Heads of Agreement Signing: Abaco Resort Development

It is a pleasure to be in Abaco today for the signing of this Heads of Agreement between the Government of The Bahamas and Tyrsoz Family Holdings Ltd.

Today’s signing is an extraordinary day for the residents of Abaco and for the Bahamian people.

We are embarking on a $300-million- dollar project for South Abaco that will benefit all of Abaco.

This is a demonstration of the strong confidence investors continue to have in the future of Abaco and in The Bahamas.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

It has been almost five months since Hurricane Dorian devastated much of Grand Bahama, Abaco, and the Abaco Cays.

Since then the Bahamas Government, along with our international partners, has focused its efforts on rebuilding the lives and communities impacted by the storm.

The Government has implemented a comprehensive medium- and long-term reconstruction strategy.

We continue to deliver aid and assistance in various forms to residents and communities affected by the storm.

Earlier this week, the Bahamas Disaster Reconstruction Authority officially launched the Small Home Repair program in Grand Bahama, to assist Bahamians who need help in rebuilding.

The Authority will officially launch the program here on Abaco next week.

Today’s signing is an important part of the post-Dorian reconstruction and rebuilding effort.

In order to rebuild Grand Bahama and Abaco, we must stimulate economic development and job creation.

Among the best ways to help The Bahamas post-Dorian, is for tourists to visit our islands, for second-home owners to rebuild, and for Bahamian and international investors to invest in our economy.

The Bahamas is an archipelago of archipelagos, ranging from the Crooked Island, Acklins, and the Long Cay group of islands, to the Exumas, and to Abaco, and the Abaco Cays.

We are an archipelago of enormous possibility, including a range of tourism amenities and services, with many linkages such as agriculture, fisheries, heritage tourism and the creative economy.

The island groups of The Bahamas must be developed in a sustainable manner, bearing the unique island heritage and signatures of our diverse islands and cays.

Abaco and the Abaco Cays enjoy extraordinary potential, some of which has been set back by Hurricane Dorian, but which will be revived in order to realize the extraordinary potential of the people and possibilities of the Abaco archipelago.

To realize this potential and to restore Abaco, boutique properties, such as this development are essential.

This development represents one of the largest ever in Abaco, the country’s third largest economy.

It includes: an up-market resort community with a wide range of amenities, including the expansion and upgrade of the Sandy Point Airport, a marina, golf course, clubhouse, restaurants, a retail and residential component, swimming pools, waterpark, utility services, resort accommodations and related amenities.

The project will be developed over two properties: the Lantern Head property and the South West property.

Lantern Head is designed to be a private community inclusive of a hotel and golf course.

Tyrsoz has entered into a letter of intent with a well-renowned luxury resort operator.

It is anticipated that the Lantern Head property will encompass:

• a boutique 50-room hotel with beachfront access, restaurants and guest amenities;

• 76 residential lots, inclusive of 66 beachfront lots and 10 hilltop lots, and;

• an 18-hole full-size golf course with a driving range, full-service club house, pro shop and other amenities.

I note that Abaco, and the Abaco Cays are world-renowned as a boating paradise.

South West Point is focused around a super-yacht marina and encompasses two boutique hotels and a marina village, along with residential lot offerings.

This portion of the development is expected to include:

• a 136-slip marina with slips up to 660- feet and all the necessary amenities;

• a marina village that will provide services to marina and hotel guests and residential homeowners, and offer shopping, dining experiences, bars and entertainment.

Bahamian entrepreneurs will enjoy multiple business opportunities in the marina village.

This development will also include:

• a 75-room luxury hotel located behind the marina;

• a small European-style casino with approximately 5,000 square feet of gaming space, and;

• 90 lots, inclusive of 44 marina canal lots, 26 waterfront residential lots and 13 hill-top lots.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

It is anticipated that 600 workers will be employed during the construction phase of the project.

Tysroz Holdings has agreed to aim for a ratio of no less than 80 percent Bahamian workers to 20 percent non-Bahamian workers.

Construction on the project and any other construction beyond the high-water mark will be prohibited until the review and approval of the Environmental Management Plan by the BEST Commission.

