||Last Updated: Feb 13, 2017 - 1:45:37 AM
At a time when the island of Grand Bahama can least afford it, it has recently been announced in the press that the Norwegian Sky will be dropping Grand Bahama from its schedule and going to Cuba instead. The ship will still call on Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay, but Grand Bahama is left out once again. This bad news comes on the heels of the largest hotel property on the island closing its doors and with the only casino around doing the same. The closure of these businesses alone has left hundreds of Grand Bahamians unemployed and by extension has affected many other people negatively.
The Grand Bahamian economy is poised to lose millions of dollars as a result of the Norwegian Sky pulling out. My question is what are the leaders of the governing Progressive Liberal Party doing to stop the economic bleeding in Grand Bahama? How long will the residents of this island have to suffer and struggle in this way before getting some relief? Where are the new investments and companies on the island that can provide employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for our people? Why does Grand Bahama continue to be treated like the Bahamas’ step child and constantly get the short end of the stick time and time again?
Successive governments over the years have treated Grand Bahama with contempt and in a half-hearted way. The nation’s Minister of Tourism is a son of the soil who also serves as the Member of Parliament for West Grand Bahama. With that being said, one would think that the tourism sector on this island would be doing much better than it currently is. Some may seek to take comfort by blaming Hurricane Matthew for the dismal state of the tourism sector on Grand Bahama Island. My only problem with that is that the sector has been struggling and stagnant for the better part of the last decade. The Minister of Tourism has truly let the people of Grand Bahama down in a major way.
When the DNA becomes the government, Grand Bahama will be given the attention and support that it deserves. The tourism sector will be treated with more respect and Grand Bahamians who are interested in developing attractions that can enhance the tourism product will be given the incentives and assistance needed to succeed. A DNA government will work around the clock coming up with creative ways to get more cruise ships back to the island, in addition to getting more hotel rooms in our inventory. Under a DNA government, all Grand Bahamians who are interested will be given the opportunity to actively participate in the development of the tourism sector on the island through various think tanks that will be established. These think tanks will be created with the goal of facilitating a more ground up approach to making tourism work in Grand Bahama once again through harnessing the ideas that our people can offer on a regular basis. All hands must be on deck in order for the needed transformation to happen!!
Nevar L. Smith
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