On March 2nd, 2020, The Government of the Bahamas welcomed the partnership between Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. And ITM Group. A Sales Purchase Agreement as well as a Heads of Agreement were signed paving the way for a $300 million investment which includes massive development spanning 2 properties:
1. Harbour Village at the Freeport Harbour (which will include three new berths, retail space, beach and wellness areas and a multi-modal transportation hub including an off-roading experience. By time of completion, it will have the capacity to host the largest cruise ships in the world.)
2. The Lucaya property (which will encompass a one-of-a-kind 526 room hotel, a water and adventure theme park with pool, waterslide, waterfalls, river route, wave pool, beach area, spa, and a 40,000 sq. ft. Convention center.)
The $300m investment calls for employment opportunities, job training, community investment and sustainable construction practices. The developers anticipate creating some 3,000 direct jobs during peak construction and operation periods. Once completed in winter 2022, Grand Bahama should expect to welcome more than 2 million visitors annually as a result of this development.
It is important to note this project also includes guaranteed airlift to the island.
In February 2019, Carnival announced its plans for the construction of a massive Port in East Grand Bahama, and proudly noted that once it is completed, Grand Bahama will be home to Carnival’s largest cruise port to date, which will be able to accommodate up to 6 vessels at any given time. The Government stood in support of Carnival’s vision that this project will reinvent Grand Bahama as a destination.
We are even more pleased that Carnival is also committed to preserving the authenticity of the Bahamas by ensuring that the port’s amenities will be inter-woven with Bahamian design and culture offered to their guests and crew.
By September 2019, just weeks after the island of Grand Bahama was ravaged by Hurricane Dorian, Carnival re-affirmed its strong commitment to Grand Bahama, officially signing the deal for Grand Port. Not only did their team affirm their support of The Bahamas and Grand Bahama specifically in relation to the project, but showed their commitment to restoring hope to Grand Bahamians by bringing with them loads of relief items, essential medical supplies, and personnel to assist with immediate relief. For that, we are exceptionally grateful.
It is expected that the project will lead to 1,000 jobs during construction and between 500 and 1,000 jobs post-construction. Construction is expected to start by summer of 2020.
The Grand Bahama Youth Apiary Program was launched in October 2017. The 30 participants first participated in an introductory workshop, which exposed them to the honey production industry. They then went on to participate in a hands-on training process designed to prepare them to create and sustain their own businesses. Several months later, the participants launched their first co-operative The Grand Bahama Beekeeping Cooperative Society Ltd., and elected executive officers.
During their continued training, participants receive both technical and management support. They are consistently supported and provided with guidance in marketing, packaging promotion, distribution and sales to ensure the best chance of success for their businesses.
The entrepreneurs are already producing a wide variety of products from honey and soap to candles and jewelry – just to name a few.
This program was so valuable in that participants did not simply walk away with stipend earnings and a temporary job - They have gained skills that can benefit them long-term and decrease our country’s dependence on foreign food product import.
OPM Grand Bahama is presently engaged in major refurbishment project of the old produce exchange building to house the Apiary Coop and allow for display of their goods for sale.
The Grand Bahama Dilapidated Buildings Task Force was formed by Cabinet in September 2018. This task force is comprised of members from the Office of the Prime Minister, Grand Bahama Port Authority, Department of Environmental Health, Royal Bahamas Police Force, Department of Social Services and the Office of Attorney General. The Task Force was mandated to address the Dilapidated Buildings in Grand Bahama. While there are a number of dilapidated buildings on the island, the task force identified approximately eighteen properties considered to be high priority. Assessments were conducted by agencies and the findings were recorded. It was concluded that some of the properties were in breach of the Environmental Laws and Freeport Building Code and Sanitary Code. Due to the fact that the laws are in place, presently the Ministry of the Environment is moving forward to execute law by prosecuting the owners who are in breach of the law.
For many years the settlement of Smith’s Point had experienced progressive coastal erosion along its entire southern shoreline. There was no existing hard or soft defense to protect the shoreline or the neighboring settlement during storm conditions. In addition to substantial erosion to the land mass, considerable amounts of sand and water were washed onto the only thoroughfare all the way through into the settlement. This caused severe vehicular and pedestrian disruption, catastrophic damage and financial loss to the numerous homes and business establishments that exist along this area of land. It was concluded the beach erosion along the shoreline of Smith’s Point was aggressively progressive and the installation of a seawall was warranted and long overdue. In August 2017, a contract was awarded to Waugh Construction to complete the wall at Smith Point and it was officially opened in April 2019.
