West Grand Bahama and Bimini New MP Smith reiterates the many ongoing projects in GB during budget debate

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Hon. Kingsley Smith MP

FREEPORT, Grand Bahama, The Bahamas – The government is committed to many projects underway in Grand Bahama, said Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry for Grand Bahama and Member of Parliament for the West End and Bimini Constituency, Kingsley Smith, during his contribution to the Budget Debate on Thursday.

Some of completed projects, he said are the official opening of the Obadiah H. Wilchcombe Complex, two Entrepreneurial Workshops that were held (one in Freeport and one in West Grand Bahama), and the reopening of the Grand Lucayan Resort’s Prop Club.

Ongoing investments on the island include: $500M Carnival Cruise Port, the $71M relaunch of South Riding Point Energy Terminal with an approved loan guarantee for Liwathon Group; the $600M Grand Bahama Shipyard expansion; the $5M investment by Xquisite Yachts; and a $300M investment in West Grand Bahama.

Mr. Smith added that several things have been done for Hurricane Dorian survivors, including the repair and rebuild of homes in East Grand Bahama, something that is still ongoing.

Economic relief is also something the government has provided for residents, he said, stating that some 130 five thousand dollar-Empowerment Grants were approved and distributed for those in the Orange Economy; $500 relief grants for straw vendors; and distribution of relief grants for Junkanoo groups.

He said additionally, the island has been promoted to attract both cruise and stopover visitors.

Education has made its mark by career fairs and other ventures exposing students to maritime, locally and internationally. And, he said, after years the government school in Holmes Rock will be completed by 2025.
Home ownership is another area being addressed by the government, said Mr. Smith.

“In West Grand Bahama in our first phase of this initiative, in the West Heights Subdivision opposite Bootle Bay, we will seek to build affordable homes on the remaining 36 vacant lots.  Then, Madam Speaker, in South Bimini, we intend on creating a Crown Subdivision. The proposed area of land has already been identified and the initial assessments are soon to be carried out for its usage.  Again Deputy Speaker, the Member for Carmichael is committed to lending his assistance in ensuring that this project becomes a reality.”

To this end, a Mortgage Drive will be held for the residents of West Grand Bahama and Bimini to make sure they can qualify for the mortgages to enable home ownership. “One of the missions of the Davis/Cooper administration was to introduce the Rent-to-Own program, to make access to homes available. Those who may not qualify for a mortgage, this program can serve as a viable alternative.”

The Parliamentary Secretary mentioned the PPP for the airport in Bimini, roadworks in West Grand Bahama, and many other initiatives, and said, “we are making things happen.”