About 10 years ago, Cuba embarked upon a national project of refurbishing and re-constructing, when necessary, buildings that had fallen in to disrepair. Many of the old hotels and tourist attractions were given face-lifts.
There was recognition that if Cuba was to continue as a prime tourist destination, major restoration works had to be addressed. In time, during state visits, dignitaries passed out compliments regarding the re-beautifying efforts of Cuba.
This past weekend, in Grand Bahama, was President of Guyana His Excellency Brigadier David A. Granger. He was taken on a tour. The tour party had to travel along Queens Highway to get to the Industrial Center main points of interest, the Grand Bahama Shipyard and the Freeport Container Port. On the return, President Granger and other visitors were taken back to the town area, along West Sunrise.
Thus, President Granger if he looked, would have first, seen the decadence obvious on Queens Highway and later, the old Princess Hotel. Of course, the tour did not include the International Bazaar.
It’s times like these that bare the weak links in the Grand Bahama structure. We suggest that within the Ministry for Grand Bahama and the Grand Bahama Port Authority, the re-beautifying idea that captivated Cuba a decade ago, should take hold.
There have been superficial attempts at beautifying at best. We know that the GBPA had a short-lived project geared to bring back the quality look in a few buildings on the Queens Highway. It appears that project as stalled.
In the past, during the Magic City era, the International Bazaar would have been definitely penciled in as a tour location for visiting dignitaries. Today, we certainly don’t want high-level visitors, or any other for that matter, experiencing the decrepit International Bazaar buildings. The grown-up bushes that surround the former elegant Princess Tower that goes skyward as a monstrosity, amount collectively to another huge eyesore.
Is there a feeling of shame because of these weak links in the structure of Grand Bahama?
Or, has the situation just become acceptable?
How is it that Harcourt Development is allowed to just sit and claim ownership of prime properties that get absolutely no upkeep whatsoever?
What pressure is being put on the various owners of buildings in the International Bazaar, such as the Hotel Union?
It is not an acceptable situation.
A wholesale re-beautifying agenda is imperative.
The key stakeholders and the major investors are so, obligated.
The people of Grand Bahama deserve as much.
Published Monday, March 6, 2017