Fishing Hole Road Bridge
The Fishing Hole Road Bridge project was completed in 2019 however, with the devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian in September of that year, the project was set back to its final stages- in that the bridge sustained structural damages. As a result, the Fishing Hole Road Bridge project was revisited with a new durable design. The $9.2 million causeway was officially opened on 26th June, 2020.
Garnet Levarity Justice Center
The Government of the Bahamas, through the Ministry of Works, entered a $1.9 million contract for repairs and refurbishment of the Garnet Levarity Justice Center in December 2018. To date, the Garnet Levarity Justice Center’s renovations are completed. The building’s upgrades included a new roof, brand-new hurricane impact windows, and new air-conditioning. The building’s exterior was fully revised with fresh paint and new columns. The scope of repairs and renovations included exterior repairs and upgrades, major interior repairs and upgrades, as well as mechanical, electrical and plumbing works.
Rand Memorial Hospital
Construction workers have been working feverishly to the complete rebuilding of the hospital following damage sustained as a result of Hurricane Dorian. The Prime Minister has announced that $21 million has been allocated for the Rand Memorial Hospital.
McCleans Town Administrative Complex
This structure in East Grand Bahama housed the Royal Bahama Police Force, as well as ferry service offices supporting inter-island travel between Grand Bahama and Abaco. The Office of the Prime Minister, Grand Bahama, has been provided with the funding to completely rebuild the administrative complex, in conjunction with the Ministry of Disaster and Reconstruction. The proposed costs of the repairs are within the region of $205,358.00.
Road reinstatement was $213,000 as work was carried out in West End, McClean’s Town, Freetown, Grand Bahama Highway and High Rock. Currently a sea wall is being designed and scoped for High Rock to provide coastal road protection. The Ministry of Works has embarked on the Grand Bahama Road Repairs and Carriage way Rehabilitation Project to rebuild our roads. Reconstruction of approximately 8 miles of road in East, Central and West Grand Bahama. The works will be in hotmix asphalt at a cost of $6.1 million.
Freeport Post Office
Other post Hurricane Dorian temporary repairs efforts included the Freeport Post Office which The Office of the Prime Minister Grand Bahama assisted in the sum of $51,362.91. While the project has made progress in a functioning post office, other major renovations needed will include a complete roof repair, installation of hurricane proof windows and doors, interior painting and tiling, drywalls, exterior painting, an air conditioning unit and the installation of new mail boxes. This construction process will approximately cost $3,300,000. The project is in the tendering process and we expect work to commence shortly.
The Agriculture building houses the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, and also offered a base of operation for the Grand Bahama Bee-Keepers Cooperative, which is a group of young entrepreneurs launched via the government’s Apiary Programme in Grand Bahama. The Office of the Prime Minister, Grand Bahama, has been provided with the funding to completely restore the building, in conjunction with the Ministry of Disaster and Reconstruction. The proposed costs of the post-hurricane repairs are within the region of $284,289.00.
Small Home Repairs
The Disaster Reconstruction Authority's Small Home Repair program continues as those who qualify for assistance are being paid in phases from $2,500 to $10,000. Since this program commenced in February 2020, approximately 2,000 Grand Bahamians have been approved and the program has to date directly put into the hands of Bahamian companies and invested in Bahamian homes some $ 3,257,170. Bahamian contractors received over $9 million on debris removal since the hurricane.
Grand Bahama Airport
Other projects include the Eight Mile Rock Government Complex and the new School in holmes rock which work will continue this year.
The government is continuing discussions with Hutchison Ports along with the Grand Bahama Port Authority with the view to come to an agreement on the best way forward in rebuilding a world-class airport. In the interim, a temporary structure is indeed open and fully functional, operating regular daily international and domestic flights. Work continues to proceed on the further enhancement of the temporary facility. The airport will require a long term sustainable rebuilding plan. It has been destroyed by hurricanes several times. The airport has been rebuilt 3 times in the last 7 years which signifies that a greater plan must be put into place. However even as we work toward the final product, we are indeed accessible.
The Office of the Prime Minister Grand Bahama is pleased to present the 'Rebuilding Grand Bahama Documentary Series.'
This is our story of the rebuilding process in Grand Bahama post Hurricane Dorian as we rebuild homes, businesses, roads, but most importantly we are rebuilding the LIVES of PEOPLE. Watch as we visit local residents and local businesses, venture through capital works and highlight government initiatives geared towards rebuilding a better and stronger Grand Bahama post Dorian.
The Rebuilding Grand Bahama Series has aired on ZNS, but that doesn’t mean you’ve missed out.
