ABRAHAM’S BAY, Mayaguana – The Government of The Bahamas is committed to the sustainable, ongoing development of Mayaguana, and is considering strategies that will generate more activity to ensure that commerce that can support the local community well into the future is established, Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation, the Hon. I. Chester Cooper told residents.
One aspect of that Plan, Mr. Cooper said, is the potential of Mayguana to become the shipping hub for the southern Bahamas.
“One thing we noted in our Blueprint for Change is that Mayaguana can be the shipping hub for the southern Bahamas,” Mr. Cooper said while addressing residents, Local Government Officials, members of the island’s Disaster Consultative Committee and other stakeholders during a tour of the island to personally assess any damages that may have occurred as a result of the impacts of Tropical Storm-Force conditions associated with Hurricane Fiona. The island received minimal damage. Forecasters at the Bahamas Department of Meteorology had forecast that the island would receive minimal Tropical Storm-force conditions associated with the passage of Hurricane Fiona.
“We can take advantage of the deep water and the shipping lanes at this strategic location between Europe and the Latin American/Caribbean region. We do a lot of maritime logistics business in Grand Bahama. We can learn from what’s being done there and certainly we can develop around that, a shipping hub here in Mayaguana. This is our vision for Mayaguana.”
Acting Prime Minister Cooper, whose portfolio as Deputy Prime Minister includes investments, said the Government is also reviewing strategies as to how it can attract more investments into the island. He said: “In the meantime, the government will fulfil its commitment with respect to the basic levels of infrastructure to make Mayaguana even more attractive for new investors coming to the Island. Suffice it to say, we want to ensure that we attract investors to Mayaguana who share the vision and the urgency to do some significant projects here in Mayaguana and that is something that we are going to continue to wish to do.
“One of the things that we recognize in the area of investments in the government as a whole, is that having many islands across The Bahamas, we certainly try to attract as many investors as we can to help us to build and develop The Bahamas for the benefit of the Bahamian people, for the benefit of the residents.”
Mr. Cooper said one of the many advantages the Davis Administration offers the country at the Executive Level (Cabinet), is the fact that Prime Minister Davis (the Hon. Philip E. Davis, K.C. – Cat Island), himself (Exuma), and Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs with responsibility for Local Government, the Hon. Clay Sweeting (Eleuthera), are from Family Islands and therefore understand life in the Family Islands.
“Coming from a small community in Exuma myself, with a population smaller than what we have in some parts of Mayaguana, I can tell you that we love our ancestral homes. We are not going anywhere, and we count on the government to create opportunities to ensure that our children come back home, that our children who are there remain home, and that we can have a good quality of life and a better quality of life for them,” the Acting Prime Minister said.
“We understand the struggle. Our Prime Minister is from Cat Island, I’m from Exuma, the Minister responsible for Family Island Affairs is a Family Island man as well and therefore we understand the struggle. We know the needs, and we are committed to ensuring that the government continues to put its shoulders to the wheel to cause action to happen for the betterment of the Bahamian people.”
Acting Prime Minister Cooper said the government will do all that it can to address the island’s needs with regards to the dock in Betsy Bay and the Airport.
“We came, we saw, we acknowledge the need. The Ministry of Works’ Senior Engineer is here. He will take back his report, we will discuss it with the Minister responsible and we will do all that we can to restore the dock. In these islands roads ad docks are critical infrastructure and we will make every effort as quickly as we can to restore the facility and even make it better,” the Acting Prime Minister said.
“Let me also say in relation to the Airport which falls within my remit (as Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation) — I can say to the people of Mayaguana, that we are going to be looking very closely at building a small terminal here much like what we did in Ragged Island to ensure that (you) have the same level of comfort for air travel as we have in other Family Islands. I think that is a model that we can duplicate. It was indeed distressing what we saw there and we are going to do something about it,” Acting Prime Minister Cooper added.