National Security Minister discusses safety measures for proposed cruise port

IN THIS FILE PHOTO: Minister of National Security Marvin Dames gives a communication on crime in the House of Assembly. (Photo by Torrell Glinton)

“Carnival is embedded with Grand Bahama, which makes this project even more special. We never stopped believing in Freeport and we always came back through thick and thin,” said Carnival Corporation Global Development and Destination Development, Senior Vice President, Giora Israel.

Israel shared details at a public meeting on Monday, February 4, for the proposed cruise port project, which is expected to open in the East End District in 2021.

Among the proposed amenities is the building of a pier to allow the continuation of sound migration and “maybe opening up a police station.”

Minister of National Security, Marvin Dames, who travelled to Grand Bahama as part of the government delegation headed by Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis, agreed that Israel was right on target with those plans.

“When you look at a development of this size, you have to take into account safety measures, because without it you are dead in the waters. It is very important as we begin to roll out these developments across the country.

“We have already begun discussion around these sorts of issues, that we take a holistic approach as to what our needs are regarding everything for security,” said Dames.

“It is more than just bringing people here, it’s about their safety. How can we work and how can we assimilate with them,” he added.

“It’s a whole broad range of issues and I am happy that he is saying it from that perspective. As we look at these Heads of Agreement, in particular, we are looking at everything.

“We are ensuring that before they are assigned, we would’ve taken into consideration every possible aspect of our needs, because it’s extremely important.”

Noting that the port is projected to bring major economic benefits to Grand Bahama, Israel said that while Carnival is not able to employ every resident on the island, the company wants the port to make a big impact on the local economy.

However, Dames said that in order to keep the newly employed people safe with such a big investment, one must think smart for a safer environment.

“You will have to look at the magnitude of the development. When you have a very large foreign direct investment, you have to look at how we are going to keep all these people safe and how we are going to protect the space.

“It is very important, because one incident can totally devastate the project and we don’t want that. So, it is always good to be proactive and what you are seeing here is a level of proactivity,” said the National Security Minister.

“Like I said before, as a government we are looking into these things. We are not just signing off on Heads of Agreement, we are taking everything into account. We are taking into account the development itself and how does it fit into the local environment and what is the impact on the local environment.

“We are also taking into account, will the project cost the residents more as a result of the development,” Dames continued. “These things are things that one ought to consider, before you sign off.

“At the end of the day, yes, it’s a level of development, but it has to be in the interest of the Bahamian people. It’s the Bahamian people who have to benefit from them. This is the direction we ought to be going into.

“At the end of the day when we sign off on these things, the Bahamian people are most comfortable with the approach that we would’ve taken as a government. So, this is the right way and the right thing” he concluded.

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