Prime Minister Philip Davis’ Remarks at the Re-Opening of the British Colonial Hotel

Good morning…
To our Hosts at CCA and the British Colonial Hotel…
To other Distinguished Guests…
Ladies and Gentlemen…

There is no doubt an irony in the fact that, as we celebrate 50 years of Independence, we are also celebrating the re-opening of the ‘British Colonial Hotel’.

But the meaning within the imperial legacy of that name has changed. It now signals the grand tradition of what tourism was automatically once assumed to be: travel to unknown places, in the hope of pursuing adventure, luxury, style, and comfort.

I know that these aspirations are similarly shared by the 21st-century owners of this property.

There is an even richer vein of history that sits underneath this hotel.

This site, rich in heritage, has witnessed the transformation of Nassau from its early days as Charles Town to the vibrant city it is today.

The land on which this hotel stands was once the Old Fort of Nassau.

Sitting right at the entrance to the naturally deep-water harbour, it played a significant role in our island’s history. 

Would-be invaders would think twice at the sight of that imposing structure.

After the fort’s demolition in 1873, this area evolved.

It reflected the growth in commerce, in religious significance (with the nearby Cathedral), and as the visible seat of our parliamentary democracy.

After the property was purchased in 1900 by Henry M. Flagler, the original Colonial Hotel opened in 1901, and, as they say, the rest is history. 

I offer this glimpse of history because I want us to appreciate how landmark developments such as this, are more than just offerings of investment, more than just additions to tourism.

This is not to diminish either of those.

Major investments such as the upgrading of the British Colonial Hotel bring jobs and other opportunities for Bahamians.

With record numbers of tourists arriving on our shores, we also desperately need more rooms to accommodate them.

Let me offer an example.

The introduction of new direct flights from Seattle with Alaska Airlines and from Los Angeles with Jet Blue marks a significant milestone in our tourism journey.

These new routes signify our expanding reach and the growing interest in the unique allure of The Bahamas.

We are not just connecting destinations; we are weaving together the stories and experiences of people from diverse cultures.

And so, as we witness growth from these new markets, the reopening of the British Colonial Hotel comes at a crucial time.

But there is also the broader context of national development.

Therefore, this partnership with China Construction America in the restoration of the British Colonial Hotel is not just a collaboration, but a significant contribution to the economic development of The Bahamas.

CCA’s commitment and expertise have helped restore this iconic building into a modern landmark, while simultaneously respecting its rich heritage.

This partnership symbolizes a bridge between nations, fostering economic growth and cultural exchange.

CCA’s investment is also an expression of continued confidence in the Bahamian economy.

They see potential not only in what we are doing today, but also in the future that we are charting.

We are grateful for that confidence and thank them as we look forward to an even stronger partnership in the years ahead.

My congratulations to everyone who has led or contributed to making today possible.

Let’s all celebrate the revived, refurbished, renewed, British Colonial Hotel.

Thank you.