Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest, Minister of Finance and Member of Parliament for East Grand Bahama called the Bahamian investors behind the Pirate’s Cove Zip Line and Water Park, pioneers in the future of the island’s economy.
Turnquest was one of several speakers sharing brief remarks at the Park’s official opening on Saturday, February 3.
“We are here today to celebrate the fact that Grand Bahama and its tourism infrastructure is indeed alive, and is indeed a good place to invest. It is also a place where a decent, healthy profitable return can be made,” Turnquest said.
He congratulated the “pioneers” who made the opening a reality, the group of Bahamian investors led by David Wallace.
Minister of State for Grand Bahama in the Office of the Prime Minister, Senator Kwasi Thompson, said that he was pleased to attend the opening.
“I think it speaks volumes for the island of Grand Bahama,” he said.
Senator Thompson added that it represents a number of positive things to come for the island.
“We want to congratulate the Bahamian investors and I think, we should point out that they are Bahamian investors who had confidence in Grand Bahama. I believe we will see the fruits of their investment,” he said.
He added that the government will continue to press until the completion of the Grand Lucayan project as well as projects in West End and other smaller projects.
“We are not going to be satisfied until the number of jobs increase and that, really, is the important judging factor,” he said.
Senator Thompson noted that it is not about making announcements, but the increase of jobs for the Bahamian people.
Pirate’s Cove directly employs 30 persons, all Bahamians, and indirectly employs 30 additional persons through the Zip Line.
Thompson, who recently spoke to Grand Bahama’s results of the Labour Force Survey of the Department of Statistics for May 2017 to November 2017, said that those numbers showed that in Grand Bahama there was a slight decrease in the unemployment rate, from 12.4 percent to 12.1 percent.
“There are still too many unemployed, but the rate is trending in the right direction. It should be noted that there was a significant increase in employed persons in Grand Bahama,” he said.
According to the Department of Statistics, the number of persons employed in May 2017 in Grand Bahama was 26,160 and that number increased to 27,240 in November 2017.
“We still need more job growth but it does suggest that 1,080 more persons are working, which means the numbers are moving in the right direction,” he said.
He added that it is particularly important to note that the government expects even more persons to be employed, after the renovations to the Grand Lucayan are completed.
Thompson assured that the government will continue to promote job growth by creating the environment for the private sector to expand and continue to develop programs to encourage small business development.
“We will also continue to promote Grand Bahama as a good place to do business. While encouraged there is still a lot of work for us to do. We remain thankful for the coming together of our pastors and churches for this very purpose and give God thanks for the progress thus far,” he added.
Since the Department of Statistics’ last survey report of May 2017, there was an increase in the number of employed persons in The Bahamas by some 3,575, with the employed labour force moving from 200,155 persons to 203,730 persons, or by 1.8 percent.