NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The fifth annual Long Island Business Outlook (LBO) will be staged next week under the theme “Connecting Resources, Maximizing Opportunities, Transforming Long Island”.
Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister will present the keynote at the Ladies Friendship Centre in Grays on November 14.
“Never has it been more important to grow the Business Outlooks in the major communities of the Family Islands, such as Long Island,” said Joan Albury, developer and chief organizer of LBO and the six other forums in the seven-island Business Outlook Series.
“A new and necessary phase of development seems to be getting into gear, so it’s urgent to bring together the pertinent national and local leaders to share information, opportunities, challenges and harmonize goals and the steps towards achieving those goals. Facilitating such essential collaborations is the reason for the existence of the Business Outlook Series.
“Based on communications with Chief Councillor Ian Knowles, we are expecting that the current well-received infrastructural projects, especially the water and airport projects, as will the need for more employment and more Bahamian business investment will top Long Islanders’ input to the discussions.”
Albury said: “It is for this reason that we are most grateful to have secured the participation of the Minister of Public Works, the Member of Parliament for Long Island and the Director of Aviation, along with several other strategic movers and shakers, including representatives of the Small Business Development Centre and Bahamas Development Bank.”
The full line-up of speakers include: Adrian Gibson, MP, Executive Chairman, Water & Sewerage Corp; Dr Nicola Virgill-Rolle, Director of The National Insurance Board, Ian Knowles, Long Island’s Chief Councillor; Algernon Cargill, Director of Aviation, Ministry of Tourism & Aviation; Chloe Burke, Airbnb’s Public Policy Associate for the Caribbean and Central America; Dave Smith, Executive Director, Bahamas Development Bank; Winston Rolle, Sr Advisor, Small Business Development Centre; Alicia Tai, Business Development Manager, Business Enterprise, BTC; Delmaro Duncombe, Sr Aliv Partner; and Ramona Richie Taylor, VP Long Island Chamber of Commerce.
Albury noted a number of other local leaders have spoken of the island’s development opportunities and challenges, which will be examined at LBO.
“Locals are excited about the water project and are of the opinion that these projects will put Long Island into the spotlight,” she continued.
“The current construction bids well to create new business opportunities such as pools, laundromats, car washes and other common amenities. Additionally, the year has brought an increase in real estate business as well and, apparently, the crawfish season got off to a good start.
“Undoubtedly, Long Island has the kind of social and environmental profile that appeals to today’s tourists who are seeking greater authenticity. We have been told that many visitors are drawn by the simplicity and echo tours, such as birding and bone-fishing are popular.
Albury said: “Long Island tourism is likely to become highly competitive with an international airport, more airlift and increased marketing. There is a great opportunity for investment in higher-end product, such as nice restaurants and good entertainment. Also, it is hoped that the cost of living can be mitigated; electricity costs are astronomical.
“There is a message that is coming out of Long Island from which the entire country could benefit, especially in the light of the enormous changes Hurricane Dorian has forced. Long Islanders are demonstrating an attitude that is key to quality and sustainable development—the people taking ownership of challenges and opportunities. Evidently, they believe in putting their hands to the wheel to build and safeguard their island.”
She added: “Just consider how they reacted to the devastation of the Category 4 Hurricane Joaquin in 2015. Although they endured extreme flooding and the loss of over 400 residences, they didn’t hesitate to mobilize to get going again.”