DPM: Govt not “sitting on our hands” about GB airport
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The United States government has initiated a process to cease pre-clearance operations at the Grand Bahama airport due to the ongoing indefinite suspension of the service and slow state of the airport’s reconstruction, it was revealed yesterday.
Deputy Prime Minister Chester Cooper, who has ministerial responsibility for tourism, investments and aviation, speaking on the Minnis administration’s acquisition of the airport, said: “The sellers took the insurance money.
“We spent in the region of $1 million upfront. We inherited the ongoing operational losses to the tune of $300,000 a month or roughly $3.6 million per annum.
“Since the acquisition, very little has been done.”
He added: “One of the airport has been its pre-clearance faultily. Since the airport was destroyed during the storm, the US has relocated some of its pre-clearance resources and suspended pre-clearance at that facility.
“We have recently been informed by the US government that given the ongoing indefinite suspension of pre-clearance services at the airport and slow state of construction at the airport, that the US government has initiated a process to cease pre-clearance operations at the Grand Bahama airport.
“Our partners in the US government have assured us that they remain committed to the agreement between the government of the United States of America and the government of The Bahamas on pre-clearance entered in 1974.
“The US Embassy and Customs and Border Protection have advised us that they look forward to [an] upcoming pre-clearance consultive group meeting.”
Cooper noted that the government is not “sitting on our hands” in the meantime, as it has begun remedial work at the airport.
Cooper stated on Tuesday that the government is committed to building a world-class airport on Grand Bahama and expects to issue a request for proposals within the next 45 days for the airport’s redevelopment.
The government acquired Grand Bahama International Airport last spring, bringing the number of airports under the Airport Authority’s ownership to 30.
The airport comprises 2,500 acres, inclusive of an 11,000-foot runway.
So everyone traveling to the USA now would have to go through Nassau?
Not the case, however they would have to clear immigration when they arrive in the US. Before Dorian you cleared US immigration at Grand Bahamas international.