NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Centreville MP Reece Chipman yesterday called on the government to table in Parliament the value of concessions it will provide to Global Ports Holding (GPH) Limited as part of its 25-year agreement to transform and manage Nassau’s cruise port as well as the corporate governance and business model of the Bahamas Investment Fund.
Last month, GPH was selected as the preferred bidder, marking the beginning of negotiations to formulate an agreement with the government.
The ownership structure would see 49 per cent of the port owned by GPH, with another 49 per cent owned by the Bahamas Investment Fund, comprised of Bahamian shareholders.
A foundation would be created, called the ‘Yes Foundation’ to control two per cent which would be used for youth development and sports.
GPH plans invest $250 million to transform the port.
“I am mentioning this during this debate because it was said that a Bahamas investment fund would be created to represent the Bahamian ownership in the port,” said Chipman during debate on the Investment Fund Bill, 2019, which introduces licensing requirement for fund managers and regulatory oversight for custodians, and brings legislation in step with international standards set by the European Union.
“I would like to see the Bahamas investment fund model or investment model of the Bahamas investment fund, along with the corporate governance structure, and business model tabled in the House of Assembly.
“The investment model should show ownership by the Bahamian people and the business model should show the benefits to the Bahamian people
“It is important that both investment programs and models should be that we are able to quantify and value concessions.”
Chipman said he hopes as part of the investment model, more schools will be built, particularly in the Centreville constituency.
During last month’s announcement, CFAL President Anthony Ferguson indicated that Bahamians will own 51 per cent; two per cent in the ‘YES Foundation’ for youth development and sports, and 49 per cent made available through a share offering.
According to Ferguson, $10 million will be loaned to Bahamians to borrow the minimum investment needed of $1,000.
“We anticipate that this will be the largest investment available to Bahamians to date,” he said.
“As you know, the Arawak Port Development was the largest with 12,000 shareholders, which we work very closely with them.
“We are planning to see if we can get between 20,000 and 30,000-plus investors in this project.”
Yesterday, Chipman said ownership in the project entails more than funds being deposited into a fund.
He said ownership should allow the Bahamian people a seat at the table.
“If you are not on or at the table, you are just on the menu
“I don’t know about you Bahamians, but I am tired of just being on the menu and not at the table.