Categorized | National News

Gov’t Reviews Hawksbill Creek Agreement

Prime Minister Perry Christie yesterday announced the appointment of a six-member committee to review the Hawksbill Creek Agreement.

In august of this year, certain provisions of the more than half century old Hawksbill Creek Agreement are due to expire, namely exemptions on business licence fees and real property tax.

Mr. Christie said the expiration of these incentives provides an opportunity for the government to secure a comprehensive set of new arrangements which can spur economic development and increase the island’s contribution to net fiscal receipts.

“Following the study of the economic situation in the port area by international consulting firm Mckinsey and Co., the government appointed the committee to meet and negotiate with representatives of the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA), investors, relevant public, private sector and community interests, so as to recommend to the government arrangements for securing both an economic package to promote more robust sustained growth, and a fiscal package that enhances Grand Bahama’s contribution to the government’s revenue base,” Mr. Christie said at a press conference in Freeport Thursday.

The committee’s main objectives will be to agree with the GBPA and principal licensees a long term economic development plan which both protect and promote the shipping, industrial, logistics, tourism, real estate and other commercial sectors as the focus for Grand Bahama Island.

The committee is also tasked with creating a framework for immediate and long-term investment promotion on the island to attract investors which can operate assets competitively at a world class standard, and effectively and efficiently utilize the land resources with proper environmental safeguards.

It will also ensure that the mechanisms are in place to align the GBPA’s quasi-regulatory authority with the policies of the government and that a regulatory framework exists in keeping with present and changing international business best practices.

Additionally, the committee will agree a suitable framework for property tax and business license that would not impede economic growth, and contribute along with other suitable measures to the enhancement of the government’s revenue base.

The committee is headed by former Health Minister Dr. Marcus Bethel.

Other members include: Sir Baltron Bethel, James Smith, Kevin Seymour, former cabinet minister and parliamentarian Maurice Moore and Cassietta Mcintosh.

W. Albert Gray is a consultant, and Dr. Doswell Coakley, Chevonia McBide of the Ministry for Gand Bahama, and Terrance Roberts of the Ministry of Tourism, make up the secretariat.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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