Watch all the episodes of the Rebuilding Grand Bahama Docu-series here and subscribe to ‘OPM Grand Bahama’ on Youtube:
This episode explores initiatives the Government put in place post Dorian through various government agencies (i.e. The Department of Social Services and Bahamas Customs) to assist those affected by Hurricane Dorian and now the Covid-19 pandemic.
• Celestine Cox- Superintendent, Bahamas Customs
• Kenton Flowers- Superintendent, Bahamas Customs
• Charlamae Fernander- Assistant Director- Department of Social Services
Episode 2: Home Repairs
This episode highlights the Disaster Reconstruction Authority’s role in the rebuilding of many homes through the Small Home Repair Programme.
• Sophia Smith - DRA Home Repair Program Recipient
• Wendell Grant - Projects Director, Disaster Reconstruction Authority
• Shannika Hall - Anderson- DRA Home Repair Program Recipient
Episode 3: Food Assistance
In this episode The Grand Bahama Food Assistance Program, (a subsection of the National Food Distribution Program) partnered with local food stores and NGOs and were given a mandate to ensure no person goes hungry during the Covid-19 pandemic.
• Senator The Honorable Jasmin Turner-Dareus - Urban Renewal Grand Bahama - Distribution Center
• Stephanie Barr - Bahamas Red Cross- Distribution Center
• Bonnie Basden - Feed GB Food Assistance Recipient
• Hugh Solomon - Proprietor, Kross Town Grocery Store
• Keith Rolle - Proprietor, Stop & Shop Grocery Store
Episode 4: Health Care
This episode follows the story of the reconstruction of the Rand Memorial Hospital after it sustained damages during Hurricane Dorian.
• Sharon Williams - Administrator, Rand Memorial Hospital
• Dr. Freeman Lockhart - Medical Chief of Staff, Rand Memorial Hospital
• Ben McKinney - Grand Bahama Resident
• Robert Smith - Facilities Manager, Rand Memorial Hospital
Episode 5: Education
In this episode we highlight the largest expended amount for school renovations on Grand Bahama at one time and showcase the collaborative efforts between the Office of The Prime Minister Grand Bahama, The Ministry of Education, and The Ministry of Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction to award contracts to local contractors for school repairs on Grand Bahama. In this government initiative $4.5 million was spent towards school renovations.• Rodney Bethel - Acting Principal, Hugh Campbell Primary School
• Vernal Colebrooke - Contactor, Action Lawn Services (at Walter Parker Primary
• Tyrone Laing - Contractor, Roofing Experts Ltd. (at Jack Hayward High School)
• Lynden Edwards - Contractor, San Jose Construction (at Hugh Campbell Primary
• Charles Brown - Contractor, Brown Builders (at Freeport Primary School)
• Cardia Williams - Supervising Engineer
• Astrid Cooper - Supervising Engineer
• Honorable Iram Lewis, M.P. - Minister of Disaster Preparedness, Management &
Episode 6: Capital Works (Part 1)
In this episode we follow renovations of McClean’s Town Complex, the Fishing Hole Road and road works in East and West Grand Bahama.
• Toni Hudson-Bannister - Assistant Engineer, The Ministry of Works
• Godfrey Waugh - President, Waugh Construction (Bahamas) Ltd
• Wolfgang Geiger - President, All Bahamas Construction Company Ltd.
• Pastor Pedyson Baillou - Owner/ Proprietor, H&H Contractors
Episode 7: Capital Works (Part 2)
Capital Works continue with a part two, as this episode follows the construction and renovation of the Harold DeGregory, Post Office and the Garnet Levarity Justice Centre.
• P. Dorlan Collie - Senior Superintendent- Office of The Prime Minister GB
• Max Quant - Contractor, Noula Investments (at Harold DeGregory Building & at
Garnett Levarity Justice Center)
• Louis Missick - Contractor, Missako Investments (at Freeport Post Office
• K. Brian Sands - Sub-Contractor, Windows & Glass Plus (at Freeport Post Office)
• Scott Russell - Sub-Contractor, Island To Island Construction (at Freeport Post
Episode 8: Agriculture & Sustainability
In previous episodes we have highlighted various rebuilding efforts in healthcare, education, public infrastructure and more. Now we invite you along to explore the buzzing agriculture industry in Grand Bahama.
In this episode we follow the renovation of the Grand Bahama Agriculture Building and visit local Beekeepers from the Apiary Co-operative Organization.
• Iris Garland & Janiece Saunders - Grand Bahama Beekeepers Cooperative
• Howard Bowe - Contractor, Darren's Construction (at Department of Agriculture
• Vincent Saunders - Contractor, Vas Construction (at Department of Agriculture
• Tyrie Moss - Vice President, Earth Care