NASSAU, BAHAMAS — A multitude of Grand Bahamians chanted “enough is enough” and said the cost of living is too much to handle as they protested outside the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) on Friday.
A meeting is scheduled for tomorrow with Philcher Grant, chief operating officer of public affairs at the GBPA, to address issues over the economic challenges faced by resident.
Protestors voiced their concerns over the state of the economy being in “shambles” and said they want better for Grand Bahama.
I think the current state of Grand Bahama is too expensive. As a resident, I was greatly affected by the changes in the cost of living.
– Thomas Hanna, 27
A resident of Grand Bahama, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “The economy is not the best, but it’s not the worst.”
However, he said he does believe the cost of living is exorbitant, especially for those living off minimum wage.
“When there is too much politics involved, nothing gets done,” he said.
“I understand, as a Grand Bahamian, why the protests were needed, but I also understand there is really more to it than let’s say cut down electricity, let’s cut down the water bill.
“So, I think the Grand Bahama Port Authority and the government could work together if they try to resolve the red tape.”
Another resident, Thomas Hanna, 27, said: “I think the current state of Grand Bahama is too expensive.
“As a resident, I was greatly affected by the changes in the cost of living.
“I don’t understand… They’re targeting the port authority but they need to understand that the investors don’t like how Grand Bahama is prone to hurricanes.”
Scores of people gathered outside the port authority and claimed the island has been lacking vision since the late Edward Saint George, a prominent figure in the GBPA.
In attempts to calm the crowd, Ian Rolle, GBPA president, said the organization’s vision to better Grand Bahama is on the port’s website.
Anytime it’s time to enforce the [Hawksbill] agreement, you hear all the laws. But every time it’s time to hear their obligations under that agreement, that’s when everything goes quiet.
– Grand Bahama resident
He claimed that some people are spreading misrepresentations about the company’s ideals and mission statement.
Residents stressed the need for action by the government and the port authority, asserting discord between the two entities is causing many to suffer.
In a social media video, a protestor said: “I would really love to see the marriage between the Grand Bahama Port Authority and the government…be rekindled, and the people will be able to really benefit from that love.”
Another demonstrator claimed the port is not upholding requirements of the Hawksbill agreement.
“The reality is they want us to believe like we don’t understand the Hawksbill agreement…” the demonstrator said.
“How can you take emotions out of suffering people every day?
“Anytime it’s time to enforce the [Hawksbill] agreement, you hear all the laws.
“But every time it’s time to hear their obligations under that agreement, that’s when everything goes quiet.”
Some protestors said the government has not fulfilled its duty to build additional schools, an airport and a hospital, and said they feel there is no sympathy for residents given the 3.3 percent increase on electricity bills.
Written by Eyewitness News Intern Kareem Minnis