Ladies and Gentlemen:

Good morning.  

It is wonderful to be in Rock Sound.

A belated Happy Independence.

The numerous marine docks in The Bahamas provide a vital transport link and economic hub for our Family Islands. 

Mail boat docks provide a vital hub for the delivery of goods and services from New Providence and other jurisdictions, including the United States.

The fishing docks provide a location where fishers can undertake their trade and where leisure boats can safely berth. 

Marine docks are critical for the economic stability and the growth of local communities.

And they often provide a place that becomes the community hub were residents can meet and relax. 

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Both the main mail boat dock and fishing dock in Rock Sound were in very poor condition for some time.

The main dock suffered from severe deterioration to the concrete dock walls and full destruction of the existing bulkhead. 

The current site was restricted in size and unsuitable to accommodate roll on roll off vessels. 

Similarly, the fisherman’s boat dock was in poor condition as the timber framing was destroyed by the passage of various hurricanes over the years. 

Additionally, the concrete approach side walls and slab surface deteriorated and required repairs.

We were determined to improve this state of affairs.

The construction works undertaken is as follows:

Mail Boat Dock 

  • The demolition and removal of the deteriorated warehouse building; 
  • Installation of 429 linear feet of sheet piles to the mailboat dock;
  • Reclamation of 80 foot wide by 100 foot long of seabed;
  • Construction of reinforced concrete slab area to the main dock area with capping beam with roll on/roll off (ro/ro) ramp; 
  • Dredging of the seabed to the area in the front of dock wall;
  • Installation of bollards, cleats, fendering systems and solar lights in the dock area.

Fisherman Boat Dock

  • Construction of a new 12 foot wide by 220 foot long timber dock;
  • Concrete repairs to the concrete approach side walls and slab surface to the timber dock; and the 
  • Construction of timber gazebo shed and fish cleaning station. 

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Following a competitive tender exercise, a contract was signed in May 2020, with A & D Gaitor’s Equipment, Rock and Sand (Mr. Andrew Gaitor) for the re-construction of the docks for the amount of Two Million, Eight Hundred and Thirty-Four Thousand, Four Hundred and Ninety Dollars and Sixty-Seven Cents ($2,834,490.67). 

I am pleased to note that the mailboat dock has been successfully completed on time and within budget. 

The expanded modern facility will provide the settlement of Rock Sound with a dock that will service the local community for many years to come.  

Ladies and Gentlemen:

     Modern infrastructure like docks, roads, airports, clinics and other facilities are vital for Family Island development.

     This includes infrastructure that will help to boost economic growth.

     To emerge stronger from the COVID-19 pandemic, we all need to get vaccinated.

     There is good news for the country:

The Bahamas is coming back and Eleuthera is coming back.

Scores of jobs and economic opportunities for Bahamians, including new opportunities, are on the way.

Our major tourism market is the United States of America. 

They have one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, and their economy is growing robustly. 

After over a year and a half of challenges, Americans are ready to travel. 

The Bahamas is a near-by, well-known destination that managed the pandemic well. 

The sacrifices we made to abide by the public health rules are paying off. 

We have attractive properties across our spectacular island-chain. 

We are open for business and ready to warmly welcome guests at hotels and vacation rental properties.

In recent months our visitors have returned in large numbers. 

Airports are getting busier.

Resorts and marinas are reporting increased occupancy levels. 

Cruise ships have returned – and there are more to come. 

Some ships are even homeporting, bringing added economic benefits to our country for resorts, taxi and tour drivers and other tourism service providers.  

The vacation rental market is experiencing tremendous growth.

Before 2020, much of this rental business was seasonal, typically during the winter months and during certain holiday periods.

But more and more renters are now seeing bookings throughout the year.  

This is a very promising sign for Bahamians in the rental market, including here on Eleuthera.

I encourage those of you with various properties in Rock Sound to take advantage of the economic boom that is on the way.

But let me also say that though The Bahamas is coming back strong, we have some ways to go.

We have to get more Bahamians back to work as quickly as possible.

We can only do this together.  

I want to congratulate the residents of Eleuthera, who came out in large numbers to take the COVID-19 vaccine during the recent rollout on the Family Islands.

As more vaccines become available, may I encourage those who are not vaccinated, to get vaccinated.

Please continue to abide by the health protocols, which are essential, including wearing your masks.

We are still in the pandemic!  

May God bless you all and may God bless our Bahamas.

Thank you and good morning.