The Grand Bahama Port Authority, as is, in the present structure, is most essential to Freeport and the wider Grand Bahama.
This is so, despite the modest profile that Grand Bahama Port Authority management personnel seem to prefer; the progressive innovative projects, some of which, never come to light; the high-tech revamping of the organization, not being fully recognized; and the networking done without much fanfare, with prospective investors.
The body of work done by the GBPA, in the interest of a structured City of Freeport is enormous, albeit an understood responsibility, via the Hawksbill Creek Agreement of 1955, and various subsequent adjustments to the quasi-government arrangement with respective Bahamian central administrations.
We maintain that the GBPA is a creature that Freeport and the entire island of Grand Bahama has benefited from immensely; far beyond what the Bahamian Legislative Council of 1955 envisioned. History informs that Bahamian Council members, at the time, thought the project of Wallace Groves would fall flat; the permit fee would be in the Treasury; and the land would eventually be abandoned and left for new negotiations, with other prospective investors.
Groves stayed the course though, weathered a number of financial hurdles and the free port city became a reality. Accordingly, Grand Bahama, evolved as the island with the second greatest level of vitality and economic growth. Although obligated directly to Freeport, millions of dollars have been spent by the GBPA to assist different national governments in providing necessary infrastructure to their island jurisdictions, West and East Grand Bahama.
Indeed governments, for instance, have press conferences and boast of dredging and an advanced water system in East Grand Bahama, without detailing the equipment and engineering contribution made by the GBPA.
Perhaps the GBPA should blow its own horn, much more often. Then, the people of the entire island would have a greater understanding of what comes out of the big pink building on the corner of the Mall and Pioneer’s Way.
A number of natural disasters; a global economic downturn; investors, governments allow to renege on development agreements; and uncompromising owners of buildings in the dilapidated International Bazaar, are all maladies the GBPA management of the last decade and more, have had to deal with.
Related issues have mushroomed, but the present GBPA management has persevered and remained on a progressive course. As a result, the GBPA has led the initiative to combat the negative situations as best as is possible.
Today’s GBPA management actually ought to be congratulated for rising to the occasion in such a meaningful way. Again though, the criticisms that they have to field from time to time, speak to the limited disclosures of the important items addressed and handled; significant projects completed; and the expanded partnership with governments on capital infrastructure.
We submit, that all things considered, GBPA Management is proactive and essential to Freeport proper, and the rest of Grand Bahama.