Ladies and Gentlemen,
What a pleasure it is to have been asked to bring remarks here at the grand re-opening of the Great Harbour Cay airport.
This is a major development in the broader push to revitalize Great Harbour Cay, and encourage increased domestic and international air traffic into the Berry Islands.
I remember these islands in their heyday. It is my sincerest hope and commitment that we do all that we can to reinvigorate and stimulate the economy of the Berry Islands and help restore them to their former glory.
Great Harbour Cay was once home to a major luxury development that became a significant attraction for many. It was the crème de la crème of The Bahamas’ luxury tourist product.
That 38-million-dollar investment in the late 1960s ushered in an era of concentrated growth and prosperity for the islands. The renowned
18-hole golf course, world-famous marina, and popular clubhouse were key attractions.
Unfortunately, the popularity and success of this development waned and eventually stalled by the late 1970s. Despite attempts to revitalize the luxury tourism industry here over the years, the pace has remained slow – almost stagnant. This we seek to change.
But before any of it is possible, we need to expand and secure ways for people to travel. The investment in the extensive renovations which have taken place, and now the grand re-opening of the Great Harbour Cay airport, mark a strong and essential step in that direction. It augurs well for a booming and thriving economy to return to Great Harbour Cay and the Berry Islands.
In our Blueprint for Change, my administration outlined an ambitious plan for economic revolution for The Bahamas. We promised to throw our whole weight behind developing and executing strategic plans which will benefit each island and address its specific and immediate needs.
We pledged to focus on infrastructural development across our island chain.
We set out how we would prioritise Family Island development.
Our goal is to decentralize our national wealth and create resilient Family Island economies.
Too often, over the past few decades, the Family Islands have been characterised in large part by their shrinking economies. Young people have left in large numbers, and residents have had their ambitions for growth and development frustrated.
This newly-renovated international airport here in Great Harbour Cay will now be the Berry Islands’ first impression on air travellers.
It will increase our capacity to accommodate stop-over visitors to these islands and stimulate domestic tourism.
The people of the Berry Islands deserve to have an airport that serves them well.
They deserve to have a fair chance in the market and to be supported in being as competitive as their imaginations allow.
I am certain that the opening of these renewed routes into the island will do just that.
My government remains committed to continuing to work in partnership with the Bahamian people
And we look forward to working together in the common interest and for the greater good.