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News : Bahamas Information Services Updates Last Updated: May 4, 2017 - 10:55:51 AM


Historic Heads of Agreement Signing in Grand Bahama Between Gov’t and Carnival Cruise Lines
By Andrew Coakley
May 4, 2017 - 10:33:43 AM

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Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie addresses the Signing Ceremony of the historic Heads of Agreement between the Bahamas Government and Carnival Cruise Lines, May 2, 2017 at the Grand Lucayan in Freeport, Grand Bahama. Seated are Vice-President of the Grand Bahama Port Authority Sarah St. George and Carnival Cruise Lines CEO Donald Arnold. (BIS Photo/Peter Ramsay)

Freeport, Grand Bahama - It was an historic moment for Grand Bahama, and one which, according to Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie, will have much positive impact on the Second City for years to come.

On Tuesday, May 2, 2017 at the Grand Lucayan resort, the Government of The Bahamas and Carnival Cruise Lines signed an agreement for the establishment of a cruise port and destination in Eastern Grand Bahama.

During the signing ceremony Prime Minister Christie told those gathered that it took painstaking and lengthy negotiations between his Government and the principals of the Freeport Harbour Company to negotiate a Waiver of Exclusivity Agreement of their exclusivity rights on all ports in Grand Bahama, which had been granted by the previous administration.

“Carnival has agreed to engage Bahamians in every aspect of construction and development of the new cruise port, valued at $100 Million, with added emphasis on Bahamian participation in the supply and sales of products and services, including retail, entertainment, art & craft, food production, sports and fitness,” said Prime Minister Christie.

“And, it is expected to have a significant impact on the communities of Eastern Grand Bahama, providing cruise visitors with Bahamian-owned products infused with Bahamian flavor, delivering natural attractions and historic sites and creating myriad entrepreneurial opportunities in fishing, farm products, local handicrafts, arts, entertainment, water sports, retail, fitness, logistics and administration.

The Prime Minister noted that the Carnival cruise port initiative in East Grand Bahama will deliver a cruise port in the traditional sense, but more than that, its Shore Project will create a new “destination” with distinctive flavor and characteristics that offer the broadest Bahamian entrepreneurial and employment opportunities, representing another phase in the development of Grand Bahama as a viable tourist centre.

He pointed out that because Abaco is so close to the Eastern tip of Grand Bahama, the new cruise port could also positively and economically impact the island of Abaco, as there is a great possibility employees from Abaco can find employment at the new cruise port destination.

According to Prime Minister Christie, Carnival has also agreed to provide employment to qualified Bahamians as crew members on board the corporation’s cruise ships, with positions commensurate to their qualifications.

“My Government welcomes this opportunity to set in motion events which will memorialize the longstanding and mutually beneficial relationship between Carnival Cruise lines, the world’s largest and most successful cruise line, and The Bahamas,” said Prime Minister Christie.

“The new cruise port development here in Grand Bahama will encompass multiple projects inclusive of construction of the channel, docks, water taxi and work boat piers, berthing platforms, seawalls and turning basin to accommodate two super post Panamex Ships.

“The expansive Shore Project will comprise a 20-bed hotel, an 18-hole miniature golf course, restaurants, food and beverage pavilions, shops, nightclubs, amphitheatre, aquatic and other recreational and sporting facilities as well as pedestrian and cycling trails. There will also be interactive amenities, such as stingray and dolphin encounters, animal exhibitions and petting zoo.

“Central to the overall development will be the construction of a “Harbour Town” with retail shops, a Bahamian Art plaza and such Back of Town facilities as storage and security houses, administrative complexes, utility services and a transportation hub offering more entrepreneurial opportunities for local taxi and tour operators.

“This build-out, on 226 acres of land in Eastern Grand Bahama, is expected to be completed within twenty-four months of receipt of all of the relevant government approvals.”

Prime Minister Christie noted that as development of the new cruise port takes place, the Government will work with cruise lines, owners of the Harbour, other stakeholders, local entrepreneurs, taxi drivers and tour operators to make Freeport Harbour and the City itself more attractive to cruise visitors.

He said that with Carnival’s long-term investment in Grand Bahama, the negotiated sale of the Grand Lucayan properties progressing, and other projects on the drawing board, his Government’s efforts in establishing an investment framework for long-term economic growth in Grand Bahama is beginning to come to fruition.

“We are nearing completion on a number of other initiatives that will bring stability and economic certainty to the lives of Grand Bahama’s residents and will enable its current and potential investors to view Grand Bahama with confidence,” added Prime Minister Christie. “Grand Bahama’s future is bright and will indeed deliver much-needed economic benefits to its stakeholders and residents, and further enhance our country’s reputation as a premier travel and tourism destination.”




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