Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony Margaritaville Beach Resort

Cabinet Colleagues;

Her Excellency Dai Qingli (pronounced Dye Ching-lee);

Mr. Ning Yuan, Chairman of CCA;

Mr. John Cohlan, CEO of Margaritaville Holdings;

Mr. Daniel Liu, President of The Pointe Development;

Other Distinguished Guests;

Ladies and Gentlemen:

     I am happy to be here this morning for the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Margaritaville Beach Resort and Fins-Up Water Park at the Pointe. 

     I offer my congratulations and that of the Government on today’s milestone, a journey which began some years ago.

     The development includes: 155 hotel rooms, a 1000-feet long lazy river, water slides, a surf simulator, a grand ball room, different sized meeting rooms and restaurants.

     I note that all of these facilities will be enjoyed by Bahamians and visitors.

     Further, the marina, with its iconic view of Nassau Harbor, will welcome visitors from around the world.

     The waterfront restaurant facility will feature Bahamian seafood.

     The parking garage for the area has 800 spaces, offering parking for daytime and evening events.

     The Pointe is one of the major developments that will reside along the beautiful seascape of Nassau Harbour, which extends from Arawak Cay to near Paradise Island.

     Those cruising into Nassau will experience a beautiful waterfront and cityscape that collectively will sing: “Welcome to Paradise!”

     Just as The Bahamas is coming back, The City of Nassau and the Nassau Waterfront are coming back.

The historic City of Nassau and downtown are being transformed before our very eyes.

The Cruise Port executives have noted that they expect 60,000 visitors this month as the numbers begin to rebound.

I wish to note at the outset that successive governments and stakeholders have played a part in an ongoing transformation that is gathering pace and momentum.

In a few relatively short years, Bahamians and visitors will enjoy one of the more dynamic, exciting and modern city centers in the region.

I am pleased that thus far 300 Bahamians are employed at The Pointe, with 150 more to be hired in the months ahead.

Ladies and Gentlemen:  

This is the first Margaritaville Beach Resort with a water park in The Bahamas.

It is a tremendous addition to the revitalization of downtown.  

This complex boasts high-end facilities for both residents and visitors to The Bahamas. 

The complex is adorned with Bahamian artistry and includes retail space for Bahamian arts and crafts.

Just as with other urban centers around the world, the long-term revitalization of downtown Nassau will require residential properties for Bahamians and residents.

Such residential development are necessary for the growth of other businesses, such as restaurants, shops, convenience stores and other commercial enterprises.

Moreover, such developments will result in many millions in investments.

The residential area at Margaritaville is a harbinger of things to come in terms of residential properties downtown.

The developments at The Pointe are a part of an ongoing transformation of our tourism product and offerings on New Providence.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

The City of Nassau, inclusive of its architecture, is like a history book, with many chapters revealing the life of the City over many centuries.

While we seek to maintain the historic character of Nassau, it is also being recast as a modern 21stcentury city.

The old Cabinet Office Building will be demolished in the months ahead.

In its place will be a new, modern Cabinet Building, which will be named after a prominent Bahamian. 

The “demolition of the former Bahamas Customs Warehouse on Prince George Wharf” will help to pave the way for “the area’s $268m transformation into the Nassau Cruise Port.”

The new Nassau Cruise Port includes: a waterfront park, a harbor village, a new inner harbor, an amphitheater and a Junkanoo museum.

With developments such as The Pointe, the Nassau Cruise Port and other developments, the City of Nassau is being reenergized and renewed.

As I said on another occasion, rather than Nassau going to sleep early every evening, Bahamians and visitors should enjoy a bustling and vibrant city, with exciting nightlife and entertainment featuring Bahamian and international culture, music and food.”

Ladies and Gentlemen:       

     The center of the City of Nassau is an important place in our history and cultural life. 

It is a place where tragically, slaves were once sold, and pirates once roamed.

It is a place where successive generations of Bahamian merchants and vendors set up vibrant businesses. 

It is the place where our modern founders fought for our democracy. 

 It is a place where in normal times we welcome millions of visitors each year.  

It is the place where Junkanoo happens, and where the goat skin drums and cow bells vibrate throughout the entire city.

There have been successive public and private efforts to revive our downtown over the years. 

Along this long journey we have made progress in some areas and regressed in others. 

My Government’s policy has been to welcome Bahamian and foreign investments into our city center to help revive it. 

The City of Nassau has the potential to be the economic hub of The Bahamas. 

We have extended concessions to continue incentivizing investment.  

We believe this will further bolster capital flows into Nassau. 

However, there is a vexing issue that must be addressed if Nassau is to meet its potential. 

There are too many derelict buildings in the city center. 

They are eyesores. 

While some of the old buildings can be refurbished, many have to be demolished. 

My Government intends to address this issue judiciously through legislation and other legal means.   

Once this is done, through legislation we will seek to ensure that buildings in the city center are no longer abandoned and left to deteriorate. 

This includes government and commercial buildings.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

     We will revitalize and beautify downtown for Bahamians and visitors.

     Government House and its grounds are being restored and modernized.

     On the site of the now demolished Main Post Office a new Judicial Complex will be built.

     As I noted before: Fort Charlotte and its environs should be turned into a central park with walking trails, facilities for cultural events and other features similar to such parks in other international cities.  

The central park’s recreational features can extend to the waterfront encompassing an upgraded Arawak Cay and Western Esplanade with its boardwalk.  

Complementing Fort Charlotte Central Park and Arawak Cay will be a restored Botanical Gardens.

A new, beautiful and iconic Central Bank facility will rise on the grounds of the former Royal Victoria Hotel.

And there are other private and public developments to come, which will result in many more hundreds of millions of dollars in investments 

Ladies and Gentlemen:

     To restore our economy and our country, more Bahamians must be vaccinated.

     In the coming days, I will have more to say about our public health measures and vaccines in response to the increase in cases, mostly on New Providence.

     I once again implore everyone to abide by the public health measures.

     Let me close with this quote about cities:  “Successful cities are crucibles of culture: art, music, performance, food, architecture, identity and customs.”

Even as new architecture and facilities are built or renewed for a new City of Nassau, let us remember that it is the Bahamian people and our culture that will give this City: life, vibrancy, flavor and joy.

It is through Bahamian enterprise and imagination that, to paraphrase that iconic song, “Funky Nassau”: Nassau will rock and Nassau will roll, and through which Nassau, will have a “Whole lot of soul.”

I wish The Pointe and Margaritaville every success.

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

Thank you and good morning.