Cargill noted that the island ranks near the bottom with regards to overall tourism arrivals while acknowledging that obtaining reliable visitor arrival data for many of the family islands remains a challenge as it is difficult to track visitors once they arrive in Nassau, their first point of entry.
“We all know that the airport cannot be sustained with the numbers that we have. We have to build capacity for the future. When we spoke to private financiers they said we want to help but the numbers are too low. We are packaging this airport with others. If we have an investor we want to be a PPP partner with at the Exuma airport, then we say this is a part of the package,” said Cargill.
Cargill noted that the government through compulsory acquisition will acquire the land necessary to develop the 6,500 feet runway at Deadman’s Cay.
Cargill noted that negotiations have been ongoing with the commonage in Eleuthera to acquire land for the North Eleuthera airport. “They have been advised that we will be making a compulsory acquisition of the land in North Eleuthera. “We have already prepared the recommendation to be sent to the Cabinet of The Bahamas to acquire the land in North Eleuthera as well as Long Island,” said Cargill.
He added, “We have already received Cabinet approval for $3 million to restore the Marsh Harbour airport back to its pre-Dorian days. Prior to Dorian that airport needed about $5 million worth of work. The airport was not properly maintained. We had planned to spend $5 million. That will increase to $8 million. We are working with our partners at NAD who are helping us in determining the upgrades.”