Infrastructural upgrades on the way for Family Islands
Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said Friday that he is confident that his administration’s 2018/2019 budget will be well received by Bahamians and described it as impressive.
The government is expected to present and wrap-up debate on the new budget in June with its inevitable roll-out the following month.
“It will be an interesting budget,” Dr. Minnis affirmed in an interview with Eyewitness News yesterday at Oddyssey Aviation.
“I classify it as a Christmas budget being delivered in June. I’m sure the Bahamian people will love it.”
Sure not to preempt its contents, the prime minister only shared a list of infrastructure upgrades that will be executed as a result of the new budget, including a new airport to be constructed in North Eleuthera.
“I had a chance to see the airport on Friday. And even though it was not as busy as it normally is, it was still crowded,” he shared.
“People were still lined up outside and exposed to the elements. We even have instances where private planes come to the island during special events, and are unable to find space to park their aircraft. So, this shows us the need for a new airport.
“We have made that commitment and will move aggressively toward that.”
The nation’s leader said his government also intends to construct a new airport in Exuma.
“Exuma has the same challenges. The economy is growing by leaps and bounds. The airport is currently unable to accommodate guests and residents, and they are also exposed to the elements. So, we will deliver on this commitment to ensure that we assist the economy in its continual growth,” he said.
Dr. Minnis was however hesitant to provide a timeline for the airport projects.
“I would not want to give a timeline, but I can say that the airport on tap for North Eleuthera is already designed. The proposed structure is designed in such a way that if we need to expand, we can do so with ease. We are really looking toward constructing airports which are geared toward the future,” he said.
The Glass Window Bridge in North Eleuthera, will also receive the attention it needs, the prime minister promised.
“The bridge has its challenges. With time, we realize there might be a need for a new bridge. We will do what we can at this point to remedy it,” he said.
According to Dr. Minnis, the new budget will also provide the necessary funding to address water supply issues on Eleuthera.
It will also fund the completion of a senior high school as well, he said.
“They have a problem with water, and so we will look at that with respect to the construction of a reverse osmosis facility, in an effort to improve the quality and quantity of their water,” he said.
“We visited several sites, one being a school that has been under construction for several years. We guaranteed them that the senior high school, which is in North Eleuthera, will be completed for September, so students will have new facilities to go into.”
The economically drained Grand Bahama will also benefit from the new proposed budget, according to the prime minister.
He said, “We see great things coming on stream for Grand Bahama.”
The government recently announced a number of major projects on tap for the island, including the $5.5 billion oil refinery and storage facility is proposed for East Grand Bahama, and the sale of the Princess Hotel, which is currently being negotiated.
He said, the Ginn Sur Mer development in West End is also expected to gain steam
“The country’s economy is growing and even the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said that The Bahamas has turned the corner,” he said.
“So, we must put all the necessary things in place to accommodate this growth.”