Thompson urges govt. to move quickly on GB overdue projects

J. KWASI THOMPSON, Former Minister of State for GB and Finance

Former Minister for Grand Bahama J. Kwasi Thompson is of the view that the new Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Government should move without delay on investments in Grand Bahama.

 All of the major projects investment items were left ongoing by the government in which he was a cabinet minister.

Thompson, who now serves as the Free National Movement (FNM) Member of Parliament for East Grand Bahama, added that the former administration led by Dr. Hubert Minnis started the country on a path of recovery.

“The Minnis administration's economic policies have started us on the path of recovery and we stand ready to assist in any way to achieve our full recovery,” said Thompson in a statement following the opening of Parliament Wednesday (October 6) morning.

“Indications are that the domestic economy began a slow pace of recovery, despite the ongoing spread of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.”

This, he maintained, was confirmed by the Central Bank of the Bahamas’ monthly economic report.  

 “I urge the government to move without delay on investments in Grand Bahama, such as the West Atlantic Medical School, Doctors Hospital Project, the Grand Lucayan deal, the Carnival Cruise Port Project, and the $350 million Grand Bahama Shipyard Project and the creation of a Maritime Center for the Americas. 

“We also urge the government to continue the implementation of Invest Bahamas. Invest Bahamas was a recommendation of the Minnis administration’s Economic Recovery Committee to reform the Bahamas Investment Authority. Implementation process has already begun, and this is vital to continuing the forward movement of investments in The Bahamas,” Thompson noted.

According to the former minister, the PLP administration had the benefit of the Quarterly Reports, along with the Fiscal Strategy, the Pre-Election Report and the first ever Annual Borrowing Plan.

“It should be noted that the Central Bank has confirmed that the Minnis administration has not only left in place strong foreign reserves near $3 billion, but also a significant revenue increase well above 2021/22 Budget projections. The new PLP government has also been left with a working economic plan called the Accelerated Bahamas Recovery Plan, which has already provided positive results.”

He furthered that the new government also has the benefit of major investment projects that are in the pipeline throughout the country, which were as a direct result of the previous Minnis-led administration.

“In addition, the PLP Government will also have the benefit of major investment projects in process. The minister responsible for Investments (Chester Cooper) has stated that there was a significant number of investments in process.

“The Minnis administration approved numerous investments which are vital to our full recovery. Projects include the $37 million Sandals Redevelopment, $75 million Aqualina Project, the Royal Caribbean Projects, the Carnival Cruise Port Projects, and the Nassau Cruise Port Project.

“The PLP government also has the benefit of a clearly laid out Borrowing Plan, which has been approved and published. This includes using a mixture of domestic and external facilities such as the IDB (Inter-American Development Bank) guarantee which will result in reduced costs and interest payments,” said Thompson.

In conclusion he pledged his support in making the above-mentioned projects a reality in order to steer the country into a clear and direct path of full economic recovery.

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