LONG ISLAND, The Bahamas – During his Official Remarks at the Groundbreaking Ceremony for the Crystal Cove Cruise Port, on Long Island, on December 19, 2022, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. Philip Davis pointed out that, from “day one”, his administration pledged to shift the developmental focus of The Bahamas away from the “Nassau-centric model of the past few decades”.
“As we diversified the economy of New Providence, we committed to taking big steps toward developing our Family Islands,” Prime Minister Davis said. “We have been hard at work revamping our value proposition, strengthening investor relations, and promoting our Family Islands as fertile ground for a diverse range of investments.”
“Long Island, in particular, is ripe with opportunities in several areas,” he added. “Tourism is one of the areas where we have yet to tap into its full potential.”
Prime Minister Davis noted that expanding tourism on Long Island was “a no-brainer”.
“This island is home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches,” he said. “It is also home to some of the most hospitable and industrious people you’ll ever meet.”
He added that it was the resilience and resourcefulness embedded within the culture of Long Island that gave him “the most hope” for investments on this island.
“I know that when the people of Long Island are involved, we are placing local developments in good hands,” he stated.
Prime Minister Davis noted that, on the day, less than 90 days after the Government signed the Heads of Agreement, they were breaking ground on the Calypso Cove Cruise Port.
“The developers, Azul Destinations and Calypso Cove Destinations, have wasted no time in moving this project forward,” he said. “They have demonstrated a proactive spirit that will be a natural fit with the culture and people of Long Island.”
Prime Minister Davis noted that Calypso Cove will feature an expansive port facility capable of accommodating two large 1,000 foot long ships at the same time, each ship capable of bringing in 13,000 guests per day.
“While in talks with the developers, we have ensured that we are all on the same page when it comes to highlighting Bahamian food, culture, music, and art as a central focus of this venture,” he added. “We expect major retail spending on clothing, souvenirs, jewelry, and local crafts, and local tours and excursions.”
Prime Minister Davis pointed out that the Orange Economy had a pivotal role to play as a part of the core product featured at Calypso Cove.
“Those who have been keeping up with my administration’s agenda know that development of the creative industries is a major priority for the government,” he said. “Calypso Cove will secure opportunities for our local creatives.”
“We have also sought alignment when it comes to sustainability.”
Prime Minister Davis stated that the developers had committed to building in a way that complements the natural beauty of the Long Island landscape.
“We look forward to seeing the evolution of the plans as their vision is realized,” he added.
Prime Minister Davis said that the power generation for Calypso Cove aligned with his administration’s wider plan for renewable energy. He added that plans at that time called for most of the port to be powered by solar power.
“As you may recall, my administration is launching several major solar plants throughout The Bahamas,” Prime Minister Davis said. “Tens of thousands of Family Islanders will benefit from this initiative.
“Solar power is the future of renewable energy generation in The Bahamas,” he added. “So, we are very interested in developments like Calypso Cove that have renewable energy goals embedded into their plans.”
Prime Minister stated that Long Island will see a modern, renewable energy model for port development that “all other islands will look to for inspiration”.
“For environmentalists who are concerned about dredging in the area, you should know that the developers have pledged to extend the port far into the sea – into deeper waters – which will minimize the need for dredging compared to if the pier was constructed closer to shore,” he said.
“The goal is to create a port that disturbs the natural environment as little as possible,” Prime Minister Davis said. “We must strike a balance between economic development and preserving our environment.”
Prime Minister Davis noted that the development of Calypso Cove was slated to begin in 2023 and will be completed within two years. He added that, during the construction phase, over 100 jobs will be created.
“Ultimately, it is projected that Calypso Cove will create 1,000 permanent jobs right here on Long Island,” he said.
However, he said, that it was not just about creating jobs.
“I know that the people of Long Island are enterprising and innovative,” Prime Minister Davis said.
“A major focus of this venture is the inclusion of local entrepreneurs,” he added. “We are talking about restaurants, craft stores, souvenir shops, tour operators, and many other businesses who will benefit from the $200 million investment the developers will make in Long Island.”
Prime Minister Davis pointed out that Bahamian ownership was a must in the diversified, inclusive economy his Government is building.
“Moving forward, major investors must demonstrate a commitment to engage the local community in this way,” he said. “Especially when it comes to tourism, we must ensure that Bahamians can own a piece of the pie.”
He added that the economic impact of Calypso Cove extended far beyond the initial $200 million investment.
“When it is fully operational, this port is expected to bring in 1,000,000 annual cruise passengers to Long Island – up to 750,000 of which will be new visitors to The Bahamas,” Prime Minister Davis said.
“Each of these visitors will be projected to spend between 75 to 100 dollars each, which can generate a nine-figure revenue right here in Long Island,”
Prime Minister Davis noted that the project will not only make a significant impact on Long Island, it will expand the national economy as well.
“There is a bright future ahead of us, where our Family Islands are properly developed and marketed as destinations — a future where multi-stop Bahama-island cruises are the norm, and ships can spend a week sailing from island to island with each of our Family Islands representing a unique experience,” he said.
“Through strategic government development and private sector innovation, I believe this future is in reach,” he added.
Prime Minister Davis noted that Calypso Cove represented an important step, as the first port development of its kind in the southern Bahamas.
“Stay tuned, Long Island, there is more to come,” he said. “We will see the emergence of our Family Islands as the economic powerhouse they were always meant to be.” (BIS Photos/Kemuel Stubbs)