected to have a significant impact on the communities of Eastern Grand Bahama, providing cruise visitors with Bahamian-owned products infused with Bahamian flavor, delivering natural attractions and historic sites and creating myriad entrepreneurial opportunities in fishing, farm products, local handicrafts, art, entertainment, water sports, retail, fitness, logistics and administration,” Mr. Christie said.

Not only will the project provide jobs for Bahamians once it is completed, according to Mr. Christie, the project will have multiple smaller projects in the developmental stages.

“The new cruise port development here in Grand Bahama will encompass multiple projects inclusive of construction of the channel, docks, water taxi and work boat piers, berthing platforms, seawalls and turning basin to accommodate two super post Panamex Ships.

“The expansive Shore Project will comprise a 20-bed hotel, an 18-hole miniature golf course, restaurants, food and beverage pavilions, shops, nightclubs, amphitheatre, aquatic and other recreational and sporting facilities as well as pedestrian and cycling trails.

“There will also be interactive amenities, such as stingray and dolphin encounters, animal exhibitions and petting zoo,” Mr. Christie said.

Government officials in attendance also noted the significance of the agreement between the government and Carnival Cruise Lines, as well as private sector partners for the establishment of the Cruise Port Development project.

Minister for Grand Bahama Dr. Michael Darville, in his welcoming remarks, said the signing of the agreement and the working together of Bahamians with Carnival Cruise is something that the government worked on especially with the implementation of the ‘people first agenda’.

“The Government of the Bahamas over the past five years have implemented a people’s first agenda on the island of Grand Bahama, which has cause growth in our local economy, created entrepreneurial and employment opportunities, and solved problems that plagued the island of Grand Bahama for decades.

“The signing of this heads of agreement to establish a Cruise Port in East Grand Bahama demonstrates the government has a deliberate and conscious effort to address the ongoing concerns of international cruise lines visiting the islands of Grand Bahama.

“This multi-million dollar project, which is estimated to be completed in two years, will not only provide employment opportunities, entrepreneurial opportunities for the community of East Grand Bahama, but also help for redevelopment of East Grand Bahama and the advancement of the tourism product on the island of Grand Bahama, thereby providing a major boost to our local economy,” Dr. Darville said.

Chiming in on the minister for Grand Bahama’s remarks, Vice Chairman of Grand Bahama Port Authority Sarah St. George also spoke of the significance of the development, a work that was in progress for many years, calling it a “win, win situation”.

“As my father would have said this is a big deal. For many, many years there has been talks of a second cruise port on Grand Bahama.

“We can all remember how concerned we were just a few month ago, as to how quickly we can get the cruise ships to return after Hurricane Matthew.

CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines Arnold Donald spoke of the commitment and dedication of Carnival Cruises to the Bahamas for many years and the significance of the signing as also a historical day for the corporation itself.

“As you know Carnival Corporation, we’ve been committed for a long time to developing a new and authentic Bahamian experience port. In fact, we have been working on it for the better part of 15 years.

“I am very pleased that this port is now on track to become a reality. That is Carnival Corporation and the Government of The Bahamas, to build a new cruise port here on Grand Bahama Island,” Mr. Donald said.

Carnival will employ qualified and certified Bahamians as crew members on board the corporation’s cruise ships.

The cruise line currently commands 60 percent of the global cruise industry with approximately 24 million passengers with 12 million originating from the USA and Canada.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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