Mick Holding, president of the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce (GBCC) said that GBCC, Grand Bahama Port Authority and Ministry for Grand Bahama, must work together to revitalize the economy of Grand Bahama.
Holding shared his views on the island’s potential for economic growth under the topic of “My Grand Bahama,” during a presentation at the 19th Annual Grand Bahama Business Outlook (GBBO) on Thursday, March 9.
Holding told the audience that his first time visiting Grand Bahama, some years ago, was a positive experience and compared the island’s once booming economy then to the way it is now.
“The island of Grand Bahama is a very different place than it used to be,” he said.
Holding noted that since 2002 there have been a number of events, which affected the island’s economy. These included Hurricanes Jean and Francis, the global recession and most recently Hurricane Matthew that hit the island in October 2016.
As a result many businesses closed, including Memories Hotel and residents lost their jobs.
Holding said that the tourism sector is “on its knees,” which affects the rest of the economy.
However, he noted that people should not spend time living in the past.
“There is no point in looking back and simply wishing,” he said.
According to Holding, it is now up to everyone – business owners, the government, stakeholders and residents – should work together to improve the local economy.
He noted that one of the ways that can be done is through increasing the population. According to Holding, Grand Bahama can sustain a population of about 500,000 people, which is 10 times the island’s present population.
“New Providence has five times our population, but Grand Bahama has six times the land mass,” he said.
The way to do this is by attracting investors who can create more job opportunities, Holding suggested.
The Counsellors Ltd. Group (TCL Group) organized the GBBO under the theme, ‘Breaking Barriers and Promoting Success.’ The one-day event featured participating vendors such as Aliv, Atlantic Medical, BTC, and Chocolatess Island Delights.
Several speakers, including Prime Minister Perry Christie, Charles Pratt, Senior Manager, Sales and Commercial Development, DevCo; Mick Holding; Agatha Marcelle, Executive Director, National Training Agency; Carlos Palacious, Director of Operations, Caribbean Coastal Services; Hubert Edwards, Deputy Managing Director, Bank of the Bahamas; Emmanuel Komolafe, Chairman, Bahamas Insurance Association and Chief Risk Officer, Colina Holdings Bahamas Ltd; Donna Jones, Partner and Broker, Keys Bahamas Realty, made presentations during the session.
Published Thursday, March, 16, 2017