NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Having been selected as the preferred bidder for the redevelopment of Nassau’s cruise port, Global Port Holdings first order of business was to formally meet with Executives of the Bahamas Taxi Cab Union (BTCU), the Prince George Wharf Taxi Association and the Downtown Nassau Partnership in regards to the redevelopment of Prince George Wharf.
The group, who met last week, included Perry McPhee, Prince George Wharf Taxi Association Trustee; Davinci Simms, Bahamas Taxi Cab Union Trustee; Sulayman Khalfani, General Secretary, Bahamas Taxi Cab Union; Frederick Wallace, Chairman, Prince George Wharf Taxi Association; Colin Murphy, Head of Business Development (Americas), Global Ports Holding; and Ed Fields, Managing Director, Downtown Nassau Partnership.
Global Ports Holding will operate the new cruise port, Nassau Cruise Port Ltd., under a 25-year leasehold concession.
Nassau Cruise Port Ltd. is a majority Bahamian-owned company, with Global Ports Holding equity at 49 per cent, and 51 per cent owned by the YES Foundation and the Bahamas Investment Fund (BIF).
“We had a great introductory meeting which I think marks the beginning of a very positive relationship between Nassau Cruise Port Ltd. and the BTCU, with the support of the Downtown Nassau Partnership,” said Murphy. “The BTCU is very keen on ensuring that its members are a part of the redevelopment process, and we understand and appreciate that.”
Sulayman Khalfani, General Secretary of the Union, who shared his thoughts about the meeting on behalf of the organization’s President, Wesley Ferguson, said the meeting went well.
“Mr. Murphy took the time to listen and learn about how we currently operate, and we offered suggestions and shared some of the concerns our members have raised about the project,” Khalfani said.
“He gave us some clarity about how Global Ports Holding plans to move forward and engage key stakeholders in this process.
“We found their use of technology interesting and can see real benefits to our industry.
“It was an important first step in helping us to forge a strong partnership that will benefit taxi drivers, Nassau Cruise Port Ltd., and the cruise passengers.
“We look forward to this partnership improving the lives of our members and fellow Bahamians. This project has been a long time coming.”
Meanwhile, Ed Fields, Managing Director, Downtown Nassau Partnership said there are exciting things happening downtown that are bringing stakeholders together that will lend to the success of its transformation.
“The meeting between the BTCU, GPH and the DNP shows how folks with a common cause can work together and overcome challenges as long as all concerns are on the table for consideration,” Fields said.
Colin Murphy, Head of Business Development (Americas) said their proposal is about the positive transformation of downtown and the cruise port and creating opportunities for Bahamians.
“We don’t want to take anything away from the taxi drivers or make it more difficult for them to survive,” Murphy said.
“No one should have to sleep at the dock to be able to make a living. Our goals are to help taxi drivers generate more revenue and enhance their business model where needed through improved organization and other forms of support. This only works if we work together.”