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THIS WEEK IN THE BAHAMAS (20 – 24 APRIL, 2015) COMMENTARY BY ELCOTT COLEBY

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viagra canada ambulance times;”>elcottBAHAMAS JUNKANOO CARNIVAL LAUNCH A HUGE SUCCESS
ambulance times;”> The Christie government was decidedly magnanimous and measured in its response but effusive in its praise and thanks to Bahamians and the event organizers in the wake of the hugely successful Grand Bahama launch of the 2015 and inaugural Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival.

Speaking on behalf of the government was Tourism Minister Hon. Obie Wilchcombe who thanked the Bahamian people for their belief in themselves, their show of national unity and national pride. He characterized the whole event as a leap of faith.

“I join the Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie and colleague ministers in expressing our profound thanks to the Bahamian people for their leap of faith and unshakable belief in themselves and their ability to execute a world class show and perform on a world stage before a global audience.

Bahamians and residents of Grand Bahama and elsewhere came out in great numbers over the weekend in support of the country’s inaugural Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival. The government is especially pleased and thankful that Bahamians enjoyed themselves, proudly displaying their national pride and sense of unity as Bahamians from all walks of life celebrated our unique culture together and this massive event took place without incident.”

“Special thanks” continued Mr. Wilchcombe, “go out to the Bahamas Junkanoo Festival Committee, Carnival’s premier sponsor BTC, all other sponsors, the Grand Bahama-based organizers, especially Ginger Moxey and Jimmy Smith for their leadership; the Royal Bahamas police Force and the many cultural artisans, musicians, songwriters and dancers who contributed to the success of what was arguably the single largest event to take place on the island of Grand Bahama.”

Acknowledging that the Cultural Community had lobbied for this kind of public private sector partnership for quite some time, the Tourism Minister stressed the importance of the inter-industry linkages and sweeping economic impact of this cultural event and pointed out that Bahamians are limited only by their imagination.

“The pervasive and far reaching economic impact of Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival cannot be understated as companies in industries as diverse as tourism, communications, transportation and events promotions to costume design, printers, artisans and even food vendors are all being positively impacted. This festival has the capacity to catapult the culture industry into a year-round industry and is only limited by the imagination and entrepreneurial spirit of Bahamians and for those who dare to dream, dream big and think “outside of the box” for the sky is the limit.”

PRIME MINISTER TOURS ABACO’S BAKER’S BAY
The Baker’s Bay Golf and Ocean Club, located on Great Guana Cay in the Abacos, is the third largest resort development in The Bahamas, behind Cable Beach’s Baha Mar and Paradise Island Atlantis Resort and the largest private employer in Abaco. More than $600 million has been invested in this project since phase one some ten years ago; the resort has created about 800 construction and operational jobs and it is estimated that nearly $1 billion has been pumped into the Bahamian economy as a result of this project. It has proven itself recession proof over the years and is a bona-fide success story.

It is against this backdrop that Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie and his ministerial delegation including DPM Philip Davis and Tourism Minister Hon. Obie Wilchcombe toured the luxury resort on Thursday of this week to see and hear of its impressive success, rapid expansion plans and its significant impact on the local economy. The Prime Minister spoke of Baker’s Bay future expansion plans.

“It will employ over 250 additional Bahamians in construction jobs. It will mount job fairs to attract Bahamian employees from throughout the country. Secondly, it will be permitted a limited number of essential specialized work permit holders who will also be able to sustain multi-disciplinary on-the-job technical skills training and apprenticeship programs designed to equip Bahamian employees and sub-contractors with high levels of proficiency.”

The 34.5 kilowatt power sub-station is being built by the developer to service the energy needs of the resort, the general public resident on Great Guana Cay and will “augment the power supply to at least two other cays in the Abacos” said Mr. Christie.

As for the private residential homes component of this mixed use luxury resort, there are about 40 luxury homes completed with 40 more coming on stream shortly. Speaking to this rapid expansion and its impact on the Abaco economy was President and Chairman of Discovery Land Mike Meldman who said “as you can see by the construction, we literally are growing faster than we can. We feel we can go from almost 800 to almost 1,200 to 1,500 employees and the amount of money that means to the local economy is staggering.”

Mr. Meldman also revealed that Baker’s Bay will spend several hundred million dollars over the next year and predicts that within a short period of time the resort will be a billion dollar operation.

CARICOM CHAIR INTERVENES TO HELP SAVE WEST INDIES CRICKET
Bahamas Prime Minister Perry Christie, in his capacity as Chair of CARICOM, was in St Georges, Grenada, on Monday 20th April to attend a special call meeting at the invitation of host Prime Minister Keith Mitchell, CARICOM’s sub-committee chair on Cricket. Mr. Christie was there to address the decline of the region’s national sport of Cricket and to craft the way forward; it is generally believed that West Indies Cricket is in crisis. He was accompanied by Foreign Affairs Minister, Hon. Fred Mitchell who chairs the Community Council.

Joining Prime Minister Christie were Ralph Gonsalves, the Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines and Gaston Brown, the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda.

In updating The Bahamas Parliament upon the Prime Minister’s return, Foreign Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell underscored the cultural significance of Cricket to the region:

“The issue facing the region is that the cultural life of the region and the history of the game are intimately tied up with the region’s reputation, image and sense of self. The West Indies team in its present incarnation continues to underperform and to lose in the international arena. This was a sport which the region dominated in the latter half of the twentieth century. It provides a sense of identity for young people throughout the region and provides a good living for scores of West Indian youngsters around the globe.”

 

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