||Last Updated: Apr 20, 2017 - 12:37:15 PM
ANDROS, Bahamas - Address By The Rt. Hon. Perry Christie Prime Minister and Minister of Finance at The Ground Breaking Ceremony for The Blue Hole Marina Village at Fresh Creek Andros on 18th April, 2017:
It is indeed a privilege for me to be here this morning and to join with my friend of many years, Mr. Prescott Smith and his partner in this venture, Ms. Geneva Wilson on this momentous occasion for them as ground is being broken for this major marina development to be called Blue Hole Marina Village.
I congratulate both of them for their vision and persistence in pursuing their dream to build the first major state of the art marina facility in Andros. In so doing, they would have opened Andros up to the rapidly developing marina industry now sprouting up around The Bahamas and which does so much for our Tourism sector.
Marinas provide an alternative stream of high income for the ownership of these facilities as they bring in not only yachts that berth for a week or longer but most truly it is the spin-off for the community that make such facilities so viable. We encourage the development of marinas because of this key linkage to the local economy.
This particular facility will have some 80 slips which means that it will be among the larger of such facilities and I am assured that the construction and operation of the facility will be at Best Practices standards for the industry and will include all of the amenities that such a facility should have. I have viewed the architectural renderings and from that which has been designed, I am confident that it will be among the finest of such facilities all across The Bahamas and will be added to the list of marinas from Grand Bahama and Abaco in the north to those of Bimini and the Berry Islands and of course, those in Exuma.
The developers are confident that there will be no rivals or competitors in terms of what is being done here and the principal reason for saying this is because of its location in Fresh Creek Andros. It will be a one of a kind facility given the wildness and mystique of Andros. This facility will take advantage of all that Andros has to offer.
As we all know, Andros boasts of having the largest bonefish flats in the world, the largest concentration of red mangroves in the western hemisphere, the third largest reef in the world and the Tongue of the Ocean which drops off to an average depth of 6,000 ft is but a mere few minutes outside of this proposed marina facility and offers world class off-shore fishing for Billfish, Tuna. Wahoo, Mahi- Mahi, etc.
The Ministry of Tourism estimates that over 40,000 foreign boaters visit or transverse The Bahamas every year and so Andros is primed to enter this growing and lucrative market. This facility when completed will, I am sure, be able to attract its fair share of this market based on the alluring features of Andros which I have just described and the standard of service which this facility will provide to its customers.
I am pleased to note that the partners in this venture have sight very high standards for what they hope to see on completion of this project. The Blue Hole Marina Village will provide dockage for 80 yachts with full amenities and security and will provide the following products and services: Gasoline and diesel fuel, lubricants, LP Gas, ice, Restaurants, Spa/Gym/ Shower and Laundry facilities, cottage rentals, Golf putting range and retail stores. In short, this will be a fully all-inclusive facility and will put Fresh Creek on the map.
This is a wonderful model and a very pertinent and relevant example of empowerment of locals into the mainstream of our burgeoning Tourism sector. The practicality of this development will mean the creation of local jobs for others in the community who themselves will become entrepreneurs whether in the transport sector, as tour guides and fishing, as chefs as mechanics and maintenance persons as vendors and the likes.
The infusion of new business opportunities created by this development will radiate through the Fresh Creek community and all of Central Andros. One direct benefit for the local community will be a marked reduction in the cost of fuels to a reasonable price and the problem of fuel shortage will be addressed through this investment.
But allow me to say this. This proposed development for which we break ground today will mean that the people of Central Andros will have to ready to take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves. There will be direct and indirect opportunities but above all, you the people of Central Andros will have to be ready.
To the young and not so young, I can say that through the many programmes which the Government sponsor you can train yourself and enhance your Resume’ so that if you want to be a chef you will have the requisite qualification. If you would like to be on the engineering and technical staff of this development, you will have that piece of paper which says you are qualified to do the job that you are seeking.
This Government is all about empowering and ensuring that we put Bahamians first. You must be prepared for it.
You have heard it said that Andros is the “Sleeping Giant.” During this term in office, my Government set out to awaken our sleeping giant and through private sector developments such as this one and through Government initiatives such as BAMSI, I feel that we can cause real economic development to happen in Andros built around its unique natural attributes.
Indeed, my vision and wish for Andros is to have true, meaningful, sustainable development which is organic to the island and generated and embraced by Androsians and all Bahamians.
And this is why I am so filled with pride today to see another step being taken by local Bahamians to empower themselves and through their efforts empower others. I am happy for Prescott and his associate Geneva who have taken a great leap of faith in moving ahead with this project which when completed will have a major impact on the communities of Central Andros and beyond.
Finally, Andros is too large and represents too great a potential not to be integrated into and be a major driver of our economy. We have to put the myriad of its resources to work to build and sustain the future development of The Bahamas. I believe that it can be done.
Once again, my very warm congratulations to the developers of this project and I wish you every success.
© Copyright 2017 by thebahamasweekly.com
Top of Page