Grand Bahama business community urged to “get in the game” and seize economic opportunities

Grand Bahama business community urged to “get in the game” and seize economic opportunities

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Acting Prime Minister Chester Cooper has urged the Grand Bahamian business community to “get in the game” and not let economic opportunities pass them by, claiming that investor confidence in Grand Bahama has never been higher.

Speaking at the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce’s annual installation of officer and directors banquet on Saturday, Cooper highlighted Carnival Cruise Line’s Celebration Key project, a $600 million investment set to be the largest cruise project globally.

“The projections are staggering; visitor arrivals in Grand Bahama are expected to exceed 1.4 million by the end of 2025, reaching up to 4 million annually by 2027. This not only represents a significant boost in tourism but also heralds a new era of job creation, revenue generation, and overall economic impact for our island. The investments don’t end there, and they are real. Real in tourism, but also real in the maritime and industrial sectors. And investor confidence in Grand Bahama has never been higher.”

Cooper noted that he was concerned a few months ago when the local uptake in the Celebration Key RFPs appeared to be low.

“However, people across the country are now realizing that this resurgence is real. It concerned me deeply that, amidst this flurry of opportunity, there exists in some quarters a reticence to fully engage with the processes that could shape the future. It tells me there is a need for a collective recalibration of your approach to economic participation. We cannot afford to be passive observers in our own story, nor can we cede the narrative of our future to external actors. Let me be blunt, I don’t want to hear after the fact about foreigners getting opportunities and people from Nassau getting opportunities when there are those in Grand Bahama who would let those opportunities pass them by,” said Cooper.

He urged the GBCC and its members to “engage, get in the game, and mobilize more organic, domestic investment.”

“The revival of Grand Bahama’s economy must be a concerted effort, one that requires the hands-on engagement of the entire business community, in partnership with the government, GBPA, the Chamber, and all local stakeholders. Together, we have the power to encourage organic growth through Domestic Investments, drive sustainable economic growth to create opportunities for local entrepreneurship, and ensure that the benefits of the economic renaissance are widely shared and deeply rooted in the fabric of this community,” said Cooper.

Cooper emphasized that the government fully expects Grand Bahama businesses to have the first crack at opportunities that become available in Grand Bahama and has also made the case that the cruise lines visiting Bahamian ports ought to temper the language in their onboard advisories.

“They are potentially harmful to local business, but more importantly, it is counter-intuitive given the ongoing investment of hundreds of millions of dollars in this economy. Suffice it to say, we expect there to be an adjustment to these advisories in due course,” he said.