DPM Chester Cooper on first official visit to GB

MEETING THE TOURISM STAFF – While on his first official visit to Grand Bahama, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation, the Hon. Chester Cooper visited the offices of the Ministry of Tourism on Thursday, September 30, 2021. (BIS Photo/Lisa Davis)

FREEPORT, Grand Bahama – Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation, the Hon. Chester Cooper, made his first official visit to Grand Bahama on Thursday and said the Grand Lucayan property is front and centre on the government’s radar.

Accompanied by Senator the Hon. Ryan Pinder, Attorney General; the Hon. John Pinder, Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Investments and Aviation; Reginald Saunders, Permanent Secretary, MOTIA; Joy Jibrilu, Director General, MOTIA; and Algernon Cargill, Director of Aviation, the delegation arrived in Freeport shortly before 9am.

Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Ginger Moxey, accompanied by Permanent Secretary Harcourt Brown and other officials met the delegation at the airport. There was a meeting with the Lucayan Renewal Holdings Board at the Grand Lucayan and then DPM Cooper addressed the media.

He said following a discussion with Cabinet, a further statement on the next course of action will be made, adding that he was pleased Attorney General, the Hon. Ryan Pinder, was on hand to get a “first-hand” briefing on the legal matters.

“Effectively we recognize the need for significant improvement in room capacity here in Grand Bahama. We acknowledge the need for the improvement of the overall tourism product. We’ll be visiting the Ministry of Tourism shortly thereafter and we will be taking a look at the airport.

“The airport is heartbreaking to see and after many months, not a lot has changed so again it’s a constant reminder of the state of play here in Grand Bahama. As it relates to this property, we won’t go into extensive details as to the briefings.

Suffice to say we are keen to see movement with respect to the negotiations one way or the other. We have looked at the details extensively. I can tell you that it’s costing the Bahamian people, and I can tell you sometime during the last several years we would’ve made public certain comments as it relates to the deal itself.”

DPM Cooper said that he had said then it was a bad deal, and heard nothing on Thursday to change his view.

He wanted residents of the island, said the Deputy Prime Minister, to know that Grand Bahama is important to the economy as well as the tourism product.

“We are very minded to say that this property is very critical not just for the development of tourism, but also in support of other industries here in Grand Bahama that we hope we will be able to nurture moving forward.”

It is hoped that along with Minister Moxey, they will be able to “unlock the potential” of Grand Bahama.

Following his remarks, the group then toured Lighthouse Point, had a tour of the Ministry of Tourism’s office and then a tour of the Grand Bahama International Airport.

The delegation departed Grand Bahama on Thursday afternoon.