Categorized | National News

PM In Talks For Future GB Investments

The government has set the stage to possibly jumpstart Grand Bahama’s still bruised economy.

Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Perry Christie yesterday met with Grand Bahama’s largest investors, the principals of Hutchinson Whampoa.

During a meeting in London, the two sides discussed future investment prospects in the northern island, which has for years struggled to keep its head above water.

News of the prime minister’s meeting comes a year after the Christie administration signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Hutchinson and Sunwing Travel Group, one of the largest travel conglomerates in Canada.

Under the multi-faceted deal, Hutchinson Whampoa would renovate and reopen the 503-room Reef Village, which will be leased and operated as a five-star, all inclusive resort by Blue Diamond Hotels and Resorts.

Meantime, Sunwing, which owns and operates a fleet of 737-800 aircraft, will operate flights from several cities in Canada to Freeport.

In addition to the Reef Village and the Grand Lucayan, they will market other participating hotels in Grand Bahama.

The prime minister has explained that Sunwing, through its affiliate, Vacation Express USA Corporation, will work with the Ministry of Tourism and the Grand Bahama Island Promotion Board, as well as participating hotels to restructure, support and turn the current underperforming contracted summer airlift programme from multiple USA cities to Freeport into a success.

Locking in future investments is crucial for Grand Bahama, whose unemployment rate recently climbed from 18 per cent to 19.5 per cent.

From London, the prime minister will head to Columbo, Sri Lanka where he will attend the 23rd Commonweath Heads of Government Meetings (CHOGM).

This will reportedly be the first time in 40 years that Queen Elizabeth II will not be present at CHOGM. Prince Charles is expected to attend in the 87-year-old monarch’s place, “as she has curtailed her overseas visits due to age.”

According to international reports, one item to be considered at the meeting is a proposal to make the position of Head of the Commonwealth hereditary to descendants of Queen Elizabeth II.

Before heading home, Prime Minister Christie will meet with Pope Francis in Vatican City.

The prime minister was slated to also stop in Washington D.C. to participate in 37th annual Conference on The Caribbean and Central America, sponsored by the Organisation of American States (OAS).

Mr. Christie was expected to give the keynote address at the event. However, Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe will represent the prime minister.

The conference is an opportunity to meet with key business, financial and policy leaders who are working in or with the Caribbean Basin.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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