PM Christie Updates Business Community on Foreign Investment Projects

Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie told businesspersons and stakeholders attending Bahamas Business Outlook at Melia Nassau Beach Resort that that the remobilization of the Baha Mar Resort is well underway and the project will open in phases with the golf course, convention centre, casino and hotel in a soft opening by April.

“It is my understanding that since the announcement, Baha Mar’s website has received over 20,000 views and 5,000 job applications have already been received for the 1500 positions now available, with several thousand more positions coming on stream by year end, when the project is fully completed,” Prime Minister Christie said, January 23, 2017.

“The new owners, CTF Enterprises — a Hong-Kong based conglomerate and operators of top branded hotels worldwide — are also making plans to add additional features to what is already the largest single resort complex under development within the region.”

While continuing to speak on foreign investment, Prime Minister Christie noted that Atlantis Resort, with 7,763 employees continues to be the largest private sector employer in the country.

“Its owner, Brookfield Asset Management, which was restructured just before we took office, and successfully refinanced during this Administration, is carrying out $38 million in upgrades and renovations to the property,” he said.  “In 2016, Atlantis contributed $290 million in salaries, fees and taxes, for which the Government has extended appropriate concessions, and will maintain a vibrant capex programme over the next three years.”

A signal achievement of his Government, Prime Minister Christie said, has been the initiatives taken with respect to the expiring provisions of the Hawksbill Creek Agreement, which is expected to result in the strengthening and expansion of the Grand Bahama economy.

“The consultative process undertaken by this Administration for review of the expiring provisions of the Agreement has led to the implementation of a new policy framework and conclusion of a Memorandum of Understanding with key stakeholders for commitments to further development,” Prime Minister Christie said.  “This will deliver a wide range of economic and social gains for Grand Bahama’s residents.”

Some of the outcomes from this new framework include changes to the regulatory framework governing Freeport, creating improved transparency and regulatory oversight, he added.

“Future concessions to developers will be administered by Government and conditional upon compliance with real estate and business development milestones,” Prime Minister Christie stated.  “A collaborative strategy is being developed with key stakeholders for attracting, retaining and expanding investment in Grand Bahama, including the injection of new equity capital into the Grand Bahama Port Authority group of companies.”

Prime Minister Christie pointed out that The Bahamas’ cruise sector continues to expand with the recent negotiation by the  Government of a Waiver of Exclusivity from Freeport Harbour Company to enable development by Carnival Cruise Lines of a cruise port in Eastern Grand Bahama.

“More than $350 million has been committed by Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines (RCCA), Disney and Mediterranean Cruise Lines (MSC) for refurbishment and creation of cruise ports in The Bahamas,” he added.

The construction of a large pier and enhanced amenities at Coco Cay in the Berry Islands will enable RCCA, which is a minority investor in the Grand Bahama Shipyard, to transport over two million passengers per annum to The Bahamas, Prime Minister Christie said.

“The development by Mediterranean Cruise Lines (MSC) at Ocean Cay of a $200 million, exclusive private cruise destination, the Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, will enable MSC’s new, smart mega ships sailing in November 2018, to bring an additional 390,000 passengers to The Bahamas,” he said.  “MSC is committed to hiring more than eleven hundred twenty (1,120) Bahamians for the construction and operation of the Cay and, in partnership with the National Training Agency, will train and employ an additional 240 Bahamian crew who will join the 20 Bahamians already working on its cruise ships.”

“The efforts of my Administration on job creation from foreign direct investment have been fruitful, with approvals given for over eight billion dollars in touristic projects and, inclusive of 300 estate homes which, along with Baha Mar, will create an additional 15,000 permanent jobs throughout key islands of our archipelago,” Prime Minister noted.  “As a matter of record, the Department of Statistics has recorded the creation of 31,735 jobs during the current Administration.”

Prime Minister Christie said that investor confidence in The Bahamas is continuously demonstrated, given the number new projects tabled over the course of his Administration.

He stated: “The successful launch and operation of new hotels such as the Resorts World Bimini Hilton, Island House, the Pointe, Ocean West, Warwick and Memories; the expansion of Sandals, Albany, One & Only Ocean Club, Bimini Bay, Baker’s Bay and February Point, and new projects to soon come on stream in Lyford Cay, the Four Seasons & Cotton Bay in Eleuthera; the JMMC Exuma Great Adventure Resort and all of these places which envisage and involve new business development and employment in hotel, second home, cruise, maritime and sports sectors for years to come.”

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