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At this event, exactly a year ago, Vice Chairman Sarah St. George closed her presentation with a referenced quote by Michael Eisner of the Walt Disney Corporation, in which he said, “Successful partnerships promote common sense, a common purpose, and strong ethics. Partners must value trust, keep egos in check, and put a premium on not just brains, but human decency. If we’re in an age where loss of integrity is an ever growing concern, then partnerships counter that”. A Harvard University study showed, there was one overriding cause of happiness…“sustained relationships over a long period of time. Passing wisdom on to future generations; being adaptable and able to bounce back from disappointments; and being comfortable with the way someone else views the world. To summarize: Working together is much better than working…alone”.

Where Madam Vice Chairman’s stimulating presentation ended, this one commences. Ladies & gentlemen, I submit to you that Grand Bahama’s successful resurgence and revitalization, is not solely hinged on the accomplishments, or not, of the Grand Bahama Port Authority, but rather requires the commitment, innovation and cooperation of all its stakeholders, public and private sectors, you and me: this is Our Island, Our City, Our Home. 

On Wednesday, February 8th, the Prime Minister tabled the Grand Bahama (Port Area) Investment Incentives Regulations, 2017. These provide the Application Form for GBPA licensees to apply for certain concessions, which expired under the Hawksbill Creek Agreement (“HCA”) as prescribed by the Grand Bahama (Port Area) Investment Incentives Act, (“the Act”) of August 2016.

The Act brought the interim stay on certain expiring HCA concessions (most impactfully the Real Property Tax exemption) to an end on March 6th 2017, while offering GBPA licensees an opportunity to extend these by application to the Government under the Act and Regulations. We are very pleased, however, that the Government has seen fit to extend this deadline for a period of a month to April 4th 2017. We welcome this news particularly in light of the hardships being experienced by the people of Grand Bahama in the aftermath of the hurricane.

Leveraging “Opportunities for Growth ” and how The Bahamas as an investment jurisdiction, can realize the opportunities that international business and commerce presents, was a focus of panel discussions at the 2017 International Business & Finance Summit, held at the Grand Lucayan Resort, this past Friday.

The 3-day annual event is hosted by the Bahamas Financial Services Board (BSFB), and is the premier platform for bringing together the nation’s leading stakeholders in the financial services industry to discuss and define the value of services to be delivered to clients choosing to conduct business in the jurisdiction. 

Local business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs were challenged to take their businesses and ideas to the next level, during a Small Business Fair and Training Workshop, hosted by The Grand Bahama Port Authority, Limited (GBPA) and the Invest Grand Bahama Small Business Bureau (IGBSBB), last Thursday, 26th January at the Pelican Bay Resort.

The 1-day event featured a platform of dynamic presenters, addressing issues vital to the start-up, growth and innovation stages of business. Topics included ‘Crowdfunding – An Alternative Method of Raising Capital – presented by Indiegogo; ‘Crafting Successful sales and marketing strategies – presented by VKR Insights’, and ‘smart banking for small and medium enterprises (SME) – presented by Scotiabank. 

The Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) has had the opportunity to review the Hurricane Matthew costs incurred by the Grand Bahama Power Company (GBPC), to restore electricity to Grand Bahama Island, in accordance with the Electricity Regulatory Framework & Operating Protocol Agreement of 2013.

We have verified power restoration costs quantified at $27.5 million comprising extensive labour and materials, which were required during the island-wide hurricane restoration exercise. The GBPC recovery operation involved local and off-island crews - without which it is estimated the restoration would have taken 60 weeks (15 months) rather than six weeks. The adverse economic impact resulting from a slow restoration - with its extended hardship and inevitable loss of business, tourism, trade and jobs - would have implied costs many times higher for the Grand Bahama community as a whole and possibly proved irremediable, according to studies undertaken.

ABOUT GBPA


The Hawksbill Creek Agreement (HCA) gave GBPA responsibility for the development, administration and management, and provision of services within an area called the 'Port Area' (230 sq. miles). GBPA was mandated by this Agreement to build a deep water harbour, an industrial community and required infrastructure for the City.

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PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE


GBPA has achieved an astonishing amount since its inception in 1955.  When first created it was a Grand Bahamian business conglomerate charged not only with land and commercial development but also with all the regulatory and administrative functions of the Freeport/Lucaya.

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THE WAY FORWARD


Firstly, I wish to thank Joan Albury and the Counsellors for this platform enabling us to share with the Grand Bahama community, the outlook for our island! 2015 marks the 60th year of the birth of Freeport and the Hawksbill Creek Agreement; 60 years of a partnership between The Government of The Bahamas and The Grand Bahama Port Authority. I'm here to raise hopes for 2015 and to lay a few popular myths to rest - For those who don't know me, I am Sarah St George.

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