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Prime Minister opens Grand Bahama’s newest resort
By Simon Lewis, BIS
Sep 21, 2012 - 5:13:41 PM

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Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie and several of his Cabinet Ministers are pictured with Blue Marlin Cove Resort and Marina owners Joe Rieger and Frank Levy as they participate in the official ribbon cutting to open the resort September 20 at West End, Grand Bahama. Pictured from left to right: Obie Wilchcombe, Minister of Tourism; Prime Minister Christie; Frank Levy, Blue Marlin Cove; Joe Reiger, Blue Marlin Cove; Hon. Dr. Michael Darville, Minister for Grand Bahama; and Hon. Khaalis Rolle, Minister of State for Investment in the Office of the Prime Minister.

West End, Grand Bahama – Still recognised as the official capital of Grand Bahama Island, the settlement of West End can boast of having a new resort, with the opening of the Blue Marlin Cove Resort and Marina at Bootle Bay on Thursday.

Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry Gladstone Christie was in Grand Bahama to officially open the resort, as was Tourism Minister and Member of Parliament for West End and Bimini, the Hon. Obie Wilchcombe. Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville was also on hand to bring remarks.

Prime Minister Christie told the gathering that he was delighted to be in West End, Grand Bahama to participate in the ceremony, which marks the transformation and the official opening of the Blue Marlin Cove into a condo-hotel.

Built originally as a 30 condominium unit, the upscale renovated property now boasts some 30 bedrooms 2 ½ bathroom suites, a private marina with 30 slips, swimming pool and spa, restaurant, recreation centre and conference space.

The capital investment in the resort by the American owners, Joe Rieger and Frank Levy is said to be around $10 million.

The boutique hotel will cater to a mixture of guests including fishing and boating enthusiasts, businessmen, locals and others looking for a relaxing atmosphere in a turn key facility whose rooms are tastefully decorated and equipped with all the amenities.

The facility will also be marketed as a high tech and comfortable location where busy executives can unwind or attend conventions and enhance their professional skills through the use of distance learning technology, the Prime Minister pointed out.

He was also pleased to see resort continue with the legacy left by the late Bonefish Foley, an outstanding Bahamian fisherman who resided at West End and catered to a number of distinguished world leaders and visiting guests and businesspersons.

An important feature of the resort's annual calendar of events will be the Annual Bonefish Foley Inshore and Offshore Fishing Tournament.

Likewise the resort will be marketed as Grand Bahama’s premier bone-fishing centre and management has hired Tommy and Carl Rolle, better known as the “Bonefish Foley Sons” to begin that venture.

Prime Minister Christie, in his remarks also alluded to the additional employment and entrepreneurial opportunities that have been created for Bahamians, especially residents of West End in capital works being carried out and in the operation of the resort.

He said the official opening also afforded him the opportunity to assure the people of Grand Bahama that his Government is focused on a number of initiatives to revive, grow and sustain the island’s economy.

Mr. Christie told Grand Bahamians that he is acutely aware that they helped elect his government into office because they believe that his administration was best suited to accomplish that task.

Toward that end, Mr. Christie said he created the first ever Ministry for Grand Bahama headed by the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville, the Member of Parliament for Pineridge, to focus solely on Grand Bahama affairs.

Additionally, the Prime Minister said he appointed the Hon. Obediah “Obie” Wilchcombe, Minister of Tourism to fire up tourism as the main engine of our economy.

“Under my personal directions theses two ministers along with their other ministerial colleagues are giving priority to the needs of Grand Bahama,” Mr. Christie said.

He noted that the government is engaged on a daily basis with existing Bahamians and non Bahamian enterprises as well as prospective new investors in creating the environment and introducing measures to stimulate the economy of Grand Bahama and create significant new jobs.

Prime Minister Christie admitted that their greatest challenge to growth and to attract new investments, are the high energy and operating costs throughout Grand Bahama and The Bahamas.

He added that his government is considering a number of proposals and engaging in studies to address those issues, which he added are of paramount importance to successfully compete with other countries and achieve the kind of major and sustained economic growth that will create sufficient jobs and enterprises for the growing population.

Mr. Christie also informed that he expects to return to Grand Bahama at an early date to speak further on the economic initiatives and plans for Grand Bahama Island.

Ministers Wilchcombe and Darville both agreed that the expansion and opening of the resort demonstrates investor confidence in the tourism sector on Grand Bahama.

Minister Darville said that as Minister for Grand Bahama, it is his mandate to promote the advancement of Grand Bahama as a tourism centre, as tourism remains the premier industry in The Bahamas today.

He assured the gathering “this Government will do all in its power to revitalise and re-brand our tourism product on Grand Bahama.”

Both he and Mr. Wilchcombe touched on the upcoming increase in airlift and cruise arrivals to Grand Bahama Island.

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