NASSAU, The Bahamas – Acting Minister of Tourism and Aviation, the Hon. Frankie A. Campbell, said Wednesday’s Signing of the Heads of Agreement between Nassau Cruise Port Ltd., its partners and the Government of The Bahamas for the revitalization of the historic City of Nassau, will provide numerous benefits for Bahamians at both the socio-economic and tourism levels.
Wednesday’s signing signaled the embarkation on a one-quarter of one billion dollar major project to develop what government officials say will become: “the iconic, world-renowned and new, Nassau Cruise Port.”
Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert A. Minnis said the new “world-class port” will include a new terminal, a waterfront park, a harbour village, a new inner harbour, an amphitheatre, a junkanoo museum, shops, restaurants and an impact theatre.
Additionally, the number of berthing facilities for cruise ships at the Prince George Wharf, where the Nassau Cruise Port will be located, will be expanded, translating into even more cruise passengers, and more economic opportunities for Bahamians.
There will be “a centralized transportation area for onward transfer of passengers by existing and any future Bahamian-licensed taxi and tour operators from Downtown Nassau to elsewhere in New Providence and Paradise Island.
Approximately 500 jobs will become available during construction – a fact government officials say should help to further reduce the country’s unemployment rate.
Minister Campbell, whose substantive Cabinet post is that of Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, said he was “excited about the opportunities the deal could create on several fronts for persons who may be receiving social assistance and have been seeking ways to gain their economic independence.”
“Social Services is called upon because vulnerable persons find themselves unable to work and therefore unable to establish their independence and provide for themselves and/or their families and so any project with which the government partners with private entities that results in the creation of job opportunities is welcomed by the Department of Social Services because we know that some of those opportunities could become available to some of those persons who may be receiving social assistance,” Minister Campbell said.
“Once they are able to get the kind of independence they are looking for, they will then be in the position to remove themselves from the programme. That will lead to openings for additional persons to be helped, and so this is good news. We welcome what the partnership between Global Ports Ltd. and the Bahamian investors represent for all workers in The Bahamas and for the tourism product, but from the point of having the pleasure of serving as Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, we welcome this signing most especially for the job and other opportunities that have the potential to cause some of our clients to gain the kind of economic independence they have been seeking.”
Minister Campbell outlined the benefits the deal will bring to the tourism product.
“This is a great day in terms of the tourism product as well. We would have heard from guests completing tourism exit polls, particularly those coming in on cruise ships, who would have registered various complaints regarding the port itself and indeed downtown Nassau,” Minister Campbell said.
“Bahamians themselves, have in the past, complained about how nothing is happening on the eastern portion of downtown. This port development will complement all of the other efforts the Government of The Bahamas is undertaking to give the entire tourism product a shot in the arm, beginning at this Gateway and then continuing on as the avenue to go back Over-the-Hill and become connected to all of the developments that are going on with that product.
“I also see it as being important for the economic survival of our local artists and artisans who will now have greater opportunities as a result of the increased number of persons who will visit our ports, and the increased number of persons who will be coming off the cruise ships as a result of this ‘wow factor’ that they haven’t seen,” Minister Campbell added.