NASSAU, BAHAMAS – With“Connecting Resources, Maximizing Opportunities and Transforming Andros”as its theme, the 7th Annual Andros Business Outlook is set for Thursday, June 20th at Island Comfort Bed and Breakfast in North Andros.
The focus will be on the significant economic potential and domestic investment opportunities of Andros and neighbouring the Berry Islands that are largely untapped by Bahamians. Attendees can also look forward to two free workshops as a bonus.
The speaker slate will be headed by Carlton Bowleg, Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture & Marine Resources, who represents North Andros and the 14 Berry Islands in the House of Assembly.
Mr Bowleg, who shares his time between the big island and Cat Cay will present his vision for this fertile quadrant of The Bahamas.
On the programme as well will be Michael Scott, Chairman, Hotel Corporation, who will share the Hotel Corporation’s plans for Lighthouse Yacht Club & Marina and other Hotel Corporation’s interest in Andros.
Following on the agenda will be Brian Hew, Owner, Kamalame Cay; Peter Douglas Sr Manager, North Andros Tourist Office, BMOT; Andre Knowles, Director, B2B, BTC; Alfred Poitier, Chief Executive Officer, National Workers Cooperative Credit Union; Cheryl Bastian, owner, Swain’s Cay Lodge, Dr Raveenia Roberts-Hanna, Executive Director, BAMSI and Rev. Marina Newton, Programme Coordinator Association of Farmers.
Joan Albury, president, TCL Group and creator of the seven-island Business Outlook Series spoke to the urgency of getting Bahamians to understand the rich contribution Andros and the Berries are making and can increase with an insistence upon sustainable development and more Bahamian ownership.
Mrs Albury noted: “This year and beyond, we are heavily focused on sustainable tourism and agriculture—this is not optional. It is an urgent necessity. A member of the Andros Nature Conservancy (ANCAT) and dedicated to sustainable development of our natural resources, Peter Douglas has told us again and again that the fly fishing industry alone is a multi-billion industry globally and worth more than $140 million throughout The Bahamas. Knowing that our Andros and Berries have some of the best fishing grounds in the world, foreign investors are eager to control that market, while Bahamians are largely unaware of our potential gold rush. Added to that, we are still not doing enough to feed ourselves in this country, yet Andros, 2200 square miles and abundantly watered, can become the nation’s breadbasket.
“There are already a number of positive movements towards tapping this great potential. Regarding agricultural development, the BAMSI turnaround is a tremendous positive. The facility is making its presence felt in production and hiring. People are excited about the reopening of Emerald Palms in South Andros and the bonefishing lodges continue to do well in the season. The Andros festivals are enjoying an increase in domestic patronage. Two banks have a branch each on Andros and National Workers Credit Union has established a unit there.”
Albury added: “The downside is that there is a pressing need for more infrastructural upgrades, especially in the South, more Bahamian entrepreneurs, more hotel rooms, more tours and certainly more funding generally. Road works are ongoing but the contractor brought workers from Nassau. Additionally, we need to prepare for the ending of the 52-week National Empowerment Employment Initiative. Do we know what will happen to the over 70 persons engaged in the programme? While cruise ships are coming, they tend to corner the market on guest activities, especially with regard to jet ski operations. Shouldn’t these features be dedicated to local enterprise?”
With the Business Outlook Series increasingly focused on education, attendees will have the benefit of the workshop on VAT led by the Department of Inland Revenue and the other on the 2020 Plastic and Styrofoam Ban. The latter session will be a joint presentation by Tarran Simms, Coordinator, Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation, Andros and Kendria Ferguson from The Ministry of Housing and Environment.
Andros is one of seven islands that comprise the Bahamas Outlook series. The other islands are: Eleuthera, New Providence, Grand Bahama, Andros, Long Island, Exuma and Abaco.
Registration is online at www.tclevents.com or email@example.com. Those signing up in Andros and the Berry Islands may also email Peter Douglas at firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com