||Last Updated: Dec 12, 2017 - 3:26:41 PM
Commonwealth Of The Bahamas Press Statement Sen. J. Kwasi Thompson Minister Of State For Grand Bahama In The Office Of The Prime Minister 11th December, 2017:
Mr. Brave Davis leader of the PLP will stop at nothing to twist facts in support of their bad past practices and policies. In 2016 the PLP enacted The Grand Bahama (Port Area) Investment Incentives Act, but failed to bring the regulations fully into effect. The Act did nothing to stimulate investment by current licencees nor did it give future potential investors confidence to invest in Grand Bahama. The Act was discriminatory in nature in that The PLP gave a blanket tax exemption to the G rand Bahama Port Authority and all of Hutchinson Whampoa’s Companies for a period of twenty years while at the same time denying the same exemption to the struggling Bahamian licensees of the Grand Bahama Port Authority who were required to apply through a complicated, non - transparent process t o a single Minister.
1. The PLP left in place a process which disadvantaged Bahamian liscensees by imposing extra burden on Bahamian licensees as well as creating uncertainty as there were no specific criteria which once met will give certainty of the grant of the concessions.
It was clear from the Grand Bahama private sector that the PLP’s Act instead of providing Freeport with inducements caused a disincentive in
foreign investment and defeat ed the main objective of encouraging and facilitating fur ther development and employment.
In May the people of The Bahamian people gave the Free National Movement the mandate to repeal this job killing piece of legislation and replace it with legislation which will create jobs and opportunities in Grand Bahama
2. The new draft bill does exactly that. It removes discriminatory practices and levels the playing field for all commercial enterprises in Freeport and contrary to the PLP assertion,
3. It does not affect the incentives granted to the Grand Bahama Port Authority by the PLP nor does it take away any obligations which the GB Port Authority must meet as the PLP says but rather t he new bill strengthens the Governments position to enforce the obligations of the GBPA .
4. The existing Memorandum of Understanding signed between the GBPA and the former Government will remain in full force and effect.
5. A Supplemental Memorandum of Understanding is mandated by the new Act to cover outstanding issues not addressed in the previous MOU.
6. The government is also intent upon engaging in wide public consultations with Grand Bahamians in general and business persons/Licensees in Freeport in particular, before proceeding to enact the new Bill into Law.
7. It is only after such consultations and any necessary adjustments to the Bill that the new proposed law will be debated.
8. The Attorney General had already so informed the leader of opposition business in the Senate, prior to becoming aware of the PLP press release.
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