Prime Minister Davis’s Remarks at the Official Opening of The Liwathon South Riding Point Terminal

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I’m pleased to be here today as we officially open this terminal.

It’s a big day, not just for the Liwathon South Riding Point Terminal and the island of Grand Bahama, but also for maritime energy and transatlantic shipping.

The Bahamas, as a major transhipment and fueling hub, is a natural fit for this operation. And Grand Bahama is the ideal locale for this major investment.

You know, there’s a reason Grand Bahama got its name: Grand Bahama is the only island that can support projects such as this one on a grand scale.

While Grand Bahama may not have as much land mass as our largest island, Andros, it certainly has a strong presence in shaping the social and economic character of this nation.

And the people of Grand Bahama, whether they’re from Freeport, West End, or right down the road in High Rock, are ambitious, resilient, and enterprising. 

So, I am pleased to learn that this project will bring over $72 million in investments to the local Grand Bahama economy – funded by the US EXIM bank. It is the largest commitment by US EXIM to a CARICOM-based project. This is a testament to the anticipated success of this project. 

Once fully operational, this project will create 80 jobs and will also stimulate the economy through commerce with local businesses providing inspection, maintenance, hospitality services, and other sectors that will benefit from this project. 

My government believes in this island and its people, and I thank the Liwathon Group for believing in Grand Bahama, too.

This is but the latest of several strategic initiatives underway in Grand Bahama. From a historic Health Campus in Freeport, to an Afro-Caribbean marketplace at the site of the former international bazaar, we are hard at work. 

Still, it will take a lot more work to fully revitalise Grand Bahama, as we continue the long trek toward economic recovery and revitalization post-Hurricane Dorian.

Hurricane Dorian took a toll on our northern islands. Along with many lives lost and billions in damages, five million gallons of oil spilled out into the local Grand Bahama environment from the previous terminal, tarnishing the surrounding landscape. Even after eighteen months had passed, high concentrations of oil still remained, undermining ecosystems and ecological services.

This oil spill added another dimension of crisis atop a historically bad natural disaster, taking attention and resources away from other pressing concerns.

In the midst of this era of climate emergencies, small island developing states like ours have to weigh the costs and benefits of certain economic undertakings, especially when oil is involved and our environment is at stake.

In addition to being stragetically located, The Bahamas has always been strategic

And while we usher in a clean and just energy transition for our own country, we recognise that we must also seize current opportunities that will allow us to level the scale. 

In doing so, we must be prescient in our regulatory frameworks, and proactive in our protective measures. 

Globally, Liwathon has a reputation for operating at a high standard of safety with an extensive track record of risk management. They have brought that same approach here, demonstrating a willingness to comply with our standards and approach this project as safely as possible, which is absolutely necessary given the nature of this industry and the still recent memory of the oil spill that damaged this area.

Moving forward, we will continue to require that safety and conservation of the environment are balanced against our need for investments and economic growth and diversification – not just for this project but for all projects launched within our borders.

The reopening of this terminal is truly a symbolic day for a revived and renewed Grand Bahama.

I am encouraged by what this new beginning will bring for this island and its people. 

Our prospects are bright. And, as we bring in more jobs, opportunities for business, and investments into the Grand Bahama economy, we are ensuring that the future will shine even brighter.

As we celebrate the reopening of the Liwathon South Riding Point Terminal, let us recognize its significance in our plans for Grand Bahama – boosting economic activity on the island, and creating valuable job opportunities. May it serve as a catalyst for further progress in maritime energy and transatlantic shipping, driving us toward a brighter and more prosperous future.

Thank you.