After the handing over ceremony and announcement of various Infrastructural Development Projects for East Grand Bahama on Monday (February 6), Member of Parliament for the area, Peter Turnquest said, he was thankful for the progress.
“This is a significant day for us. Starting with the East End Cemetery, the original cemetery has been overgrown, for a while now. We had situations where graves were being put on top of graves, which is not an acceptable situation.
“We have been advocating for this new cemetery for a number of years now, it had been identified during the last administration, it was surveyed, but it was not actually cleared and done until now,” Turnquest revealed.
“We are certainly happy that it is finally done and people can be laid to rest in decency. As the chief councillor (Marcus Cooper) said, we will lay that out so that it is a beautiful sanctuary for the families to go out and visit their loved ones.
“We are looking forward to the completion of that and what it will add to the community, in terms of providing a secure, resting place for loved ones.”
Speaking to the Potable Water Project, Turnquest said that it was a project that had been promised the residents of East Grand Bahama, one he advocated for when he ran for office in 2012.
“I had a conversation with Legnatious Cooper, from Freetown, who was one of the ‘old soldiers’ in these communities. His one request of me was to ensure that his people got potable water.
“I promised him that then, I promised him that when we buried him. I am very elated that we have been able to see it to this point. Hopefully, we will see the completion of it in short order and the residents will be able to benefit from clean, reliable potable water,” he added.
“As you know they all rely upon pumps at the moment, particularly during hurricane or even when the power is out they are inconvenienced, and it is expensive for them to maintain a pump system.
“So I am looking forward to them having this reliable water, at a cost effective price, and we can move forward with further developing these communities with all of the infrastructures that they require.”
With regard to the proposed subdivision, Turnquest said that he is very excited about the new subdivisions, both in High Rock as well as in McLean’s Town.
“They are very much necessary in order to keep our young people in our communities and help to grow and build.”
Questioned on future economic developments for East Grand Bahama, Turnquest said, “We have heard what the government has been putting forth and we hear rumors of a couple of other things, hopefully some of them will come forward.
“Certainly, this is an area (East End) that is ripe for development, crying for development; but we want to make sure that it is the right kind of development. What we do not want is to is see projects come along that will destroy the natural environment a lot of the residents make their living from and soil the richness of the area.
“Ideally, I am hopeful that we will see some kind of low density, health and wellness type of development that will take advantage of all of the natural beauty that we have out here, but we shall see,” said the MP.
Turnquest also shared his opinion on the proposed Carnival Cruise Port proposed for East Grand Bahama, a development Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe termed a “major investment” that will be announced and signed later this month.
“While I am grateful that the cruise port may bring some activity to the area, I am also concerned that it may shut out residents, particularly residents of East Grand Bahama.
“At the end of the day, if the project does not employ or allow local entrepreneurs to participate, then I believe that it will ultimately end up being a bad thing for Grand Bahama,” Turnquest said.
He noted that at the Freeport Harbour, the taxi drivers and the vendors’ benefit. “If we end up with a private enclave that is owned and operated by the cruse line itself, that will disenfranchise Freeport as well as serve as an exclusive enclave that residents in High Rock and East Grand Bahama can look at, but not be able to benefit from; that does not help us.
“I have admonished the Minister of Tourism and the Minister for Grand Bahama (Dr. Michael Darville), to ensure that whatever arrangements are made with these cruise lines, that Bahamians, and in this case particularly East Enders, have first right, with respect to any adventure or tour opportunities.”
Turnquest stressed that it is of utmost importance that Bahamians have the opportunity to be located on the property in order to be able to sell their tours.
“They must have the opportunity to operate some of the vending opportunities that may arise … that we do not allow the on-shore experience to be just an extension of just the on-board experience. We must make arrangements with these cruise lines, where we, the people, who provide the product benefit,” concluded Turnquest.
Published Friday, February 10, 2017