Today’s lead story in The Freeport News (see page 1), is a clear indication of the refreshing outlook that Senator Kwasi Thompson, the Minister of State in the Grand Bahama Office of the Prime Minister, brings to Bahamian politics.
If he speaks to an issue, no matter how delicate, or uncomplimentary to his governing party, Thompson has been inclined to be up front and not seek to put vague spins out there in an effort to defend the indefensible. Such a practice seems to be the modus operandi of the vast majority of those who have made up the Bahamian political arena in recent years.
Thus, in many instances they can’t be trusted.
Thompson inspires trust because he always seems to be on the level.
When fielding questions put to him regarding the ongoing conflicts, two investment groups (Old Bahama Bay & Club Resort and Skyline Investments/Grand Palm Beach Acquisitions), are experiencing, Thompson admitted that there is a problem that needs to be sorted out. His openness should bode well in getting the feuding parties to the table and reaching a compromise that each can live with.
A whole lot is on the line for Thompson, who is Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis’ point person in Grand Bahama on investment projects. He has in fact been the chief projects negotiator, outside of mandates that come down from the Cabinet of The Bahamas or the prime minister, himself.
Emboldened by a few small economic successes, Thompson, PM Dr. Minnis and their colleagues, especially the five Members of Parliament who represent all of the constituencies of Grand Bahama, know that much more has to be done in the way of meaningfully-impacting investments, to satisfy the people of the island.
The firm view held here is that Thompson is well-placed in his portfolio.
He will be tested for sure, much more severely, as the months of governance of his party stretches out without the investment products that were boldly promised.
Without a doubt, the Skyline Investments (Grand Palm Beach Acquisitions) proposed project is at a scary point. The Heads of Agreement (HOA) signing does not seem as definite now, as, when proclaimed by the prime minister two weeks ago.
A steep mountain of proposed investment projects confronts the government, indeed.
There are highly challenging financial realities the government has to try to cover, regarding the conclusion of the purchase of the Grand Lucayan properties.
At the moment, the Oban Energies oil refinery/storage investment in East Grand Bahama seems dead in the water. The committee of Cabinet members and others selected by Prime Minister to engage in talks with Oban representatives have not delivered anything of substance that changes the controversial terms of the HOA, already signed by the Government of The Bahamas.
The government needs, badly, for the West End projects to come on stream in the fullness of what was announced.
Quite frankly, Minister of State Thompson seems best suited to lead the entire package of proposed investments.