The revival of Grand Bahama has begun, stated the nation’s leader Dr. Hubert Minnis, pointing to the groundbreaking ceremony of Colonial Group International (CGI) Property, for its Grand Bahama Office Complex.
The turning of the soil tradition took place yesterday – Wednesday, February 20 – at The Mall Drive site, where the prime minister was the keynote speaker.
In congratulating CGI on the groundbreaking, Dr. Minnis said, “The new headquarters will be home to a group of companies that are a part of CGI.”
This is the second CGI building in The Bahamas, the first is located in New Providence.
“Today’s groundbreaking is a bellwether of things to come,” added the prime minister, noting that the new complex will help to enhance the city landscape of Freeport.
Noting that the government still has a long way to go to revitalize Grand Bahama and by extension The Bahamas, Dr. Minnis admitted that decisions were and will be made that would not please everyone.
“In politics and in life you cannot please everyone and if you try to please everyone all the time, you are not doing your job right,” he said.
Prime Minister Minnis noted that many people have doubted the government’s ability to revitalize Grand Bahama. “Now with recent announcements and other possibilities on the horizon, some people are saying that the revival of Freeport and Grand Bahama will somehow be bad news for Nassau.”
He added that this notion makes no economic sense and is devoid of facts.
The prime minister added that there is room for growth in tourism, particularly cruise tourism that will benefit both islands. “Both cities will also benefit from related facilities, amenities and experiences which helps to boost revenues from cruise ship passengers.”
He said that the development of more businesses and facilities means more jobs for Grand Bahama, which will directly boost the local economy and, therefore, the country’s economy.
Dr. Minnis noted that many have expressed that he spends a great deal of time in Grand Bahama, and he admits to being on the island because he believes in Grand Bahama.
“We still have much work to do, to grow and to expand our national economy and the economy of Grand Bahama,” he reiterated.
The prime minister said that the same confidence CGI has shown in Grand Bahama, by establishing an office here, is similar to the confidence that the government has upon purchasing the Grand Lucayan.
He called the purchase, “absolutely necessary.”
OBE Chairman of CGI Group, Dr. E. Grant Gibbons in his remarks, commended the Bahamian CGI team who organized the event. “This investment demonstrates our corporate faith in The Bahamas,”
Gibbons said that CGI has been operating in The Bahamas for almost 25 years, guided by the belief that they should aim to serve clients and staff. “We offer a portfolio of products, benefits and services like life and health insurance and pension plans.”
Gibbons added that CGI also does its part to promote a wellness lifestyle by supporting various health initiatives.
He stated that this groundbreaking is a contribution to the rejuvenation of Grand Bahama economy. “It is a $4 million- investment in the local community. We are honoured that you’ve accepted us as partners.”
Gibbons thanked residents for their continued support.
Executive Vice President and General Manager of Atlantic Medical Insurance, Lynda Gibson gave the vote of thanks.
Companies that will be housed in the complex are CGI, Atlantic Medical, Security and General and Nassau Insurance Brokers and Agency Ltd. (NIBA).
A number of special guests and government officials attended the ceremony, including K. Peter Turnquest Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance and Member of Parliament for East Grand Bahama; Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands; President of the Senate, Senator Katherine Forbes-Smith; Senator Jasmine Turner-Dareus and executives of the Grand Bahama Port Authority – Henry St. George, Rupert Hayward, Ian Rolle, Derek Newbold, Deann Seymour and Kimberley Miller.