Categorized | National News

D’Aguilar And Wilchcombe Disagree On Port Deal

There  are  differences  of opinion  on  how the government should approach the redevelopment of the Prince George Wharf.

Former  Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe  recently suggested that using a model similar to that adopted by the Nassau Airport Development company would be in the best interest of the country. 

However,  according to the Minister of Tourism,  Dionisio D’Aguilar, this is not ideal for a Cruise Port  and for good reason.

He said,“the NAD model has over $530 million of debt, 76 per cent of that is owned by foreigners;  so every time we cut a cheque to pay the interest, 76 per cent of  that goes to foreign companies.  I think this is a better deal. Bahamians will control over 50 per cent of this entity.” 

“To me Bahamians participating in this entity, participating in the debt, participating in the equity, in a majority fashion to me is a better deal. Empowering Bahamians, that’s what we’re all about,” he said.     

The Tourism Minister added that the project UK-based Global Ports Holding has on the table is a win -win for Bahamians.

“You get the substantial investment you need;  it doesn’t lead to any additional taxes, it doesn’t lead to any additional debt, and there’s a lot of money slushing around in The Bahamas that is not able to find viable investment projects. 

“This provides Bahamians with a mechanism to invest, we have no concentration in ownership,  so as many Bahamians as possible will be allowed to invest in this and you get the redevelopment of a port,” he said.  

The Port’s redevelopment is said to be an investment of some $250 million. There’s also a 25-year concessionary period was to be considered.

The Opposition has however condemned the deal charging that a foreign entity should not have control over the country’s largest port of entry.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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