While speaking at the Abaco Business Outlook on September 25 Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Works and Urban Renewal, Philip ‘Brave’ Davis, told the audience that “we are turning the corner” adding that he has no doubt that “The Bahamas is experiencing positive activity, some would even call it a renaissance, with new and exciting things happening in so many islands.”
Mr. Davis indicated that they have noticed an “apparent uptick in real estate sales, second home construction and resort development in Eleuthera, Exuma, San Salvador and, yes, here in Abaco.”
He said that Baker’s Bay is one major development project that has weathered the financial storm well, proving to be a source of stable employment in Abaco. He reported that Baker’s has recently increased its staff by 60 new employees, bringing its employee total to 560.
He also said that in the coming year it is expected Baker’s Bay will increase its membership by 100. “In economic terms that will result in increased job opportunities for its own operations as well as provide spin-offs to local businesses here on the island,” he said.
Mr. Davis said that while Winding Bay has not fared as well, “from where I sit, I can assure you its resurgence is on the way.” He said a proposal for its redevelopment is now before Government that there are plans for resurgence, though he could not offer details at this time.
Mr. Davis said that with this growth through development the government has acknowledged the fact that reducing the import bill for food is of great importance to the further progress and development of The Bahamas.
With this in mind Mr. Davis said that the government has delivered a new approach to the agricultural sector and will launch new opportunities for family island communities.
He said that greenhouses with their potential for the growth of year-round farming possibilities are being rolled out across the country and indicated that the North Abaco Farmers Association (NAFA) has already received international funding to develop a greenhouse project and is today receiving the necessary technical assistance.
Mr. Davis noted that “Don Sawyer, a player in the agriculture sector here on the island, is also making new investment inroads in the use of these new technologies on this island.”
He said that there is “resurgence at Abaco Big Bird because, since coming to office, we have enforced new protections in the areas of poultry thus stimulating an increase in local productions there.”
Mr. Davis said there are an additional 1,200 acres of land which has been made available to Abaco Farms for further production of food using new technologies along with Texas A & M. “That same prestigious institution is also sharing their new knowledge in food production across our country to assist farmers to increase their yield for market.”
Mr. Davis expects that “when our plans for this sector of the economy are fully in place with the rise in new methods of farming it will result in more employment and new business owners will emerge.”
He assured his listeners that the North Abaco Port will be built and that they will shortly open the new Marsh Harbour International Airport. He added that the BEC Marsh Harbour substation civil works are completed and the installation of the switchgear and transformers is in progress with a completion date ‘in sight.’ According to Mr. Davis the proposed Abaco sporting facilities are now on the drawing board.
“Combine this with the wonderful natural resources of large tracts of available land; excellent soil conditions and a long term reputation of success in agricultural ventures; excellent fishing and vast areas of the sea, both shallow banks and the deep south Atlantic, available for exploitation; exciting resort facilities like Baker’s Bay with its excellent example of environmental sensitivity and its resort and residential development which continues to attract high net worth visitors and its close proximity to South Florida and the south-east coast of the United States; This great land with its wonders of nature including the wonder of the ocean holes and our unique flora and fauna; All blended together with intelligent, hardworking and industrious Abaconians, you then have the perfect recipe for great success in the near and distant future,” he said.
He said that if the past is anything to go by, then Abaco is in for a “life changing experience as you focus on how you can take advantage of the positive changes and opportunities, which will confront you as the weeks, months and years go by.”