GBPA principal calls for laws governing the city of Freeport to be updated

GBPA principal calls for laws governing the city of Freeport to be updated

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The rules governing the city of Freeport are 70 years old and in need of a comprehensive overhaul, according to the Principal of the Grand Bahama Port Authority.

Rupert Hayward, Principal and Director of the Grand Bahama Port Authority, addressed the Grand Bahama Business Outlook on Thursday, emphasizing the urgent need for revitalization.

“Today, Freeport’s population is approximately one-fifth of that of New Providence, contributing around $200 million to the public treasury annually. Compared to the most optimistic assessment of the government’s yearly expenditure, Freeport already significantly bolsters the Bahamas’ economy and treasury,” Hayward stated. As the grandson of former GBPA co-chair Sir Jack Hayward, he highlighted the pivotal role of Freeport in the nation’s economic landscape.

Hayward outlined four fundamental pillars crucial for Freeport’s future success, with the foremost being a collaborative relationship among the government of the Bahamas, the GBPA, and its licensees. He stressed the necessity of modernizing the regulations that have governed Freeport since the signing of the Hawksbill Creek Agreement in 1955.

“It is long overdue for a comprehensive overhaul; one that empowers city managers to execute their caretaker role efficiently through enhanced bylaws conducive to world-class urban development. Such an overhaul must acknowledge the dynamics of 21st-century commerce and equip the port authority with the means to provide investors and local businesses with a streamlined path to profitability,” Hayward asserted.

Reflecting on Freeport’s founding as one of only two free trade zones, Hayward underscored the heightened global competition in this realm. He also emphasized the imperative of a new regulatory framework to address uncertainties surrounding future tax obligations.

“Freeport requires $10 billion in investments and has the potential to attract $100 billion if it adopts the right model, drawing a critical mass of affluent individuals. The expansion of Freeport’s population is pivotal for the prosperity of the small business sector. While Freeport currently houses around 40,000 residents, its available land and infrastructure can accommodate up to 250,000,” Hayward concluded.


Rupert, while your opinion of Freeport is possible, you offer no plan. Please state a plan.

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