The developer must also submit an Environmental Impact Assessment for review and approval.

During the project’s operational phase, the development expects to employ 600 workers.

Tyrsoz has also agreed to maximize the hiring of Bahamians for additional operational employment and promote entrepreneurial opportunities for Bahamians in the commercial aspects of the development.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Training programs will be implemented to help qualify more Bahamians for employment in the operation and management of the property.

Multi-disciplinary, on-the-job technical skills-training, and apprenticeship programs for Bahamian employees will be implemented and maintained.

In an effort to identify qualified Bahamians for employment and management, Tyrsoz has agreed to collaborate with the relevant government agencies for education, including the University of The Bahamas, and The Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute.

The developer will also create opportunities for Bahamian entertainers and performers to regularly perform at various locations at the resort.

Bahamian artwork will be used to beautify the resort and to enhance the visitor experience.

Bahamian music will be played throughout the resort, inclusive of live Bahamian entertainment.

Bahamian cuisine will be integrated in the property’s menu options.

Environmental groups and entrepreneurs will be consulted to develop eco-tourism excursion opportunities, including bird watching and bone fish guides.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

At least six months prior to the commencement of operations of the Project and in coordination with the Small Business Development Centre, Tyrsoz has agreed to put in place a South Abaco Business Development Fund.

Seven million dollars will be made exclusively available for Bahamian entrepreneurs who are seeking to establish businesses in the Project.

The Fund will assist Bahamian entrepreneurs in training and business development opportunities and will provide direct financial subsidies to support the businesses during the initial operational phase of the Project.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

As a part of the community and infrastructure commitments under this Heads of Agreement, the developer, at its expense, will undertake a number of community enhancement projects and infrastructure investments in South Abaco, including:

• the expansion and enhancement of the existing Sandy Point airport in order to accommodate private jets and make it fully operational, inclusive of a fixed-based operation;

• the expansion and renovation of the airport to accommodate a terminal, parking area and runway extension, and;

• the extension of Queen’s Highway.

The developer has agreed to invest up to $1 million dollars for the restoration of the exterior of the historic Hole-In-The-Wall Lighthouse and the surrounding area.

This will include the restoration of the out-buildings, in cooperation with the Bahamas National Trust (BNT) and the Antiquities, Monuments and Museums Corporation (AMMC) to provide a small museum of the area and a shop featuring local artisans and craftspeople.

The restoration and operation of the Lighthouse will be undertaken in partnership with the Government of The Bahamas, the AMMC and the BNT.

As a part of the Lighthouse renovation, the developer will:

• invest up to $500,000 dollars to create a safe and secure facility for the public to climb to the top of the Lighthouse;

• create the South Abaco Lighthouse Society (SALS), modeled after the highly successful Elbow Cay Lighthouse Society.

Tyrsoz will provide a perpetual contribution of $250,000 per year and assist with organizing donations and;

• invest up to $250,000 dollars to provide public access to the beach area near the Lighthouse;

Up to $250,000 dollars have been committed to restore the Alexandria settlement ruins adjacent to the South West Point Development.

And $750,000 dollars have been committed for community development initiatives in Sandy Point, Abaco in coordination with the Sandy Point community and local government.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Located north of this Project is the Abaco National Forest, which is managed by the BNT.

The Trust presented a conceptual plan for the Abaco National Park to the developer.

I am pleased to note that the developer proposes to cooperate financially, up to $1 million dollars, and operationally to implement the conceptual plan in certain agreed upon areas, including cleaning up the Forest, signage, creating nature trails and a welcome center.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Abaco has started to rebuild!

As I noted in my National Address, the task of restoration ahead of us is awesome and wide scale.

But we are making progress. Today’s signing is yet another indication of the progress we are making together.

Thank you to Tyrsoz Family Holdings for your confidence in Abaco and in The Bahamas.

Thank you to all who worked to make this Agreement possible.

May the God of new beginnings bless the people of Abaco as you embark on this new and promising venture.

And may God continue to bless the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.

Thank you and good morning.