NASSAU, Bahamas — Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert A. Minnis explained that a unique consortium has been negotiated to transform the Nassau Cruise Port into one of the more beautiful and exciting cruise ports in the world.
The Nassau Cruise Port Ltd. includes three entities: Global Ports Holding (GPH), the Bahamas Investment Fund, and the YES Foundation, which stands for Youth, Education and Sports, the Prime Minister said during the Heads of Agreement Signing between The Bahamas Government and Nassau Cruise Port Ltd. for the redevelopment of the Nassau Cruise Port at Festival Place, Wednesday, August 28, 2019.
Global Ports Holding (GPH), is headquartered in London, and is publicly traded on the London Stock exchange. It is the largest cruise port operator in the world.
The Prime Minister explained that GPH has an exceptional international reputation, it will spearhead the transformation of the Port and will be the port operator. GPH operates ports in a number of destinations, including, Havana, Cuba; Singapore; Lisbon in Portugal, and Barcelona, Spain.
He also announced that Global Port Holding will make The Bahamas its Americas headquarters for North, Central and South America.
The Prime Minister stressed, “The majority of the shares for the new port will be owned by Bahamians through the Bahamas Investment Fund (BIF) and The Yes Foundation.
“The Bahamas Investment Fund is structured as a company incorporated under the provisions of the Companies Act, 1992.
“BIF will offer to Bahamians and Bahamian residents two classes of Investor Shares (namely, Class A and Class B) on a ‘bottom-up’ basis with the objective to achieve participation by approximately 20,000 investors.
“The Class A Investor Shares will represent an investment in equity and the Class B Investor Shares will represent an investment in debt.
“The minimum investment for the Class A Investor Shares will be $1,000, and for the Class B Investor shares, the minimum investment will be $50,000.”
The Prime Minister said the vision is to enable scores of Bahamians to become greater shareholders in the tourism sector in general and in the Nassau Cruise Port in this instance.
He noted that this holds the potential for a long-term sustainable investment that will help individuals, small business people, labour unions, cooperatives, pension funds and other groups to create wealth and to save.
The Prime Minister also explained that a novel feature of this Agreement is the YES Foundation, which will have two per cent of the share capital of Nassau Cruise Port Ltd.
The Agreement notes:
“The YES Foundation will be incorporated as a non-profit company under the Companies Act, 1992, and will be established to fund causes promoting youth, education and sports for Bahamian young people.”
He said the Foundation will help to fund a variety of youth development, educational and sporting and athletic programs and activities.
Furthermore, the Foundation will provide sustainable support that will help to develop a new generation of athletes in various sports.
Contributions by Nassau Port Ltd.
The Prime Minister explained a number of contributions by Nassau Cruise Port Ltd. in various areas:
As the Agreement notes: The Company will make during the Initial Term the following ancillary contributions:
(a) Four Months after the Operations Commencement Date, provide initial funding of three million US dollars (USD 3,000,000) to the YES Foundation to be used in furtherance of its objects and purposes;
(b) Allocate to the YES Foundation issued shares corresponding to two percent of the share capital of the Company;
(c) Four Months following the Operations Commencement Date but no later than Twelve Months after Construction Completion, provide to the Small Business Development Centre a one-time one million US dollar (USD 1,000,000) grant to fund its operations and a Two million US dollar (USD 2,000,000) grant to fund micro loans issued by the Small Business Development Centre;
(d) Four Months following the Operations Commencement Date but no later than Twelve Months after Construction Completion, provide to the Bahamas Agricultural & Industrial Corporation (BAIC), Two million US dollars (USD 2,000,000) for its support of qualified local artisans and farmers;
(e) Before the Construction Completion, provide to BIF a grant of Ten million US dollars (USD 10,000,000) for its funding of loans to qualifying Bahamians for their investment in the Project through BIF; and
(f) Four Months following the Operations Commencement Date but no later than Twelve Months after Construction Completion, allocate Eight million US dollars (USD 8,000,000), for purposes of the Company’s contribution to a green management plan, and a redevelopment initiative for downtown Nassau in conjunction with the Downtown Nassau Partnership.
Transformation of the City of Nassau
The Prime Minister also expounded on the future transformation of the City of Nassau.
He explained that a new Central Bank of The Bahamas will begin to rise from the site of the former Royal Victoria Hotel; a new U.S. Embassy will soon begin construction downtown and the Government is giving consideration to the old Central Bank Building potentially temporarily housing a historical and cultural institution, which may potentially attract scores of tourists, including cruise ship passengers.
He added that the iconic Government House and its grounds and gardens must be refurbished and redeveloped; and consultations have begun for the redevelopment of Fish Fry, Junkanoo Beach, and the Western Esplanade.
The Prime Minister said, “We are working with the Downtown Nassau Partnership for the development of a boardwalk, and new city space, extending from downtown Nassau to near Paradise Island.
“Downtown Nassau east of Rawson Square must be renewed, with a view to redeveloped commercial and residential spaces.”
He said the Government has already approved the Partnership between Antiquities Monuments & Private Partnership Limited, a group of Bahamian businessmen to refurbish and manage the historic forts and landmarks including the Water Tower.
“This is expected to enhance the tourist product. It will also enable Bahamians to enjoy a greater appreciation of our cultural sites.”
The Prime Minister said, “The Government’s vision is transformation of the Nassau Waterfront, inclusive of the new Nassau Cruise Port, into one of the most vibrant, dynamic, attractive and exciting waterfronts in the region.”